For decades bikes have been the poor cousin when it came to intercity train travel.
But country by country, state by state, the trend is being reversed, and a welcoming arm is being extended by many of the world’s train operators.
For years transport planners have been singing the transport integration hymns, emphasising just how efficient the combination of bike and train travel was, not only for the traveller, but for the transport system.
However a generation of modern trains rolled in with hardly a thought given to bike storage. And when there was a space or two provided, it was usually seized by a traveller with a refrigerator-sized roller suitcase.
French and Spanish regional trains more recently have provided flexible space that bikes can use. Even the next generation of high-speed intercity ICE trains in Germany have a compartment with bike storage for eight bikes.
Now Italian InterCity operator Trenitalia has joined in with provision of adequate bike storage in the new-generation trains.
From next year, all new InterCity trains will have dedicated space for six bicycles. Not great, but an improvement.
These routes connect some 200 cities in Italy and are widely used by tourists, students and workers—the sort of people who could have a bike.
The European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism (TRAN) Committee supports a proposal for a minimum of eight bicycle spaces on all new and refurbished European trains, a standard that would be welcome on all regional and intercity trains in Australia.