Author Topic: maximum tire width for bikes on Amtrak  (Read 840 times)

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Offline adventurepdx

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Re: maximum tire width for bikes on Amtrak
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2020, 08:36:55 pm »
I cannot imagine why the width of the tires and wheels should matter if it is inside a box.

Well, it shouldn't. But we've been talking about unboxed bikes on Amtrak, where bikes hang on hooks. Wheel size and width matters here.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: maximum tire width for bikes on Amtrak
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2020, 08:46:11 pm »
Tri Rail in southeast coastal Florida allows for wheeled-on bicycles. You push the front wheel into a sort of bracket which holds the bike upright. Maybe that will not fit a wide wheel, or something like that. I  leaned my bike against the wall and let it go like that. Of course, it carried four panniers, so it would not stay upright in the bracket, and the front panniers prevented it fitting into the bracket. Too many rules and regulations.

Many bike "roll on" services require bikes to hang from a hook, so they are not designed around having bags on the bike. Amtrak's California services (Capitol Corridor-San Joaquins-Pacific Surfliner) allow you to roll your bike on yourself into the car you'll be sitting in. But it's still a hook. Some services, like Seattle Metro Sounder Rail, has bikes standing up normally, so bags aren't a big deal.

But the OP is talking about roll-on service on long distance Amtrak trains. You have to bring your bike to the baggage car, lift it in the air (the floor of the baggage car is about five feet from the ground), and give it to the baggage person who will hang it on the hook. They don't allow you to keep bags on the bike. Then again, would you want to lift your loaded four-pannier touring bike up five feet to get it into the baggage car?

Offline Westinghouse

Re: maximum tire width for bikes on Amtrak
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2020, 09:14:49 pm »
Tri Rail in FL has a raised platform with a ramp.That makes it easy to get the bike in the bicycle coach.  The best thing would be to contact the various rail line services you might use. Ask them the details. Like the airlines, they have different rules, regulations and costs. Who would have thought a bicycle would raise issues.

Some airlines charge extra for special handling. Well, I joined the army many years ago just for the chance to live in Europe and see the world. Part of my job was driving a bus and handling luggage to and from and in Rhein Main Airforce Base near Frankfurt-am-Main west Germany. I handled bicycles in boxes quite a few times. I did not notice any difference between handling bicycles and any other types of luggage. It was all the same. The extra handling charge is another way they get their hands in your pockets.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: maximum tire width for bikes on Amtrak
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2020, 09:19:00 pm »
The best thing would be to contact the various rail line services you might use. Ask them the details.

Amtrak is America's only long-distance rail carrier, so the rules of unboxed bikes is going to be pretty consistent throughout the network.

The OP was asking advice about using Amtrak, since that's what they'll be using.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: maximum tire width for bikes on Amtrak
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2020, 09:33:02 pm »
The last time I used Amtrak was from San Diego to Washington, DC, to West Palm Beach, Florida. They said then they allowed only boxed bicycles. They sold bike boxes in the station. Issues about the width of the tires would seem absurd.

Some of the train employees were so rude, I thought about contacting the police. Let's say I were to cycle FL to CA again. If Amtrak and Greyhound were the only ways back to FL, I would box everything, and stand alongside the roads and hitch hike back. Renting a car and flying are preferable. If Amtrak and Greyhound are the best the USA can do for long distance road travel, I would say they are sad examples of a civilization in decline.

https://www.sinfin.net/railways/world/usa/commuter.html
« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 09:40:17 pm by Westinghouse »

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: maximum tire width for bikes on Amtrak
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2020, 09:38:12 pm »
The last time I used Amtrak was from San Diego to Washington, DC, to West Palm Beach, Florida. They said then they allowed only boxed bicycles. They sold bike boxes in the station. Issues about the width of the tires would seem absurd.

Times have changed. Amtrak introduced unboxed bike service a few years ago. These bikes go on hooks, and tire width is an important factor.  Full information here:
https://www.amtrak.com/bring-your-bicycle-onboard

And I agree with you: Amtrak could be way, way better. But it's what we got.

Offline canalligators

Re: maximum tire width for bikes on Amtrak
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2020, 12:36:32 am »

...
And I agree with you: Amtrak could be way, way better. But it's what we got.

They've made some real progress in the last 5-10 years.  But yes, they've got a way to go.  I write to my elected representatives about it...

Offline Westinghouse

Re: maximum tire width for bikes on Amtrak
« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2020, 02:33:32 am »
I would ask, progress toward what? They called the industrial revolution, progress. It became an unprecedented human slaughter, but we do have automobiles and washing machines and McDonald's. Science says progress has set us on the road to extinction. Amtrak does a good job of taking you where you want to go, or nearly. Progress, so named, can be opposite of what is in your best interests.

It was August 31, 1994 about 6 miles east of Bojanow, Poland. I had cycled there from Paris, France. I had gotten into a wooded area to sleep. Then came the sounds of the battle field. The explosions of mortars, the automatic rifles, the hand grenades all broke upon me suddenly. It was scary. I lay flat on my stomach with my arms curled around my head. I could smell the spent gunpowder and burning metal of the shells. It continued for about 30 minutes, and gradually tapered off to quiet. Then came the extremely loud noise of an old, antique, steam-powered train rattling over rickety tracks. Then came the loud report of a steam whistle. There was nothing after that. My only visitor was a mouse chweing  a bit of carrion off the front tire. The next morning I was ill.

Offline aggie

Re: maximum tire width for bikes on Amtrak
« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2020, 11:01:07 am »
The current pandemic has forced Amtrak to reduce staff and they have many stations that formerly offered baggage service that are currently unmanned.  Consequently there is no baggage service.  Forget about going online to see which stations are now unmanned.  You have to call.  Many if not most of the train routes use the baggage car to store the bike.  If they don't offer baggage service you can't get your unboxed bike.  If you get a sleeper the meals are awful on all the lines.  Even the long distance western lines are using the same pre-prepared meals they offer on the eastern lines.  The dining room is closed.  Better off bringing your own food.  Staff expects to be tipped for throwing your awful meal in the microwave.  Breakfast is the equivalent of a meager continental breakfast at the cheapest hotel you can find.  I use to enjoy my trips on Amtrak but now with the cut back in service, poor quality food, and indifferent staff I'm no sure it is worth the extra expense to travel Amtrak anymore.