Friday, January 27th, 2012

How To Bring A Bike On The New York City Subway

1. Don't.

2. If you have to ride the subway, everyone else comes before you. It's known as yielding.

3. Is it rush hour? Don't bring your bike on the subway.

4. "But I just have to ride the train during rush hour!" Then only outbound in the morning, and inbound in the evening. Otherwise, you're an incorrigible imp. And you'll probably get a ticket.

5. At the turnstile, signal the MTA attendant in the booth by waving your arms wildly and gesturing to the gate (is there no booth at the entrance? Go the hell back upstairs and enter at a booth station entrance), swipe your Metrocard, spin the turnstile arm, walk over to the emergency entrance (if you didn't muck it up, the booth attendant will have unlocked it), walk through.

6. Don't ever, ever, ever carry your bike over a turnstile.

7. Stairs? You go last. (And now you must carry your bike.)

8. On the platform, make room. Plan to enter at either end of the train car.

9. Once on the train, don't sit down.

10. Don't lean your bike anywhere.

11. Don't lock your bike to a pole.

12. Don't straddle the frame.

13. Don't ride it.

14. Use the same attention you reserve for riding around buses and garbage trucks. Because, instead of dealing with wheels that will crush your skull, you have a train full of people who want to stab you until your intestines are a puddle on the subway car floor.

15. Hold the bar, hold your bike. In the event of sudden movement or (God forbid) an accident, you've just introduced a metal projectile to the train car.

16. Stand by the doors, you need to exit first. Last on, first off. Find a clear area on the platform. Wait a minute or two (or whenever the platform/stairs look empty, you weakest of the species), then make your next move.

17. In a city full of opinions, there's only one person whose judgment matters in this situation: Police. Listen up, or look forward to your marmalade p.b. & j. sandwich in The Tombs.

Jay Casey will be the first one to stab you. You can learn more about the MTA's rules and guidelines for bicycles here! You should try it! Photo by Pete Jelliffe.

54 Comments / Post A Comment

turd_sandwich (#5,660)

"6. Don't ever, ever, ever carry your bike over a turnstile."

this is the only advantage the dc metro has over the nyc subway. i'm really grasping at straws here.

camelface (#4,600)

@turd_sandwich High ceilings?

deepomega (#1,720)

@camelface Clean trains!

liznieve (#7,691)

@deepomega Blerrrghhhhhhh carpet is NEVER a clean option. Ugh, the smell.

jolie (#16)


6h057 (#1,914)

@jolie I'm excited, I can finally read the comments. OOPS! I FORGOT TO NOT READ THE COMMENTS [descends into hell]

Art Yucko (#1,321)


First person to say "ooooh, do this for strollers!" is gonna get it.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

@Clarence Rosario Whew. Good thing I hit refresh before succumbing to my first commenting instinct.

freetzy (#7,018)

@Clarence Rosario Assholes definitely look at my funny when I lock my son's stroller to a pole and then straddle it.

@Clarence Rosario Do this for lawnmowers!

@NotAndersonCooper Do this for Christmas trees!

BardCollege (#2,307)

11. Don't lock your bike to a pole.

Do people this?

allyzay (#321)

@BardCollege YES, IT'S INSANE

Rollo (#3,202)

@BardCollege Yes, but only when I'm gonna come back and get it the next day.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

"Feed Me a Stray Bike."

6h057 (#1,914)

@Art Yucko [holds pista up to DEPOSIT slot, raises rubber chicken like gun]

zidaane (#373)

"No person may carry on or bring to any facility or conveyance any item that:
A. Is so long as to extend outside the window or door of a subway car, bus"

Don't even get me started on the assholes that bring their bikes on a crowded MAX train in Portland.

flossy (#1,402)

@ReginalTSquirge Don't even… Portland.

freetzy (#7,018)

Why can't you just ride your bike to where you're going?

bombed_pop (#10,642)

@freetzy This! I hate people who bring their bikes on the crowded rush hour train and I hate people who bring their bikes on uncrowded trains. If you are riding the train, why do you need your bike???

deepomega (#1,720)

@freetzy Because trains… don't go everywhere in the world? Not sure how to answer this!

Rollo (#3,202)

@freetzy Because I was stricken with polio on the way home.

@freetzy because a)you got a flat and you don't have a spare or b)you've met up with people that don't ride.

6h057 (#1,914)

@freetzy Reasons TO ride mass transit w/ bike: Bad weather, mechanical issue, minor injury (major injury: go to a goddamn hospital), "ample inebriation", physical exhaustion (nothing like riding the A from Inwood all the way down Brooklyn because FEET HURT).

Slapdash (#174)

@freetzy From this litany of purely selfish reasons we can safely conclude that people who bring bikes on subways really are the douchescapades that everyone assumes they are.

the teeth (#380)

What's wrong with carrying your bike over a turnstile? Assuming you can do so smoothly & w/o delaying anyone else. Which really shouldn't be too difficult.

6h057 (#1,914)

@the teeth Even though it's against the MTA's rules (like that stops anyone) a few times I've seen people do it, they've nearly knocked out people coming the other way. Because no one in this damn city looks where they're going, and then they blame you while they had their head down reading their cellphone. Also, those times I've seen people hoist the bike over, there's always a rattle of knocking the wheels and frame against the stile. Which is a really good way to break a spoke or damage the brakes.

Operalala (#10,518)

OK, I'm bus-and-biker and a little mystified by this. Bus/subway takes you miles quickly, and bike gets you around.


Trilby (#3,897)

@Operalala OK, here's the big different: in Madison, Wisc. the bikes are placed on a rack OUTSIDE the bus. There is no such rack in or on a NY subway car nor will there ever be. Now do you see?

Operalala (#10,518)

"nor will there ever be"
We think positively – they weren't always there.

Trilby (#3,897)

@Operalala I guess you are having trouble visualizing a subway car… oh, well.

Joey Camire (#6,325)

This by far the most annoying article I've ever read on the Awl.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@Joey Camire :'-((

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

Sorry, I just really enjoy "How to" formats (and fixie cruiser bikes?). I've never even been on a NY subway.

Mr. B (#10,093)

Sadly, I don’t think this will reduce the number of bikes on PATH trains. Ride them through the fucking Holland, Hobokenites!

hey, why don't you make a joke about prison rape while you're at it. that would be cool.

jfruh (#713)

In Berlin you can bring your bike on the U-Bahn if you buy a special bike ticket for it. Market-based solutions!

Astigmatism (#1,950)

@jfruh Fahrradaufdemuntergrundbahnkarte?

BadUncle (#153)

What are the gay rules for straights with bikes on subways? And more importantly, what about collapsible bikes??????????

TableNine (#1,104)

@BadUncle Brian Moylan is writing that social contract at this very moment!

christopherrrrr (#210,344)

wow. worst article ever. how about you don't get on the train during rush hour. lets make that a rule.

Mr. B (#10,093)

@christopherrrrr Chris?

SeanP (#4,058)

@Mr. B That's what I'm thinking.

Trilby (#3,897)

Last Monday, a guy (we used to say "bum" back in the day) came onto the R with big old shopping cart heaped with possessions in black garbage bags. He proceeded to tie this smelly montrosity to the pole between the opposite-side doors, making it hard for everyone to exit/enter. At that moment I thought, give me just a BIKE in the way any day!

erikwalters19 (#207,524)

I think if your really in hurry then going in sub station specially in a place like New York you must not really bring your bike. I agree with this article.

Compare Gas And Electricity Prices

roboloki (#1,724)

@erikwalters19 i don't think you need to compare gas prices if your riding a bike or the subway, spammy mcspammypants.

This article should end after the first rule. If you ride your bike into the city, be prepared to ride it home again. The end.

sajrocks (#2,067)

Also works if you replace "bike" with "baby carriage" or "absurdly large djembe".

wiliamjon (#210,891)

hmmmm i like this site ….

eharlembiker (#211,673)

this article is terrible. agree with rush hour limitations. otherwise, sucks.

hate to muster a ole duster by bringing up a dying article, but wtf now ?????

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