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Jonee loves...
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I'm thinking of riding to my local station and hopping on to work. Does anyone know how the bike procedure works? I heard the bikes are in another section?
 

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I've been taking caltrain to work for years. Most trains have at least 1 bike car, which means one section of 1 car is reserved for bikes. It's basically just a section of a car where most of the seats have been replaced with metal bars and you strap your bike in. You can get a little tag that shows which two stations you're going between. You can usually find space in the same car to sit, but be aware the number of bikes allowed per bike car is limited. On the baby bullets and some of the express trains, you may not be able to board as they get full quickly. In such an event, you'll have to wait for the next train.

Check caltrain's bike page: http://caltrain.com/info_bicycles.html
 

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I commute into SF on my bike using CalTrain the few times a month my work puts me in SF, and the bike car is the northernmost car (lead car going to SF, or last car going to SJ). Get to the station early, as they do have a bike capacity and they do fill up once in a while.
 

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I did it a few times before when I used to work in SF.

Be Forewarn, don't bring your nice 5 grand mountain bike on there. There are gentle folks, but there are those that rides a huffy who just throw their bike right onto your nice machine.

If you are like me and dont like to see your bike get damaged, be careful.
 

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I do (without a bike).

If you don't need the bike on the work end, rent a bike locker on the home end of the train ride.

Many of the stations offer shuttles to major work locations, so see if you can get away from needing your bike on the work end.

Oh, and to continue on loll's point, use this as an opportunity to buy another bike (commuter).
 

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every day with a bike for 2 years. i usually take the redwood city or san mateo train, sometimes i ride all the way to SSF, and right now its a clusterphuk.

caltrain had to take some cars (14 of 110) out of service two weeks ago for cracked frames. many of those cars were bike cars, so, there are far fewer trains with two bike cars right now. plus, with the rising gas prices and warmer weather usership is up. cyclists have been getting bumped (not let on the train) routinely at the later northbound stations (Redwood City, San Mateo) and also trains leaving the city in the afternoon have been full sometimes 10-15 minutes before departure- forcing cyclists to take a later train. its been hard to find a seat sometimes, which means standing (this sucks for me cause i used to routinely get 35-40 minutes of work done each way during my commute).

i think its a great option. i do it all of the time, BUT be aware that it will take you a bit of time to figure out what trains are busier, when you need to be to the station, and you might need to have some flexibility at work during this period cause its not going to be perfect.
 

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I used to take my Caltrain with bike to work when I had a longer commute. Some suggestions:

1) Put a label on your bike that lists your morning/afternoon destinations; this helps people stack the bikes on the train (bikes going farther are are on the inside of the stack).

2) The express (Baby Bullet) trains have less room for bikes; be prepared to be denied boarding.

3) If you have the $$$, get a folding bike. You can get on any car with a folding bike, so you'll never have to worry about getting bumped.
 

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kwc said:
Some suggestions:

2) The express (Baby Bullet) trains have less room for bikes; be prepared to be denied boarding.
not necessarily true. its the newer trains (which are often scheduled to run as baby bullets) that don't have capacity, but not all express trains are the new ones, thus not all express trains have limited capacity. some of the baby bullets are not the newer trains and still have full bike cars (sometimes two of them even = 64 bikes).

kwc said:
3) If you have the $$$, get a folding bike. You can get on any car with a folding bike, so you'll never have to worry about getting bumped.
also not the case, depending on the conductor. the rule is folding bikes only on the bike car and the luggage car, but if they aren't paying attention/don't care, or there is room on the train, this is a pretty flexible rule.
 

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I've taking the train 2X a week, for the past two months. I have never had the conductor ever ask to see my ticket. I travel within zone 3. Is this standard practice?
 

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jonala said:
I've taking the train 2X a week, for the past two months. I have never had the conductor ever ask to see my ticket. I travel within zone 3. Is this standard practice?
my experience is that they check southbound trains as they leave the city and before making the first stop about 60-70% of the time. the don't commonly check again until right after RWC- as this is the zone change. beyond PA, i have no clue.

northbound, they check about 10-15% of the time after RWC. That's my experience.

lately, with the capacity issues, they done much less ticket checking in the middle of the trip as they are usually dealing with keeping the train on schedule and safe and orderly.
 

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You know, is like tax, you dont get audited everytime, but if and when you get your ticket checked, and you dont have one, you are in deep sh!+

I forgotten my ticket at home once and didn't realize I didn't have one. No one checked ticket that day, so I lucked out.

But soon or later, you will get your ticket checked.

There was this crazy lady that hide in the toilet for 3 or 4 stations with the conductor knocking outside the toilet door to see her ticket. She then push the conductor to the side and ran out the door.

small size folding bikes can go in the regular cart as luaguages according to some conductors. Then there are those 26" folding bikes that must be folded before the train arrive and must be in the bike cart for some reason. But at least they let you in.
 

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They check randomly, some conductors will throw you off the train, others will write you a ticket. They have been much less thorough lately about checking. That being said, almost everyone on the baby bullets have monthly passes and I've seen the conductors not even ask people they've seen for months or years.

Edit: I didn't mean to sound like I'm advocating trying to cheat the system. The monthly passes are very very reasonably priced, especially with $4.50 gas.
 

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Dirt_Diggler said:
also not the case, depending on the conductor. the rule is folding bikes only on the bike car and the luggage car, but if they aren't paying attention/don't care, or there is room on the train, this is a pretty flexible rule.
From the Caltrain FAQ:

"Folding bikes are allowed on any train car as they are no wider than 32 inches at the widest point."
 

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kwc said:
From the Caltrain FAQ:

"Folding bikes are allowed on any train car as they are no wider than 32 inches at the widest point."
huh? sweet. good info. maybe the conductors are a bit arbitrary in their requests then, but i wouldn't expect that from a public employee tasked with enforcement ;)

now, if i just felt comfortable riding 21 miles each way down from skyline on one, i could have the bike capacity problem solved.

but seriously, its a great option if you live/work not too far from the station.
 

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Dirt_Diggler said:
also not the case, depending on the conductor. the rule is folding bikes only on the bike car and the luggage car, but if they aren't paying attention/don't care, or there is room on the train, this is a pretty flexible rule.
http://www.caltrain.com/caltrain_bike_FAQs.html

Are there space restrictions for folding bikes?

Folding bikes are allowed on any train car as they are no wider than 32 inches at the widest point.

Folding bikes must be in the folded position prior to boarding and must remain under the control of the owner while on board. Folding bikes must be able to be stored under the seat in front of you or be placed in the luggage racks provided by Caltrain.

Folding bikes may not be placed on seats and must not block aisles, stairs or vestibules. Folding bikes may not be stored in the space reserved for passengers wheelchairs.

Dirt or grease from folding bikes must not be transferred to the interior of the car, other passengers, or crew members. If the bike is dirty, it must be placed in a bag to prevent soiling of the rail car. It is at the conductors' discretion to reject the boarding of a folding bike that they determine is not protected and appears to be greasy or dirty.

Folding bikes that are not in the bike rack must remain folded until the passenger has fully left the train.
 

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jonala said:
I always have a ticket.
Me too, but I don't ride so often and sometimes my 10 rides 'expire' before I'm done using them. I haven't heard about this being an issue since Capt. Bligh retired.

OT, but semi-related: One night I was on the last run with a retiring engineer. We went over a speed sensor in Coyote valley going 84mph. :eek:
 
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