The BBC has posted archive footage to Twitter from 37 years ago today of cyclists using their bicycles to block the entrance to British Rail’s head office in protest at bikes being banned from rush-hour trains.
In the footage from 2 January 1980, one of the cyclists says: “We believe that it’s absolute insanity to have this ban imposed now at a time of energy shortage when in fact commuting with your bicycle on the train is the most efficient way to go to work.”
— BBC Archive (@BBCArchive) January 2, 2017
The BBC reporter points out that British Rail were “a trifle embarrassed” at the demonstration, given that two years earlier they had encouraged people to take bicycles on trains by allowing them to be carried free of charge.
Nowadays, of course, it’s the norm for non-folding bicycles to be banned at busy times – and even when it’s quieter, advance reservations for them are required by franchise holders such as Great Western Railway.
Meanwhile, the mass cycle parking put in place at stations such as Cambridge by Abellio Greater Anglia reflects the Dutch-owned company’s desire to shift commuting cyclists who use the train towards the Netherlands model of not taking a bike on the train at all.
For those heading to London at least, that’s easier now due to the Santander Cycles scheme which means they can leave their own bike at the station, take the train, then complete their journey on a hire bike.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.