How to Take Your Bicycle on the NYC Subway

Friday, September 14, 2012
By steven
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How to take your bike on the MTA train: a step by step guide from 4+ years personal experience. 

Works best with road bikes you can lift and carry like a shoulder bag while on stairs.

  1. Lift and carry down stairs to station attendant area.
  2. Wave to station attendant so they can see you as you swipe your metro card through the turnstile. Rotate the turnstile with your arm without going through.
  3. Make eye contact with the station attendant to let them know you are headed through the emergency gate and they will unlock it from their end.
  4. Pull open the door head through, thank attendant with a wave, and head down onto the platform.
  5. Know your trains and your train times- knowing if the platform exits to street level are in the middle of the train cars or at the ends will impact how full the train car you get into is. Of course avoid rush hour, though it’s still doable. You just need to be prepared to scan the oncoming train cars and power walk to the emptiest one.
  6. Typically, I latch my bike onto a center pole in the train car and have it horizontal (facing the same direction as the train moves). I keep one hand on the brake, and the other hand can be free or holding the seat. To reiterate, there is the pole between myself and the bike. I’ve found this optimal for other passengers being able to get in or out.
  7. If you are traveling with a friend, it can also be simple sit at the 2 seats by the door and put your bike in front of your legs. The bike then is still facing parallel to the direction that the train car moves in.
  8. As long as you don’t get tire tracks or oil on anybody’s pants or legs, other passengers will be fine. But also, this is new york and people will groan and complain regardless, so ignore. Technically you’re supposed to take the bike on the end cars, but this is only sometimes practical. So… do whatever it takes!

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