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Advice on transporting tandems by small

Hidden2023-08-19 11:26:45

Hello, we have two tandems (a Circe and a Thorn) which we use with the children to cover local journeys.  We would like to go further afield but would appreciate advice on the possibilities as most trains don't take tandems (the bikes don't have S&S couplings).  We only have a very small car (Mazda 2) and currently no roof bars or tow bar.  As the car has a short roof, does anyone have any suggestions for affordable options for securely transporting both tandems including potentially on ferries?  The car is quite old so parts for fitting roof bars are not easy but are possible to obtain.  We are Oxfordshire based.  Many thanks.

Lawrence McPhillips2023-08-19 12:06:09

We were able to use a Helton tandem carrier on our 2016 5 door Ford Fiesta - the carrier just fitted the length of the Fiesta roof.  We used 'Cruz' roof bars from 'roofbox.co.uk' as they were a reasonable price.  The Helton carrier works well as it is quite easy to load and the tandem sits horizontally on top of the car rather than vertically.  I honestly don't know if you'd be able to load both tandems on the Helton though, perhaps a vertical type rack would suit better?

Good though the Helton carrier is, we eventually ended up buying an older MPV type car which allows us to wheel the tandem straight up into the back of the car.

Dmitrii Pasechnik2023-08-19 12:22:16

our Circe tandem (almost) fits into a standard GWR train cycle compartment. (about 10cm stick out, but train staff normally don't care). We twice took it all the way Oxford-Penzance-Oxford.

It probably would fully fit, hanging on the rear wheel, after removing the front wheel and dismantling the front handlebar.

We remove front saddle/stoker handlebar combo anyway.


PS. Car is not an option - we don't drive...

Melissa Loucas2023-08-19 20:11:03

Hi Dmitrii,

We're very interested in hearing this about GWR as we are looking at train to Plymouth from Pewsey for ferry next summer. We have 2 Circe Helios. Do you just book on the Tandem as a normal bike when you have done this? Have you been able to leave it horizontal instead of vertical in the bike racks? We had given up on the idea so any hints and info gratefully received!



Dmitrii Pasechnik2023-08-19 20:44:19

Hi Mel,

I'm talking about these 2-bike compartments on the newish GWR trains (Hitachi). Usually there are 2+2 such compartments in a carriage, and 2 such carriages on this route. See the picture. Yes, we book the tandem as a normal bike. You can't book more than 2 bikes on one reservation as far as I know. Book these places early, they are very popular (in summer at least).
(Our tandem actually does have a spit frame, so if all fails we can make use of it. But it's a lot of messy work.)

I don't recall why on this particular occasion we put the single bike on the higher hook. IIRC tandem also fits there, and then sticks out less.

If the conductor would start bothering you, just tell them that it's not a problem, it's going to fit, we did this already several times...

I heard that Riviera Express (the sleeper London-Penzance) has a dedicated carriage for bikes, but you'd got to check.


circe tandem in a GWR train

Melissa Loucas2023-08-20 18:41:59

That's brilliant, thank you very much 😁

Last year we cycled with the kids to Poole as that is the nearest ferry port to us to get to France but this would give us more options via Plymouth, thank you again