RAILWAYS AND CYCLISTS
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES
After 17 years of cycling, during which period I have toured in most parts of the British Isles and many parts of the Continent, I have come to the conclusion that the best method of dealing with bicycles on the railways is the Continental system; they must be treated as luggage to be dealt with by the railway company’s staff and not the passenger; they should be handed in at the parcels office not less than ten minutes before the starting time of the particular train the owner wishes them to go by. The railway company would then have ample time to see them properly sorted as to their destinations and safely packed, an extra luggage van being added to the train, if the number of machines require it. This would not only secure safer carriage of the cycles with less trouble to their owners, but would also save a large amount of annoyance to the ordinary passengers, who may fairly complain of the confusion which reigns supreme at many of the stations on the main roads a few miles out of London when a fine Saturday afternoon turns to a wet evening. Many riders are physically unfit to attempt a ten miles ride against wind and rain, while others who can afford to will willingly pay the railway charges to avoid the dirt and discomfort of a ride in the wet; and so the platforms for the town trains at many stations close to the great main roads, such as Barnet, become crowded with cyclists of either sex rushing their cycles about the platform to the annoyance of ordinary passengers, who can hardly be expected to patiently submit to being charged by the muddy wheels of an excited cyclist who is vainly endeavouring to, discover at which end of the train his or her machine is to be carried. The staff of our great railway companies hardly get full justice from many of the public, who are too impatient for fresh arrangements which can only be made after some experience to enable them to judge what will best meet the requirements of their customers. But after your full ventilation of the matter in your columns we may with perfect confidence, I think, look forward to next season finding most of the companies quite prepared with a well thought-out scheme.
I am yours, &c.
M. A., LL. B., CANTAB
The Times, Saturday, Sept 25, 1897; pg. 11