Journal of a mature, non-Olympic woman in the process of converting to cycling as a method of daily transportation. Dealing with weather and assorted perils; exploring equipment, psychological fortitude, and diet; experiencing our surroundings on a smaller, closer scale; saving gas & boycotting the car industry.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Frequent Light Rail User Weighs in on Proposed Solution
OK everybody! I'm in the newspaper: my opinion about riding the MAX and how to fix it. You can read it here. You'll see it's really tame compared to some of the stuff I've written here, but it sure isn't my purpose to scare the general public away from using the MAX.
Forget anything bad I've ever said about the MAX and just GET ON IT. That is what will help. Please note that I have not been murdered. I really haven't had any harmful behavior directed specifically at me except for the occasional verbal abuse in response to my occasional POLITE attemps at the behavioral modification of other riders. And then if you consider peeing on the platform and in the elevator harmful, you can count that too. But....change is a'comin! Read all about it.
I recently had a little chat with Trimet on the phone. After my third incidence of bus-driver melt-down over bringing my bike on board -- yes, I am indeed talking about my Brompton foldable -- I felt I had to inform them about their own policies. I received a positive response from the person who took my call when I suggested introducing the topic at their next staff meeting. She sounded completely enthusiastic about the idea and I have no doubt she'll see to it.
As you know, I usually use the MAX train, in combination with my bike. Lately there was some construction going which Tri-met dealt with by providing shuttle buses that ferried passengers past those areas. All the people would disembarked from the train and run over to a waiting bus which then took them to where they could pick up the train again and continue their trip.
To my shock, when I would wheel up to the door of the bus and prepare to fold, I was met with wild protestations from the driver!
Here's a composite of the way it's been going:
Driver: You can't bring that bike on! Me: It's ok, I'm going to fold it down. [I flip the back wheel under.] Driver: Nope! Sorry. NO BIKES on the bus. Me: But wait! [I'm unscrewing the middle bolt.] It folds way down! [I swing the front wheel to the back.] Driver: I don't care what it does, NO BIKES ON THE BUS! Me: What do you mean? [I push the seat all the way down on its post.] This exact bike has been advertised on the side of tri-met buses! [I'm unscrewing the handlebar hinge.] Driver: Yeah, well I haven't seen that. Me: That's because you're always IN the bus. You can only see it if you're outside the bus. [by now I've collapsed it all the way down now, to its foldup size of a large typewriter.] Driver: OK, so now where do you think you're going to put it? Me: I'm going to keep it right next to me, just like a baby stroller, only much MUCH smaller. Driver: Yeah, well what if everybody gets one of those? Me: That would be a good thing. Tri met wants people to buy these. Really! I'm not making this up! If you call Trimet security right now, they won't come.
In each instance, I boarded the bus anyway. I don't like to be a smarty pants or anything... however..... since I knew without doubt that I was right, I made an exception and flouted authority.
I did not get kicked off. No one called security. But like I said, I later called Tri-Met to inform them of the discrepancy and they said they'd take care of it. Good grief, I don't want to have to do battle every time I board a bus. One driver even said I'd have to put it on the front rack. Can you imagine? That would be like trying to pick up a baby with a forklift.
I guess the drivers don't read about Trimet in the papers. If they did, they would've seen that foldups have been frequently mentioned as a great solution.
"She's no spring chicken," my mother would disclose mercilessly about women in their thirties trying to impersonate youth. Now, I'm even past the no-spring-chicken age. So don't think you have to be 12 to start riding a bike everywhere. I'm working out all the pesky details for you in case you want to do this yourself. But even if you never do it, you'll still know what it's like because I'm going to shrink you down to the size of a little rubber elf and glue you onto my handlebars. No changing your mind, no matter how much you beg me. So don't even start this unless you're sure you have the guts.
PS: My other bike is a broom.