Taking Your Bike For A Ride
By Tara R. McKee
Is your bicycle commute a little challenging? Do you need a little backup plan in case the weather takes a turn for the worse? Perhaps you’d really like to bike at least some of what is a very long commute. Public transportation can give you and your bicycle a little lift and shorten the distance home.
Transit systems throughout the United States are becoming more bike-friendly by the day. Bike racks have been put on the front of buses and space is set aside on trains and subway cars. At transit stations you’ll often find bike racks—and for even more security, bike lockers. In some US cities, you can even find full-service bike stations at a main transit station that provide secure, staffed parking, shower facilities, and even bike rental stations.
Even for the avid bicycle commuter, there are many reasons to have a public transit contingency plan: your boss wants you to stay late one night, maybe you feel like you are coming down with an illness, or you’d never realistically take your bicycle if you couldn’t use public transit for a portion of the journey. So, don’t just grab the car keys; consider what public transit can do for you. Buses, trains, subways, and yes, ferries are available as a means to help you and your bicycle get from here to there.
To help you become more at ease with taking your bicycle on public transportation, Cycle and Style has a few tips:
Buses: Loading your bicycle onto the rack takes only a few seconds (yes, really!) Most buses charge nothing for taking the bicycle.
When bus comes to a complete stop, walk the bike to the bicycle rack on the front of the bus.
Remove anything hanging loose on your bike. Pull the rack down and place the bike onto the rack according to the simple directions on the rack.
Sit near the front, and as you leave, remind the driver you will be taking your bike off.
Note: Most bus drivers will be willing and helpful if you need any assistance in putting your bike onto the rack for the first time.
Light Rail & Subways: Times are changing and more light rail and subway systems allow commuters to bring their bikes on board even during peak hours. A few commuter rail services even dedicate a few of their cars on each train for cyclists with their bicycle while others allow only 2-3 bicycles per car.
Ferries: If your commute includes a ferry ride, you can save money by bringing on your bicycle instead of a car. You’ll board with the pedestrians and store your bicycle in the place allotted on the ferry. If your work place isn’t far from the ferry docks, or you are getting on a bus, stock your panniers with your clothing, make-up and even curling irons. The bathrooms on (the Washington State) ferries are usually equipped with electrical outlets, mirrors and counter space for a little morning beauty routine.
(Thanks UTA for your help with this article!)