Cyclistes en gare d'Arcachon © LaVelodyssee-Aurelie-Stapf
south

Travelling by train with your bike

Do you want to travel to La Vélodyssée by train, with or without your bike?

INFO TRAFIC Intercités La Rochelle - La Roche sur Yon

Note for 2020-2021: the railway track between Rochelle and La Roche sur Yon is currently being refurbished. The work will be completed in July 2021. See specific information about transporting bikes in the section on intercity trains.

How to get to La Vélodyssée by train

If this question comes up so frequently, it’s because it’s important to plan ahead so that your trip goes without a hitch. To answer it as clearly and accurately as possible, this article is organised into five parts:

  • Travelling to the cycling route via mainline railway stations;

  • Transporting standard bikes;

  • Transporting special bikes and accessories;

  • Alternatives to travelling by train;

  • Information from the SNCF: works, new services for cyclists, partnerships, etc.
     


Now let’s get straight to it!
 

 

Mainline railway stations: a gateway to La Vélodyssée

Several major railway stations are dotted strategically along the 1,250-kilometre cycling route in Morlaix, Nantes, La Rochelle, Bordeaux and Hendaye. These stations are connected to the rest of France, thus providing direct access to the Atlantic coast. Note that it is very often possible to travel from one station to another by coach. You can also travel the full length of La Vélodyssée by train, from top to bottom. This gives you greater freedom if you are travelling one way, for example.

Here is a map of the French rail network:

Locate railway stations on the route maps on our website by selecting ‘Station’ in the ⓘ section.

 

Transporting standard bikes

If your bike is dismantled and stored in a 120 x 90 cm travel case, it counts as hand luggage and does not require a reservation. It will be accepted free of charge on all trains, subject to availability (extra luggage option on OuiGo trains).

However, if the bike is not dismantled or folded, it will be subject to terms and conditions for transporting ‘standard’ bikes, which vary according to the type of train.

Here is a summary:

 

    Summary table

     

    Type of train

    Dismantled bikes

    Fully assembled bikes

    Reservation required

    Fee

    TER

    Permitted in a travel case

    Permitted

    No

    Free

    TGV INOUI

    Permitted in a travel case

    Permitted

    No if dismantled

    Free if dismantled

    Yes, if fully assembled

    €10 if fully assembled

    INTERCITY TRAIN

    Permitted in a travel case

    Permitted

    No if dismantled

    Free if dismantled

    Yes, if fully assembled

    €5 to €10 if assembled, varies from line to line

    OUIGO

    Permitted in a travel case

    Not permitted

    Yes

    €5


    Transporting special bikes and accessories

    While it is possible to transport standard bikes, unfortunately this is not yet the case for special models. For safety reasons, bike trailers are not allowed on intercity trains, TERs and TGVs, regardless of their size or shape. ‘Outsize’ bikes are subject to the same restrictions and are not allowed on board for the same reasons. These include tandems, tricycles, recumbent bikes, cargo bikes, etc.

    Types de vélos interdits à bord de la SNCF

    Train + bike: there are other options!

    • Option 1: Consider having your bike delivered to your final destination on the Atlantic coast (Mimizan, La Rochelle, Nantes, etc.).

    For example, BicyBAGS charges €23 to deliver two bikes per 100 km segment and €20 to deliver five bikes per 100 km segment (service available between Nantes and Hendaye).

    • Option 2: Remember that SNCF will also deliver luggage to your home. This service is currently getting a makeover and will be up and running again in June 2021. Before it temporarily closed down, the delivery charge was €80/bike/journey, with bikes treated as large luggage.

    • Option 3: Consider renting a bike and returning it at the end of your itinerary: several rental companies offer this “one-way” service.
       
    • Option 4: Rent a bike when you get off the train or in the area around your accommodation: click here to see a map of “Accueil Vélo” rental companies close to the railway station.
       
    • Option 5: Use the dismantling kits provided from 14 July in the following railway stations: Hendaye, St-Jean-de-Luz, Ciboure, Biarritz, Bayonne, St-Vincent-de-Tyrosse, Dax, Bordeaux St-Jean, Arcachon, La Teste, La Rochelle and Nantes.

     

    Information from SNCF about ongoing works, new services for cyclists, partnerships... everything you need to know!

    If you’re looking for specific information that isn’t included here, we suggest you start by consulting the SNCF website, particularly the page on bike transport. The French website LeCyclo may also be of valuable aid to you when planning your journey.

    For intercity trains and the TGV, buy your passenger + bike ticket online, on the SNCF website. TER, OUIGO and iDTGV tickets cannot be purchased online.

    In all trains, the number of bike spaces is limited. We recommend that you arrive early, avoid peak times and book well in advance.

    For the purposes of quality, SNCF may introduce new services or carry out improvements. We’ll do our best to keep you informed of any actions that might affect you.

     

    Have a good trip! 😎

     

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