Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Train from Regensburg to ...

Travelling without a bicycle train ticket from Regensburg to ??

The title ought to be "The Train from Regensburg to Mönchengladbach via Köln", but my plans have been altered. In my previous post, I've explained a few difficulties I've had with booking a bicycle ticket on the internet. Now I'll show you how everything went.

Rgb Hbf Schild Bahnhof
The start of my journey.

Time: 8:40

Location: between Regensburg and Nürnberg (train)

I've tried to book the Inter City to Köln, which failed as it was full for the entire week. I also got an error message when booking a City Night Line ticket (+ bike ticket), stating that I could not buy a ticket online because it is impossible to book an international - or night ticket online. This really made me agitated because the error message came up at the very end of the booking process.

Imagine looking for a possible connection for an hour or so. First looking at all the possible international long distance connections, which was impossible to book on the internet; after trying that, moving on to finding Inter City fares that are booked full; only to end up finding City Night Line trains that cannot be booked online, due to not being able to book bicycle tickets online for night trains (it was also a train from Munich to Amsterdam, so it was an international train ride as well).

I am currently on the IC train to Köln without a bicycle ticket. Looking back on the whole situation, it actually makes good sense to have reservations, as the train went from Passau to Hamburg with ONLY 20 reserved spots for bikes. To get a coffee during the train ride, I've walked from front to back several times and they could easily have had another bicycle compartment. The passenger seats in the train weren't even filled for 1/5th.

Hauptbahnhof Regensburg Fahrrad
I've felt unprepared in comparison to other cyclists who got on the train in Regensburg. Some had carts with them or huge backpacks. No idea what they were carrying. Anyway, I had the coolest bike pump. That was for sure.

After carrying my bike inside the train and putting it in an empty spot, I've noticed how there are train tickets on most bicycles (Fernzug Fahrradkarten). My bike did not have such a ticket and I thought: "Well, the owner of this [my] bike might have forgotten to put the ticket up or he/she [I] could have been uninformed about this procedure," and I moved to a seat in the vicinity of my bicycle.

Some info on the train itself: direct connection from Regensburg to Köln with a transfer to Mönchengladbach. From Mönchengladbach to Tilburg and afterwards to Belgium, I am improvising my route.

Bike stands train Inter-city Passau - Hamburg
Looking out the window of the train, I am enjoying the German landscape. Really looking forward travelling through it.

Time: 9:35

Location: Shortly after the train departed from Nürnberg

Other bicyclists got on the train and I am afraid that the bicycle department could be full from the next station onwards. Next stop is Würzburg and, if my fears turn out to be true, it could mean that people will start to claim their spots (including mine).

Time: 10:30

Location: shortly after Würzburg

As I have feared, the reservations in the bicycle storage area are going to be a problem. I'd have to explain how a bicycle department looks in an IC for you to understand. There are 15-20 bike stands with a number assigned to it. The whole wagon itself is split right in the middle, separating the passenger - and bicycle compartment.

Inter city fahrradmitname räder
Bicycle without a ticket on a spot reserved from Hanau

I sat in the passenger compartment when the conductor passed by and requested our tickets. He moved on, opened the door to the bicycles and started inspecting the tickets attached. The fact that he stood still at my bike for a while made me kind of panicky. I did not even leave Bavaria yet and I'd already have to get out.

The conductor came back and requested all the travelers to show their Fahrradkarte, in case they have one. Being nervous and all, I told him that I did not carry a bike with me. Seconds after, I knew it was a bad idea. In stead of playing dumb or coming clean, I just denied the whole thing and decided to become a spectator in the mess I have created. He has left my sight for 10 minutes, came back with a piece of paper and walked straight to my bike. After I saw him examining my bicycle, I knew I had to approach him.

I've explained him that it was impossible to book a City Night Line ticket on the internet and that booking this ticket failed as well (ofcourse I was aware of it being booked full). The conductor wasn't making a big deal out of it and examined his piece of paper again. He informed me that the spot where my bike stands, will be taken from the next station onwards. To my luck another spot is free until Koblenz, so we've moved my bike to the vacant stand and I've bought a bicycle ticket.

Moenchen Gladbach IC Bike fernzugticket
New spot for my bike.

inexplicable bike gadgets inadequacy as my bicycle is poorly equiped
A new bike on my old spot. No idea what would've happened if I hadn't approached the conductor.

A different note on the bike: look at the super serious attitude of the guy on my old spot. The ultra ergonomic handles, mega sturdy side-bags, some inexplicable gadgets under the seat, the sports bottle (probably filled with isostar), the bag on the steering wheel, etc. Makes me feel quite inadequate to be honest.
Post a Comment