Posted by Alan on September 11, 2010
I am angry.
Pretty livid in fact, when really I should be calm and happy. Moments ago I got back from a short break in Sheringham on the North Norfolk coast where we went cycling. (Naturally the netbook and some milk were the first things unpacked – priorities!) It was lovely. I should be happy. But I am not.
First off, in Norwich I encountered my first anti-cyclist rage. Sworn at by a motorist because I happened to cross her path – she happened to be indicating to turn left into the ‘no entry’ street we were in and as she appeared to be slowing I figured I should get out of the way. Never quite sure about these motorists and if they will obey the rules. This got me an earful of abuse. Never mind, get to the station onto the London train all would be fine.
Sadly the last leg of the journey on the Chingford train up to the ‘stow was utter hell. We got on as soon as it was announced and tried our best not to be in the way, as much as you can with two adult sized bikes and fully laden pannier bags. As the train filled up, people piled in and managed to find seats around where we had our bikes. It didn’t help much that 2 families with huge prams also chose our section of the train to travel in – but we all managed to fit in.
By the time we got to Clapton, a couple with the man leading pipe up “she’s got to pass” and then proceed to argue about the fact that we are in the way. I protest that there is nowhere for me to go in a polite way but that still gets me called an arsehole and when the bloke decides to do the ‘gentlemanly thing’ and lift his significant other’s bag around my front wheel (which coincidently was twisted in such away not to block the gangway allowing people to walk past – but sadly, not enough space for wheely shopping bags) he deliberately swings it towards me in attempt to hit me. He missed me but felt the need to shout arsehole again much to the disgust of the families around me.
Next at St James’ St, a more mature (probably in their 60s) couple get on. I move my wheel round to allow them into the next bay of seats which are free. When they sit down, I overhear “tut, tut, bicycles – shouldn’t be allowed”. Luckily my better self did not rise to the bait. I noticed they were carrying Christian bookshop bags. Am I misled in believing that religious dogma usually carries with it understanding and tolerance?
Sure, the local trains around here are not designed for bikes. They don’t have spaces – that I’ve noticed in the few times I have used them before I wanted to take my bike places. It’s best guess when you get on as to whether that carriage might fill up. But come on people of London, is it really so hard to walk up one carriage if you see a compartment with bikes and prams in it? Surely that would be easier than just cramming on because you know door is where the exit is at your stop…