So I was sitting on the platform this morning waiting for my train, watching a little mini-drama unfold on the train before mine. Two cyclists were trying to get on the Windsor and Eton Riverside train, complete with their two bikes. No problem there – they were trying to use the special carriage set aside for the purpose with the space for two bikes and the notice to that effect on the door. I was watching with interest because I’ve often wondered what would happen if someone tried to put a bike in that space. It’s in the side of the carriage next to the toilets and some bright spark decided to also include some flip-down seats for people to sit on when there aren’t any bikes. Which people, being people, always do. In order for the bikes to take their rightful place on the train the people have to move. This train now had two people in the flip-down seats, one bike already on board, two more getting on and a standoff.
I can’t swear to the dialogue because I wasn’t on the train myself, just watching through the window as it got ready to depart but the conversation appeared to go like this:
First cyclist: (much waving and pointing at other, less attractive seats) Why can’t you sit over there?
First passenger: (folds arms, frowns, looks pointedly at other passengers sitting in the offered seats) They all look as though they smell. And it’s too near the bogs. But if you insist …
(grudgingly gets up and goes and sits in other seats. Second passenger doesn’t move)
Second cyclist: (also waving and pointing at the other less attractive seats) Look he moved, why can’t you move? It’s only you who’s holding us up now.
Second passenger: (headphones in ears, staring determinedly at his copy of the Metro, ignoring all cyclists) La la la la, I can’t hear you
Second cyclist: (resting bike on second passenger’s knees) Mind if I just rest my bike on your knees then?
Pips: pip pip pip pip peeeeep
At that point the train left, and I wasn’t able to see whether it came to blows or not. I’m guessing yes. But getting on board to watch it to the end would have made me late for work and I’m not that dedicated to gathering material for this blog. And besides, the train was by now rather full of bikes and there wouldn’t have been room for me.
Guards’ vans. Remember those?