Tour de Farce

I don’t know what was up with the trains today and apparently neither did anyone else – Silverlink’s new found communication skills having evaporated under the pressure. The platform at Hackney this morning was packed as though a train had been cancelled but once we’d all piled on, beaten, stripped and left for dead the guy who was blocking the aisle (I can dream, can’t I? No, we all just meekly squeezed passed him like good commuters) and got as far as Camden Road, there was practically nobody waiting on the westbound platform.

Then this evening the driver of the District line train which was stuck at the platform at Kew Gardens decided to pass the time by announcing that Silverlink was having problems and we should all get his train to Gunnersbury and wait there. Sure enough when we got to Gunnersbury there was a Silverlink waiting … just long enough for us to see it disappear off towards Richmond instead of turning around as advertised. By the time it had made the round trip to Richmond and back it was packed with all the canny commuters who’d stayed at Kew Gardens and got first dibs on the seats.

During all this chaos I did at least get the chance – as I was gazing idly out of the window at some station or other waiting for the train to move – to read, indeed practically memorise, Silverlink’s Cycle’s policy. This, boiled down to its essentials, can be summarised as: ‘In the rush hour, don’t even think about it.’ Which you would think would hardly need stating, as the laws of physics alone suggest that trying to get something as unwieldy as a bicycle onto a packed commuter train isn’t going to work. Yet this evening there were not one but two bicycles in the carriage I was in. Not only that but the second cyclist proceeded to be extremely rude and offensive to a woman who was trying to get past him and his bike and onto the train. Believing her not to speak English, he started swearing right in her face, pushing his bike towards her and making comments about her to the other passengers. Is it something in the lycra? Anyway, if anyone deserved to be left for dead by the side of the track it was him, but we all just confined ourselves to the odd disapproving look and tried to ignore him. One day …

Total time wasted today: 22 minutes (and they were doing so well)
Total time wasted to date: 11 hours 12 minutes
No. of Silverlink days to go: 7


4 responses to “Tour de Farce

  1. Ah, the dreaded cyclist on the train. Not forgetting the new breed of cyclist; the one with the fold-away bike. These seem to get in the way *almost* as much, but I think the main reason they annoy me is because the riders look like fools when they hop on their high saddles and peddle like billy-o off into the distance.

  2. I always reckon with the folding bikes that their punishment is that they have to ride them…

  3. Jeepers, that’s one hell of a commute you’ve got. No wonder you’re disgruntled! What I can’t help wondering is, if these people have bikes why don’t they ride them and leave the trains clear? That is the point of a bike, isn’t it?

  4. Roger, you are talking madness. Here in Oxford the huge number of people walking their bikes around town rather than actually riding the bloody things is an intrinsic element of the city’s character.

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