Monday, June 16, 2014

Biking to the Fairgrounds

Last weekend, we biked to the county fairgrounds.

Sort of.

Last fall/winter, it was decided that bikes are allowed on BART at all times, if the cars are not crowded. I assumed I'd never be able to bring my bike on because it's 7 feet long and definitely not something I could carry on the stairs. But I wanted to try.

To enter my knitting into the county fair, I had to take it to the fairgrounds on one of two days. Now, I could rent a Zipcar, but I thought it would be fun to try to bike. I was also thinking we'd bike over to Livermore after going to Pleasanton (where the fairgrounds are), but we ended up not doing that.

I have a friend who has a Madsen in Dublin and I asked her about bringing her bike on BART. She said that the elevators in Pleasanton would be able to accommodate it, but she couldn't vouch for other BART stations. So there was hope!

First, we headed downtown. At the first BART station (19th Street), we discovered the elevators were too small. Then we tried the 12th street station, where they were also too small. There was one more station nearby, so we biked over to the Lake Merritt Station. Also, too small.

But there's a secret about me that's not too secret: if I think I can do it, I probably will do it. And I was going to get that bike into that elevator.

So I did. My 7 foot 70 pound cargo bike is somewhat vertical here.


Funny thing: I got myself stuck behind the bike in such a way that I could not push the button to go down into the BART station. I went with my bike first, then my husband and kids pushed the button so they could get the elevator when I was done. It opened the door and look! They saw me there! So they pushed the button for me and I got the bike down the first elevator! The people doing Tai Chi in the BART station loved my bike (and my kids).

We paid for our tickets and had to find the next elevator to go from the ticket area down to the tracks. And when we found it, we discovered we were the luckiest people in the world. The bike fit in this elevator!

 So we got onto the BART and rode to Pleasanton. The bike kind-of fits in the "bike parking" spot on the BART.


Biking in Pleasanton is... not nice. It's very suburban so the people aren't used to seeing bikes, even though we rode in bike lanes almost the whole time. In suburbia biking is more often recreational activity and not a commuting activity. I saw lots of people biking on sidewalks, which we rarely see here (and is illegal at least in Berkeley).

But we got to the Fairgrounds and here's a selfie in front of the building that my knitting now sits in.

It had been a long day and the day before, we started dog-sitting for a friend of mine. McKay was worried about the dogs being alone while we were gone, so our plans to go to Livermore were ditched and we came home.

On the way home, someone was sitting in the seats by the bike priority area, so the back end stuck out into the doors a lot more than on the way there.

Someone had told us they thought the Ashby BART would have larger elevators than the Oakland ones, so we switched BART trains to go up to Berkeley. On this train, no one was in the seats by the bike area, and our bike actually did fit and did not stick out into the door area.

Group selfie on the BART

Linda was being cute. That's McKay's bike next to mine.

Babies dig the BART.

When we got off at Ashby, we found the elevator: too small. We let other people go while we tried to figure out what to do. Suddenly, the service elevator opened up behind us and lo! The bike fit! If we BART with our bike again, I now know to bike to the Ashby BART. I need to learn if any of the San Francisco BART elevators can accommodate me. If they can, then a whole new world of adventures will open up to us.

I'd love to take the BART to SF and bike the Golden Gate Bridge.

Anybody know if the SF BART elevators can fit long cargo bikes?

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to see your knitting at the fair!

    ReplyDelete

Please review my blog comment policy here before commenting. You may not use the name "Anonymous." You must use a Google Account, OpenID, or type in a name in the OpenID option. You can make one up if you need to. Even if your comment is productive and adding to the conversation, I will not publish it if it is anonymous.