Public Transport + Cycling = Great… Unless The Bike Rack is Full!

A typical LA Metro Bus: Equipped with a bicycle rack that can hold just two bicycles.

So there I am.  I just finished a fun session at the rings. I am with my bicycle and want to go home with the bus because I’m totally exhausted and don’t want to bike 10 miles.  I look at the time and I see there’s about five minutes left until the last bus comes by.

I pack up my Ortlieb pan­niers, straddle my bicycle and get going. I get barely 20 feet away and much to my surprise I see a dear friend of mine who I had introduced the rings to just last week and it was so nice to see him back on his own (signs of an addiction). I give him a hug and say it’s great to see you but I have to catch the bus and I have just a couple minutes left to do it.

He understood, we parted ways and I got to the bus stop very quickly.

I was feeling so thankful that this bus was gonna get me home because it was completely dark and I was feeling very drained.

The bus arrives. And lo and behold, the bike rack is full. The driver, per the law can’t (and doesn’t) allow me to bring the bike in the bus.

The bus leaves. So there I am. Feeling stranded, 10 miles from home and I start ranting in my head:

  • My little Mini Cooper has a trunk rack that can carry TWO bicycles.
  • This metro bus that can accommodate 50+ people, has a bike rack that could carry just TWO bicycles.

Where is the sense in that???

I was standing there wondering what I would have done if my bike was broken?  Walk 10 miles?  Hitch Hike?

Coming from someone who always used to drive to get places, I could say that commuting by public transportation and bicycle is a blissful experience. I highly recommend everyone try replacing their regular commute, at least once a week with it.

But what’s going to happen as more people discover the joy of cycling?  Are the bike racks always going to be full? Are people going to get frustrated when they are full and revert back to their cars?

DEAR LA Metro: Please anticipate the rise in cyclists and make these changes:

First of all, please install racks that could accommodate as many bikes as possible!  Two is a joke!  I could easily picture the current design being able to hold four bikes without the rack getting in the drivers line of sight when it’s put up.

Currently, if the bike rack is full, their policy says you should wait for the next bus.  The problem is for me that the next bus for me was at 4:00am.

So I propose this very reasonable policy:

  1. If the bicycle rack is full, and the bus is not to full capacity with passengers (there is sufficient space to hold a bike without impeding other passengers), the passenger will be allowed to take the bike on the bus.
  2. The bicycle will only be allowed in the front portion of the bus in the wheelchair area if the space is free.
  3. The passenger will be required to stand with their bicycle to secure it.
  4. The bicycle rack must be full in order for the passenger to take the bicycle on the bus.

What do you think of that? Isn’t that much more fair and realistic?  You know I do.

So anyway, how did my night end?  Well, obviously I quickly realized my only option to get home was to bike home, but I didn’t feel like rushing at all, since I was quite exhausted.  I decided to get some food and went back to the rings to relax and surprised my friend who I had to say hi/bye to in a flash.

Turns out, he was going to be leaving to NYC the day after and be gone for a very long time, so in the end, we were both elated the bus couldn’t take me.  I always gotta find the blessings in disguise. That silver lining. Perception is everything.

Follow Up / Update / Part Deux

Success with getting my bicycle on the bus in LA even when the bike rack is full