CYCLISTS say they have been left out in the cold at London's new Eurostar station.
The train service, which links the UK with France under the Channel, has long been criticised for not providing on board bike racks and now the new Eurostar terminal at St Pancras railway station in London has also been targeted by campaigners, who claim their bikes are not secure there. The London Cycling Campaign say the racks at the station are pointless, as locks can only be placed through a single wheel. This means thieves can simply remove the bike from the wheel and walk away with the frame.
Members of the pressure group say they will hold a protest at St Pancras on the day the new Eurostar service launches.
An LCC spokesman said: "Cycle parking at the newly renovated St Pancras International is the worst of any major station in the UK, consisting of 30 low-security parking loops located at the far end of the station car park, more than five minutes walk from the ticket office.
"These parking loops provide no means of locking the frame of the bike to them, leaving parked bikes vulnerable to thieves who can easily detach the locked front wheel and make off with the rest of the bike."
Transport for London, the capital's transport authority, has pledged to provide a cycle parking facility at the station, but this is not expected to be in place until at least 2011.
Currently passengers who travel on Eurostar can only carry on folding or dismantled bikes packed in a bag.
Standard cycles have to be sent separately as baggage and although the £20 handling fee ensures bikes arrive within 24 hours there is no guarantee that they will be sent on the same train.
The LCC spokesman continued: "LCC wants to see proper provision for cyclists, including cycle parking, a road traffic scheme that caters for cyclists around the station access; as well as arrangements for cyclists to carry bikes on the same train that they are traveling on themselves."
LCC has also criticised the new road layout around St Pancras and Kings Cross, saying it forces cyclists to take long detours and puts them in extra danger.
Eurostar will be running the new services from St Pancras International, and told Bikeradar.com there had been no change in its policy about bikes on board.
St Pancras International's developer London and Continental Railways is responsible for the design of the upgraded station.
A company spokesman told Bikeradar.com that there would be 50 cycle racks available on the day of the official opening and that the ongoing development of the adjoining Kings Cross station would include 600 new bike racks.
However, he said he had not seen the current racks and could not comment on their security.
"It may be that they are temporary, that we have had to provide temporary cycle parking that may not be up to the same standard as usual - I really don't know."
He defended the new road layout around the station, saying the 20mph speed restriction made for a safer journey for all.
"Having cyclists in mind has been absolutely front and centre in [designing] the road layout."
LCC local groups including Camden Cycling Campaign and City Cyclists will be staging a protest at the station at 8am on November 14, the day the new Eurostar service opens at St Pancras.