Taking a bike on TGV High Speed Trains France SNCF March 26 2014

SNCF TGV High Speed train Gare de Lyon Paris

Many people like to travel to France with their bike and why not, it is of course a fabulous country for cycling, quieter roads, more space and great scenery a real cycling country.

In simple terms all trains on the SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de fer français) will accept bikes on trains as long as they are dismantled and in a bag no larger than 120cm x 90cm. Some routes will accept fully assembled bikes but it is best to check with your specific routes. The same applies to the TGV and Intercités trains as well as Thalys trains.

The TGV high speed train network covers much of France and is relatively bike friendly as you would expect with the volume of bicycle tourism that the country attracts.The TGV trains are super fast and can whisk you from Paris to Lyon in just two hours, and Bordeaux, Marseille or Grenoble to the French capital in around three hours.

Bikes can be carried on as hand luggage, free of charge and stowed on the luggage racks within the carriages as long as the bike is in a bag with maximum dimensions of 120 cm x 90 cm. Full size bikes unpacked can be accommodated but need to be booked in advance and may not travel in the carriage with you. Failure to comply with these regulations can involve an on the spot fine which can make a hole in your holiday budget.

 

Fully assembled bikes

Many TGV and Intercités (including night trains) have space for assembled and unbagged bikes but you may require a reservation. If the route you are on does require a reservation there is normally a €10 surcharge which you pay and book with your ticket. You can book this in person at any SNCF ticket office, there are some useful links at the end of this article.

Published timetables  (print and online) show a bike symbol against services that can accommodate unbagged bikes. Check with station staff to see what carriage you should load your bike into and where on the platform you should wait. 

Night Trains

Night trains do require a reservation, you will need a reserved seat AND a reservation for your bike and this needs to be booked in advance and your bike will most likely travel in a separate carriage.

Local Trains

There is an excellent network of local trains that links up smaller towns and villages, these will take bikes providing there is space available. Please note some restrictions apply at peak times and holidays, please check in advance if in doubt.

Possible Problems

Despite following all the regulations and having the correct booking you can sometimes run into problems with the inspector on the trains. Make sure you retain all the booking paperwork and tickets for inspection. If in the unlikely event the inspector does issue an on the spot fine you should be able to reclaim this if you have the correct booking and the inspector is incorrect - as in most situations politeness and a smile go a long way.

Duffbag Stealth bag 120cm x 90cm soft bike bag - ideal for train travel in France

Our duffbag Stealth soft bike bag is 120cm x 90cm and has been successfully used on many journeys on the TGV High Speed Train network with SNCF France. The big advantage with a Stealth bike bag is the light weight, (under 2kg) together with the ability to fold down really small to stash in a support vehicle or pannier which makes negotiating the TGV High Speed train network in France with a road bike, mountain bike or touring bike that much easier.

 

Traveling with your bike using the TGV High Speed train network in France with your bicycle in a bike bag is a great way to explore France and beyond, with the Alps, Pyrenees and the Tour de France a very popular cycle touring destination as well as the beautiful coastal and central regions. 

You can find out more about the duffbag Stealth bag by clicking here

These duffbag Stealths soft bike bags travelled on the TGV High Speed French Train network as part of a group of twelve.

You can find out more about the duffbag Stealth bag by clicking here

Useful Links

Voyages SNCF

Trainline

Thalys