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MPs and mayor of London criticise change in Eurostar bike policy

Boris Johnson describes requirement for all bikes to be boxed as ‘a backward step’

Boris Johnson and MPs from the all party parliamentary cycling group (APPCG) have joined thousands of people in writing to Eurostar to complain about its change in policy regarding the transportation of bikes. Cyclists could previously take a complete bicycle on board for a £30 fee, but citing a lack of space, the company now says that all bikes must be bagged or boxed.

In most cases, this means dismantling the bike – something the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF) describes as ‘extremely inconvenient’. After questioned the maximum size of bike box permitted – which was smaller than any we have tested – Eurostar scrapped its size restrictions. Nevertheless, bikes will still need to be dismantled and packed away.

Earlier this week, national cycling charity CTC urged cyclists to write to Eurostar over the issue and so far, more than 7,300 people have done so. This includes Boris Johnson. The Guardian reports the mayor of London as saying: “I am writing to Eurostar asking them not to end their simple, effective bike carriage service ‎used by thousands a year. It is a backward step, ‎which undermines Eurostar’s green pretensions.”

Ruth Cadbury, co-chair of the APPCG, expanded on this, saying:

“Eurostar, as a self-avowed champion for sustainable transport, should be looking to make cycle-rail integration easier, not more difficult. As things currently stand they’re coming across as anti-cyclist.

“Across Europe we’re seeing high-speed rail accepting complete bikes, and here of course in the UK, there is no need to box up your wheels. Eurostar is bucking the trend and stepping back to the detriment of its cycling customers.”

Lord Berkeley, secretary of the APPCG, urged Eurostar to rethink their policy and find an amicable solution for all their users. “There are already enough inherent difficulties within the Eurostar service for those travelling with their cycle without these proposed changes making things more awkward,” he said.

CTC’s Sam Jones said he hoped Eurostar would be moved by the widespread public outcry and the concerns expressed by leading politicians. However, a spokesman said the company was still intending to make the change from the start of November.

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