Caltrain Stories

Dear J-

There’s a lot of people riding the train (well, relatively speaking for SB102, which is usually pretty sparse given it leaves San Mateo around 0530), which is great and terrible: hooray for choosing the train, but now I don’t get to be so lazy and slap my bike on any old rack. So no, mostly great, then, I guess; anything to make the laziness decrease. There are just so many folks now, it’s remarkable, and hopefully most of them stick around and take more cars off the road but you end up seeing so many of them drop out in the weeks and months yet to come. I don’t generally like to talk about the folks I ride with, who are already probably pretty paranoid that I’m writing about them, but here’s a couple of stories.

After the Giants won the World Series — let’s see, that would be Thursday, the 30th — one guy who’s been riding regularly was on there alternately muttering and yelling “mother f-in Giants, mother f-in Madison Bumgarner; Madison Bumgarner, baby!” Turns out he was drunk (no surprise; he said he had drank until well past midnight) and on his way in to work for an hour or two, as he put it, just to talk shit to the Royals fans at work. First, I’m not aware of anyone on the Peninsula who’s not a Giants fan, so I’m pretty sure they were just trolling him. Second, I didn’t think that was necessarily a great idea: it’s dark, and you’re on a bicycle, drunk but I suppose the police might cast a blind eye on it given the celebrations that went on well into the night (we walked outside our door and watched fireworks in our neighborhood for a few minutes that night). And yeah, I haven’t seen him this week, either, so good luck to him.

Next story: in the afternoons we used to have the angry conductor; this guy would yell at the bike riders to just get on and sort out the bikes later, and he was darned efficient at it, too. It makes sense: get the bikes on and tie them up; if there’s bikes behind you, you know they’re anxious to get on the train even if you know rationally they’re not going to leave you behind on the platform. Last night I got down from my seat a stop early and pulled my bike off the rack because the people who get on at the stop before mine are, charitably speaking, idiots. First bike on the train: stop at each bike and check the tags when there’s open racks further to the back. If I don’t get down early, there’s a huge clot of bikes in the vestibule behind this guy and I can’t even get down to get to my bike. Come back, angry conductor; I miss you.

Mike

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