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Με το καγιάκ στο τραίνο
Όσοι έχετε προσπαθήσει να ταξιδέψετε με τον ΟΣΕ, έχοντας μαζί το ποδήλατό σας ή το καγιάκ σας, διαβάστε την εμπειρία ενός φίλου καγιάκερ, δημοσιευμένη σε φόρουμ για πτυσσόμενα καγιάκ...

Σημ. Κατά την ανάγνωση, αλλά και μετά δεν θα παρεξηγηθείτε αν κλαίτε γοερά, κάνοντας την σύγκριση με τον ΟΣΕ...

αντιγραφή από το

As I explained in the "What boat for me?" section, I have just bought a Klepper Aerius 1. The boat was in Norfolk, and I first took it to London by train. I had brought a two-wheel folding luggage trolley (GBP 20 from an ironmongers), and the former owner and myself strapped the frame bag on to that. I used the backpack straps to carry the hull. The train to London was almost empty, so I loaded the hull bag onto the shelf at the end of the compartment, and attached the frame bag upright to the front of the shelves using bungee cord. In London, I took a taxi to my sisters flat.

On the day I was travelling back to Scotland (I live 4 miles up the valley of the River Annan from Lockerbie), I took a taxi from the flat to Euston Station. There are luggage trolleys beside the taxi set-down point, and a lift from there up to the main concourse. I stacked the two Klepper bags on the trolley, and added my own travel pack.

As I was waiting to board the train (the London-Glasgow train, which is always very crowded), I was getting worried about wrestling 3 big heavy bags through the crowd of passengers, and finding space to put them safely during the journey. I decided to go to the railway company's customer service desk, and ask if they could help or advise me. The bloke looked at the Klepper bags, and said "We'll book it in as a bike, and it can travel in the special comparment for bikes, which is right behind the engine". It didn't cost me anything, and I was able to unload the trolley without rushing, and stack the bags in this compartment. I had been given two tickets for the kayak, one to be attached to it, and the other for me to keep with my travel ticket. The train staff were very helpful (I don't think they would have been very pleased had I arrived with the bags and tried to board in the normal way). I could then just go and find a seat, with only my own bag as luggage. The train manager told me to get to the compartment in good time (say 15 minutes) before Carlisle (where I had to change for the short 20-minute stretch over the Border to Lockerbie), so that I would be ready to get off with the kayak. A cyclist who came on while I was sorting myself out at the start was very interested in the kayak, so there was no unpleasantness at all.

At Carlisle, a member of the station staff came straight across to open the outside door to the cycle compartment (they had phoned ahead to tell them I was coming), and showed me the trolleys, which were on the platform just beside us. He told me where along the platform to wait for the connecting train. When I got there, another member of staff advised me that the next train had a special area for wheelchairs in coach A, where there would be plenty of room for the bags. He then helped me load everything Big Grin onto the train, and my Klepper bicycle became a Klepper wheelchair! I had phoned ahead for a taxi to meet me at the station in Lockerbie, so Ali was waiting for me with his taxi. When I weeled it round the corner of the platform, he said "Fergus, what the *&^%! is that? You didn't have it when you went south!"

So altogether, a journey I had been rather dreading turned out to be a cake-walk, thanks to very helpful railway staff (it is always best to ask for advice and help) and a magic Klepper Aerius, that could transform itslelf into a bike and a wheelchair! Big Grin


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