Transport to starting point

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
DinoD
Posts: 15
Joined: 21 May 2021, 5:06pm

Transport to starting point

Post by DinoD »

G’day everyone. I’m planning on cycling from Chester along the top of Wales down south towards Bristol way. I have to get from Swindon to Chester and was wondering if there was an alternative means of transportation other than the train. Last time I used it was so awkward getting the bike on and then the panniers. This time I’ll have two additional 10L panniers.
User avatar
Traction_man
Posts: 338
Joined: 10 Jan 2020, 5:30pm
Location: Bangor NI

Re: Transport to starting point

Post by Traction_man »

I think the best option is to pick and choose the train operator carefully, for example West Midland Trains and Chilterns Trains have a much more liberal policy for carrying bikes than say Great Western or Cross Country, so from Swindon using the more local or regional services might be less hassle (though arguablly slower) than the longer distance services?

Coaches and buses are not an alternative, and so the only other way if not by train is using one-way car hire, unless you fancy cycling Swindon-Chester first!
DGR
Posts: 52
Joined: 7 Aug 2010, 5:16pm
Location: Chilwell, Nottingham

Re: Transport to starting point

Post by DGR »

Could you put a substantial part of your luggage into a stout cardboard box, and post the box to yourself c/o your first night's accommodation in Chester? If you can do that, you may able to reduce the amount of stuff that you have to manoeuvre on/off trains to a more manageable amount.

Even so, you may need to be careful.
Having finished LEJOG, I "did my back in" at Inverness while awkwardly trying to get my fully-loaded bike onto a train in a hurry. By the time I got to York, I was in agony. By the time I got to Derby, I could hardly stand up.
I once made the mistake of leaving panniers on the bike while my bike was in the bike-compartment of a local train, for a journey of only about 5 miles. The combination of weight of the panniers with the train's motion caused my front wheel to become buckled during the journey.

Nowadays, I try to prepare myself on the station-platform: each pannier on a shoulder-strap diagonally across my body; i.e. one pannier on each side of my body. So the weight of the panniers is on my shoulders, and my arms only need to lift the weight of my bike.
DGR
Posts: 52
Joined: 7 Aug 2010, 5:16pm
Location: Chilwell, Nottingham

Re: Transport to starting point

Post by DGR »

It looks as though you can do the Swindon-Chester train-journey with just one change, at Newport (South Wales).

I don't know what rolling-stock is used between Swindon and Newport.

If I remember correctly, the train between Newport and Chester is likely to be a fairly short train (3 or 4 carriages?). So -- if you're struggling with "bike and luggage" -- the guard is likely to see you and give you time to get on before s/he attempts to close the doors.
User avatar
Traction_man
Posts: 338
Joined: 10 Jan 2020, 5:30pm
Location: Bangor NI

Re: Transport to starting point

Post by Traction_man »

DGR wrote: 11 Jun 2024, 1:37pm It looks as though you can do the Swindon-Chester train-journey with just one change, at Newport (South Wales).

I don't know what rolling-stock is used between Swindon and Newport.

If I remember correctly, the train between Newport and Chester is likely to be a fairly short train (3 or 4 carriages?). So -- if you're struggling with "bike and luggage" -- the guard is likely to see you and give you time to get on before s/he attempts to close the doors.
I am pretty sure to Newport it will be IETs, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wes ... ling_stock with their 'cupboards', so I was thinking Swindon--Gloucester--Worcester if it's run with Networker Turbo DMUs, though my memory of these is standing with the bike!

Worcester to Brum--Crewe is via West Midland Trains, again standing with the bike but I prefer that to trying to get it onto hooks and having it out of sight...

Crewe--Chester, hmm, perhaps bike that bit ;-)
DinoD
Posts: 15
Joined: 21 May 2021, 5:06pm

Re: Transport to starting point

Post by DinoD »

I did the Swindon to Carmarthen a few years ago and it was just so frustrating trying to get my chunky touring bike into the vertical rack obviously designed for lightweight bikes, adding that the conductor wasn’t very helpful and mentioned that there no space to store my panniers which I had to lug the carriage.
Nearholmer
Posts: 4389
Joined: 26 Mar 2022, 7:13am

Re: Transport to starting point

Post by Nearholmer »

This is like a bad parlour game, isn’t it?

I was about to suggest finding the nearest WM Trains stations to origin and destination, and cycling to/from those, and it sounds as if you are onto a similar idea.
User avatar
Traction_man
Posts: 338
Joined: 10 Jan 2020, 5:30pm
Location: Bangor NI

Re: Transport to starting point

Post by Traction_man »

Nearholmer wrote: 11 Jun 2024, 2:17pm This is like a bad parlour game, isn’t it?

I was about to suggest finding the nearest WM Trains stations to origin and destination, and cycling to/from those, and it sounds as if you are onto a similar idea.
I had started planning a train-bike trip to Wootton Bassett from Birkenhead and in the end taking WMT from Liverpool to Brum/Stratford-uon-Avon then cycling to Cheltenham, via Honeybourne, and then train to Swindon was looking like the favoured option! But then it wiled away an afternoon playing around with train times and cyclemaps that appealed to me :-)
mattheus
Posts: 5287
Joined: 29 Dec 2008, 12:57pm
Location: Western Europe

Re: Transport to starting point

Post by mattheus »

Traction_man wrote: 11 Jun 2024, 1:51pm
DGR wrote: 11 Jun 2024, 1:37pm It looks as though you can do the Swindon-Chester train-journey with just one change, at Newport (South Wales).

I don't know what rolling-stock is used between Swindon and Newport.

If I remember correctly, the train between Newport and Chester is likely to be a fairly short train (3 or 4 carriages?). So -- if you're struggling with "bike and luggage" -- the guard is likely to see you and give you time to get on before s/he attempts to close the doors.
I am pretty sure to Newport it will be IETs, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wes ... ling_stock with their 'cupboards', so I was thinking Swindon--Gloucester--Worcester if it's run with Networker Turbo DMUs, though my memory of these is standing with the bike!
...
What makes you think Swindon-Glos will be on Turbos? I've used that line maybe 3 times - each time was on (what I call) High Speed trains, probably "IETs" in your lingo :)

On the plus side, no-other cyclists appeared!
User avatar
Traction_man
Posts: 338
Joined: 10 Jan 2020, 5:30pm
Location: Bangor NI

Re: Transport to starting point

Post by Traction_man »

mattheus wrote: 11 Jun 2024, 2:40pm
Traction_man wrote: 11 Jun 2024, 1:51pm
DGR wrote: 11 Jun 2024, 1:37pm It looks as though you can do the Swindon-Chester train-journey with just one change, at Newport (South Wales).

I don't know what rolling-stock is used between Swindon and Newport.

If I remember correctly, the train between Newport and Chester is likely to be a fairly short train (3 or 4 carriages?). So -- if you're struggling with "bike and luggage" -- the guard is likely to see you and give you time to get on before s/he attempts to close the doors.
I am pretty sure to Newport it will be IETs, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wes ... ling_stock with their 'cupboards', so I was thinking Swindon--Gloucester--Worcester if it's run with Networker Turbo DMUs, though my memory of these is standing with the bike!
...
What makes you think Swindon-Glos will be on Turbos? I've used that line maybe 3 times - each time was on (what I call) High Speed trains, probably "IETs" in your lingo :)

On the plus side, no-other cyclists appeared!
yes, that's why I said " if it's run with Networker Turbo DMUs"...
simonhill
Posts: 5311
Joined: 13 Jan 2007, 11:28am
Location: Essex

Re: Transport to starting point

Post by simonhill »

The question was an alternative to the train.

I doubt buses would be an option. I know some coaches carry boxed bikes if space permits, but a bit hit and miss, plus probably a complicated route.

Hire a car for one way trip. May not be that much more than train depending on when you buy train tickets.

Pack bike and courier it. Then train with just luggage.

Anyone else?
Will
Posts: 524
Joined: 16 Jan 2007, 6:39pm

Re: Transport to starting point

Post by Will »

DGR wrote: 11 Jun 2024, 1:37pm I don't know what rolling-stock is used between Swindon and Newport.
A quick search on Real Time Trains for today shows both Class 387 and Class 800 trains in use between Swindon and Newport.

10:11 Service (2 x Class 387):

https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/servic ... allox_id=0

11:11 Service (Class 800):

https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/servic ... allox_id=0

Will
mattheus
Posts: 5287
Joined: 29 Dec 2008, 12:57pm
Location: Western Europe

Re: Transport to starting point

Post by mattheus »

Traction_man wrote: 11 Jun 2024, 2:42pm
mattheus wrote: 11 Jun 2024, 2:40pm
Traction_man wrote: 11 Jun 2024, 1:51pm

I am pretty sure to Newport it will be IETs, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wes ... ling_stock with their 'cupboards', so I was thinking Swindon--Gloucester--Worcester if it's run with Networker Turbo DMUs, though my memory of these is standing with the bike!
...
What makes you think Swindon-Glos will be on Turbos? I've used that line maybe 3 times - each time was on (what I call) High Speed trains, probably "IETs" in your lingo :)

On the plus side, no-other cyclists appeared!
yes, that's why I said " if it's run with Networker Turbo DMUs"...
Would also be fine if they put on a special (unadvertised) free minibus service for touring cyclists...

;-)
mattheus
Posts: 5287
Joined: 29 Dec 2008, 12:57pm
Location: Western Europe

Re: Transport to starting point

Post by mattheus »

Will wrote: 11 Jun 2024, 2:54pm
DGR wrote: 11 Jun 2024, 1:37pm I don't know what rolling-stock is used between Swindon and Newport.
A quick search on Real Time Trains for today shows both Class 387 and Class 800 trains in use between Swindon and Newport.

10:11 Service (2 x Class 387):

https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/servic ... allox_id=0

11:11 Service (Class 800):

https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/servic ... allox_id=0

Will
Thanks Will. So the Class 837s are what I call "non high speed" and you can get quite a few bikes on. I'm not even sure if there's an official limit, I'd expect to get on UNLESS it is truly rammed.
However I've never been on such a train going through Swindon from Didcot. [e.g. 2 trains in the last month - i'm not a frequent flyer :P] I suspect it was just a last-minute replacement for the "proper, fast" trains?

It's ironic that the 10:11 only made it as far as Bristol Parkway (for undisclosed reasons)!
User avatar
foxyrider
Posts: 6088
Joined: 29 Aug 2011, 10:25am
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Re: Transport to starting point

Post by foxyrider »

think i'd just ride from Swindon to Newport, its a fairly benign route, the only real climb is at Chepstow. Its @ 70 miles depending on your exact route. Then take that northbound train to Chester.
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!
Post Reply