Author Topic: Amtrak and walk on bicycles  (Read 3023 times)

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Offline kayakbikerun

Amtrak and walk on bicycles
« on: April 04, 2013, 09:27:55 pm »
I made my reservations and reserved a spot on Amtrak for a walk on bike.  I am leaving the station in Lincoln, IL and travelling to Chicago, IL.  The chart on the Amtrak website mentions that Illinois Downstate Services allows for walk on bikes.  I want to be sure that this means me.  Can anyone help me with that?

Next issue.  I have never taken a bike on Amtrak before.  What can I expect as far as bike rack on the train and advice on strapping the bike in during the train ride?

Thanks in advance!

Offline sbuchtel

Re: Amtrak and walk on bicycles
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2013, 10:50:18 am »
It's a great service, kayakbikerun, with a little bit of clumsiness added to make you earn it. Here's what I mean: you have to get your bike up into the overhead luggage area. The shelves are large, but a bike feels larger because they are so awkwardly shaped. Obviously, the smaller your bike, the easier the fit.

It fits better if you can take off your front wheel. I also advise putting it above the seats where you will sit, if possible. Enough of the bike hangs over that others sitting underneath will feel a little nervous. If that's not possible, you don't have to worry about it falling, but the folks sitting there will still look at you with a little bit of "Really?"

Ed Barsotti, ED of League of Illinois Bicyclists, and I use this service frequently for downstate meetings, particularly the Lincoln service. Amtrak+bike saves us a lot of money over driving. Ed's 6' or so, rides maybe a 58cm Trek 700c bike, I'm a head shorter. Neither of us have had any problems and enjoy being able to do this.

Sometimes, a conductor will allow you to put your bike in the handicap accessible space, but that's the exception.

The Lincoln service hits 110mph now in a couple of sections. Makes you want to throw your hands up and say "Wheeeeee!" Enjoy riding in Chicago!

Steve Buchtel, Executive Director
Trails for Illinois
Facebook: trailsforillinois
Twitter: Trails4Illinois