Cyclescheme How to: Split your commute

Cyclescheme, 04.11.2015

Cyclescheme How to: Split your commute

When the journey to work is too far to cycle, take your bike by car or public transport and cycle part way instead

Travelling with your bike by train or car is a great way to get your cycling fix when your workplace is a long way away or when you want to shorten your commute because of bad weather. It should save you money too: you’ll avoid costly city centre car parking charges and will spend a little less on fuel or rail fares. And it should save you time: bikes are quicker in urban areas, whereas trains or cars are usually quicker in between them.

By train/Dart/Luas

InterCity Trains have bicycle carriage facilities but must be booked online in advance of your jouney. Bikes are banned on some peak-time, principally those going into or out of Heuston Station. Bicycles are permitted on Commuter and DART service between 9:30 – 16:00 and after 19:00 Monday to Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday. For more information regarding this we would recommend you visit the ticket provider directly.

In practice, it can be quite stressful taking a full-size bike by train. The bike space may be rammed with other people’s luggage. If you need a reservation, it’s only valid for that train, which is no use if you get stuck at work. If you don’t need a reservation, it’s first come, first served for bike spaces.

If you’re a regular bike-and-train commuter then you should seriously consider getting yourself a folding bike. Folding bikes with wheels 20 inches or smaller can be carried on-board in a carrier bag on most Dart and Luas services in the Ireland free of charge. No need for a reservation, and no need to cross your fingers for a bike space, although you might be required to put the folder in one of the train’s luggage spaces.

By car

You can take any bike if you’re driving your own car part way to work. It’s easiest if you don't have to remove one or both of the wheels to fit it in the car or on the car rack. That saves time and means you shouldn’t get dirty or oily hands. If the bike’s going inside the car – the best option for security and fuel economy – a roomy estate or MPV is handy for a full-size bike. But you can fit a folding bike like a Brompton in any car, even something as small as a Smart fourtwo.

If you plan to use a car rack, it’s worth investing in a roof rack or tow bar rack that locks to the car (please note that car racks or roof racks are not allowed to be purchased as part of the Cycle to Work scheme. These are more secure than strap-on boot racks in any case, and you won’t have to take either type off when you park to prevent theft.

Park somewhere safe and well lit on the outskirts of town. Park-and-rides are ideal. The parking is deliberately inexpensive to encourage drivers to stay out of the centre, and the remaining distance will be well suited to cycling. Some can be a bit iffy about you parking and not taking the bus (ie, not paying for the parking) but that’ll depend on the particular park-and-ride. Suburbs are an option, but park sensitively. 

By bus or taxi

Very few buses will take a full-size bike, although coaches often will if the bike is partially disassembled inside a bike bag. Folding bikes are generally accepted on buses at the driver's discretion. A compact folder in a bag shouldn’t cause a stir; a bigger-wheeled folder taking up pushchair space probably will.

If a folding bike will fit comfortably in a taxi's boot, most drivers are happy to carry them. You might even get a full-size bike into a taxi if it’s in a bike bag, but it’s very much up to the driver.

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