Public Viewing of Metro North Bike Hooks this Friday

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EJaffe
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Thanks Steve Bauman for passing along  ......
 
There will be a public viewing of prototype Metro North Bike Hooks at Grand Central this coming Friday between 11am and 1pm.
 
Location of viewing:  Track 27, upper level.
 
MTA will be collecting public response at:  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/mta-bike
 
"There's funding for purchasing and installing these bike hooks on the New Haven line, as opposed to the rest of the MTA. If they do work, there will be pressure to install them on all the MTA commuter fleet."
             
arvi
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I like the idea of them

I like the idea of them making formal accomodations for bikes, but if there are just two bike spots on a handful of cars and we confined to those spots, I worry it might greatly reduce the effective bike capacity of MNR.

CWaaser
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I went to the demonstration

I went to the demonstration this morning and made the following observations: the Type A hook is easier to use but does not allow for a rear rack or panniers; the Type B hook allows for a rear rack and small panniers (though there's not enough room for anything large), but it is more difficult to use.  It requires using one hand to push the bike aside while using the other hand simultaneously to press a release button and to pull the security bar down, then release the bike back into position and lock the bar into the V of the down tube/seat tube joint.  Neither system is easy if you have a heavy bike and you're small and/or not strong.

I spoke with a MetroNorth official about our concern that capacity might be limited to the number of hooks on a train.  He said the bike rules wouldn't change, so whatever number we're permitted to bring on now, we could bring on in the future.  However, I'm not sure any real thought was put into this or that there will be any communication to the conductors.  Also, according to the rules, there's always a 15 bike limit, even on bike trains.  This is waived when the Club's MetroNorth liaison notifies them that we have a big ride using a train; they frequently put an extra car on one end of the train just for bikes.

They will be running a prototype service test on the New Haven line thru November 13.  I suggest as many people as possible try out the hooks and fill out the survey on Survey Monkey (see link in Ellen's post at the top of this thread).  There is a place in the survey for comments and additional feedback.  That's the place to note that, while it's great to have a place to secure our bikes, we don't want any diminishment of bicycle capacity on the weekend bike trains for larger group rides.  And perhaps our MetroNorth liaison (Hank, is that still you?) can have a discussion with Kyle (is she still our liaison at the railroad?).

Test trains are as follow:

Weekdays:

9:10 a.m.              GCT to Stamford

11:30 a.m.           Stamford to GCT

3:10 p.m.             GCT to Stamford

5:05 p.m.             Stamford to GCT

8:05 p.m.             Stamford to GCT

9:37 p.m.             GCT to New Haven

 

Saturday/Sunday:

10:56 a.m.           New Haven to GCT

1:37 p.m.             GCT to Stamford

4:03 p.m.             Stamford to GCT

6:07 p.m.             GCT to New Haven

HSchiffman
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bike racks
Hi Carol,
Trains on the Hudson line have bathroom cars that have a large storage wall which accommodate bicycles so nicely. This works out well for those rides ending in stations on the order of Peekskill, Garrison, Cold Spring, Beacon and Poughkeepsie. A plus to this arrangement is that the group gets to ride back to NYC together in the same car. Unfortunately, something is lost in trains that can only accommodate 2 or 4 bikes per car. Until NYCC buys Metro North, or has the uber-clout to alter these dynamics, we eat the food that comes out of the kitchen. The forced choice is either column A or column B. 
 
The bright side of this issue is that Metro North is addressing the of storage of non-folding bikes on their trains. From my perspective, the more important train rider is not the recreational rider, rather the commuter. Like all smart services in our nation, Metro North has stepped forward to accommodate the needs of its users. Cycling in America will prosper more from increased commuters than recreational users. Getting bike paths to terminate at train stations, standing for all cycling, both recreational and commuting, as in feeding back to Metro North the better of the 2 options towards daily commuting cyclists, developing a more ethics based code of cycling road usership (a tip of the hat to Randy), and using the bully pulpit of NYCC to encourage ease of cycling in our hunting grounds should eventually loop back to a greater accommodation of bicycles for all types of riders on trains by Metro North. If this should come to pass, NYCC's membership will swell and the contemporary Metro North trains will reflect this arithmetic.
 
Metro North has been a great partner with NYCC in extending our reach. They are always willing to oblige our requests for space on their trains but it is only on exceptional occasions when they need to add cars for bikes. When they do go to the trouble of adding cars for our rides the onus is on us to fill those cars with riders, be realistic as to the number of riders we expect, and stay one step ahead of weather forecasts in keeping Metro North up to date in any changes up to the last minute; not always possible on the verge of a weather event late in the day on a Friday.
 
To all cyclists: Each bike rider on a train is an ambassador to the whole cycling community. Respect railroad personal and understand that the greatest transgression a cyclist can make is to delay the train.
 

OT: To the writers of the 4 letters to the NY Times today, in which 3 out of the 4 letters cast a negative opinion on cycling in NYC: Their problem is not bicycles, rather rude people who happen to be riding a bicycle.happen to be on a bicycle. These are ethical issues.

 

 

CWaaser
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Hank, I agree with you.  When

Hank, I agree with you.  When Karin and I returned from our 6 day light-loaded tour last Tuesday, we took the train from Wassaic, having ridden the Harlem Valley Rail Trail down from Millerton.  There was no easy place to secure our bikes, especially given the added bulk & weight of our bags & panniers.  These hooks would have been very helpful.  For commuters, they'll be great (although there's still the question of which is more important - ease of use or the capacity to accommodate a rack & bag).  I was simply addressing the concern that the weekend bike trains would start to be limited by the hooks.  Hopefully that will not be the case.

As for the letter writers, I defy any of them to swear they have never crossed a Manhattan street against the light or jaywalked midblock.  The problem is, they think because they are on foot, they are always the most vulnerable road user.  They don't realize that the illegal things they do as pedestrians also put cyclists in danger.  So if we are to tame the chaos of the city streets, ALL roadusers will have to take their share of responsibility.

_Vojtech
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If they set them up right you

If they set them up right you would hang the bikes one with the front up, the next with the rear up. You can get them closer together and fit more in the same space.

As I recall, TA had some info on their site on fitting bikes into little space. They could adapt some of their ideas.

UKNY
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The old way

Check out this Vid to see how British Rail used to do it..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyz5d3entBw&feature=related

AMarcus
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That was an enjoyable video

- a couple of quotes from it:

"a cycle tour without a map is like new potatoes without the smell of mint"

(new potatoes and mint?  I'll have to try it.)

". . . between people of all ages, ranks, and stations, who rediscover their common humanity in finding countryside, exercise, and companionship all in one." 

(not a bad summation of the club experience)
 
 
 
 
UKNY
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My favorite thing

My favourite thing about the video is the clothing people are wearing, all wool sweaters and knickers.

BTW as a follow up to what Arvi said, if you look carefully at the part where they are hanging the bikes in the rail car you can see that the hooks are at a staggered height. Thus allowing the bikes to all be hung from the front wheel yet still closely together.