Heading home last night I spotted a new blue print of a bicycle on the wall of one of the BART cars. I wheeled my Xtracycle into that car and parked it in the new stretched out ‘Bike Space’. It was as if it were made for my Xtracycle. On other BART cars, my rig sticks halfway into the doorway, which can slow other passengers down at stops. Usually I try to avoid commute hours and tuck the bike in as much as possible, but with the new layout, I won’t have to.
The new design removes one seat from the train, allowing full leg room for the passenger sitting by my front wheel and full access to passengers at the door. Commuting by BART had never been stressful with my Xtracycle — the other passengers were always cool — but the new design makes it easier for every one. I also have to give it up for the non-carpeted floors. They feel much more ‘subway’ and less ‘commuter rail’.
This cool improvement to BART’s design is probably the result of some hard-working bicycle advocate working within or with BART. And these types of practical improvements — bike lanes, parking, public transit access — are exactly what traditional bike advocates do best. But focusing on practical improvements is only half of what it takes to grow our bicycle movement. We also need passionate bike culture heads to do the work they do so well — outreach.
Working together, Bike Culture’s outreach and traditional bicycle advocacy’s hard-fought improvements are a powerful combination that can grow and sustain the bicycle movement.