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Free upgrade….

I’ve always wanted to know how to get a free upgrade to first class…..have something to complain about, knowing you are in the right.

The Midlands train that pulled into Bedford station was a proverbial ‘half mile long’. Station staff couldn’t advise me where the cycle space was, and before I had time to find it, I was forced to board by impatient staff, with my bike blocking the entrance/exit to the carriage. No one assisted me, no one was there to direct me, despite having bike space booked, so I complained vociferously to the train manager.

The reason he gave for not allowing me the time to find the correct carriage for my boxed bike was because “every second counts”. I assume that is a company motto drilled into all the staff. To me that was a red tag to a bull. Controlling my rightful anger as a fare-paying passenger, I let him know a thing or two…..and he knew I was in the right, and didn’t try to defend himself.

Result? “Sir, let’s put you in first class along with your bike”. Strangely, my rightful anger receded almost instantly….. Mm…..

Pilots steering from the rear……….

There are so many variations in the construction of tandems. We thought we had just about seen them all at a recent tandem rally over Easter. The rear-seated pilot was not new to us (click here), but this model (seen on a recent visit to Cambridge) really caught my attention.

Unmistakably of a ‘sensible’ Dutch design, it seems to be designed for a child front ‘stoker‘ and a rear ‘pilot’, but fascinatingly long and obviously a bit cumbersome. Made by a company called Dutchbike (www.dutchbike.co.uk), I discovered from their website that it is a versatile cargo-bike, that can carry either children (yes, in the plural) or cargo on the front. Give the children their own little cabin, and they are weather-protected as well. Very neat.