Do PAT bike racks freeze up ?
Has anybody used the bus bike racks all winter ? I was wondering if they freeze up so they become non-operational.
i had a problem once.
i couldn’t squeeze the handle to get it to drop. i can’t prove it was due to the cold tho. it coulda just been straight up broken. it was the only time this happened. never had problems with the mechanics other than that one time.
of course it didn’t work when i needed it the most.
squeeze? I thought it was lifting the whole thing that made it drop.
As long as this thread is up, I haven’t used the racks before, but my employment may be such that I will start using them.
How have you found the drivers to be about using the racks, pleasant, indifferent, grouchy? Or is it just hit-or-miss?
I have put my bike on a bus rack about 12-14 times in the past year and I have found it to be hit or miss. Most of the time they don’t seem to mind, one time the driver gave me a dirty look after I had gotten into the bus and told me “I’m not responsible if anything happens to your bike”. I told him if he drives properly then there shouldn’t be a problem. I will mention that once or twice the driver even said something like “hey nice bike”. So you never know what you will get.
Also there has been about half a dozen times ive waited for a bus that should of had a rack on it and it pulled up without one. Not so bad on a weekday but it happened to me on a Saturday morning over the summer while I waited downtown for the bus at 630am to take me to the trail head in mckeesport for a camping trip. Bus pulled up with no rack and the next one wasn’t for another 50 mins or so. We ended up just riding all the way out there. Its not the distance it that damn 837 that I was trying to avoid.
I know of one non-operational rack (5029) and one that’s really stiff (5006). Both are Ross Division, which’d be your northish routes and 54C. Not to say there aren’t a scattered few others around that have issues of one sort or another. But no, they shouldn’t just freeze up in the cold. Call ’em in if they do screw up.
As to drivers, most are tolerant, but there are a couple that seem to have a pine cone up their butt about everything, and bikes are just part of it.
20 new buses hit the streets this month, all with racks.
“How have you found the drivers to be about using the racks, pleasant, indifferent, grouchy? Or is it just hit-or-miss? “
I’ve used them regularly since April. Some drivers worry about the racks not holding the bikes, it looks like they should be held in better, but the design seems to work really well. Some of the racks seem to have gotten bent from buses hitting stuff or something and it seems like my bike doesn’t fit as well into the bent ones, ie. it doesn’t sit as deep into the rack. But even when I’ve used the bent ones and it seems like the tires are only an inch down into the rack they survived thru the potholes on W Carson back before it was repaved. Its always the bottom rack that gets bent so I just check for that when I’m loading anymore. One thing I noticed is the bikes on the bus attract alot of attention from motorists and peds. I see alot of heads turning. I even saw one guy take a picture of my bike ! Also plan ahead about what you’ll do if the bus doesn’t have a rack. I’ve found a couple of different routes that go within a few miles of my destination, so I can ride over to catch one of those if my first choice doesn’t have a rack.
i saw someone put a unicycle on the front in the south side. it made my day.
It’s always good to make sure you have the driver’s attention before you start putting the bike on. Make eye contact, or lean around to the door and say “Hey, I gotta use the bike rack.” Not that they would run you over, but if they don’t notice you’re there until they were about to start moving… almost hurting someone else is what makes people get defensive and then pissed.
I saw a bike on the bus bike rack this morning.
Anyone out at 7am knows it was very cold.
I almost thought of doing the same myself but, I rode my numb-ass to my destination.
After about 30 or 40 iterations, I’ve gotten in the habit of standing just a little downstream of a bus stop (20 feet, maybe) where there are people waiting. The most important thing is so that the bus will be at a full stop before I approach it. In my experience, starting to act too soon is what ticks drivers off the most. As I said in another post, I can have the bike rack down and the bike mounted while three people board and pay their fare, or about 15 seconds.
I once forgot to fold the rack back up after unloading my bike, and the driver hit the horn until I noticed, turned around and put it up again. He didn’t look happy, but it was my fault, and he calmed down, it seemed, once I went to fold it up again.
Another time, as I was biking up Liberty Avenue in Lawrenceville/Bloomfield, a bus slowed down beside me, and I didn’t know what to expect, but it became clear that she was offering to help out a guy walking a bike up on the sidewalk. (He declined.)
Ive used the bike racks for the better part of two years now for my morning commute…and occasionally on the way home if I had mechanical issues I didnt want to fix in the street. Ive experienced the same as others have already mentioned. I have come across a few racks that seemed stuck and I had a hard time squeezing the handle to get it down, once a driver even came off the bus too try to help me get it down. That was the only time though that I was unable to free the rack. I think I have only recently been able to relax a bit more on teh bus and not stare at my bike thinking it is going to pop off at every bump. Once, in my early days of using the racks, I must not have put the front wheel holder all the way up and it slipped off, my bike stayed on for a few miles until the bike started leaning into the windshield and blocking the wipers from moving and the driver mentioned, I jumped off an the next stop and fixed it and all was well.
The only thing I notice about the drivers is taht get nervous about having the bikes on the front, especially around tight turns and such. But, most I have encountered have been cool about it. One even once called me to the front of the bus, stopped at a red light and told me that it seemed my bike wasnt sitting in the rack like it normally did and if i wanted to, i could jump out and check on it. (it happend to be one of those racks with the dented side where the wheel doesnt sink down quite as far)
It sounds like denting of the racks is a commonly recurring issue, common enough that whatever company provides these ought to do some follow-up and see if it could be addressed with an improved design. Obviously, on the front of a bus, things are going to take a beating, but when you hear something over and over….
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