Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Bici + Treno - Bikes and Trains in Italy
Most regional trains in Italy now take bikes. This is a great way to either get out of a large city or town and start pedaling in the country or get back to your car if you are not doing a loop. There will be a bike symbol on the list of departing trains at the station and also on the TrenItalia website (www.trenitalia.com). There is unfortunately no way to search for trains that carry bikes. You'll just have to pick a destination and see which trains accept bikes.
I've heard that some Eurostar trains carry bikes, but very few and I don't know which ones. There are also some trains that go to other countries that carry bikes. Check with the information office at the train station.
In addition to your train ticket, you will need to purchase a ticket for the bike. They cost 3.50 euro on regional trains. The price goes up for the few long distance trains that accept bikes. The ticket is in two parts; one you attach to the handlebars of your bike using the adhesive strip and the other you keep with your train ticket. Both parts, as well as your train ticket, will need to be stamped. The ticket is good for 24 hours so you can use it on the way back as well.
You never know where you buy the supplemental ticket for the bike. It just depends on the station. Sometimes it is at the same window where you buy your ticket and sometimes not. So allow enough time. And buy a few if you plan to do this frequently. There is no destination stamped on the bike ticket so you can use them anywhere.
You will be responsible for loading and unloading your bike. There is a bike car at one end or the other of the train. Most of the time there is a bike symbol on the car, but not always. They are usually empty cars. Sometimes there are racks to secure your bike, but not always. Bring some bungee cords or just lay your bike down. Sometimes the train personnel tell you how they want the bike to be placed in the car. Sit in the next car and keep an eye on your bike!
Remember that in small town stations the train only stops for a few minutes, so you'll want to be ready with your bike to get off. When waiting for the train, I find it best to go down to the end of the platform. That way when the train arrives, if you see the bike car at the head of the train, you can hop on your bike and pedal down there in time.
Another option on any Italian train is to place your bike in one of those vinyl bike carrier bags. You'll have to take off both wheels and I think the seat and handlebars. Or maybe just align the handlebars parallel to the bike frame. These bags are accepted on all trains. I've never tried it. I can imagine that it is a bit cumbersome and I wouldn't know what to do with the bag once I arrived at my destination.
www.slowtrav.com/italy/bike/: Biking in Italy, articles describing bike routes.
www.trenitalia.com: TrenItalia, the Italian train system.
www.slowtrav.com/italy/trains/: Notes about using trains in Italy.
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