A Look at ART’s On-Board Bike Rack

Mayor Berry and ABQ Ride had a show-and-tell of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) electric bus earlier this week. Here’s a look from the CABQ webpage about it:

art2

Included in the unveiling was a hands-on demonstration of how cyclists can store bikes on the bus, and here’s a photo from area resident Dan Majewski showing the end result of that demonstration:

abqridebike1There’s a great deal to absorb in the photo above for the cycling practitioner, and despite Dan’s fine photo work, 2D always has trouble in conveying all the installation minutiae when it comes to putting a 3D bike in a 3D bike rack like this.

In fact, there’s so much to it, I’ll just wait a few seconds while you take it all in.

(pause as you take it all in; while you’re doing this, I’ll pass along that I understand there to be three such two-slot stations per bus, i.e., six total bikes per bus)

I don’t know my official bike rack in bus jargon, but I’m calling this a Two-Station Standing Bike Bus Rack (TSSBBR). You got a catch on the bottom for the rear wheel, and a two-part apparatus for the front wheel to sit in and upon, including a nib that fits between spokes to keep the bike more secure.

Here’s another view of the system from the Complete Streets NM Facebook page in pre-boarded condition (note rear-wheel catch is like a “Murphy bed” in that it comes down from the inner wall of the bus):

abqride3

Your humble blogger’s experience with on-board bike racks comes almost exclusively from riding trains in Europe, and I can report the following reactions to this rack:

  1. I really need a 3D experience putting a bike in this rack to understand all the minutiae involved.
  2. I invariably cut myself somewhere putting a bike in pretty much ANY on-board bike rack.
  3. That’s because
    1. I’m remarkably uncoordinated.
    2. I’m always in such a hurry to get the bike in the rack.
    3. I get nervous and sweaty just thinking about putting the bike in the rack.
    4. I also get motion sickness easily, and the combo of moving bus and me putting this bike in the rack makes me a tad nauseous just visualizing it.
  4. I see how you get the first bike in, but getting the 2nd bike in that tight space must be quite a bit tougher (note steel hand-rail running vertically parallel to the rack).

All this said, I’m sure after a few queasy, nervous experiences, any user, including your humble motion-sickness suffering blogger would have figured it out and become an “old pro” in putting a bike in this TSSBBR.

The toughest part might be using one’s foot to swing that Murphy bed bottom, rear-wheel catch out. There’s also the physical strength and fine motion skill needed to get the front-wheel in the two-part apparatus.

Yeah, I’m still a bit sweaty thinking about it. The nausea will pass.

You know what would make me and other first-time users of this bike rack feel better? Let’s have ABQ Ride staff (e.g., fare checkers) on-board in the early days of ART to help users navigate use of these racks. It will also help to have fellow experienced riders assist (without their help in Europe, who knows how long it would have taken me to get a bike in some of the funky rack configurations I’ve run across there).

After time, we’ll have figured it out, Albuquerque cyclist. Except for getting that second bike in such a rack. That might take an extended period of learning curve, and body contortion ability.

 

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