For a small fee, cyclists in the U.K., France, and Brussels can ride the train without the usual hassle or headache of toting their bike. After protests over its lack of bike facilities this past fall, the Eurostar, (the high-speed train that shuttles passengers across the English Channel via an underwater tunnel) has amended its policies and amenities to make cyclists—and their bikes—feel more welcome onboard.
Formerly, the Eurostar lacked secure bike parking facilities and forced those wishing to travel with a bike to jump through irritating hoops. Cyclists were required to completely dismantle and pack their bikes in boxes or bags, which were not always shipped on the same train as the ticket holder. Some travelers reported waiting a full day or longer to receive their bike at their destination—a baggage nightmare worse than those conjured by most major airlines.
Eurostar has only begun to woo cyclists with their “Bikes on Board” campaign, which charges £20 per bike for newly added conveniences. In London, travelers can drop their bikes at the train station one hour before their departure and pick it up at the Gare du Nord upon their arrival in Paris. Eurostar has also added bicycle parking at the St. Pancras station in London, to appease cyclists who’d rather make a clean break and forego the fee.