Friday, February 10, 2012
I have a Brompton folding bike. I've mentioned it before. I ride to the station fold it up, go on the train with it then ride it at the other end. Hundreds of people do it daily coming into Charing Cross.
When I first bought it, I would carefully fold it up outside Charing Cross station, carry it through the barriers and then carry it all the way up the platform and then on the train. This made my arm hurt.
Then I realised that other cyclists wheeled their machines up the platform and folded them up before getting on the train. So I gave it a try.
Not only was it a lot easier on my arm but the people manning the ticket barrier would say a cheery good morning and give me and the other cyclists a smile. It made the day a little nicer.
None of us rode our bikes on the platform. We didn't get in the way of any other passengers. We caused no problems.
Tonight was different. Tonight I was greeted by a very officious pair of guards who insisted I fold my bike before I could go through the gate. I asked why but they ignored me.
I don't think I would have minded so much if they asked me to fold it politely and give some sort of reason. The words were polite, barely, but the tone was not. They talked to me in a very condescending tone like I was a village idiot trying to lead an explosive cow through the gate.
I did not feel like I was being treated like a human being. An explanation or even an "I'm sorry sir but we no longer allow unfolded bikes on the platform" would have helped but "you've got to fold that" with no reason just isn't good enough.
We will see what happens Monday.