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wanted: someone with a big pair of scissors - helen-louise
wanted: someone with a big pair of scissors
I am suffering from a severe overabundance of red tape. The very short version of this is: the majority of the UK rail companies have a rule of "no tricycles" because of space - they are much wider than normal bikes. This seems fair enough most of the time, especially on suburban trains - in fact, cycles of any type are prohibited on peak hour services, unless folded and in a bag.

However, this rule applies at all times of day and night, including 6am on Saturday mornings and other such antisocial hours. How many people will be on the train at that time of day to be inconvenienced by it? I would be willing to do things like pay for a ticket for the tricycle, call them a minimum of 24 hours before I travel so they know about it and can dictate what train I'm allowed to be on, and travel at really obnoxious times of day when there won't be anyone else on the train: but they just say no. The DDA doesn't apply because I don't need the trike to travel. The crazy thing is if it was powered, I could claim it was a mobility scooter and then it would be allowed, even though it would be even bigger and take up even more space.

I just can't get my head round rules that are so inflexible, you can't even travel at obnoxious o'clock at the weekend, and even if I bought a ticket for the trike. That would be two extra fares they'd be getting on the obnoxious o'clock train that wouldn't usually be used. How is this ban in anyone's best interests? But remember, the head of one of the UK rail companies (Silverlink, iirc) actually said "I don't understand why people would take one form of transport and put it on another". So that's the kind of wrong-thinking we're dealing with, here.


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Current Mood: sad oppressed

11 comments or Leave a comment
thekumquat From: thekumquat Date: 9th June 2006 17:51 (UTC) (Link)
Stick a cover on it and claim it's a large parcel? Or call it a pram? It wouldn't have occurred to me to ask, so let's say you didn't and I doubt any guard will complain, should you ever see one.
baratron From: baratron Date: 9th June 2006 19:01 (UTC) (Link)
You'd be surprised. Check out South West Trains' list of restrictions: National Rail's cycling guide, A to B's summary of it. Half this problem arises because I live at Norbiton. It's extremely likely I'd be stopped from taking the trike on the train at the local station, let alone unloading it at Waterloo.
karen2205 From: karen2205 Date: 9th June 2006 18:30 (UTC) (Link)
The DDA doesn't apply because I don't need the trike to travel.

Maybe it does. The DDA requires that organisations make reasonable adjustments so that you can access the same service a person without your disability could. Someone who could ride a bike would be able to take his/her bike on the train. For you to be able to access the same service ie. of travelling somewhere carrying another means of transport for use at the other end, you need to be able to take a tricycle. Indeed, by permitting mobility scooters, they've already conceded the point - people with a different disability who need to be able to carry their own means of transport for use at their destination can do so, so why can't you?

It's certainly worth a stern letter making that point, with the hope that on being threatened with a DDA claim they'll be a bit more sensible and concede the point.
baratron From: baratron Date: 9th June 2006 19:12 (UTC) (Link)
I am under the impression that other people have tried making this point before and failed. When I finally get round to joining the Tricycle Association, I may meet other people who've done this battle, and maybe en masse we might achieve something. If I can acquire sufficient motivation, I will lobby my local council and MP and the London Assembly and Ken...

Then again, they might all be like the tricycle manufacturers I rang up today, none of whom could understand why I'd want to take it on the train, rather than putting it in the boot of a car :/ The whole idea of "human power to avoid greenhouse gas emissions" seemed a bit of a novel concept to the cycle companies :/

I'm *trying* to acquire a tricycle that folds in width to avoid this whole problem, but only one exists on the UK market, and I'm not convinced about the position of the luggage rack. I'm trying to find engineers to work on the problem for me - either to retrofit an existing tricycle to fold, or to attack the problem of the luggage rack positioning on the Di Blasi. But this is rather dependent on finding somewhere that has one in stock that I can get to, because I'm buggered if I'm paying £900 for something without a decent test run.

Plus, it's still a problem, because unless I'm allowed to take it on the train semi-folded and finish folding it in the doorway, I won't be able to lift it onto the train. Because I can't lift 20kg of mass without wheels to help bump it up (the most I can safely carry is about 5kg). Gah. It's all too complicated.

I'm still bloody angry with the woman from one custom cycle manufacturer that I'll leave unnamed in a public post, who told me point blank that I wouldn't be able to afford a custom trike, without knowing anything about my income or ability to pay. Actually, I was already aware of the price before I rang. And, frankly, £2500 isn't that much considering that it would last as long as I do, and the difference it would make to my life. Well, whatever. Don't take my business, and insult me while you're at it.
lovingboth From: lovingboth Date: 9th June 2006 18:52 (UTC) (Link)
I'd make an interesting looking box, attach it to the trike and claim it was the motor.
ailbhe From: ailbhe Date: 9th June 2006 20:06 (UTC) (Link)
We've brought the trike on trains - Rob brought it from Paddington to Reading and we brought it from Henley to Reading, involving a change at, er, somewhere beginning with T, where we were helped by a member of staff to get it over the bridge.
baratron From: baratron Date: 10th June 2006 01:36 (UTC) (Link)
I'm wondering if there's a difference because yours gets interpreted as a baby buggy, or something. Do you know which train company you used? It doesn't really help me much - any train travel I do has to involve South West Trains at least at the beginning and end, but it's interesting that they ignored the rule there.

Out of interest, where did yours come from?
ailbhe From: ailbhe Date: 10th June 2006 08:30 (UTC) (Link)
Bought at Velorution, it's a Christiania Light with child seat.

It doesn't look anything like a baby buggy, but it does excite sympathetic amusement, so that probably helps.

The train company was [pause to ask Rob] First Great Western Link. First Great Western Intercity were quite willing to take the trike (or the individual staff were) but it wouldn't physically go through the door in the guards van or whatever that bit is called.
ailbhe From: ailbhe Date: 10th June 2006 08:31 (UTC) (Link)
Just thought, we with Rob got a lot more sympathy moving the trike onto trains than I'm used to with a buggy.
From: judiff Date: 10th June 2006 15:42 (UTC) (Link)
i've been like wondering if there's some way of tricylising a normal bike, well it would prolly be more like quadricylising with very big stabilisers. My Dad did find a mediumed-sized-childs bike with good stabilsers for me when it got like obvious that riding a normal bike was going to be a probelem for me and it was cool (i dint ride it near people who would laugh). I know that like stabilisers are like all discouraged for normal kids now (they are suposed to learn to balance on bikes without peddles first instead) but there might be something out there for adults with mobility/nurological issues and stuff? And i think it would maybe take up less space and be easyer to fold than a standard trike
baratron From: baratron Date: 11th June 2006 00:20 (UTC) (Link)
You can buy adult stabilisers, but it isn't going to work for me - too many speed bumps and hills to deal with just on the roads round here, let alone off-road, which is what I really like doing. Tree roots sticking out and bumping the ground up causes me mild peril even now on the trike with the experience I have - I just don't think I could ever get comfortable enough on a bike to deal with that sort of thing.

I'm pretty sure the Di Blasi should work for me, and even if it's not perfect I know enough engineering geeks to sort it out - but it's annoying that I have to go to so much effort to be able to take my cycle on the train when other people who ride two-wheelers can just turn up and go. But I'm too emotionally tired to try to fight the battle.
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