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I want to take a train with my bicycle from somewhere in Germany to Switzerland. Concerning this, I have a couple of question that all go to the same direction:

Can I take my bike in every train? Or do I have to take a special train? How do I know if I can take a bike with me? Do I need a reservation for my bike?

In Switzerland, there is also a service where you can drop off a bike at almost any train station and the pick it up at any other destination for a very low fee (around 5-10 CHF), is there something similar for trains from Germany to Switzerland?

2 Answers 2

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Short answer: you can take your bicycle into most German trains, but not all (but you can reach any destination in Germany). For some fast long distance trains it may not be possible, or it may be difficult to get a reservation.

Many trains in Germany carry bicycles. This is particularly true for local trains, but also most intercity (IC) trains. However, the most common train for long-distance travel is the high-speed InterCity Express or ICE. Older ICEs take no bicycles at all¹. Newer ICEs take a small number of bicycles, with advance reservations required. In summer 2021 I was told these reservations have to be made at least 24 hours in advance, but from personal experience, on popular routes at popular times, they may sell out weeks or even months ahead of time.

On the website of the German railways, you can search specifically for trains carrying bicycles. Select carriage of bicycles required in the advanced search dialogue. Taking a bicycle on a long distance service costs extra. For local trains, the cost varies depending on the train operating company.

For example, from Norddeich to Basel, if you need to take a bicycle, the fastest journey is 12 hours, 13 minutes, with 5 changes. If you don't need to take a bicycle, the fastest journey is 8 hours, 51 minutes with 1 change.

So in a nutshell: you can probably reach any station in Germany while travelling with a bicycle, but bicycles cannot always be taken on high speed trains. Therefore, travelling a long distance with a bicycle may take considerably longer and likely require more changes than travelling without one, as well as more advance planning (due to reservations requirements).

(As for your second question; I don't know if there is such a service)


¹An exception is when the bicycle is folded or otherwise taken apart; a folded bicycle can be taken as ordinary luggage on any train. There are reports of people successfully taking bicycles on the older ICE, but formally this is against the rules. Your experience may vary depending on how full the train is, on train staff, and on how convincing you are.

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Short answer: you cannot take your bicycle into ALL German trains!

  • when you are using long-haul trains (IC, EC, City Night Line, EN, D, CNL) you have to make a reservation. It costs 9 EUR (6 EUR if you have DB-card).
  • when you're using regional trains it depends on the federal states. On DB Bahn Website (German) you can find information about the regulation in every federal state.
  • when you're using ICE trains, there could be also a possibility to take you bike. From DB Bahn beförderungsbedingungen:

7.1 Traglast
Neben Handgepäck darf der Reisende ein Stück Traglast mit sich führen. Traglasten sind Gegenstände, die – ohne Handgepäck zu sein – von einer Person getragen werden können. Im Übrigen kann der Reisende Gepäck als Reisegepäck gemäß den hierfür geltenden Bestimmungen aufgeben.
8.1 Mitnahmemöglichkeit
In Zügen der Produktklasse ICE ist die Mitnahme von Fahrrädern ausgeschlossen.

So if you put your bicycle in a package and can carry it, it should be no problem to take it on the ICE train. I know it's not the best way to transport your bike, but it could be better than using slower trains.

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  • Sorry, but this is not correct. There are certain trains where taking a bicycle is not possible.
    – gerrit
    Apr 2, 2013 at 12:56
  • @gerrit it's not possible only in regional trains in some federal states (like Bremen, Hamburg and NRW), but that's written in my answer!
    – Dirty-flow
    Apr 2, 2013 at 13:02
  • It's not possible on ICE, which is of major importance for long distance travel.
    – gerrit
    Apr 2, 2013 at 13:03
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    @Dirty-flow Is it possible to have an english translation to the german part of your answer ?
    – Simon
    Apr 2, 2013 at 14:04
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    @Simon couldn't find an english version.Free translation: 7.1.every passanger can take a load that can be carried by one person 8.1. it's not allowed to take your bicycle into ICE trains
    – Dirty-flow
    Apr 2, 2013 at 14:10

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