Eurostar re-opens cycle carriage to Brussels
As well as allowing passengers to transport large bulky items, Eurostar’s oversized luggage service was also the main way to transporting cycles on the train service. From 1 June 2023, Eurostar has confirmed to Cycling UK it will now carry fully assembled and boxed or bagged bikes on its services between London and Brussels (see table below) and between London and Paris for boxed bikes.
Time available for cycle carriage
London to Brussels
9116: 09:01 departure
9132: 13:01 departure
9142: 15:04 departure
Brussels to London
9117: 08:52 departure
9125: 10:52 departure
9135: 12:56 departure
9141: 14:52 departure
9153: 17:56 departure
It joins the Eurotunnel service operating out of Folkestone for cycle-rail travellers wishing to reach the European continent.
The train operating company has also told Cycling UK it is hopeful to offer a similar service for fully assembled cycles to Paris in the near future and Amsterdam by 2025 following station developments.
This follows nearly three years of no cycle carriage due to the impact of the pandemic, and the inherent difficulties of managing an international service over four borders with different entry policies relating to the coronavirus and border requirement changes following Brexit.
A limited service for journeys between London and Paris began on 25 January 2023 for passengers who travel with their own pre-boxed bikes, with four bike boxes/bags allowed per train where oversized luggage carriage is available (see table below). Eurostar is working closely with customs officials in order to match its service to Brussels and hopes to be able to carry fully assembled bikes in summer 2023.
Other destinations such as Amsterdam currently face space restrictions that do not permit cycle carriage or oversized luggage until Eurostar moves to a larger terminal in 2025. In the interim, the company is investigating options to support travellers with bicycles and oversized luggage, which is likely to involve travelling via Brussels.
Time available for cycle carriage
London to Paris
All trains from 07:55 to 15:31
Paris to London
All trains from 11:13 to 18:13
Border restrictions following Brexit have added to the complications for the international train service which have prevented the carriage of non-boxed bikes to Paris. Currently fully assembled bikes cannot be carried on Eurostar for security reasons, however the train operator is looking to find a solution which will allow their carriage again.
Following a recent meeting in May 2023, Cycling UK has good reason to believe Eurostar is doing all it can to return to its pre-pandemic level of service which allowed for the carriage of assembled bikes to all main termini. We will look to update this page, our members and the cycling community as changes are made to the service.
The charity hopes to report more positive news as it does not see the current level of service as adequate as a long-term solution for cycle tourists.
For those looking to travel with their bikes on Eurostar, your bicycle needs to be registered as oversized luggage, and booking is a two-tier process. You must book either your train ticket first, and call or email separately to see if there is space on the train you want to take, or vice versa. A form is then provided for you to fill in and a link for payment to carry your bike should be dispatched.
Less than 48hrs + walk-in
Sport equipment (incl bikes)
£45 (50 euro)
£60 (70 euro)
Excess luggage (30kg max)
£35 (40 euro)
£55 (60 euro)
Contrary to the pre-coronavirus service, customers must now travel on the same services as their bike, and they must collect it on arrival directly on the platform. If there is no space on your chosen train for your bike, it is possible that it can travel on an earlier train and be available for collection on your arrival.
Eurostar has confirmed that it is also looking to develop an online booking tool for bike carriage and will make all efforts to consult the cycling community, including Cycling UK, over this. Due to the planned launch of the new Eurostar website in October 2023, the development of this functionality will not come until next year.
Cycling UK hopes the new system will streamline the whole process, making reserving space for your bike as simple as booking your ticket, but does not expect it to be introduced imminently.
One way to ensure travel with your bicycle on Eurostar is possible is to take it on board as carry-on luggage. If it is a fold-up, like a Brompton, or it can be broken down (through the use of S and S couplings, for example) you may take it on board for no extra cost so long as your bike fits into a case that is no more than 85cm long.
Eurostar in the past provided boxes and the tools to break down your bike at its stations in London, Paris and Brussels. The boxes are no longer provided, however you can still use the tools provided at the stations.
It’s still not cheap to take a non-folding bike with you on Eurostar. The pricing structure is designed to encourage people not just to book their seats early but also their bike places. The benefit is that you should have an increased chance of having your bike travel with you on the same train – something which is less likely the closer you book your ticket and bike place to when you want to travel.
Prices are as per the below the table, but are likely to be higher for fully assembled bikes when they return.
Returning from Amsterdam to London, and connecting in Brussels, you’re advised to allow 90 minutes for the train changeover if travelling with your bike – and also to make sure your bike is bagged when travelling on the Thalys train to Brussels. For more information check the Eurostar website.
Don’t forget your travel insurance: members of Cycling UK receive 15% off Yellow Jersey’s travel insurance which has been designed specifically for cyclists. It will provide you with all of the usual benefits you would expect from travel insurance but crucially will cover your medical expenses should you need it.
Other alternatives exist if you want to travel through the ‘chunnel’. The Eurotunnel cycle carriage service from Folkestone has reopened and will carry rider plus cycle for £35 each way. This service will also carry tandems and charges per saddle regardless of numbers of riders. Trailers too may incur a cost depending on their size.
Eurotunnel’s service operates once a day and requires reportedly a minimum of 10 days for booking, and will not accept on-the-day travel.
The other main ways using public transport to reach the European continent with your bike are likely to be by ferry or flying. Certain long-distance bus services, such as Blablacar Bus and the Bike Express may also carry cycles.