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bike on high speed trains in UK--is it safe?

bikergirl17bikergirl17 Posts: 344
edited July 2012 in Tour & expedition
Wanted to see if anyone has experience taking their bike on a train in UK in which is the bikes are kept in a separate "guard car". How safe is it? Did you put on multiple locks? The train operator has told me that the car will be un-manned.

Posts

  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    I've done it quite a few times. Apprehensive at first, but I never had any problems. I took my saddlebags with me and locked the bike to a fixture in the car, and then I have to admit, I kept an eye ou when the train was at the station lest I see my pride and joy being wheeled away. But as I said, no problems. You'll be fine.
  • bikergirl17bikergirl17 Posts: 344
    Thank you!

    What kind of lock (s)? Thinking I may take the wheels with me to be extra safe (the hubs have the most resale value of anything on the bike but I guess someone would have to know a bit about bikes to suss that out).
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    I used a D-lock. It might be hard to take the wheels as the system they have in the baggage/cycling van has the bikes hanging from a hook by the front wheel, and strapped to a sort of frame. It is pretty secure, as far as the bikes getting knocked about. I also brought along a length of webbing, both for tying my bike more securely (not for theft but physical protection, and to wrap around parts of the frame that I thought might get knocked. I find that a length (2 metres or so) of webbing is just useful for these occasions, and on ferries as well.
  • bikergirl17bikergirl17 Posts: 344
    all i have to carry anything in (including my clothes, etc) is my knapsack-- this will be interesting. is webbing the same thing as bubble wrap?
    i may actually go to the train station and check out what the cars look like now.
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    all i have to carry anything in (including my clothes, etc) is my knapsack-- this will be interesting. is webbing the same thing as bubble wrap?
    i may actually go to the train station and check out what the cars look like now.
    By webbing I mean a flattish, seatbelt style 'cord' about an inch across. You buy it at hardware stores or rock climbing gear shops. Very strong and very handy on tour as something to secure your bike in transit on trains or ferries, or to knot or wrap around parts of the frame to protect it from bumps.
  • Hoopdriver wrote:
    all i have to carry anything in (including my clothes, etc) is my knapsack-- this will be interesting. is webbing the same thing as bubble wrap?
    i may actually go to the train station and check out what the cars look like now.
    By webbing I mean a flattish, seatbelt style 'cord' about an inch across. You buy it at hardware stores or rock climbing gear shops. Very strong and very handy on tour as something to secure your bike in transit on trains or ferries, or to knot or wrap around parts of the frame to protect it from bumps.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webbing

    I have a feeling that on trains I have used with my bike there are signs in the bike van saying that bikes are not to be locked. In any case by the time you've got your bike in the van you've got very little time to get your bike locked anyway before the trains starts to move off. I normally sit in the next carriage back and watch comings and goings from the bike van from my seat.
  • crakercraker Posts: 2,060
    There was a thread on here last week or so where a chap put his bike on the train and someone else got off with it. I'd suggest ignoring any advice not to lock it - as long as you're not blocking anyone else.
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    That's been my attitude - lock it and make sure it's not in anyone's way. I've neve been told not to lock it by any of the guards.
  • pedylanpedylan Posts: 775
    Just back from a trip with our bikes from York to Gleneagles on East Coast. Connected to York on Northern Trains which had (unbookable) space for a couple of bikes in plain view so no security problems. We booked bikes on te web at the same time as tickets and seat reservstions on the East Coast web site.

    You say High Speed Trains in UK so that could be Virgin or East Coast or Cross Country I guess. If you are travelling East Coast book the quiet coach B and you'll be next to the guards van which is actiually accesible for train staff via a door from B coach. This door is marked "train office"

    You put the bikes in off the platform on vertical hanging spaces with the front wheel attached to a hook and the back wheel resting in a groove. If you want to lock it you'll need to be quick but you can attach a D lock to the frame. I think you're over worrying about security. In B coach we could see who was accessing the guards van at each stop and there were always train staff supervising loading and unloading. All staff were exceptionally helpful.

    A very straightforward and enjoyable mini tour.

    You can find train plans here for east coast

    http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/Global/On-bo ... s%20A4.pdf

    Or check out man in seat61 for all manner of train lore including bikes.
    Where the neon madmen climb
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    I've travelled hundreds of times on the trains between London and Bristol. I generally put a lock round the back wheel but I don't lock it to anything. I figure that most bike thieves won't run the risk of carrying a locked bike through the station.

    On FGW there are very clear instructions not to lock your bike to the train (and you could probably only lock the front wheel). Ignore any advice telling you to lock your bike to anything. The trains don't stop for long and you will really hack off other cyclists if you stop them getting on or off because you are faffing around with your locks. Getting yourself, luggage and bike off the train is enough without messingwith locks and keys. Worst case (if you mislay your key or whatever): the train will leave with your bike still on it.
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    andymiller wrote:
    I've travelled hundreds of times on the trains between London and Bristol. I generally put a lock round the back wheel but I don't lock it to anything. I figure that most bike thieves won't run the risk of carrying a locked bike through the station.

    On FGW there are very clear instructions not to lock your bike to the train (and you could probably only lock the front wheel). Ignore any advice telling you to lock your bike to anything. The trains don't stop for long and you will really hack off other cyclists if you stop them getting on or off because you are faffing around with your locks. Getting yourself, luggage and bike off the train is enough without messingwith locks and keys. Worst case (if you mislay your key or whatever): the train will leave with your bike still on it.
    Good points. I have to say that when I've travelled and locked my bike in the luggage van i have always been getting off on the last stop so a hurried departure was never important. If I was getting off at an intermediate stop it would be a different matter.

    The idea of locking the back wheel, so the bike has to be carried rather than rolled is a very good one
  • holiverholiver Posts: 800
    I've only done it from Bristol to London too via FGW and will echo what andymiller has already written. I didn't lock my bike to the train, but did put a D lock through the frame and rear wheel to make it difficult to wheel away or ride again.
  • bikergirl17bikergirl17 Posts: 344
    wanted to thank you all ... turned out to be fine. on way over, i did watch it at every stop as i was the only bike on the train.
    on way back, there were about 10+ bikes, and several of us just locked them to the car. did seem a few that didn't have reservations.

    the only issue was the amount of time to stow and get to the seat; the conductors were not giving us much leeway.
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    wanted to thank you all ... turned out to be fine. on way over, i did watch it at every stop as i was the only bike on the train.
    on way back, there were about 10+ bikes, and several of us just locked them to the car. did seem a few that didn't have reservations.

    the only issue was the amount of time to stow and get to the seat; the conductors were not giving us much leeway.

    Most train operators have very little dwell time at stations so the guards and platform staff will fret if passengers take a long time locking bikes away. If you do lose a key and the train leaves without you there is a very good chance that your bike will be hack sawed in any way to remove it when it arrives at a depot so I would advise not to lock it to the train at all.
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