I did a tour of Manali to Leh and adjoining areas a few years back. I toggled almost a few hundred articles. Articles related to bicycle transportation in India. Unfortunately did not find much help. Internet sometimes sucks. It really does. I talked to a lot of my friends who are into bike packing.
Transporting bicycles in India is sure a headache If you do not know the correct procedure. Now that I have searched every nook and corner of the cycle transportation Industry. I am writing this article for your guys so that you don’t face any difficulty while transporting cycles across India. There are different ways like transporting cycles in a train, in buses, in planes or getting a car rack.
There are quite a few ways by which you can transport your bicycle in India. I am mentioning all of them.
Transporting Bicycle By Train
I love bus journeys. However, when you have to go through multiple states to reach your destination, Also when the commuting distance is more than a few thousand KM’s trains should be preferred.
Procedure and points to remember while transporting bicycles in train
- Firstly carry your train ticket with you.
- A bike as a parcel is booked for transport when you are traveling from the source destination to the final source destination. No breakage in between, no changing trains, else they will not book it.
- A day prior to your travel, go to the train parcel office which is adjoining the train station. Booking is done in a matter of a few minutes, you just have to share your PNR number with a very efficient computer system. I did not get the amount deciding factor, but you pay a rupee for each kilometer.
- Furthermore, wrap the bike carefully in order to avoid getting your bike damaged. Cycles in trains are bound to get damaged if not packed properly.
- Make sure you keep the receipt given by the parcel station safe. You won’t get your bike without showing your receipt.
- Now go home and sleep, board the train the next day, and travel to your destination. Your parcel might arrive on the same train or some other train. There is no fixed departure time for your parcel.
- You will get SMS notifications of your parcel, but being Indian systems they are bound to fail. Keep a track of your parcel by talking to parcel inquiry.
- If your parcel arrives and you are not there to pick it up. They will throw the parcel in the stockade and 250 INR per day will be charged if you do not pick your parcel.
Transporting cycle in plane
Transporting your cycle in a plane is preferred when you are going for a cycling tour outside your country. Also, when you do not want to waste too much time traveling within the country. Since I was planning on doing this I began searching for information related to this.
- Different airlines have different rules when it comes to transporting bicycles. Few airlines would tell you to wrap the cycle in a clear plastic bag. Few airlines will tell you to dismantle the bike and pack it in a cardboard box.
- Although if you are going to places like Leh, where people love cycling the authorities and airport staff are very courteous and helpful. So then there are not going to be any issues while transport. The charges you will have to check at the check-in counter.
- Cycle in the plane is the best way to transport when you want to save time other than you can’t really see how your baggage will be handled.
A good way of reducing travel time and transporting your bicycle to your destination. Different airlines have different luggage rules, please read through them. It will help you.
Transporting Bicycle By Bus
I went to Manali by Volvo bus. This luxury liner is super comfortable and when it comes to baggage, it has an ample amount of space. I packed my bike in a cycle bag and took it to the local bus station so that it can be loaded into the compartment. I found transporting cycles in buses the most preferred and easy way of transportation when the distance is less than a thousand kilometers. The reason why this is so preferred is of below reasons.
- You do not have to book a space for your bike a day before as you do on a train. You can take the cycle on the same day and get it booked in the cargo compartment.
- Your cycle is transported in the same bus unlike in a train where you have no idea in which train your bike is getting transported.
- The transportation cost is way too less when it comes to transporting the cycle on a bus. If you can pack it nicely in a box you won’t have to pay more than 500 bucks for a 1000 km bus journey.
- You can check your packed cycle box every time when your bus comes to a halt as you are traveling with your cycle just not together though.
Summing Up Transporting Bicycle in India
I found the most secure and safe way of transporting bicycles is, in fact, a bus. Your cycle is near you all the time and then you can check on it whenever the bus comes to a halt. However, with extra precautions and packing your bike efficiently, you can transport it on a plane and lastly, I would recommend a Train. A train is the most unsecured-high damage chances way of transportation.
Professionals Bike Packers: Please feel free to add anything in case I have missed it in the comment section.
If you have any questions related to transporting cycles in a train, or a place, or busses or car racks, leave the comments and I will get back to you.
Check out a video from my YouTube channel.
Hi! I can only comment on the train bit! Your information on this is the information I read on line and duly followed… only to be told that my bike had to arrive with me on the day of travel and be booked in 3hrs prior to departure. Travel day arrives … i ask if luggage can remain on the bike … i am grudgingly told it can and to pack the saddle and panniers. Cloth sacks and stitching complete, panniers secure, i return to complete paperwork only to have a different person tell me to remove all baggage in spite of having paid for the privilege of having it all neatly wrapped (100rs). I have to point out I’m not in the best humor as I’m very sick so grumble and sweat my way through the booking paperwork. A photocopy of the owners passport is required … be sure to have that or another trip out will be needed *sweat grumble grumble*.
Finally a payment of 75rs is made for the 27hr (delayed) journey from Varanasi to Pathankot and my beloved cycle is deposited at the parcel office of said station whilst I struggle to get all my panniers across the footbridge.
All is well, she is unscathed and I present my documents, sign the very large ledger and set her her up for a short jaunt to the bus station where more fun ensues getting her onto the bus roof and secured to my exacting standards. Phew…
Final thought … information is knowledge but its no substitute to talking the people on the ground because processes change like the wind and you either go with the flow or get drowned by it!! Expect the unexpected!!
That’s quite an experience brother! The last line makes perfect sense “Expect the unexpected”!
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hi Varun . My cycle is in Jaipur and want to shift it to haldwani uttarakhand . Cycle is hero with 10 gears i think, cost me Rs 6300 . Any tips on shifting ,costs etc . cant send by bus train or shud i just buy new one
Hello Pranshu, I would recommend picking it and taking it on the bus. Volvo’s have inner compartments that can hold your bike. Trains are risky and the bike may get damaged.
Hey Varun, what would be the best way to transport my cycle from Chennai to Varanasi(approx 2200 km)? My cycle costs around 25k. Thanks!
The best way would be to dismantle it and pack it in a cardboard box, the box that comes with the new bike. Transporting via bus is the safest. having said that in your case the distance is too much so I will choose to get it thereby flight. DO NOT get it transported via train, they handle packages very poorly. You might end up having a few parts broken.
Guys, recently I did a solo Chennai to Kanyakumari bicycle ride. Once done, I was to travel to Mumbai. Currently, there is no such direct train but I could book my ticket at Kanyakumari station. Train leaves from Nagercoil to Mumbai. At Nagercoil, I bubble wrapped my bicycle in the important/delicate areas (didn’t dismantle and pack in a card board box etc.). My bicycle was on the same train but in a parcel compartment. Paid 300 rupees for a bicycle worth 40,000 rupees. Got the bicycle at CSMT (Mumbai) station with almost no hassles. Bike was exactly in the same condition as I had handed over. No scratches or damages. I am quite impressed with rail transport.
Thank you for your input Vilas.