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Is it easier to use buses or trains with a bicycle in Europe?

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Unregistered anon_user kullanıcısının resmi
Is it easier to use buses or trains with a bicycle in Europe?

I'm planing a bicycle-touring trip to western-Europe and I'd like to know is it easier to use buses or trains?

WS Üyesi WS Üyesi kullanıcısının resmi
Bus is cheaper but not recommended

Hi Juha
We are also touring in Europe and have experience with trains and Flixbus (only in Sweden)
Trains
Possible to use in every country except Sweden and some special trains (some ICE, some night trains, depending on season)
Reservation sometimes needed for fast trains (e.g. TGV), mostly you can use the train without prior reservation
Sometimes the bikes are for free (e.g. Northern lines in England, Hamburg S-Bahn)
Practicality of loading depends on the train type (steps or barrier free)
usually you'll find foldable seats where you lean your bike against
Getting to and from platforms sometimes involves stairs or waiting for elevator, so book with enough time for changing trains
Trains are WAY more comfortable than buses and you can access your luggage anytime

Bus
only few buses take bikes (e.g.only the night bus in Sweden)
Bike lies in the luggage compartment
If there are multiple bikes, they get stacked on top of each other, maybe you need to turn the handlebars
Damage is possible and not refundable by the company
Buses always have to be booked in advance
Generally cheaper than trains
Technically Flixbus charges for every single luggage item, if you are unlucky, they might charge you extra for each bag (didn't happen to us)

So overall, I don't recommend the bus, mainly because damage to your bike is more likely and trains are way more flexible (normally no advance booking needed). You have to check the price and availability for every individual journey. Sometimes you get super cheap prices with trains too, if you can book a month or so in advance and are not picky about traveling time.

I hope this answers some of your questions.

WS Üyesi WS Üyesi kullanıcısının resmi
In our experience hardly any

In our experience hardly any busses accept bikes. There are a few exceptions, but I would not expect to use a bus at all.

We have also had very mixed experiences with trains and bikes, but it's pretty practical see below:
Netherlands:
* Regional trains (Ranstaadrail sprinter) bikes are always allowed outside of rush-hour. Platforms are at the same height as doors; doors are wide.
* Regional trains stop. at. every. tree. Expect your journey to be simple, but very, very slow.
* Intercity trains allow bikes for the price of a full priced adult ticket outside of rush-hour. Bikes must be placed in a marked car.
* Intercity trains are much faster

France:
* TGV trains, with a bike reservation take bikes. Doors are narrow, platforms lower than the doors. Special reserved seats for you and your bike
* TGV trains are super fast, but pretty expensive
* Thalis (high-speed train links between major cities in France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands) no bikes that look like bikes are allowed. Your bike must be disassembled and in a bike bag. Basically this means that your bike needs to look like a piece of large luggage. Though getting all your crap onto the train is a pain, the journey is super easy.

Germany:
* BIKES?! YOU HAVE BIKES?! No.
* Regional Trains are very similar to those in the Netherlands. Provided there is space, it's pretty easy to get on and off.
* Regional Trains stop. at. every. village. They take forever.
* ICE Trains with a bike reservation have between 2 and 20 spaces for bikes. Tickets MUST BE BOUGHT at least ONE DAY IN ADVANCE. Don't even think about trying to buy a ticket on the day of your journey. Germain train conductors are not F***king around. You will probably be fined and booted off the train at the next stop if you don't have the appropriate ticket. This holds true even if the ticket office screws up and sells you an ticket for a train line that does not run. Yes. We had some problems.

Austria:
* Basically the same as Germany, but even less humor.

If you expect to be doing a lot of travel by train, consider getting an inter-rail pass. Depending on where you will be traveling and the extent of your travels, you may find it is a good value. You can ask at a train station for details. There are many packages that include single country, multiple country and many other variables.

Trains:
* Eurostar Paris-London with a bike booking, this journey is a dream. Walk your fully assembled bike to the special bike check-in area. Drop it off with appropriate paper work, saunter off to enjoy a cup of coffee. Pick up bike at other end.

WS Üyesi WS Üyesi kullanıcısının resmi
For italy:

For italy:
on buses: some lines accept, even for free, others not even paying. Ask before. On some lines bicycles are accepted only if you do the whole trip (no unload at intermediate stops).

Trains: on long distance (whether are IC or HS trains) bicycle are not allowed mounted, but travel for free if packed as 110x40x80 (but also 120x30x80 or 110x30x90 are usually accepted) .
On regional trains in general are accepted for a supplement of 3.50€/24h but there are exceptions for trains that run within one region or one province: in some province there is a different fare (nothing to 6 euro day), in others there is a different on peak/off peak.
The most noticeable exceptions are the lines Sestri-Spezia (no transport on most daytime trains), Cuneo-Savona (free on certain trains), Merano-Malles (no transport on peak time, specific ticket valid only in the province), Trento-Primolano (specific ticket).
A packed bicycle officially is accepted on any regional train, but according the region could be subject to the extra luggage fare (3.5€) even if in general i have seen three time in more than 30 years a check on it ....

WS Üyesi WS Üyesi kullanıcısının resmi
In Poland, Bus No - Train Yes

Rode up to a Polski Bus to get a leg up on a trip to the Boden Sea, wanted to start from Prague instead of Wroclaw. They guy shook his head, until I folded my bike Friday, no extra charge. They will not take regular sized bikes. I only had a saddlebag, so that may have made a difference as well.
Glad to say that in Poland it’s very easy to take a bike on the trains, even on the super-fast Pendolino, with four places, probably good to get a reservation.
For all other trains, either there is a dedicated part of a wagon, or you can put the max 2 bikes at the first or last wagon. The regional, slow trains are the easiest to get on and off. Just don’t block the bathroom door.
Best thing is the price, on the regional trains 5,00 PLN =1,25 USD or the faster trains 9,00 PLN. Doesn’t matter how far you are going.
Sometimes there is a special promotion, with bikes free on some weekends.
Robert Mink
Jary Poland via Spokane USA

Unregistered anon_user kullanıcısının resmi
Alright, thank you for all

Alright, thank you for all your replies! I think I'll try to stick with the trains then. They seem a bit more easier for bicycles and price difference isn't big.

WS Üyesi WS Üyesi kullanıcısının resmi
trains in Germany

Actually, the ICE trains don't take bikes at all (unless it's a folding bike) !! For the IC trains you definitely need to book bike place and ticket well in advance. The regional , often privately run trains are super, easy access and lots of room. Here you need not unpack your bike as u have to do on the ICs. For example, Nordwestbahn, Metronom, Cantus.

WS Üyesi WS Üyesi kullanıcısının resmi
trains in Germany

Actually, the ICE trains don't take bikes at all (unless it's a folding bike) !! For the IC trains you definitely need to book bike place and ticket well in advance. The regional , often privately run trains are super, easy access and lots of room. Here you need not unpack your bike as u have to do on the ICs. For example, Nordwestbahn, Metronom, Cantus.

WS Üyesi WS Üyesi kullanıcısının resmi
German regional trains

greetings to Susanne :-) in addition, in some parts of Germany the regional trains take your bike for free (mostly eastern "Bundesländer") . In the more southern or western parts they charge 5-7€ a day for the bike. on the ticket machines you buy the bike ticket seperatly from your personal ticket. Some ICE-trains are on a test run with bicycle storage places, but only a hand full, don´t you rely on that

WS Üyesi WS Üyesi kullanıcısının resmi
We've taken our bikes on

We've taken our bikes on buses a few times and it's been great. Easier than the trains for us and cheaper. Flix bus lets you book your bike when you buy your ticket. The panniers go in the luggage compartment and the bike goes on a bike rack. They only have space for 3 bikes, though. We're travelling with three bikes so our options are limited to trips with no other bikes booked. Hope that helps

WS Üyesi WS Üyesi kullanıcısının resmi
Taking my bike by train or buses in Europe

FRANCE :

LGV, TGV, THALYS as said above. 

Regional trains (TER) can be a very good option : no charge for your bicycles. Various destinations.

Find out more here :

http://www.sncf.com/fr/trains/ter

 

SCOTLAND :

Booking is a must on long distance trip in summer and bank hollydays. You'll pay much less buying on internet. Avoid cycling in touristic places such as Skye in july-august : too many traffic on the roadds.

Suburban trains accept bikes for free (avoid peek hour).

Find out more here :

https://www.scotrail.co.uk/

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