my bike is on the train (please get off my back)

My bike is on the train. Sorry (not sorry).

Reasons why my bike is on the train:

  • I got doored on my way to work, went to work, and now need to get home with the bike I can no longer ride. Also I can’t walk, because I got doored.
  • My 20 minute meeting went for 60 minutes, and now I’m running very late for the next one.
  • My helmet has gone missing, and I don’t want to ride without it.
  • My lights have gone flat, and it’s night.
  • I would really rather be cycling right now, I promise.
  • I’m tired.
  • I’m Liz, and my arthritis is playing up.
  • I’m going quite some distance (like, 300 kilometres) and I’m super not keen on cycling that far.
  • It is really fucking windy right now.
  • It’s Melbourne, and that bright sunlight we had five minutes ago has turned into torrential rain.
  • Look, I’m just going these few stations to get past that hill, stop judging me.
  • I want to be.

**

Last week I got on a train with my bike: my meeting ran very late and I went from having the opportunity for a lovely 15 km ride to desperately needing to get into town.

A dude bitched at me about my beautiful bike being on the train, and damn fucking right I bitched back. Another woman with a bike got on the train. She didn’t bitch back. When we were all making to disembark, he was like ‘at least you’re not being like one of those angry cyclists,’ to her, as I walked past. And in the 20 minutes on the train, my anger had calmed, then rose again, delightfully.

I moved out of the way when the train filled up. There is only so small I can make myself, dickhead.

**

Cyclist etiquette for bike on a train

  • Never in the front carriage (that’s where the people who need assistance go — don’t take space from wheelchairs, peeps!).
  • Preferably in one of those carriages with long seats.
  • Don’t get into fights, I guess. I mean, I’m pretty flexi on this one, I get into fights on the train all the time.
  • In Melbourne, there are no actual time restrictions, but avoid peak hour in peak hour directions? This is hard, obviously. In Perth you can’t travel in a peak hour direction (ie, into the CBD between 7 and 9), or into Perth station, with your bike (the latter means you have to get off the train at McIver and ride to West Perth, urgh worst).  Likewise, last time Liz cycled in Brisbane, bikes were not permitted during peak hour unless they were going against the flow.

**

Much like when we got ranty in reasons why i, a cyclist, this post is about being allowed to take up space. As cyclists, usually we’re claiming space on the roads (WHERE WE’RE ALLOWED TO BE), but sometimes we need to take space in cars and on trains (and, in some places, buses). I assume it’s about control and about guilt, but your opinion may vary. Please give it to me.

(Liz assumes it’s about people not knowing the rules, and assuming that bikes aren’t allowed.  Anywhere.  At all.)

(A random place where bikes are permitted: the pedestrian ramps over West Footscray Station.  Totally shared paths!  I guess because the station is one of the few places for a pedestrian or cyclist to cross the train lines now, but I still expected it to be “get off and push” territory.  If you dream of legitimately riding your bike on a rail overpass, get your cycle down to West Footers.  Yes, on a train.)

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One thought on “my bike is on the train (please get off my back)

  1. At least part of the issue with the trains in Perth is because the various state governments over the past couple of decades haven’t bothered to purchase anywhere near enough train carriages to be able to supply peak hour demand (and this goes about treble on the Fremantle, Midland and Armadale/Thornlie lines, where they’re primarily using the older rolling stock). So, for example, you could wind up catching a train at peak hour from Kwinana (on the Mandurah line, the fourth station out from the Mandurah terminus) and wind up standing all the way into town because all the seats had been taken. It was inevitable if you hopped on at Murdoch (two stations later) you’d be standing. Same sort of thing on the Fremantle Line (I used to board at Grant Street – 5th station out from Fremantle – and it was about 50:50 whether I’d be standing the whole way into town). Essentially, the carriages are purchased with an eye to off-peak usage, and at peak periods, everyone is expected to squeeze on and bear it.

    Oh, and the rule about “no bikes on peak hour services” is informally extended to wheelchair users as well – you should see the stink-eye wheelchair users get if they have the temerity to use a train in peak time, heading in the peak direction.

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