Today I’m coming to you from a seat on Amtrak Cascades. I decided to stick with a Coach seat and not upgrade to Business Class, and that’s worked out very well. Although the train is sold out and every seat is taken, we all have plenty of room to move about. There’s WiFi and a power outlet next to my seat, everyone around me is in a pleasant mood, and my Brompton is safely stowed in a luggage rack just a few steps from where I’m sitting.
When I originally purchased the tickets online I bought a separate “bike ticket” for my Brompton. I had heard that Amtrak only requires one for standard, full-size bicycles but I wanted to be on the safe side. After arriving at the train station in Portland, the ticket agent confirmed I didn’t need the bike ticket and refunded that portion of my fee.
There are a few other folks with bicycles on the train today. As they were waiting to board in Portland I noticed that each had a few panniers loaded up, looking like they’re getting ready for a longer ride once they step off the train. Coincidentally, their bikes ended up hanging out in the baggage car just on the other side of a door from me and my Brompton.
Access to the baggage car is limited to Amtrak personnel, which means their stowed bicycles are very safe. Of course, when they reach their destination, they’ll have to wait for baggage handlers to remove and deliver their bicycles. In contrast, my Brompton was as easy to bring on board as a piece of luggage.
In Portland I confirmed with one of the station personnel that it was alright to bring my Brompton on board as a carry on. As I asked, they pointed at the bike, folded up sitting next to my feet, and said “Is that it?” Clearly they didn’t have any problem with me bringing something so small on board; instead they seemed a little surprised that I’d bothered to even ask.
The next leg of my adventure today will be traversing Seattle streets from the train station to a friend’s apartment. I’ve mapped out the route online and I’m hoping the ride is as pleasant as Google Street View makes it seem.