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Thread: On the blog: Taking Your Bike on Amtrak

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    Default On the blog: Taking Your Bike on Amtrak

    Two weeks ago Erin Potter and I got to try out Amtrak's bike options and see the various rack systems they have on three different type of cars. Here's the post:

    http://www.bikearlington.com/pages/n...on-train-demo/

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    I'm traveling with my bike up to NYC next month for Red Hook Crit. The selection of Northeast Regional trains with bike storage were pretty limited (the bike-capable trains mostly seem to run at sub-optimal times), so I ended up booking the Vermonter on the way up and the Carolinian (which requires you to "check" your bike) on the way back. Price for the bike reservation was $20 each way. I will report back with my experience...

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    Unfortunately some of these routes may go away:

    http://www.post-gazette.com/news/tra...ersion=pgevoke

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    Currently sitting on the Vermonter, with my bike stowed. Didn't have to do anything special prior to boarding...just get in line at the gate. After the gate opened, I found the car with a bike symbol, hoisted the bike up, and loaded it in the bike compartment. No one from Amtrak was around to assist (or check for a bike ticket), but it's pretty self-explanatory. The bike compartment seemed to be missing the strap to secure the frame, but my u-lock did that job well enough.


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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC View Post
    Currently sitting on the Vermonter, with my bike stowed. Didn't have to do anything special prior to boarding...just get in line at the gate. After the gate opened, I found the car with a bike symbol, hoisted the bike up, and loaded it in the bike compartment. No one from Amtrak was around to assist (or check for a bike ticket), but it's pretty self-explanatory. The bike compartment seemed to be missing the strap to secure the frame, but my u-lock did that job well enough.
    I was wondering, were you required to remove your front wheel, or did you do that just so that it would fit? I'm currently mulling over a potential Amtrak trip and wanted to be sure of the options.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobco85 View Post
    I was wondering, were you required to remove your front wheel, or did you do that just so that it would fit? I'm currently mulling over a potential Amtrak trip and wanted to be sure of the options.
    The instructions say to remove it, and that area below the bike is configured to "hold" it with a strap and everything. I really doubt anyone really checks it though, and it seems you could fit the bike in there without removing the wheel.

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    Update: getting off at Penn Station is kind of a nightmare. You pretty much have to wait for everyone to get off the train, then salmon against all the people trying to get on the train.

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    And now the return...the Carolinian is a bit different than the Vermonter, as it has "trainside bike check," rather than "carry on" service. So I had to go to the bag check counter (definitely arrive ~30 minutes early for this) and get a tag. Then before general boarding, I was escorted down to the baggage car where an Amtrak guy put my bike on the rack for me. Then I got to board the train way early, which was a nice perk. Overall, I think the trainside bike check is way easier, since you don't have to remove your wheel or futz with your bike while people try to board around you. It also means you can move about the train without having to find the car in which you left your bike.


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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC View Post
    The instructions say to remove it, and that area below the bike is configured to "hold" it with a strap and everything. I really doubt anyone really checks it though, and it seems you could fit the bike in there without removing the wheel.
    Yes, we were told you have to remove it so that your saddle doesn't stick out in the aisle and block passengers.

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    On the first train heading north it looks like you could only fit one bike???

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