So I’ve been riding my bike to work off and on, and I have this system worked out where I ride the bus partway, through the leg of the journey that is both hilly and squirrelly (including where I nearly got hit last month). And if it’s really raining, and I can’t take riding my bike in the rain, I can actually ride the bus the whole way from work to home.
It’s been good.
Today, when I got off work, it was spitting and the wind was blowing, and I thought, goddamn I don’t feel much like riding in this. I went to the bus stop, and the bus pulled up, and I tossed my bike on the front rack like I always do.
The bus driver said, “can you get that back wheel more into the rack?” Because my bike it a hair longer than your average mountain bike, it’s always taken a bit of finesse to seat it properly in the rack. So I tweaked into place, and she still thought it wasn’t really fitting, and that it wasn’t safe.
She called her supervisor. He met the bus at the Lacey Transit Center (about halfway home), and he hemmed and hawed and took pictures. He said, like she did, that it was for safety and they wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to fall off. They didn’t want to be liable for it, basically. He took my contact info, and let me, my bike, and the bus continue on.
I rode the bus the rest of the way to the stop by my house, and as I was getting onto the bike to cross the road, the supervisor’s van pulled up. He’d talked to his supervisor, and that guy said, no, she can’t put her bike on our bus racks. I said that I’ve owned this bike three years (exact time: 2 years 9 months, IIRC) and put it on their buses all the time, and never had a problem. That I regularly ride the bus with that bike, that’s how I commute most of the time. I even gave him the route number of the bus I usually take, since I know that most of those drivers would recognize me and my bike.
He said he’d give the photos to his boss’s boss (tomorrow, I think) and they’d make a decision.
So I rode the rest of the way home, in what turned out to be some impressively nasty rain, and C wasn’t home. (Out running errands.) Then I burst into tears. Sobbing, crazy, frantic crying. (The last straw in a long tired week.) I did manage to calm myself down — mostly by taking a shower — and then got my composure together enough to send a pleasant but slightly indignant letter to the transit company.
Here I am. I don’t know if I’ll know anything by Monday. I really, really, really, really want to keep riding the bus with my bike. Basically, not having that option really fucks things up for my regular commute. I’m not quite yet at the place where I can do that whole bike ride both ways. Even before the accident, I was only doing 3/4 of the route by bike, so I wouldn’t be too exhausted when I got home. And if I don’t have the option of riding the bus, then either I give up biking altogether on marginal days like today — when the morning was perfect weather — or I deal with being totally blind in the rain.
(Not even mentioning summertime, and all those treks to the Farmers’ Market, and not really being up to hauling that much stuff uphill in August.)
And y’all know how much I rely on my bike; it’s been a weirdly central aspect of my mental health these last couple of years. Right now, it feels like the transit people are trying to take that away from me, even if it has nothing to do with that from their POV.
Keep your fingers crossed for me.