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Taking a bike on Eurostar

curiumcurium Posts: 815
edited June 2016 in Tour & expedition
Eurostar state that any luggage over 85 cm in length has to go via their separate Eurodespatch service and that if I want my luggage (bike bag) on the same train I need to pay £30, in advance, each way on top of my train ticket.

Has anybody used this service? Plain sailing?

Anybody just turned up with their bike in a bike baggage and tried to bring on as luggage? Do they get the tape measure out or do you need to place it in a mould to demonstrate it fits the dimensional specs?

Cheers!

Posts

  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,690
    Years ago. The bike did not travel on my train and I had to take it to St Pancras the day before to make sure it got to Brussels before me. It was 20 quid or so each way
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Just done it yesterday. Today I have ordered a new mech hanger and rear mech and may need to order some new spokes.

    It's a total shambles - at least from Gare du Nord to St Pancras (going South maybe better - at least the luggage drop off has some organisation and professionalism rather than being a hole in the ground manned by a bloke who can't speak English, knows nothing about bikes and buggers off randomly for 45 minutes to smoke a few gitanes whilst your money, passport and everything is locked up inside the office with you outside trying to free seized pedals you didn't think you'd have to take off because you'd been told the bike would be fine unboxed with nothing more than a domestic Evans cycle tool kit.

    If you don't pay extra to box your bike and have it dispatched on the same train you are on, then they will send it on the next available train. They can carry two unboxed bikes per train so they send bikes on the next available one. I think they had about 60 to process on Sunday afternoon.

    Next time I cycle to Paris, I'll cycle back as well...........
    Faster than a tent.......
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,690
    Rolf F wrote:
    Just done it yesterday. Today I have ordered a new mech hanger and rear mech and may need to order some new spokes.

    It's a total shambles - at least from Gare du Nord to St Pancras (going South maybe better - at least the luggage drop off has some organisation and professionalism rather than being a hole in the ground manned by a bloke who can't speak English, knows nothing about bikes and buggers off randomly for 45 minutes to smoke a few gitanes whilst your money, passport and everything is locked up inside the office with you outside trying to free seized pedals you didn't think you'd have to take off because you'd been told the bike would be fine unboxed with nothing more than a domestic Evans cycle tool kit.

    If you don't pay extra to box your bike and have it dispatched on the same train you are on, then they will send it on the next available train. They can carry two unboxed bikes per train so they send bikes on the next available one. I think they had about 60 to process on Sunday afternoon.

    Next time I cycle to Paris, I'll cycle back as well...........

    Your experience is particularly negative, but it's definitively more hassle than it's worth
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Rolf F wrote:
    Just done it yesterday. Today I have ordered a new mech hanger and rear mech and may need to order some new spokes.

    It's a total shambles - at least from Gare du Nord to St Pancras (going South maybe better - at least the luggage drop off has some organisation and professionalism rather than being a hole in the ground manned by a bloke who can't speak English, knows nothing about bikes and buggers off randomly for 45 minutes to smoke a few gitanes whilst your money, passport and everything is locked up inside the office with you outside trying to free seized pedals you didn't think you'd have to take off because you'd been told the bike would be fine unboxed with nothing more than a domestic Evans cycle tool kit.

    If you don't pay extra to box your bike and have it dispatched on the same train you are on, then they will send it on the next available train. They can carry two unboxed bikes per train so they send bikes on the next available one. I think they had about 60 to process on Sunday afternoon.

    Next time I cycle to Paris, I'll cycle back as well...........

    Your experience is particularly negative, but it's definitively more hassle than it's worth

    Indeed. And I don't think it reflects the norm but neither do I suspect it would be a rare experience. There's no evidence that Eurostar have thought any of the bike carriage thing through. Eg if the boxes were only slightly deeper, you would be able to get the bikes in without taking the pedals off. They are also too small to fit a bike in with mudguards still on and those can be a right faff to remove.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • curiumcurium Posts: 815
    OMG! Your experience sounds awful. I take it that they really chuck bikes about then?

    If I send my bike a day ahead of me to Paris will it be secure? Do they cover any damage or loss/theft?
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    curium wrote:
    OMG! Your experience sounds awful. I take it that they really chuck bikes about then?

    If I send my bike a day ahead of me to Paris will it be secure? Do they cover any damage or loss/theft?

    Hard to know what happens. Might not take a big wallop to misalign a mech hanger. What I did see first of all was my bike being leaned against a box with only the handlebars in contact and those on the edge of the box - one knock and it would have been on the floor. I also saw bikes waiting to be put on the wheel hangers leaning against each other at about a 45 degree angle. Not things that give much confidence.

    I'd actually protected much of the frame with fablon (1960s version of Heli tape at a 100th of the cost!) which was just as well as there were a few gouges in that which probably didn't originate from the ride. My bikes do seem to be damage magnets though.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • tomisitttomisitt Posts: 257
    I've taken my bike, unboxed and fully-assembled, on the Eurostar on quite a few occasions without any problems at all. Just called Eurodespatch (getting them to answer the phone can be an censored -ache), booked it onto a train with space, then booked myself onto the same train. Drop the bike off an hour before the train goes, pick it up at the other end pretty much straight away. No fuss, no damage, polite and helpful service at St Pancras and Gare du Nord. But I haven't tried boxing the bike up and sending it as "luggage". I very much doubt you'd be able to smuggle oversized bags on board (they are very security-conscious these days), and I personally wouldn't risk it.
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