The trains in Spain can sometimes be a pain - The Seven Year Itch - CycleBlaze

March 19, 2024

The trains in Spain can sometimes be a pain

I think he’s got it, I think he’s got it

First, an important correction to yesterday’s post.  I believe I was wrong, and e-bikes are allowed on Spanish trains after all.  From what I’m seeing from the Renfe website, it’s e-scooters and the like that are banned.  Here’s an excerpt from their page presenting their policy for taking bikes on the train:

Alert: For safety reasons, from 12 December 2023 onwards, passengers will not be allowed to board the train with electric scooters, unicycles or similar vehicles. This does not apply to vehicles for people with reduced mobility, or to electric bicycles.

I awoke in the middle of the night thinking of a concern that’s been on my mind ever since trying to ticket ourselves from Alicante to Murcia: the other problem spot on our tour, from Seville to Zafra.  It’s another stretch where we decided to take the train rather than biking to Zafra in order to save a few days.  Its bikeable too of course, as we did ten years ago going the other direction with stops in Llerena, Cazalla and Carmona; and if we’re in a jam and can’t find the transportation we’re envisioning we can still rework the schedule and make that fit, if we plan on it soon enough.

The train should work though.  There’s an MD (middle distance) run which takes unfolded bikes, if it’s the right kind of MD train (normal MD trains do, but not MD Avant); or possibly we can get bags and take the folded bikes on the train, if the dimensions are small enough (85x60x35 cm max); or possibly we can get the bikes on a bus; or take a taxi; or rent a car for the day.  I haven’t been able to figure out whether this MD takes bikes, but we’ve been assuming that something will work out when we get there in three weeks; and we’ve budgeted two days in Seville specifically so we have a day to figure it out.

The experience in Alicante set me back though when I learned that its MD train does allow bikes, but the spaces were all already reserved.  So obviously just showing up and hoping for the best isn’t the wise approach.

So I dig deeper with the Renfre website, which doesn’t make it easy to figure out whether a specific train takes bikes and has space available, and finally figure it out.  You don’t know about the bike option until you’re already mostly through the reservation process - you’ve entered your personal information and passport numbers and are ready to check out, when a pop up appears asking whether you’d like any additions.

Why yes, we would like to add two bicycles, which we’re ecstatic to see are still available for an extra €3/bike.  We’re booked!  We are so happy!!

And in case it’s of use to someone out there, here are some screen shots along the way to the check-out register.

Enter your parameters, and search for available trains.
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Select the train you want. In our case, we’re picking the Media Distancia because it allows unfolded bikes.
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Select it.
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Enter your personal information.
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Request to add bikes.
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Take two; they’re cheap.
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I left out the payment page, but once your payment is accepted you’re done. Easy!
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Angela NaefThank you for the detailed train advice, much appreciated!
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2 months ago
Jacquie GaudetExcellent information. I was looking at booking flights to/from Barcelona and then starting and ending with a train ride for our upcoming tour but couldn't determine whether we'd be able to do it with bikes--our cases are 124 cm long, just over the maximum permitted if somebody was fussy and measuring, and though assembled bikes are easier to roll around, I wasn't sure if we could take them at all. Then the airfare price dropped and we booked to/from Bilbao.
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2 months ago
Anne MathersTo Jacquie GaudetThat’s great news about the price drop allowing you to fly right to Bilbao. I love it when a plan works!
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2 months ago
Tricia GrahamThat has decided us we will only do day rides out of Murcia
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Tricia GrahamI’m sure that will be great, unless it’s too hot. It looks like wonderful riding country.
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2 months ago
Tricia GrahamShouldn’t be too bad as we are there in early May. Doesn’t really matter if we can’t ride much as we are there to see family
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesThanks for posting all this booking information for trains. We still think we will use the Post Office's ship bikes service, but it is nice to have information on options.
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2 months ago
Bob KoreisShall we start referring to you as Professor Higgins or are you okay with the less formal Henry?
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2 months ago
Jacquie GaudetTo Anne MathersI just tracked airfares in Google Flights. It went up before we were sure enough to book and then when it came down again, we were ready.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bob KoreisI’ll answer to most anything respectable, but those closest to me call me ‘Ank or ‘Enry.
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2 months ago