Mind the gap it says. He sniggered. What gap? When he got on this morning, there wasn’t a gap to be seen (on the train at least). He had stood with his bike, nervously squeezing his grips among the swelling congregation. It’s the sideward glances he doesn’t like. The ‘Don’t think for one moment you’re going to stand anywhere near me with that thing’ type of glance. Being a cyclist on a commuter train is a sure-fire route to community outcast. You can’t blame them, he thought. They have a right to space, like I have a right to take my bike. We’re all victims of the system that plays at sustainability. Bring a bike! (but don’t provide carrying space). Ditch your car! (but present scant alternative). It’s going to take a while to change this, he mused, but not beyond the wit of man. Still…… for tonight, I’m the king of the transport system. The Lord of the empty platform. The Earl of the vacant train. There’s oodles of room at 22.50. No wheels nudging trousers legs. No handlebars to the gullet. And even better than that, the train delivers me to my destination so no concentration required. None. Zip. Nada. Read a book. Catch up on messages. Sit in comfort and relax whilst I gaze at my bike beneath the window. Hop off at central. Cycle to my front door to finish.
Observation based on the experiences of two people; one going to Bristol Temple Meads from Cardiff early morning and one returning late at night. Our late night traveller had the far better deal.