Bike conundrum.. what to do...
I am a cyclist who only rides BART on the weekends to go to the East Bay for long rides. I've been doing it for 7 years now. To be clear, I never take my bike on non-bike trains and I never board the first car. I usually get on at Orinda, maybe Pleasant Hill to go all the way to South San Francisco. But things have gotten wierd for me these last two weekends.
Here is the situation: I get on BART and am WIPED OUT! My long rides with all the gorgeous hills and the heat just leave me half dead when I'm done. I rush to catch the train and savor being able to sit down to rest my legs which are now almost useless. I almost feel like an 80 year old man with a sore back and weak legs. The train is mostly empty and there are three places I can legally sit. Since I can't block aisles or doors, I have to sit in the two seniors seats next to the back edge of the facing seats or the one seat near the wheelchair area. I really don't like either of those choices because as a bart rider i have to vacate when a senior or disabled person needs those seats. Usually the one near the wheelchair area is usually taken (its preferred of the three evils). I sit in the senior seats and have an option to block half the door and half the aisle and take only one seat or sit with my bike completely against me blocking the one seat next to me. The latter method does not block the aisles or the doors, and the empty seat is barely empty because the bike is too close to the seat for legroom and the handlebars are leaning in over the seat. Using random stats from posts here, I can't access 90% of train and if I stand, I take up room for 3 people.Its better to take up room for 2 then 3, right?
I am fine until we get to Macarthur when a full trainload of people board. This is where not blocking the aisle or doors is really helpful. Everyone can get on safely without my blocking an entry or exit. People see the seat next to me and think I should make it available for a senior (or whomever else) to sit. There are other healthy, young people in the other senior seats. Call me a douche, but I will only give up my place if all the other senior seats are taken by seniors. My legs are still sore and if I get up, I am never sitting down again! Thats because as soon as the seats I can sit in are the most valuable ones and are quickly taken by boarding riders (senior/disabled or not). And then, the seat is not that appealing with my bike taking up most of the person space for it anyway. Moving my bike out of the way to let someone sit, then moving it back would also be rude to the one who needs to sit. Might not evene be practical if the train is now super crowded. Remember I boarded when its empty, thats OK. the train is now crowded. If the train is really crowded, SRO, I can't get up if I tried, there is no room to move. So I tend to think its best for me to take up one extra seat than block aisles/doors/room for 3 people. Most seats become available again after Powell st (except the places for a cyclist to sit).
Now the question.. what should I REALLY be doing?