Letter: Counting the cost of Britain's growing 'kar kulture'

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Sir: Although I agree with the views expressed in your leading article 'K is for kar kulture' (1 August), I have discovered that bikes and public transport do not mix. The culprit is British Rail. I asked at the station about bringing three children's bikes from Cumbria to Norfolk, and was told it was impossible, because Sprinter trains such as those which ply between Carlisle-Newcastle and Peterborough-Norwich can only carry a single bicycle. The mainline trains can cope with just eight cycles, and booking is necessary in order to be sure you can get your bike on your chosen train.

'We are in the business of carrying people, not bikes,' I was told by an otherwise sympathetic booking clerk. He did point out that I could make this particular journey by travelling InterCity via London, but then there would be the problem of getting three inexperienced riders, bikes and baggage from one terminus to another.

We could walk, I suppose. Or, if desperate, the bikes could go Red Star. But that's not the point. With biking holidays on the increase, BR is surely being short-

sighted in ignoring the business potential of transporting cyclists to and from their ride. In addition, the bike is such an obvious way of reducing city jams that BR should add extra guards' vans on commuter runs.

Yours sincerely,

JOHN TIPLER

Reepham,

Norfolk

1 August

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