Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Touring by train in US - who has experience with it?

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Touring by train in US - who has experience with it?

Old 06-16-19, 01:53 PM
  #1  
KC8QVO
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 339

Bikes: Surly Disk Trucker, 2014 w/Brooks Flyer Special saddle

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Touring by train in US - who has experience with it?

I had an opportunity to take a train on my recent trip home so I did. I have been on commuter trains/subs before, but never actually traveled with luggage to a different location via train. I rode the Amtrak Cardinal from Dyer, IN to Cincinatti, OH. It was an interesting trip. This round was bike-less as my trip didn't pertain to biking, but it was a good "trial". Now for more trip planning...

My ride was from 6:45pm central time to 3:30am eastern time and I rode coach class. My public transportation means over the past several years has been flying so that is all I have to compare to. With that having been said, I had twice the space (it seemed) on the train and the seat reclined twice as far. That was really nice, but with as long as the ride was and how late it went I was not able to get much quality rest. So for that reason I wouldn't recommend coach class for anything other than a daytime (normal human awake hours) ride. The next time I travel by train I will certainly heed that and if it is an over-night run I'd pay the upgrade for a sleeper room - most certainly for a multi-day trip.

I have a bike tour coming up in a couple months and my riding partner and I have thrown out the idea of incorporating a trip on a train in to it also. So that was part of my ride here recently as a "test run". I asked the staff on the Cardinal how they handle bikes because I dug in to the accommodations/services at the stops along my route and every one of them showed they allow bikes. I recall when I was looking at trains a couple years ago that only the major staffed full-service stations allow bikes and you have to disassemble the bike to pack it in a box for them to check it. Checking a bike like that is a problem if your destination is not, also, a full service train station. From what I got from the staff they allow bikes in the passenger cars. There are open areas in front of and behind the seating rows that they had bigger bags for passengers on the train I was on and that is where they would put bikes also - with the added cost of a ticket/up-charge to accommodate the bike. So that was nice to hear.

My question for the people here is - who has experience doing this? What comments do you have?

My riding partner is in Georgia and I'm in Ohio. One idea I have right now is to add some time on either end of our bike tour time to travel some via train routes across the country. Since the object of the traveling is the bike tour I would be traveling with my bike and panniers, perhaps some other luggage as well. Have any of you traveled in this manner and how are all the panniers handled as far as their luggage policies are concerned? Or do you load the bike on the train loaded down with the panniers as a "unit"?

One thing I learned about Amtrak on this trip and researching them is that every train line they have is a bit different. So the Cardinal may be unique to itself with the accommodations on the train as well as how the staff operates at the stations. Are the other Amtrak lines as friendly to bikes?
KC8QVO is offline  
Old 06-16-19, 02:53 PM
  #2  
Doug64
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 5,493
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 767 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 22 Times in 14 Posts
My experience is mainly on been on the Coast Starlight, Cascade, Lake Shore Limited and the Empire Builder routes. None of those trains allow bikes in the passenger cars. Bikes are rolled up to the baggage car and loaded, but spots for the bikes need to be reserved when purchasing tickets.

Even on routes where bike still need to be boxed, it is easy, and minimal disassembly is required. Amtrak boxes are large, and only require pedal removal, and loosening the stem to swing the bars parallel to the front wheel. Then the bike is rolled into the box. Not a big deal. They sell the boxes for $20.

The Empire builder might fit your needs It goes from Chicago to Seattle, WA or Portland, OR. A couple of years ago we finished a tour in Detroit, MI, and we wanted to take the train home. My brother gave us a ride to Toledo, where we caught the Lake Shore to Chicago. From Chicago we took the Empire builder to Seattle. From Seattle we took the Cascade back to Oregon. The Empire builder splits Spokane, WA part going to Seattle, and part going to Portland. the bikes going to Portland need to be boxed, those going to Seattle are on the baggage car's bike hooks.

Where are you starting your train ride?

This is the Cascade in Seattle, WA. If all the bike hooks are used, the bikes need to be boxed. Our panniers are carried onto the train, and we have never had a problem doing this.


Last edited by Doug64; 06-16-19 at 09:00 PM.
Doug64 is offline  
Old 06-16-19, 03:03 PM
  #3  
KC8QVO
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 339

Bikes: Surly Disk Trucker, 2014 w/Brooks Flyer Special saddle

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The closest station to me is in Cincinatti, OH. Looking at the map it would probably take at least 3 trains to get to Atlanta. Then wherever we go from there.

I can either go East to the DC area then down south or I can go NW to Chicago then down to New Orleans and back NE to Atlanta.

I suppose that brings me to another question -

This trip I got a buss ride from Cincinatti to get me closer to home. The train dropped me off around 3:30am and my buss left at around 12:30pm. So I had 9 hours to kill. I was going to get a ride from a family member and hang out with that side of the family from 8:30-10:30, that way I wasn't tying anyone up in the wee hours of the morning, but the Cincinatti train station apparently "closed" at 4am? So I ended up laying down on the sidewalk in front of the train station. Luckily, who I got a ride from was still awake at 4am and I was able to straighten things out... However, the experience tells me that train stations (maybe some of them are) are not like airports where the terminals are open 24/7. So if I have 3 train schedules to follow and have a day or so layover it isn't likely I can stay at the train station. I'd rather not add the expense of hotels for a few nights during the trip but maybe there aren't any good ways around it?
KC8QVO is offline  
Old 06-16-19, 04:13 PM
  #4  
mev
bicycle tourist
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Posts: 1,620

Bikes: Trek 520, Lightfoot Ranger, Trek 4500

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 197 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Each train will be a little different. Last year it was:
1. Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited from Austin to El Paso. I then bicycled back from El Paso.
2. Bicycled from Abilene to Minot. I then took Empire Builder/Texas Eagle back to Austin.
3. Texas Eagle to Texarkana. Bicycled from Texarkana to Memphis. Rental car to Little Rock. Texas Eagle to Austin.

All these trains now have "roll on/roll off" service. This means I reserved a bike slot and dropped off/retrieved my bicycle from the baggage car. In the past I've also taken other Amtrak trains as well.

There some things I like and some I don't as much for Amtrak and bicycle touring:
Like -
* I have found them to be fairly flexible in making last minute reservations or making some changes to my itinerary. For example, I didn't book my return trip from Minot until I was underway and could more precisely guess when I would get there. I also made some changes to my Arkansas itinerary and was able to do without much fuss.
* It really has been "roll on/roll off". I could ride with loaded panniers to the train station in Austin and then put everything in a duffel bag. Once I reached Texarkana or El Paso, it was less than 15 minutes from time I retrieved my bike until I was on the road. These train stations are also slightly less hectic places than some of the airports I've cycled into and in those cases I needed to assemble/disassemble the bike into a box.
* Prices are comparable or slightly less for one-way travel in coach. If upgrade to sleeper (particular as a single person), you won't save money compared to flying - and long-distance travel will take longer. I've done sleepers some of the time and it is a more comfortable sleep - but I am also able to get an OK sleep in the coach seats.

Don't Like
* In my experience ~80% of the time the trip is on time as measured by "within two hours of schedule". The other ~20-25% of the time it has been off by more hours. So you need to anticipate this and go with the flow. I've had better experience with short hauls (e.g. Cascades) and worse experience with longer hauls (e.g. Empire Builder). Last year my train from Minot to Chicago was 7 hours late. I didn't miss my connection because original plan was to arrive ~3pm in Chicago, stay in a hotel and take the connecting train the next morning. So I arrived @ 10pm and it still all worked out. However, particularly if you are planning a multi-hop you might need to anticipate some contingency time for this type of stuff. // In general I have a slightly different time mindset when traveling by train than by airplane.
mev is offline  
Old 06-16-19, 06:27 PM
  #5  
skidder
Cereal Killer
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 848

Bikes: Why yes, I do have a few! Thank you for asking!

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 284 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 17 Posts
I've used both the Coast Starlight (long distance) and Surfliner (Southern Calif commuter line) to get around California. The Coast Starlight was used to get to San Francisco and ride around there for a few days, then travel back on the train. IT takes all day to get from the Los angeles area to the Bay area, but that's about the same with an air flight (airport hassles, flight time, getting in-out of airports). You also need to expect delays; I got inot the Oakland station 1 hour late (10PM). Bicycle transport was simple roll-on at the baggage car, pick it up in Oakland. I did put a big 'OAKLAND' sign on the bike to make sure it got off there with me.

I've used the local Surfliner to get up to San Luis Obispo (its termination point) then bicycle back to the Los Angeles. Done it twice, also had some delay problems but nothing serious. This was a simple bicycle space reservation at time of ticket purchase, then roll the bike on yourself and use the on-board bike racks. East, convenient, good service, and no/low hassle.

Both trains - Great experience, lots of space, food was good and reasonably priced, and the train pricing is great, too. . If the airlines keep getting more obnoxious and keep stickin' it to passengers, I'll keep taking the train. Only problem is there is no eastbound train service from Los Angeles area - if you want to go east you have to go up to San Francisco and head east toward Chicago on the Zepher.
skidder is offline  
Old 06-16-19, 06:46 PM
  #6  
Mountain Mitch
Senior Member
 
Mountain Mitch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Back-of-beyond, Kootenays, BC
Posts: 592

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix Expert Road and Specialized Stump Jumper FS Mountain; De Vinci Caribou touring, Intense Tracer T275c, Surly Moonlander, Cramerotti

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 109 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by mev View Post
Don't Like
* In my experience ~80% of the time the trip is on time as measured by "within two hours of schedule". The other ~20-25% of the time it has been off by more hours. So you need to anticipate this and go with the flow. I've had better experience with short hauls (e.g. Cascades) and worse experience with longer hauls (e.g. Empire Builder). Last year my train from Minot to Chicago was 7 hours late. I didn't miss my connection because original plan was to arrive ~3pm in Chicago, stay in a hotel and take the connecting train the next morning. So I arrived @ 10pm and it still all worked out. However, particularly if you are planning a multi-hop you might need to anticipate some contingency time for this type of stuff. // In general I have a slightly different time mindset when traveling by train than by airplane.
You’ve gotta try Japan. They’re mortified if the train in 2 minutes late and offer humble apologies! On the other hand, bike accommodation on the trains is very limited.
Mountain Mitch is offline  
Old 06-16-19, 09:11 PM
  #7  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 5,937

Bikes: 1980 Mike Melton, 1982 Stumpjumper, 1982 Santana, 1984 Alex Moulton AM, 2008 BikeFriday tikit T-11, 2010 Dawes Briercliffe, 2017 Dahon Curl i5, 2019 Surly ˝DT14

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 543 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 40 Times in 36 Posts
We rode to the light rail station, took light rail to Amtrak, Amtrak to another city. Toured for a couple of days, then Amtrak, light rail, ride home.

We were on folding bikes and simply put them in the luggage bins of our railcar. E-Z.

Even bikes like the Montague, Changebike and Dahon IOS meet Amtrak's generous folded bike dimensions.

Have a bus+bike tour+bus with the folders in the planning stages.
tcs is offline  
Old 06-17-19, 07:40 AM
  #8  
KC8QVO
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 339

Bikes: Surly Disk Trucker, 2014 w/Brooks Flyer Special saddle

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I just got a Dahon Mariner D8 a couple months ago. It has been a real nice little bike, considering what it is, so far. I have some changes to do to it to suit me a bit better, but the whole stock bike as a starting platform is awesome. I got it as a compact bike to go where my big bike can't so I have something to ride more often. However, for my trip coming up it isn't going to work at all. I need my disk trucker and all my gear as it will be a long trip (for me) and not something the Mariner is cut out for.

I saw the folding bike accommodations on Amtrak's website. That will be good to know in the future if I do a lighter/smaller trip some time where I can get by with the Mariner. However, I think I want to keep the heavy riding to the Disk Trucker - that's what it is made for and why I got it. Plus it has a ton of gearing for anything I could throw at it.
KC8QVO is offline  
Old 06-17-19, 10:24 AM
  #9  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,928

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6832 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 211 Times in 176 Posts
only the coast starlight , from Emeryville /Berkeley to Eugene..

Amtrak/ODOT has a Bus from out on the coast to Portland.. stops at Portland Union Station..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 06-17-19, 11:46 PM
  #10  
RandomlyWest
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by skidder View Post
If the airlines keep getting more obnoxious and keep stickin' it to passengers, I'll keep taking the train. Only problem is there is no eastbound train service from Los Angeles area - if you want to go east you have to go up to San Francisco and head east toward Chicago on the Zepher.
*The Southwest Chief leaves L.A.'s Union Station daily for Chicago, running through Flagstaff and Albuquerque along the way.

*The Sunset Limited leaves L.A.'s Union Station 3x a week for New Orleans, passing through Tucson and San Antonio.
RandomlyWest is offline  
Likes For RandomlyWest:
Old 06-18-19, 12:30 PM
  #11  
mstateglfr 
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 8,278

Bikes: '87 Schwinn Prelude, Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara/Centurion Ironman, '18 Diamondback Syncr, '18 handmade steel roadbike

Mentioned: 75 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2949 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 139 Times in 98 Posts
I took the Missouri River Runner train a couple years ago and will use it again in a few months. Easy way to do part of the Katy and get back to your car.
Rolled the bikes on, removed bags and stored them against the side of the train in back, then rolled em off the train. The seats were spacious, comfortable, and there was free wifi.

We had to reserve spots for the bikes, but otherwise it was super simple.
mstateglfr is offline  
Old 06-18-19, 07:11 PM
  #12  
skidder
Cereal Killer
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 848

Bikes: Why yes, I do have a few! Thank you for asking!

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 284 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 17 Posts
Originally Posted by RandomlyWest View Post
*The Southwest Chief leaves L.A.'s Union Station daily for Chicago, running through Flagstaff and Albuquerque along the way.

*The Sunset Limited leaves L.A.'s Union Station 3x a week for New Orleans, passing through Tucson and San Antonio.
Thanks for that information. I thought Amtrak had discontinued those lines due to low ridership, but maybe not. I'd like to think the poor service the airlines have been pro viding the last few years made folks look at train travel in a more positive light, and enough started using Amtrak again to make those lines viable.
skidder is offline  
Old 06-19-19, 08:21 AM
  #13  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 5,937

Bikes: 1980 Mike Melton, 1982 Stumpjumper, 1982 Santana, 1984 Alex Moulton AM, 2008 BikeFriday tikit T-11, 2010 Dawes Briercliffe, 2017 Dahon Curl i5, 2019 Surly ˝DT14

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 543 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 40 Times in 36 Posts
Originally Posted by skidder View Post
I thought Amtrak had discontinued those lines due to low ridership, but maybe not. I'd like to think the poor service the airlines have been providing the last few years made folks look at train travel in a more positive light, and enough started using Amtrak again to make those lines viable.
Amtrak lost ridership again/still/some more in 2018. Each and every route in the system is a money loser.

Amtrak's head honcho proposed the elimination of some routes last year. The senators and congressmen from the states affected said, "We don't think so."
tcs is offline  
Old 06-19-19, 08:39 AM
  #14  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 5,937

Bikes: 1980 Mike Melton, 1982 Stumpjumper, 1982 Santana, 1984 Alex Moulton AM, 2008 BikeFriday tikit T-11, 2010 Dawes Briercliffe, 2017 Dahon Curl i5, 2019 Surly ˝DT14

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 543 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 40 Times in 36 Posts
Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
I saw the folding bike accommodations on Amtrak's website. That will be good to know in the future if I do a lighter/smaller trip some time where I can get by with the Mariner. However, I think I want to keep the heavy riding to the Disk Trucker - that's what it is made for and why I got it.
Copy that!

tcs is offline  
Likes For tcs:
Old 06-19-19, 11:58 AM
  #15  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,658
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1319 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 45 Times in 29 Posts
Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Amtrak lost ridership again/still/some more in 2018. Each and every route in the system is a money loser.

Amtrak's head honcho proposed the elimination of some routes last year. The senators and congressmen from the states affected said, "We don't think so."
Fact check: https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile....0OD17R20150528

Some routes are very profitable.
alan s is offline  
Old 06-19-19, 04:08 PM
  #16  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 5,937

Bikes: 1980 Mike Melton, 1982 Stumpjumper, 1982 Santana, 1984 Alex Moulton AM, 2008 BikeFriday tikit T-11, 2010 Dawes Briercliffe, 2017 Dahon Curl i5, 2019 Surly ˝DT14

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 543 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 40 Times in 36 Posts
Amtrak 'cooks the books'. They count state subsidies as 'revenue' and move maintenance and depreciation off the spreadsheet. If a private company reported accounting like Amtrak, the SEC would be all over them.

Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Some routes are very profitable.
Fact check: Amtrak has over $28 Billion in unfunded, deferred maintenance on the 'very profitable' Northeast Corridor alone just to bring it up to 'a state of good repair' according to their own standards.

https://www.rtands.com/passenger/int...-33-3-billion/

Last edited by tcs; 06-20-19 at 07:04 AM.
tcs is offline  
Old 06-19-19, 04:26 PM
  #17  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 5,937

Bikes: 1980 Mike Melton, 1982 Stumpjumper, 1982 Santana, 1984 Alex Moulton AM, 2008 BikeFriday tikit T-11, 2010 Dawes Briercliffe, 2017 Dahon Curl i5, 2019 Surly ˝DT14

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 543 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 40 Times in 36 Posts
Fun fact: the average age of Amtrak cars is well over 30 years.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/...ail-car-fleet/

You'll notice how the average age in the presented table goes up one year every calendar year. Yeah, Amtrak loses money on operations before they even get to depreciation (and maintenance), so there's no money to buy new cars: ergo, the rolling stock just keeps getting older and older.
tcs is offline  
Old 06-20-19, 02:53 PM
  #18  
gauvins
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: QC Canada
Posts: 1,154

Bikes: Custom built LHT & Troll

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 401 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
My experience is mainly on been on the Coast Starlight, Cascade, Lake Shore Limited and the Empire Builder routes.

This is the Cascade in Seattle, WA.
Thanks for your post. Great info.

We hope to be touring this region next summer. The Cascade may end up being our safety cushion if we are being schedule.

I am not familiar with the area. What is your opinion wrt a Portland to Seattle route. A bike-at-all-costs, or a better-take-the-train? (4 with two kids 9 & 14).
gauvins is offline  
Old 06-22-19, 09:59 PM
  #19  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 22,414
Mentioned: 163 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8569 Post(s)
Liked 327 Times in 206 Posts
Vermonter is easy with a bike. I put the panniers in a disposable bag. Roll the bike on and carry the bag in. Hang the bike in the bike cubby.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 06-23-19, 06:05 AM
  #20  
axolotl
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,776
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 163 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Thanks for your post. Great info.

We hope to be touring this region next summer. The Cascade may end up being our safety cushion if we are being schedule.

I am not familiar with the area. What is your opinion wrt a Portland to Seattle route. A bike-at-all-costs, or a better-take-the-train? (4 with two kids 9 & 14).
I took my bike on BoltBus on the Portland to Seattle route. Much cheaper than Amtrak with more frequent service. I loaded my bike myself in the large baggage compartment. Mine wasn't the only bike and there was plenty of space. No box required.

https://www.boltbus.com/

Last edited by axolotl; 06-23-19 at 08:00 AM. Reason: forgot to mention that no box is required
axolotl is offline  
Old 06-23-19, 08:13 PM
  #21  
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,489

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3340 Post(s)
Liked 33 Times in 26 Posts
Did it the year before last, last year and will do it twice this year. I have also used the train several times in Italy and Switzerland.

I just love Europe because the train is almost always there to bail you out. Weather is lousy, take the train, Bot feeling well, take the train. What to avoid busy traffic take a train Getting behind, take the train.

In the US, I use it to get me back to where I was. My Columbia River Gorge and Mt Hood tour I will take the train back home. Took the tain back home last year from Sacramento. And one year back from Cumberland.

US trains are OK better than nothing but Euro trains are vastly superior
spinnaker is offline  
Old 06-23-19, 11:10 PM
  #22  
Doug64
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 5,493
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 767 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 22 Times in 14 Posts
Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Thanks for your post. Great info.

We hope to be touring this region next summer. The Cascade may end up being our safety cushion if we are being schedule.

I am not familiar with the area. What is your opinion wrt a Portland to Seattle route. A bike-at-all-costs, or a better-take-the-train? (4 with two kids 9 & 14).
I can't really recommend a good route from Portland to Seattle. I've ridden parts of it, but not the entire route.

You might want to look at the STP (Seattle to Portland) route. This is the link to their website: https://www.cascade.org/ride-major-r...out-ride/route

IMO I think I'd opt for the train or bus. If the kids are good riders it might be done, but I don't think it would be fun.
Doug64 is offline  
Old 06-25-19, 01:41 PM
  #23  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 5,937

Bikes: 1980 Mike Melton, 1982 Stumpjumper, 1982 Santana, 1984 Alex Moulton AM, 2008 BikeFriday tikit T-11, 2010 Dawes Briercliffe, 2017 Dahon Curl i5, 2019 Surly ˝DT14

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 543 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 40 Times in 36 Posts
Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
I took my bike on BoltBus on the Portland to Seattle route. Much cheaper than Amtrak with more frequent service. I loaded my bike myself in the large baggage compartment. Mine wasn't the only bike and there was plenty of space. No box required.
Bolt seems to be the best of the US intercity bus lines for cycletourists.


Greyhound owns Bolt - it would be keen if the parent would adopt the subsidiary's policies. Perhaps a national bike touring organization could work on this (looking at you, Adventure Cycle!)

(Note: Yo!, on this chart and also owned by Greyhound, is no more, having been absorbed by the operations of Greyhound & Bolt.)

Worst by far is Megabus, with their 'no bikes in cargo hold' policy and a restriction that carry-on luggage may only contain clothing and personal care items (no folding bikes!)

Amtrak also operates intercity buses, Amtrak Thruway, for some minor routes and when their trains are snafu'ed. I understand Thruway's bike policies are much like Bolt? Somebody fact check me on that?

Last edited by tcs; 06-25-19 at 02:19 PM.
tcs is offline  
Old 06-25-19, 02:45 PM
  #24  
Rob_E
Senior Member
 
Rob_E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 2,580

Bikes: Downtube 8H

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 255 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Amtrak also operates intercity buses, Amtrak Thruway, for some minor routes and when their trains are snafu'ed. I understand Thruway's bike policies are much like Bolt? Somebody fact check me on that?
I know there's a situation in a nearby city where you can book Amtrak all the way to Winston-Salem, but what actually happens is that you get off the train in High Point and switch to a bus to Winston Salem. The bus is also listed on the regional transportation website, so I don't know who actually has ownership, just that you can book as part of an Amtrak trip, or you can take it without it being part of an Amtrak trip. The bus has a front bike rack, like many city buses, that holds two bikes. But they are not reservable. If you try and book a trip to Winston-Salem via Amtrak, you can't book space for your bike. When I wanted to do that, I booked the trip to High Point and reserved a spot for my bike on the train. Then I paid the bus fare separately when I got on the train to Winston-Salem, and I put my bike on the rack. The bus didn't have any extra baggage area, as far as I remember, but that makes some sense, given that I don't think High Point nor Winston-Salem offer checked baggage service. It's all carry on, except for bikes.
Rob_E is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.