Author Topic: Cycle Tourist Needing A Ride Please - Kansas City to Denver! (with bike)  (Read 1168 times)

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Offline capnjammer

I'm a British cyclist touring from NYC to Anacortes, WA. Picked up a slight injury so took some extra time off in Kansas City and I'd like to make that time up, so I'm looking for a ride from here to Colorado, ideally Denver or Pueblo.

I'll be travelling with a bike and panniers, so you'll need some space or a rack, but not that much as it's only two bags on the rear! It would seem the Amtrak train from here isn't currently taking bicycles, and one way car rental is incredibly expensive!

Any help very gratefully received - am happy to pitch in with gas and conversation.


Offline John Nettles

Glad to hear you are able to continue your ride.

I am assuming you could go this Wednesday.  Based on that I show that Amtrak does indeed take bikes but it takes two trains.  Plus the cost is $182 plus bike cost. Takes 24 hours assuming Amtrak is on-time which is a huge assumption. No boxing of bike required.

A small SUV (no bike breakdown is about $235 plus gas (relatively cheap in the USA).  Would take 8+ hours to drive. No boxing of bike required.

A Greyhound bus is only $111 plus the bike (guessing $25) but you would not arrive until 11pm. If you take the bus that arrives at 10:25am, the cost is $137 + bike. Worst is you have to box the bike.

If you have not posted on WarmShowers,, and/or Bike Forums, you might consider that too to increase your chances of catching a ride.  You might catch a ride by hitch-hiking (offer to pay some gas money), but that is certainly no guarantee.

Hope it works out for you, John

Offline capnjammer

Thanks for your reply John - I should've specified that the Southwest Chief train to La Junta doesn't seem to be taking cycles. I saw the option you posted below, however there are some exceptionally long wait times between trains on that route, so I think I'd prefer to stick my thumb out!

Options for boxing the bike are somewhat difficult having to carry the box, the bike and my gear so I'm trying to avoid it if possible, and that's assuming the station carries boxes for sale.

I'll find a way, that's the thing about travelling the world - you learn that you always find a way somehow!

Kind regards

Offline John Nettles

 Just to clarify, the Amtrak train, in its typical non-efficient manner, headed east to Illinois then connected with California Zepher back to Denver, not La Junta.

I guess you could head to Albuquerque, New Mexico, then take the Road Runner Train (bikes allowed) to Santa Fe and then ride north.  However, then you would have an altitude delay due to gaining so much elevation in a day.

A final option would be to rent the small SUV and take it to some place like Laramie, WY, and then connect with the TransAm to the west after crossing the very scenic Snowy Range Pass via WY-130.  The cost would be about $225 plus gas but you would save several days of food & camping plus the hassles of getting out of Denver. Big downside is you would have to ride to the Kansas City airport to pick up car but there are bike routes and suggested routes on google maps.

Again, hope something works out.  John

Offline aggie

On the Southwest Chief bikes can only be loaded or unloaded at stations that can handle baggage.  Unfortunately it looks like Amtrak discontinued the baggage service at La Junta, CO.  The next baggage stop is Lamy, NM which is near Santa Fe, NM.  From there you could ride north to Colorado.  It is a it out of the way.  Not sure of the cost but another way is to rent a small U Haul truck to Pueblo or Denver.  I've used this option instead of renting a car.  You only need to secure that bike in the truck.  You should be able to get the cheapest rate online before going to the rental location.  At one rental location that had both cars and trucks (Budget) they changed my reservation and gave me a small SUV for the same price.  It was a better option than the truck.  Might be worth a try.  Good luck.

Offline staehpj1

A couple hints that I have found useful.  Rental cars can often be cheaper and quicker than Amtrak, but there are some pitfalls to avoid.
  • Always book a rental online rather than walk up to a rental desk.  Walk ups often (almost always in my experience) yield a refusal to let a car go one way or a big one way drop off charge.
  • Generally going airport to airport avoids one way drop off charges when booked ahead online
  • Using an aggregator like expedia or whatever usually finds a decent price

A quick check on Expedia showed lots of options starting at $120 for various cars with a drop off 24 hours after pick up.  That was airport to airport Kansas City to Denver.  It is a 626 mile drive so 24 hours should be plenty of time to get there.

The smaller cars you may need to do more disassembly to get the bike and gear in, but I have managed to get a touring bike and gear in some sub compact economy models.  Some of the models at the lower end of the scale in my search results were a Jetta, Focus, Elantra, Mirage, or even a fullsize Malibu.  My bikes and gear on all my trips would have easily fit in any of them even my early heavily loaded trips.  You might need to take both wheels off and maybe drop or remove the seat post.  Worst case if you got stuck with a tiny car maybe take the stem loose to get the bars out of the way, or remove pedals, but I'd be surprised if you needed to do that with any of those cars.

For $200-240 there were a few SUVs.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 09:10:16 am by staehpj1 »