Bikes and public transport

And the first proper post is a very practical one.  I spend a lot of time cycling, and when I go longer distances by train, I like to take my bike with me.  This can on occasion be a screaming nuisance.  Broadly speaking, local trains don’t require booking (and will usually have some variety of bike-space, of greater or less usability), but long-distance/Intercity trains do require booking.  Booking these days is free, but most of the online ticket sites don’t have a bike-booking option, which means either booking in person, booking by phone, or phoning up after you’ve bought the actual tickets (which can be… complicated, depending on who you speak to).

But!  There is good news amidst the confusion.  National Express East Coast have an online ticket-booking service which does allow you to book your bike on when you book your ticket.  They sell tickets for all trains, not just the ones they run, and the system, whilst Javascripty, is actually very usable.*  Highly recommended when you and your bike want to get somewhere.

Whilst on the subject of bikes and public transport, two questions:
1. Is there a good reason why the old-fashioned guard’s van (with lots of room for bikes and other bulky objects) can’t be brought back on modern trains?
2. Whilst in San Francisco a few months ago, I noticed that MUNI buses have bike-racks on the front (explanatory video also available).  This is a genuinely awesome thing.  I find myself wondering: are these things fittable post-hoc?  Could London’s buses (and other UK buses) be fitted with them? 

* I can’t comment on disability-usability issues – would be interested to know if anyone else can. 

activism, permaculture

An introduction

Of late, I have found myself wanting to write about a certain class of thing.  About the ways in which the world isn’t the place I want it to be; about the ways in which individuals can act to change that.  Right now I’m spending a lot of time thinking about environmental issues and climate change, but that broadens out very quickly, into considering the structural problems which have led us to the difficult and dangerous situation we are in today, and where we might want to be instead.

This blog is a space for practical tips: on cycling, and gardening, and reducing your own impact on the planet.  It’s a space for thinking about the issues: what is the deal with carbon trading?  It’s a space for thinking and talking about structural alternatives: how do we as a society make decisions, act collectively, talk to one another, and how else (how better) might these things be done?  It’s time to empower ourselves, through knowledge and skills, to create the changes we want to see in the world.