13 comments


  • Peter Pesek

    Thank you for taking the time and incredible amount of trouble to show us how to transport a bike on Amtrak. That there isn’t just a method to stow the bike in a cargo car with an ID tag. It seems like this is difficult at best, plus a $25 cardboard box fee. I really like rail journeys and being able to travel with a bike sounds great. I wonder, if a person used a Brompton or Dahon folder, would you have to jump through the same hoops?

    February 10, 2013
  • Mihai

    On some train lines, like the Pacific Surfliner, you don’t even have to pack your bike in a box. They either have a few vertical hooks per car or some sort of rack in the last car.

    http://www.amtrak.com/pacific-surfliner-train

    I don’t think they’ll care if you bring a foldable aboard. Bromptons fold down even smaller than a Dahon (12″ vs 20″ wheels), might even be able to fit it in the overhead luggage rack.

    February 10, 2013
  • Calwatch

    Yes folding bikes can be carry on luggage. Also Cslifornia service trains all have capacity for walk on full size bikes, although just 4-6 per train. http://www.amtrak.com/Seating-Accommodation/bicycles

    February 11, 2013
  • david p.

    fyi – on Frontier Airlines it only cost me $20 to fly with my full sized bike. I got a box from a bike shop (free). Note – Don’t tape it up. TSA will cut it open and un-pack everything. Best to leave it un-taped, but packed.

    Also – When we rode from LA to SD we took amtrak back to Union Station. We just threw our bikes on one of the cargo trains (for free). Are those days over?

    February 11, 2013
  • Mike

    So would it kill them to put up a sign or two to direct people to the baggage area? Or must you “acquire the knowledge” on your own like London cabbies in order to be admitted? Thanks for the guide.

    February 11, 2013
  • Great post! I’ve shipped a bike twice via Amtrak (without being on the train), and you go to the same place as shown in the photos. The only difference in my case was that I arrived by car (with the bike inside) and wasn’t buying any tickets, so I was able to drive up to the loading dock in order to get to the area in the last photo.

    February 11, 2013
  • gl.

    thank you for this public service! it does not encourage me to travel on trains like that with anything other than a folding bike, though. geesh!

    February 11, 2013
  • lance k

    Nice guide – had to do this twice myself, and the first time was quite bewildering at parts. Here’s an extra pro-tip: if you ask nicely, they’ll let you use their tape gun. However, it is quite risky to try and buy a box from them to take your bike on the FlyAway to the airport…amtrak employees may decline to sell you a box if you tell them your plans, and the flyaway porter may only let you stow it if the bus is relatively empty. It’s probably too big for most airlines, anyway – though I took one on Air Tahiti Nui with no trouble at all.

    February 11, 2013
  • […] is a re-post from The Path Less Pedaled and was written by Russ […]

    February 14, 2013
  • Ben

    This is a great way to send bikes around. I have also used amtrak to send a double bike case all over the country while racing cyclocross without being on the train. It costs $50 each way and you need 4-5 days of travel time to build in, the only hitch is you need to send it to and from stations that have something they like to call “lift service” which basically means they have a forklift. Generally to and from the ends of the line work, ie. Chicago Portland, ChicagoEmryville (Oakland), Chicago Philly. I lived in Chicago so it worked really well for a good portion of my race schedule when it seemed like the airlines were trying to book me double for over weight and bike sometimes trying to demand $250 each way…

    February 14, 2013
  • An update: here’s the street view of the area in the last photo, but from the outside. If arriving by car, note the sign for visitor parking. Perhaps you could ride in this way if you already have tickets? http://goo.gl/maps/hBGM6

    May 02, 2013
  • Paul

    Funny thing is, after you have your ticket, you can ride out of the station to the North and right into their shipping area in back where that office you show is at. No gates, just ride right up. Its usually not very busy.

    December 14, 2013
  • MMachine

    Good news…the office upstairs in the baggage area has been accepting credit cards for about 6 months now, so no more traising back to the ticket office to purchase your bike box if you don’t have cash

    December 26, 2013

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