Bike stuff

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Bjartmarr, Jul 25, 2016.

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  1. Jul 25, 2016 #1

    Bjartmarr

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    Bjartmarr

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    Two things:

    (1) On my recent trips on the EB and CS, each train had a coach-baggage car with six bike racks. The baggage area remained empty throughout the trip, and I still had to box my bike. I wish Amtrak would let us use the racks, as boxing a bike is a pain.

    (2) In SEA, I found a dumpster full of perfectly good used bike boxes which had all been cut in half. I expressed my disappointment to the baggage guy; he said that they used to leave the used boxes out for reuse, but word came down that they were to destroy the used boxes so that we would have to keep buying new ones. This is nickel-and-diming at its worst. Taking a bike on Amtrak is difficult enough already; Amtrak should not destroy resources and degrade the rider experience just to scrape up a few short-term dollars. They will lose far more money when riders figure out that megabus is faster, cheaper, and less hassle.
     
  2. Jul 25, 2016 #2

    oregon pioneer

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    I like Amtrak, but some of their policies leave me scratching my head... destroy bike boxes? Surely by the time they pay for them AND ship them to the station, they are losing money on them, so why destroy ones that don't cost anything?
     
  3. Jul 25, 2016 #3

    Bob Dylan

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    Yep, cut off your nose to spite your face as the old saying goes!

    Wonder which MBA issued this order while driving their desk?
     
  4. Jul 25, 2016 #4

    oregon pioneer

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    Does anyone know if folding bikes have to be carried in a bike box (or the available bike travel case)? The one I am looking at folds up to the size of a walker, and I've certainly seem those carried on without a box...
     
  5. Jul 25, 2016 #5

    Cho Cho Charlie

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    So I guess U-Haul should go around grabbing used moving boxes from the dumpsters behind apartment buildings, and re-sell them to the next guy who's moving. And McD's should sort thru their trash, pick out the tossed fries, and re-sell them too.

    Amtrak sells a bike box. What that guy does with the box afterwards, is up to him. It isn't Amtrak's box anymore, to even give away to someone else.
     
  6. Jul 25, 2016 #6

    daybeers

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    I think the issue being discussed is when a passenger with a bike box decides to give the box back to Amtrak, they just cut it up and recycle it instead of reusing it for another passenger with a bike.
     
  7. Jul 25, 2016 #7

    BCL

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    Nothing about requiring a box or carrier. The basic rule is that it must fold to no more than 34"x14"x48", and substitutes for a piece of carry-on. It's supposed to go into end storage racks and not overheads. I've personally stored them between bikes at bike racks, but I guess that's kind of a gray area. I could store one unfolded in a regular bike space, but I'd rather leave them for passengers with non folding bikes.

    https://www.amtrak.com/bring-your-bicycle-onboard
     
  8. Jul 25, 2016 #8

    PaulM

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    I've had my folder put just about everywhere imaginable: luggage rack, space at end of horizon cars, empty handicap room, conductor's lounge in transdorm, ski locker, and even one conductor had me put in in the overhead luggage rack, against the rules of course.

    The only problem you might have is on viewliner sleepers - no luggage rack or space of any kind. The time I did a round trip on the LSL, I sneaked it into the coach luggage area.
     
  9. Jul 25, 2016 #9

    daybeers

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    Why won't Amtrak let passengers use the bike racks? I heard there were some flaws with them a couple months ago. Is that the reason?
     
  10. Jul 25, 2016 #10

    PaulM

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    This is hard to believe, not the pain part. Coach baggage cars were retrofitted with 7 bike racks, plus straps for an 8th, for use on the Capitol Limited. If they retrofitted more coach bags, I can't understand not using them. The CL service has been well received by cyclists, as you can imagine. Even the conductors I talked to were very up beat about it.

    Supposedly, the new viewliner II bike racks are being used on some of the eastern trains. I would suspect it would be more difficult to lift the bikes up to the baggage cars than almost roll them into the coach baggage area. So why not use the western ones?
     
  11. Jul 25, 2016 #11

    Bjartmarr

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    Well, almost. The passengers would leave the boxes in usable condition by the dumpster at the side of the building and others would take and reuse them. Then Corporate decided that this practice was cutting into new box sales, and ordered station staff to make sure they were destroyed.
     
  12. Jul 26, 2016 #12

    daybeers

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    Wow, that's pretty ridiculous. At the very least they could take the boxes and resell them!
     
  13. Jul 26, 2016 #13

    PaulM

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    The OP is talking about coach baggage cars on western superliner trains. I'm sure the rumor about flawed bike racks involved the VL II's on eastern trains. The racks on the Capitol Limited are just a hook hanging from the ceiling with a cable for locking the bike if you wish. No rocket science here.
     
  14. Jul 26, 2016 #14

    AmtrakBlue

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    Don't most of the western trains now have the VLII baggage cars?
     
  15. Jul 26, 2016 #15

    Bjartmarr

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    The CS that I am on now has a V2 bag. The EB had a heritage bag. But I was referring to a Superliner coach-bag, which has (presumably functional) bike racks of the hang-it-on-the-wall variety.
     
  16. Jul 26, 2016 #16

    TiBike

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    There was a V2 bag and a coach-bag on the CS? Or are you referring to just the racks in the V2? Those racks work, too -- as mentioned above racking a bike ain't rocket science. It's past the point of there being any valid reason.
     
  17. Jul 26, 2016 #17

    CCC1007

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    there is really only one train that I'm aware of that currently is guaranteed to have at least one coach baggage car is the Portland section (27/28).
     
  18. Jul 26, 2016 #18

    Bjartmarr

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    There is a v2 bag and a coach-bag on the 11(24) Coast Starlight, yes. I am referring to the racks in the coach-bag. Honestly, it's true. I'd post a pic if I could figure out how from my phone. Also, I probably couldn't get them in the same frame, so no pic anyways.

    (Also, an extra SSL instead of the PPC. And a dash8 instead of the second p42. And the coach-bag is 1113 instead of 1114 where I usually see it.)
     
  19. Jul 26, 2016 #19

    BCL

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    Last time I took the CS there was a Dash 8 as the second locomotive. However, nobody has to sit in it. Has anyone ever seen one as the lead in a recent two locomotive setup?
     
  20. Jul 26, 2016 #20

    kmock

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    On the upside, be glad you can even get a bike on the train. We are unable to do so on the Keystone Line (at least between HAR and PHL).
     
  21. Jul 26, 2016 #21

    oregon pioneer

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    I ordered my folding bike yesterday (from Bike Friday). I talked with Buck, who said he takes Amtrak from Eugene (where the company is based) to PDX all the time. I said, so you must be taking the Cascades? He answered that yes, usually, but sometimes he ends up hopping on the Coast Starlight and it's no different. He has a soft case the company sells, and when the bike is folded and packed in the soft case, it's just another piece of carry-on luggage to them.

    I've ridden these bikes before, because my sister has THREE of them (including one of the cargo model). Because of the smaller wheels, they are a little more responsive than bikes with bigger wheels, but otherwise ride just like a full-sized bike. I've watched my sister and her husband (who has a different brand of folding bike) fold their bikes up and pack them onto the Boston commuter rail cars (any time except rush hour). They take them on cycling vacations around the world. I've ridden one around Boston. Highly recommended.
     
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  22. Jul 26, 2016 #22

    BCL

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    Really depends. Smaller wheels have their own issues. The gearing has to be different to adjust for that.

    The big issue is that folding bikes tend to be heavy. There are some ultralight foding bikes, but the prices are crazy. I saw someone folding up a Brompton, which has a really elegant folding mechanism. They cost about $1500 and up. I spent about $450 for a Giant folding bike.
     
  23. Jul 26, 2016 #23

    TiBike

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    I have a Friday I use for heavy (camping) touring and occasional plane trips. It's 16 years old and not as user-friendly as the newer models, but the quick fold plus the carrying bag is a good compromise for LD trains. It does handle a little differently, but you get used to it -- after a few minutes it's fine.

    Any ideas as to why there's a coach bag on the Starlight? If it became a permanent feature, that would be the ideal bike solution -- roll it on and rack it yourself.
     
  24. Jul 26, 2016 #24

    BCL

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    I've learned to live with the limitations of a folding bike. Everything is really a compromise in terms of cost, quality, weight, comfort, and handling. For myself, I mainly used it to bridge the short distance between the station and work. Public transportation schedules didn't line up well. I tried using my full sized bike, but then figured that a folder worked better for transporting in my car and dealing with full bike racks.
     
  25. Jul 27, 2016 #25

    PaulM

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    You can add the Capitol Limited to the list since they sell bike space in the coach baggage car.
     

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