Here at Londonist, we haven’t been shy about our support for cycling. Getting exercise while avoiding the congestion charge or mass transit is definitely positive. But there are some who need to take mass transit in order to get into London – or have an impossibly long journey and need to take the Tube part of the way – and cycle from that point on. We salute these efforts, but not everyone is so thrilled with sharing their commuting space with bicycles.
Folding bikes have become hot tickets; they’re really easy to fold and unfold, you can take them on public transport or into the pub with you, and they have their own set of followers that just dig the style. But, tiny though they are, they still take up space on a train that could be occupied by a person.
Obviously there are no short-term solutions to this problem, but Londonist can think of a few to help the bicycle-free peacefully co-exist with the cycle clan. We ask cyclists with folders to please make sure their bikes aren’t obstructing seats or doors, and wait until you’ve cleared the train platform before you reassemble your bike. And non-cyclists, remember that there are plenty of rucksacks and briefcases on the trains that are bigger than folding bikes; don’t make a scapegoat of the guy wearing neon.
It could probably be argued that the bigger problem is that the trains are too crammed and there were no cycles then people would be directing their anger at their fellow commuter instead of their fellow commuter’s bike. For long term solutions, we should take advantage of the fact that Boris is himself a cycling fiend and lobby for changes to help cyclists and make the lives of non-cyclists less frustrating. Plenty of cities in Europe have bike racks on their trains, or allow bicycles on any train if you buy tickets for them.
TfL is still doing their bit to promote cycling (if not cycling culture), this time by giving a bike away. It’s not a folder, so you can’t take it on mass transit, but if you can get away with cycling for your entire journey, it’s pretty nice.
Image courtesy of thingermejig via the Londonist Flickrpool.