After complaints, Amtrak clarifies: folding bikes always allowed as carry-ons

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Amtrak Cascades Mud Bay Surrey BC 2007_0917_1052
Amtrak Cascades, the regional line several BikePortland
readers said is bike-friendlier than many.
(Photo by Stephen Rees.)

A late-night incident in which Amtrak workers awoke two Portlanders to tell them, incorrectly, that their folding bikes weren't allowed as carry-ons has led the agency to clarify its policy.

Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham said last week that every passenger car in the system allows folding bicycles as carry-on luggage "if they fit the dimensions described in the policy and can fit in the areas designated for carry on baggage or bikes."

The maximum dimensions are 34 inches by 15 inches by 48 inches, as stated in Amtrak's policy. Mass-market folding bikes meet those constraints, Dean Mullin of local shop Clever Cycles said Wednesday.


Citing nonexistent policy, Amtrak workers haul away Portlanders' bikes - UPDATED

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Texas Eagle
The Texas Eagle in Austin, Tex.
(Photo by Ian Westcott.)

[See official response from Amtrak in update at end of story.]

Amtrak apologized Tuesday to a Portlander traveling through Texas who said train workers woke her up and yelled at her for having a folding bicycle as carry-on luggage — something the national rail service allows.

"Unfortunately, we have found that Amtrak employees at all levels tend to be unaware of the company's policy's regarding bikes, folding and otherwise," Elly Blue, a Portland-based writer who is on a business trip with her partner Joe Biel, wrote in an email. (Blue and Biel didn't end up losing their bikes or needing to check them, though they were taken away overnight.)

"I love the train because it's low-stress," Blue lamented. Last night's trip, though, was anything but.


Packed with bikes, Amtrak Cascades adds more hooks to its trains

Monday, July 29th, 2013
Bikes on Amtrak
Now with more room.
(Photo: Will Vanlue)

Bikes have become a big part of train travel here in the Pacific Northwest, and train travel has become a big part of bike tourism. The latest sign: Amtrak Cascades just boosted its bike hauling capacity by 67 percent.

Every run on the state-subsidized regional train line that connects Eugene, Vancouver BC and various cities in between now offers 10 bike hooks per train, up from 6. Adding your bike to an Amtrak Cascades trip, an easy step during online checkout, costs $5 for each direction hauled.

The most popular city pair on Amtrak Cascades, between Portland and Seattle, is also one of the most crowded with bikes, Cascades Operations Supervisor Kirk Fredrickson said Wednesday. Seattle-Vancouver and Portland-Vancouver regularly fill up, too.

Traveling for the holidays? Here's how to take your bike along

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
Separated cycle track, Baltimore
Riding in other cities can be fun
and fascinating -- like this ride in Baltimore.
(Photo © Elly Blue)

The holiday travel season is coming up. If you're leaving Portland, maybe you've thought about bringing your bike along for the trip this time.

A bike doesn't make sense for every trip or every destination. But if it does fit in with your plans, the experience of traveling with a bike comes highly recommended. A bike can give you independence, flexibility, adventure, and a surefire way to meet people wherever you go.

How you bring the bike, what kind of bike is best to bring, and how much it costs all depend on whether you're flying or taking the train. Here's the rundown: (more...)

On the train: Checking the bike, making friends

Thursday, December 18th, 2008
Boxing up the Brompton was a team effort
(Photos by Elly Blue)

I'm beginning to realize a few things about traveling with a folding bike.

First of all, it's definitely a passport to general goodwill and friendliness. I had a great time chatting with a homeless guy and a college student on the L's blue line last night at 1am. It's hard to imagine the three of us in that circumstance getting into a friendly conversation without the Brompton.

It's also because of the Brompton that I met Marc and Sheri, Portlanders headed out on a month and a half long east coast train trip of their own. We soon found we had friends in common (Sheri worked with Sara Stout on the Share the Road mural that Jonathan covered back in 2006). They were excellent train companions. (more...)

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