Typically in Japan, one cannot take a bicycle onto an express train unless it is disassembled or folded and placed in a bike bag. However, according to news articles in マイナビニュース (Mai Nabi Nyuusu) and the 朝日新聞 (Asahi Shinbun), starting on March 21st and running until October 26, the 「いしづち特急」 (Ishizuchi Special Express), an 8000 series train of the JR 予讃線(JR Yosansen), will run three round trip trains a day on which one can stow a fully assembled bike. This train runs between Imabari and Matsuyama.
This is being done in support of the event called 「瀬戸内しまのわ２０１４」which is being sponsored by Ehime and Hiroshima Prefectures. According to the official site, multiple events – including some cycling-themed – will be held to promote the “charm of the inland sea isles” ,「島々の魅力」(shimajima no miryoku).
In order to accommodate the bicycles, the smoking section of car 7 has been refashioned to allow for the stowage of two full size road or mountain bikes. Those who want to make use of this will need to purchase a reserved seat for themselves in car 8.
In addition, throughout the event timeline, JR Shikoku will also be offering rental bicycle bags at Matsuyama, Imabari and Uwajima Stations for 500 yen per day.