Posted 5.9.11 in The Kitchen Sink | Bookmark or Share
I have tried the big wheels Amtrak adventure and have had mixed success. It is clear they abuse boxed bikes, and on one trip there was frame damage. This makes folding bike train travel look very attractive. I am looking forward to following Russ and Laura’s trip.
Ride on guys! This coming weekend we’re taking the train to visit our son in Montreal. We have the options of either taking our own bikes to ride around town or use the marvelous Bixi bike system when we get there.
Instead of a tiring 6 hour drive, we can relax for 5 hours on the train, casually chatting, enjoying each others company and reading.
You can have diner on the train and even have a beer or glass of wine because you’re not driving.
When you look at the operational costs of a car, not even including parking costs, it’s cheaper to take the train.
In theory, we could fly to Montreal in an hour. However, when you factor in your time to get out of town to the airport, deal with the delightful security people (sic), get back into town from Montreal’s airport, it does take minimally less time but it’s extremely stressful.
Montreal is way ahead of most North American cities with bike infrastructure. It has miles of bicycle paths, extensive Bixi system, and you can take your bike on the the Metro (Montreal’s subway). The city is more European in density so everything is close by bike. It’s only a 10 or 15 minute ride from the train station to our son’s place.
I’m dumbfounded why more people don’t use trains for travel. Why would you want to pay more money to sit in a steel box creeping along the freeway in a traffic jamb.
Can you imagine how awesome our country would be if this type of vacation became normal?! I can totally see the family and I doing something like this when they get a little bigger and stronger!
Since traveling for a month with a North American Rail Pass, I’ve thought this type of travel adventure would make an excellent trip for a home schooled child and their parent. The child could plan an itinerary that includes world class museums, libraries and cultural assets in the hearts of major North American cities while study and reading takes place during the train rides. Adding a folding bike would put more people and places within reach.
IMO, Amtrak is making a HUGE mistake in not aggressively encouraging bicyclists. On the west coast, our north/south train can carry 5 bikes on hooks (make a reservation. Recumbents and tandems need to be boxed.) Given the size of the baggage cars, they could easily double or triple that number. They could allow people who purchase boxes $15) to leave them at destinations and available to other cyclists at no charge. Bikes and trains are a natural combination that Amtrak, blindly and stupidly, seems to be ignoring.
You might want to mention Russ and Laura are trying to raise money to make this trip happen: http://www.indiegogo.com/Big-Adventure-Small-Wheels. They’ve raise over half of what they need but only have 5 more days to reach their goal of $10,000.