Politeness costs nothing.

Roadrat on the train

So it is said, but – as with  many such proclamations – it is nothing more than a anodyne lie. Certainly for the lazy, the graceless, the empathy-voids and the arrogant even the lowest common denominator of human decency seems to be beyond them.

I find in any situation where such an arse is being an arse, the most satisfying solution is some form of petty revenge. Sure it lacks a high minded ‘turning the other cheek‘ response and scores not at all in persuasive education, but it’s a whole lot of fun.

That picture represents London Midland’s concession to bicycles, baby buggies and wheel chairs. Not all at the same time obviously with it being such a spiteful little space. Somehow during high summer, we crack the code to sequence up to six bikes in there which – as an added bonus – prevents the fat ticket inspector getting through, and traps any poor soul whose dived into the loo while carriage re-alignment was under way.

And it’s done generally in good humour and a “to me, to you” kind of way with layers unpeeled based on exit station. Sure there are occasional flash points when a rusty pedal gouges out a man sized chunk of prized carbon chainstay, but generally it just works because everyone is polite and helpful.

Come winter, it’s just me. Except occasionally some random spod cruises up with some worthless nasty which is carelessly thrown into the space from the next carriage.  Tonight a man with a supercilious expression supported by a tweed jacket really broke all the unwritten rules.

Firstly he showed no interest in my destination, second he shoved his bike roughly against mine failing – or not caring – to notice his horrid bar end was repeatedly beating my expensive Exposure Light. Thirdly he showed no contrition when this was pointed out, instead continuing to mine his bike into some kind of stable position. Fourth he knobbed off into some unspecified carriage leaving me to shift his bike some two stops down the line.

I did shift it. But not before I’d sabotaged it. Both tyres, down to about 5 psi, the guilty air sizzling loudly in the now almost empty carriage. I would have nicked his pump as well, if he’d had one. The only other occupant was staring, pointing and giggling as I reduced his future mobility to pushing.

“What if he notices?” she asked looking slightly concerned “Oh tell him I did it, and that I travel on this train at least twice a week if he’d like to discuss it“. I didn’t add that any such discussion would start and end with “Well I hope a walk home in the wind and pissing rain taught you a lesson eh? And if it didn’t, no worries it kept me amused for a few hours

On reflection, both tyres may not have been a proportional response. I think it was the tweed jacket that pushed me over the edge.

6 thoughts on “Politeness costs nothing.”

  1. Hmmm what a terrible thing to do 🙂 over the years I have seen a few tricks to help with the fun on this sort of thing, just a couple to consider..

    Bars ends made loose enough to move when you have just the right amount of weight on them.

    A ball bearing or marble inserted into the handlebar, best done to a mate with a new bike 🙂 it will take them an eternity to work out where the annoying rattle comes from.

    Strategically placed zip tie, they can be a bugger to get off if yuo don’t have the implement to hand..

    This one needs more forward planning! – A heavy piece of round metal (it helps to wrap in insulation tape to stop it rattling) inserted down a seat tube, works best when there’s a weight weenie about who doesn’t drop the saddle..

  2. Nope, a proportionate response would have been both tyres and a loosening of the saddle clamp. But, I suppose that is difficult when the only tool you are competent to handle is a hammer…

  3. Jeez, I’m never turning my back on you dastardly so and sos. I have a multitool grahame. I accept I don’t really know what it does, but I shall try harder as loosening the rear mech bolt holding the shifting cable sounds fun.

    Although ball bearing in the bars – genius!

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