Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
bohrsatom
Posts: 455
Joined: 20 May 2013, 4:36pm

Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Postby bohrsatom » 24 Jan 2020, 1:10pm

A heads up for those looking to ride in France this year. According to Freewheeling France, since January bikes are now no longer permitted on the following TGV routes:

  • Paris-Nantes
  • Paris-Rennes
  • Paris-Bordeaux

The SNCF online booking system does confirm this - it won't show any TGV services between Paris-Bordeaux once you add a bike reservation.

These services previously allowed bikes for a €10 surcharge. I used the Paris-Bordeaux service a few years ago and found it a very smooth way to get to Southwestern France. Very disappointed that this is no longer the case, as an alternative route is going to be very time-consuming and complex.

mattheus
Posts: 1453
Joined: 29 Dec 2008, 12:57pm

Re: Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Postby mattheus » 24 Jan 2020, 1:19pm

:(

Good spot. So is that NO services to the south now (for assembled bikes, anyway)? Slow trains only? Merde!

I suppose I should be grateful for getting to Biarritz in October.(luggage area was utterly chokka going South - my bike wasn't very welcome, but a French cyclist sweet-talked the staff. And I DID have a reservation!)

Hopefully going to Tours this July, I can probably do that on slow trains if I have to...

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 14741
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Postby mjr » 24 Jan 2020, 4:00pm

mattheus wrote:Hopefully going to Tours this July, I can probably do that on slow trains if I have to...

Book as early as allowed. The bike spaces on the IC Paris-Tours were already full last summer and if the parallel TGVs no longer take them, that's not going to get better and the TERs may not cope with the demand.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

Jdsk
Posts: 132
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Postby Jdsk » 24 Jan 2020, 4:05pm

I've told The Man in Seat 61.

Jonathan

Richard Fairhurst
Posts: 1455
Joined: 2 Mar 2008, 4:57pm
Location: Charlbury, Oxfordshire

Re: Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 24 Jan 2020, 4:07pm

Exasperating. The Ground Effect bike bags (Tardis and Dogsbody) look like they might be a worthwhile solution - small and light enough to take with you on the bike. But they're not cheap, especially factoring in shpiping from NZ, and it's obviously much more hassle than taking the bike as is.

(By the same token, I have a Tern bag for folding bikes which I put my slightly ungainly Bike Friday in. It stuffs into a saddle bag for onward transport. I've taken it on Eurostar a couple of times, though it is patched up with duck tape in one or two places by now!)
cycle.travel - maps, journey-planner, route guides and city guides

simonhill
Posts: 2696
Joined: 13 Jan 2007, 11:28am
Location: Essex

Re: Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Postby simonhill » 24 Jan 2020, 4:18pm

Does anyone know why they are no longer permitted?

At a time when flying is being discouraged, what a crazy decision. I can fly from my local airport (Southend) to Bordeaux in just over an hour. Easyjet loves bikes because they are a good earner.

ubert767
Posts: 136
Joined: 4 Aug 2013, 8:16pm

Re: Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Postby ubert767 » 24 Jan 2020, 4:52pm

I thought it was too good to last! We've used the TGV service from Bordeaux to Paris a couple of times recently and it was very civilised, with reserved bike spaces, dedicated seats next to them and travelling at 300kph.
Oh well!
Rob

User avatar
jamesgilbert
Posts: 316
Joined: 5 Feb 2013, 4:25pm
Location: Lyon

Re: Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Postby jamesgilbert » 24 Jan 2020, 7:47pm

simonhill wrote:Does anyone know why they are no longer permitted?

At a time when flying is being discouraged, what a crazy decision. I can fly from my local airport (Southend) to Bordeaux in just over an hour. Easyjet loves bikes because they are a good earner.


I think it might be because all these routes have recently been made significantly faster, the SNCF is now running 100% double-decker TGVs on them, which don't have any bike spaces (but obviously carry many more passengers). If the demand for high-speed routes continues to increase, I'd imagine that single-decker TGVs will eventually disappear completely.

This might be an unpopular view on here, but while I think it's important for TER trains to have room for bikes, I don't see it as any kind of priority for TGVs to carry them.

bohrsatom
Posts: 455
Joined: 20 May 2013, 4:36pm

Re: Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Postby bohrsatom » 25 Jan 2020, 9:05am

jamesgilbert wrote:This might be an unpopular view on here, but while I think it's important for TER trains to have room for bikes, I don't see it as any kind of priority for TGVs to carry them.


It's definitely not a priority for the train operators. They make twice as much money from two passengers than one passenger plus bulky luggage. Which leads to trains with more seats but smaller luggage areas, for instance the new high speed trains that run out of Paddington.

Catching local trains with bikes is fine to rescue yourself from poor weather or a mechanical, but not for getting to and from your destination. Paris -> Bordeaux is now 9 hours by train, changing in Toulouse, rather than 2 by TGV. Add in a Eurostar and you're unlikely to make the journey in a single day.

Which leaves the alternative of having to pack your bike in a small bag, like the Ground Effect Tardis, to continue to take the TGV or, as Simon suggests, fly.

User avatar
jamesgilbert
Posts: 316
Joined: 5 Feb 2013, 4:25pm
Location: Lyon

Re: Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Postby jamesgilbert » 25 Jan 2020, 9:16am

bohrsatom wrote:Which leaves the alternative of having to pack your bike in a small bag, like the Ground Effect Tardis, to continue to take the TGV or, as Simon suggests, fly.


Or to travel with just your luggage and hire bikes at your destination...

nirakaro
Posts: 1062
Joined: 22 Dec 2007, 2:01am

Re: Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Postby nirakaro » 25 Jan 2020, 10:04am

jamesgilbert wrote:
bohrsatom wrote:Which leaves the alternative of having to pack your bike in a small bag, like the Ground Effect Tardis, to continue to take the TGV or, as Simon suggests, fly.


Or to travel with just your luggage and hire bikes at your destination...

Or to take your time, and see getting there (or back) as part of the trip.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 14741
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Postby mjr » 27 Jan 2020, 12:49pm

nirakaro wrote:
jamesgilbert wrote:
bohrsatom wrote:Which leaves the alternative of having to pack your bike in a small bag, like the Ground Effect Tardis, to continue to take the TGV or, as Simon suggests, fly.


Or to travel with just your luggage and hire bikes at your destination...

Or to take your time, and see getting there (or back) as part of the trip.

That massively limits the range of working tourists with traditional two week factory shutdown style holidays, which is a widespread legacy practice in the UK.

It's all part of discouraging cycling, isn't it? The hardcore nuts like me will hire a car from near the train station, park it at the hotel and then order the bike hire delivered to the hotel or drive to get them, while those less keen will fly-drive and not bother to rent a local bike. City breaks are easier to cycle in, with easy-hire systems in many cities. Can rural areas overcome this?
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

PH
Posts: 8142
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby
Contact:

Re: Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Postby PH » 27 Jan 2020, 1:54pm

nirakaro wrote:
jamesgilbert wrote:
bohrsatom wrote:Which leaves the alternative of having to pack your bike in a small bag, like the Ground Effect Tardis, to continue to take the TGV or, as Simon suggests, fly.


Or to travel with just your luggage and hire bikes at your destination...

Or to take your time, and see getting there (or back) as part of the trip.

I agree, it's not the first thread on here recently where people seem in such a rush, it's exactly what I go touring to get away from.
My tours start at my door and last till I'm back in the same spot. Any travelling to and fro is a part of it, tours are planned around available time, if one train/ferry/bus takes a few hours longer than another, I'll add the time to the tour, or cut the distance, or add an extra bit to each day. It's no deterrent.

Angstrom
Posts: 52
Joined: 21 Nov 2018, 6:57am

Re: Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Postby Angstrom » 28 Jan 2020, 6:53pm

mjr wrote:
nirakaro wrote:
jamesgilbert wrote:
Or to travel with just your luggage and hire bikes at your destination...

Or to take your time, and see getting there (or back) as part of the trip.


It's all part of discouraging cycling, isn't it?

No intention to discourage anyone, just a pragmatic approach.
SNCF gets beaten all the time for a) being too expensive and b) costing too much to the tax payer (among other things).

Space for bikes in TGVs not only take up space that could be sold for more travellers when there are cyclists in the train. They also take up space for 80% of the time when cyclists aren't there.

Plus with cycling holidays being on the rise, there will never be enough bike space at peak periods so they know whatever they do people will complain.

We just have to deal with it. We can (and I do also) moan, but it ain't going to chnage quickly.

I know of people travelling with Blablacar with their bikes (car-pooling).

bohrsatom
Posts: 455
Joined: 20 May 2013, 4:36pm

Re: Bikes no longer permitted on western TGV services

Postby bohrsatom » 28 Jan 2020, 6:55pm

Different strokes for different folks, I'd say.

I go touring to spend time outside in the countryside so I aim to maximise the cycling time available on my trip. Sometimes I'm only able to get a week away from work - spending a day or more travelling to my destination, and the same back, seriously cuts into riding time. A long trip on local trains can be risky too as any delays/cancellations are unlikely to be honoured by other train operators. (If your TGV is cancelled then you have rights to allow you to take the next train, free of charge).

I don't particularly enjoy flying, even more so with a bicycle travelling alongside me. But with an early flight I could arrive at my destination and ride 75kms before dinnertime.

Love the idea of better bike hire provision but it's unrealistic. It's hard enough finding somewhere to hire bikes, even on more popular routes (viewtopic.php?f=16&t=135106 as a recent example). And any bikes that are available tend to be unsuitable for loaded touring.

A brompton fits neatly into the gap here, IMO. Maybe not for a camping trip, but should be suitable for credit card touring....