An excellent way of taking advantage of an electric bike is to use it for last-mile commutes. This is when you use public transportation for most of your journey and complete your trip on an electric bike. But it is also great to have your electric bike on hand on more extended trips, so you have a convenient way of getting around. So, can you take your electric bike on a train? Whether you’re taking a short trip from New York to Atlanta, or even something a little longer such as Florida to Maryland, you can take an electric bike with you.
In this article, we will explore the details of carrying an electric bike on a train. You’ll learn about company policies about taking electric bikes on trains and how to do it safely.
Train Company Policies About Taking Electric Bikes On Trains
When it comes to taking your electric bike on a train, how you do it depends on the train company policy, as each one is different. For example, some train companies permit electric bikes as long as you pay for an extra ticket. Also, some train companies are particular about how you carry and store your electric bike on their trains.
You may come across a train company that allows electric bikes that weigh under 25 or 30kg on the carriages. For regular bikes, this should not be a problem. However, if you have a big, powerful electric bike with a large battery, it is best to check how much your bike weighs to make sure you can carry it onto the train with you. But you can remove the front wheel of your electric bike to get the overall weight below the limit, which is a good loophole to know.
Checking the train company policy is probably more important when taking a long-distance trip. This is because not all trains have areas suitable for carrying bikes. You should also reserve a spot when you book your train ticket to ensure the train has space for your bike to avoid disappointment.
Carrying An Electric Bike On Amtrak Trains
A great example of a train company’s electric bike policy is one from Amtrak, the government controlled for profit trainline that boasts 300 trains operating across 46 states (and even 3 Canadian provinces). They permit electric bikes as long as you follow the rules. The first thing you need to know is how heavy your electric bike is, as bikes over 50 pounds are not allowed on Amtrak trains. Also, your electric bike should be no bigger than 70 x 45 x 8.5 inches.
Amtrak also requires you to buy a ticket for your bike. How much you must pay depends on where you store your bike on the train. Expect to pay around $10 to use one of the bicycle containers, which has space for up to 3 bikes. One of the most common places to store a bike on an Amtrak train is in the luggage area. Doing so will cost you around $20 per trip.
For reference, here is the full list of AMTRAK rules regarding bringing a bike on board, including an electric bike.
What You Need To Do To Take Your Electric Bike On A Train
Here are some tips for carrying your electric bike onto a train:
What To Do With Your Battery
The first thing you need to know is that you should leave your battery mounted on your bike at all times. This is because a separate battery could be classified as a dangerous item requiring special packaging. This is worth remembering if you plan to carry a spare battery in a backpack.
You should also fully charge your battery before you leave home. This is because you will not be allowed to recharge your battery on the train. In our experience, we’ve spoken to electric cyclists who have charged their battery on a train, people can get away with it sometimes, but if you’re caught you’ll be stopped. Charging an ebike battery takes a lot more energy than charging a phone.
Bring A Lock
You may want to lock your bike if you are travelling through many train stations during a long journey. This will deter potential bike thieves from taking your bike at one of the stops. But be mindful of how you do this so you don’t cause problems for other passengers.
Taking Bikes On To A Train: How To Get It Onboard
It is best to get to the train station 5 to 10 minutes earlier than you usually would for a train journey. This is because maneuvering an electric bike through crowds, up stairs, and on elevators will take extra time, and you really don’t want to miss your train.
There’s a good chance the train station will be too busy to ride your bike through, and it’s probably not allowed anyway. For example NY Penn Station, Amtrak’s busiest train station, does not allow people riding bikes through the station. Though they do allow bikes on the train there so long as it isn’t on the first car.
Therefore, be prepared to walk through the train station with your bike, which will take longer. There will be an accessible turnstile designed for wheelchairs and bikes leading to the train platform. You may need to get the attention of a staff member to allow you through with your electric bike. This is dependent on the station itself, as each has its own nuances.
Small electric bikes with 16 inches and smaller wheels are usually allowed on long-distance trains as luggage items. However, they must be properly packed and stored in the appropriate luggage areas. Folding electric bikes are best for this as they shrink to a compact size, not much bigger than a suitcase.
At the other end of the scale, it is worth noting that if you ride a fat bike, the tires are unlikely to fit into onboard bike racks. This is because most of them only take tires up to 2 inches.
Some train companies require you to pack your electric bike into a bag or box. If this is the case, label it with your name and contact details for peace of mind. Alternatively, you may be asked to remove the front wheel to save space, especially if the train has a hanging rack. If this is the case, ensure the battery and motor are safe from being bashed by other bikes on the rack.
Take note of where the train’s loading areas are. These are usually marked, so you know where to carry your bike onto the train cars. Some train companies provide specific compartments for carrying bikes while you travel. You can often put your bike in areas usually designated for wheelchairs if there is space.
Be Mindful Of Where You Store Your Electric Bike On The Train
You should never store your bike in front of the train doors or where the driver sits. If you restrict anyone’s movements or create a hazard, you won’t be a very popular person. It would be best if you also considered passengers with strollers or disabilities so they can move around the train and get on and off when they need to.
If you have fitted your electric bike with panniers, you may need to remove them to fit through the train doors. The extra bulk of these panniers may also restrict other passengers’ movements on the train.
Can You Take Your Electric Bike On A Train? – Answered!
So, can you take your electric bike on a train? The answer to this question is a definite yes; however, you should check out the rail company’s bike carrying policy. This is so you can stick to the rules and take your electric bike wherever you need to go. It’s also a good idea to follow our tips for travelling on a train with an electric bike to ensure a stress-free journey.