Friday, May 16, 2008

Bikes and trains in Belgium

Our memories of Belgium, well I suppose, more exactly Flanders, are of a delightful place to cycle with well sign posted cycleways and friendly tourist offices. Obviously the quality of the beer and chocolate are other plus points. Belgian Railways too are bike friendly. You can put your bicycle on most trains and use most stations. The stations where changing with a bicycle is not possible are Brussels Central, Brussels Chapelle and Brussels Congres. Taking your bike with you costs 5 Euro per bicycle and trip and 9 Euro per tandem/bicycle with trailer and trip. There are similar day tickets for 8 and 16 Euro. You can buy a one trip ticket online or pick one up from a ticket office. You need to buy the day tickets from a station. You must load and unload your bicycle under the supervision of the train crew. If you can avoid travelling with a bike at peak times it makes life easier for all.

‘Cycle points’?
Cycle Points are a Belgian speciality and the result of cooperation between Belgian Railways and various social organisations. They are located in or around a railway station and offer a number of services: surveillance and maintenance of bike parks, bicycle rental to train passengers, commuters, students and tourists, corporate bicycle rental and minor repairs.

The first Cycle Points opened in the course of 2007, in the stations in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Courtrai, Bruges, Leuven and Mechelen.
Other stations in Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia are to follow.

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