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Cycles on trains.

(21 Posts)
rubylady Sun 20-Nov-16 22:57:59

My DS was talking about buying a cycle for getting around on in Wales. It seems a lot less busy than where I am, so I am happy for him to have one, provided he still takes care.

I was thinking of getting Father Christmas to bring him one, but then he would have to get it from sunny Bolton to Wales on the train.

Is this doable? I would like to surprise him with it. Our children do seem a long time grown up and I am hanging on to this year if I can still spring a surprise on him, while he is still wanting to come home for Christmas. smile

GrandmaKT Sun 20-Nov-16 23:05:31

Hi rubylady. Yes, it's certainly possible to take your bike on the train. I do it all the time (mostly on Merseyrail). The different train companies have different policies though. There is no charge, but with some train companies you need to book a place in advance, especially in peak hours. He would need to check with whichever companies he travels with.

br0adwater Sun 20-Nov-16 23:44:18

When you say you'll surprise him with it, do you mean you'll buy it without him? Choosing a bike is quite personal - wheel size, frame size, colour, gears etc - so the biker needs to be there. Given the practicalities of crossing the uk with it - and not all stations have a lift - maybe a Halfords voucher would be better?

rubylady Sun 20-Nov-16 23:48:15

I take your point on him being there. But he is a fit 19 year old, a few steps to carry a bike won't be a problem. smile

Bellanonna Mon 21-Nov-16 00:00:16

Frame size is important ruby so get advice from the bike shop. Tell them his height and weight. How kind you are to give him such a lovely surprise. I've always loved my bike. It's currently languishing in the shed but I do mean to get out on it again in the spring.

whitewave Mon 21-Nov-16 06:42:49

Also some bikes are cooler than others.

So perhaps your son has an idea what sort he would like. Off road? Road? Definitely not a granny sort?!!!!

Within each sort there are good/rubbish etc. My son has been an enthusiastic off road cyclist since about 14 -he has cycled on most of the world's mountain ranges - and I listen to it all!!! Not that we have bought him one since his teenage years -far too expensive. shock

BlueBelle Mon 21-Nov-16 06:59:08

Nice idea Ruby and certainly doable but like the others say choosing anything for ANYONE (over 12 ) is not a good idea You don't know the colour, type, what's in what's out and to be honest they are blooming expensive to get wrong A voucher is not nearly as much fun but a lot safer

mumofmadboys Mon 21-Nov-16 07:21:12

A voucher would limit him to one shop. Would he be better buying it where he is at uni then he can go back to get any adjustments done. Our son's included a free mini service at six weeks. You could give him a home made voucher - a card with a bike on it saying this can be exchanged for a bike! He will need a cycle helmet and lock too but even a helmet will need trying on.

Grannyknot Mon 21-Nov-16 07:28:36

I agree with everyone who says don't choose one for him - I have never forgotten my 8 year old son's crestfallen response because we bought him the "wrong" uncool BMX bike back in 1982. His face was a mixture of thrill and disappointment.

The handmade voucher is a brilliant idea - what about extending that to a homemade catalogue with cut out adverts in your price range?


Anya Mon 21-Nov-16 07:41:28

Don't overthink this!

Just get him a gift voucher for a well known cycle shop which has a branch near his university. Then he can choose the bike himself. Most good cycle shops have plenty of choice in store and access to even more models online that they will order in for him.

I'm sure he'll be delighted.

mumofmadboys Mon 21-Nov-16 07:56:57

One of my son's is at uni in London. Took newish bike. Despite being locked it got nicked .Bought another good quality second hand bike. Splashed paint over it. Frame messily multi coloured !Had this in London last two years. No one else wants it!!!

J52 Mon 21-Nov-16 08:51:36

Totally agree mumofmadboys, the good bikes were always stolen, despite the locks! They sometimes get put in vans and taken to completely different areas for re sale.
I'd invest in a good second hand bike, that won't cause too much heartache if it is stolen. At this time of year people will be getting new ones, so after Christmas there may be a few about.

You can always insure the bike.

DaphneBroon Mon 21-Nov-16 09:05:47

My nephew had his (good) bike stolen within days of arriving at UEA so my sis-in-law encouraged (!) him to replace it with a secondhand one and as mumofmadboys found, it was quite safe. Actually had more "streetcred" too in a funny way!

Greyduster Mon 21-Nov-16 09:22:40

I think you said your son was at Aberystwyth. As it is a seaside town, I would think that there are cycle hire centres in and around there. These places usually replace their bikes each year, refurbish the previous year's bikes and sell them on at good prices. They are better makes than many chain bike stores and good value for money.

Anya Mon 21-Nov-16 09:46:44

Having read the last few posts, I agree that a second hand bike is a wise choice. Perhaps you can buy him a good cycle helmet and something reflective instead.

annodomini Mon 21-Nov-16 10:17:28

GS2's nice second-hand bike was stolen from outside their house. Of course, he had 'forgotten' to put the lock on. DS managed to find him another second-hand bike just the same. I think all my GC have had only second-hand bikes and their street cred is impeccable.

trisher Mon 21-Nov-16 11:00:36

As has been said Inter city trains are usually OK. My DS took his up and down to London regularly. Just one word of warning you may need to be available to pick up his luggage when he arrives if he is home for a long period. Rucksacks are OK for short visits but if he brings a suitcase it can be difficult. You could check if your local station has cycle racks and/or left luggage lockers.

Izabella Mon 21-Nov-16 16:38:38

I have a town bike and a mountain bike and would never thank anyone for choosing a bike for me. There are wheel sizes, frame sizes, handlebar widths, saddle types and reach parameters to consider, then there are brake types, handlebar shapes etc. With respect these need tailoring to the rider. Cycles on trains never seem to be a problem in cities but the trains in our area are usually full of cyclists and walkers so a bit of a problem at weekends in particular.

Someone suggested a Halfords voucher. I have never bought a bike from them but a friend did and he found the staff knowledgeable and very helpful. They often have some good bargains too apparently.

Another concern is the danger of cyclists wearing backpacks. There was a fatality locally when a backpack caused a rider to unbalance under the wheels of an artic. Panniers are much safer for moving things to and from uni. and they hold a vast amount of stuff. Good luck in your quest.

Penstemmon Mon 21-Nov-16 16:44:59

I'd go for a hi-viz jacket , a set of flashy lights then money for a second hand bike that he chooses!

rubylady Sat 26-Nov-16 03:23:00

Thank you for all your wonderful comments and suggestions.

Talking to DS earlier, he mentioned that he would like a musical 81 keys keyboard, so I am going to put the bike on hold for now and I have just bought him a smashing one on Amazon which I hope he loves. I have to buy a bag for it now so that he can get that back to halls. Why are items so big when the child gets bigger? grin

I needed something to butter him up as I have bought him some Donald Trump toilet paper too! grin

Jalima Sat 26-Nov-16 15:44:55

I don't know ruby but I remember seeing DD off at Heathrow with a very large suitcase, overstuffed hand luggage, large handbag and a full-size guitar in a hard case wrapped in bubblewrap.
She managed to get all of it there.
(she's not very big either!).