Bicycles as Luggage
Sir, – Your Paris Correspondent recently drew attention to the fact that the railway authorities in France are at present engaged in an attempt to improve the already delightful conditions under which cyclists are allowed to travel in that country. For the past month I have rejoiced in “the almost affectionate care,” to quote your Paris Correspondent, which my “velo” has received at the hands of French railway porters. The important fact, however, is that in France no additional charge is made for the carriage of the bicycle, provided always that the total amount of luggage does not exceed the maximum weight allowed, which in the case of first-class passengers is 66lb. Of course, there is the usual registration fee of 10c.The argument is that, a bicycle being luggage, the railway companies cannot legally refuse to carry it as such. Yet the English railway authorities still continue to regard it as a domestic animal and refuse to take it without a special ticket. This is a well-known official attitude of mind. “Cats,” say the companies, “is dogs and rabbits is dogs, but this here tortoise is a hinsect.” Why should not bicycles be treated on the same footing as other luggage?
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
The Times, Sep 08, 1896; pg. 9