I’ve been spending a lot of time in Milwaukee, lately… my mom is being treated for appendix cancer (yep, that’s a thing, unfortunately- but she is working hard on beating it) and I’ve used Amtrak several times. So the other day, this happened. Now- I have searched on the Amtrak website a LOT but never found an easy way to tell what the policy on bikes was for the Hiawatha. I see a list of carry on bike service here, and it says they carge $10 for the bike box and $15 for the fee, but since my Yuba won’t fit in a standard box I kind of quit reading. Folding bikes get on as carry on luggage. (One more reason I’m interested in a used Dahon or something, sometimes…)
Well I saw this guy, and I asked if I could take a photo of the box. Then I asked if he needed any help, and he said he was fine. You can see he has a hell of a toolkit there with him, and he said he’d be okay. While I was standing there assessing the box, another guy walked up, identified himself as a bike mechanic, and started offering some advice. (Hey, Village Bikes mechanic. Hope you had a nice trip home!) He also told me there is a case that looks like “art supplies” that they sell you can pack your bike in and get away with it. Doesn’t that seem trickier than it has to be?
Anyways, the guy with the bike looked pretty frustrated. I lost track of his progress. But basically, it looked like a giant pain in the butt. I suppose if you wanted to take a bike to Colorado, or Austin, or somewhere awesome, it might be nice to take it apart and bring it with you. BUT. If you are going from Milwaukee to Chicago, you might be better off renting or buying a cheap bike. Or taking a cab. Because I seriously wonder if it would be worth the trouble.
I have never, never seen all the seats on the Hiawatha full. Maybe I’ve missed a rush hour or something, but I wonder why they don’t allow carry on bikes, like Metra does, during off peak hours. I guess I’ll have to send them an email.