Tandem bicycle traveling in France

My wife and I are planning a two week bike trip to France next spring. We have a Bike Friday tandem that breaks down into two hard shell airplane checked bags within airline limits. If I can transfer the disassembled bike into two "purpose designed bike bags" (can some direct me to where I might purchase such bags) can I take the 2 bike bags at no cost from Paris to Gien in France and then from Angers to Paris by regional trains?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 24, 2018 19:10
    Hi Gregory,

    A bike can be taken on board any train if contained within a purpose-designed bag (measuring no more than 120cm x 90cm). A bike can fit in such a bag with the wheels and pedals detached and the handlebars parallel to the frame. There is no charge to transport a bike in one of these bags.

    Paris to Gien (with a bike)

    Trains from Paris to Gien are Intercités trains. Should you not have a purpose-designed bag, Intercités trains do allow assembled bikes on board for a small fee. The fee would be in the form of a special bike ticket purchased at the station before you board.

    You would purchase tickets from Paris to Gien by searching the route under 'BOOK TRAIN TICKETS' on the homepage of our website, www.raileurope.com

    Angers to Paris (with a bike)

    In the past, TGV trains did not allow assembled bikes on board; however, there are some that are starting to. Most TGV trains from Angers to Paris do happen to allow assembled bikes on board, should you not have a purpose-designed bag.

    If you intend to take your assembled bike on a permitting TGV, it is important to keep in mind that space for assembled bikes needs to be reserved, and this can only be done locally in France. This space is limited and can sell out quickly. Since the bike reservations can only be done locally in France, there is generally a strong likelihood that the space would be sold out by the time you're there. If you'll already be in France ahead of your departure, you can go to a station ahead of time to increase your chances; however, there is still no guarantee. In addition to the reservation, there would also be a small surcharge for assembled bikes. Generally, the surcharge for assembled bikes is about €10.

    Also, there is no way on our website to distinguish the specific TGV trains that allow assembled bikes. To identify the TGVs that allow assembled bikes, you would have to call us and one of representatives can guide you. If they are unaware, just insist they check with our 'Rail Assistance Desk'.

    Otherwise, you can just take a combination of regional TER trains to get from Angers to Paris. A connection comprised of regional TER trains from Angers to Paris takes about 3.5 hours in duration (as opposed to just over 1.5 hours for the direct TGV trains) and involves changing trains once in Le Mans along the way. All TER trains allow bikes to be taken on board fully assembled at no extra cost.

    To purchase tickets for a connection from Angers to Paris made up of TER trains, you would have to do a separate search for each segment of the connection. Therefore, you would do one search from Angers to Le Mans and another search for connecting trains from Le Mans to Paris. When you pull up the results of these searches, the TER trains will be labeled accordingly.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) July 24, 2018 19:12
      I'm sorry, I forgot the fact that you're asking about tandem bikes. Generally, tandem bikes are no allowed on trains. For an inquiry such as this, however, you would have to check locally, or else I would recommend checking directly with the local train operator to see if they can make an exceptions. Otherwise, you might try the National Tourism Board of France. Their website is http://us.france.fr/.
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