Bikes on Amtrak — Why Such an Ordeal?

For several years, the Virginia Bicycling Federation been asking Amtrak to make it easier to take our bikes on their trains.  We think its a win for Amtrak by increasing ridership and a win for cyclists who would like to carry their bikes to destinations for touring, recreation, or making the final connection on their trips, excursions and vacations.

As things stand now, if a person wants to carry their bike on a train in Virginia, they must disassemble the bike and box it — a hassle at best, but a deal breaker for someone who isn’t handy with a wrench.   For someone not mechanically inclined, they would need to take a trip to a bike shop to break their bike down and box it –  which, of course, precludes riding your bike to the train station — and do the same at their destination.  A deal breaker for all but the most dedicated.

You then must pay a special handling fee to Amtrak to transport the bike.

Multiply all this by two for the return trip home.

I think most would agree this is a hassle.

We’ve asked Amtrak to reconsider their policy and carry unboxed bikes – heaven forbid – but have been told  they would need need new, high-tech baggage cars make this difficult situation work.

According to Jay McArthur,  Amtrak’s Principal Officer for Policy and Development:

Roll-on/roll-off bicycle carriage is not possible at this time on our Crescent and Silver Service routes which run through Virginia to and from New Orleans and Florida.