The Chainlink

Today, at approximately 11am, I was on a 146 express from my Uptown neighborhood to downtown. Upon exiting LSD the driver came to an absolute stop at a decent speed, making the people on an almost full accordion-style bus dominoes, to a degree.

He then yelled, "Who has the bike?", very assertively. After a shout or two I yelled back,

"I did. With it clamped in properly, why!?" I very knew what had probably happened.

Upon getting to the front of the bus, I was going explain to him how I put it on correctly before he began a 30-second, high-decibel berating of me in front of the full bus (I wish I had asked for a witness testimony). After letting him release his absolute nervous-negative energy, I said, "Well, let's step outside and have a look."

This is what we discovered, to which he immediately apologized and said, "ok ok it's not your fault. It's not my fault, it's the CTA's fault."'re the one wearing the CTA badge, buddy. Anyways, I reserved the multitude of comments I wanted to make, went back onto the bus, made an announcement to the people on the bus to the effect of, "ladies and gentleman, there was a mechanical failure on the bike rack holding my bike and it appears we are going to be a little delayed. I apologize if this makes you late for work, or a meeting. I am personally going to miss an audition now myself!."

^^^^These are all paraphrases, but retain the purpose and truth of the original statements.

I quickly exited again, and immediately took videos and pictures. Check them out. They're all attached. Also, notice how in the longer video I say it's no ones fault and the driver says, "It's the CTA's fault." He didn't mean himself, of course. Just the people responsible. Who, the mechanics??

Oh yea, and look at this:

Same thing.

They say to use the racks at your own risk. I get that, but do they not simply check the racks each morning before the bus is used? Shouldn't that be on their rounds?

So for all I know this bus is now riding around with another bike, waiting to be dislodged and hit another car? A pedestrian? Absolutely unsafe. I called claims three times thus far and I don't anticipate a response any time soon.

I did not foresee this happening when I PROPERLY fixed my bike to the holder. Also, if it wasn't properly fixed (which it was properly fixed, this is purely just to make a point) the driver didn't notice it and have me fix it from Buena until Michigan Ave.? Hmmm. Can't wait until some jackass doesn't actually properly put it on and it comes off ON ACTUAL LSD, as opposed to the exit (thankful for that).

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Let this be a cautionary tale to all. Make sure the spring load is not only working to resist back on your tire, but resiting HEAVILY, especially if you're gonna be in for an express and potentially bumpy ride. I used the back one and not the front one because that's the etiquette. You use the back so someone else who potentially has a bike can bring theirs too. It's procedure, in fact. I DID NOT foresee this happening. The damage is not too bad. I am grateful for the outcome and understanding people on the bus as well. 

wow..can't watch the videos now but I use  those racks on the express buses too (I live in uptown but I go up to Foster to catch the 147 as its express all the way).  I'll check these racks more..thanks for heads up and sorry about your "loss."

Maintenance on these racks appears to be a growing problem. Here are two threads with similar stories:

I would agree with Cameron's comment.  I've had problems with broken racks on a few occasions in the last year.

Worst case for me: One day last year I was coming from a tree planting workday and was too tired to ride any further.  I waited a while for the bus. The rack on the first bus was broken - couldn't even release the rack to lower it and load the bike. Waited a while longer for a second bus. Same problem.  After I'd been waiting almost an hour, a third bus came along and that one finally had functional rack.

Sorry this happened-- you had three things working against you:

1) You HAVE to test the spring action on the front wheel hooks

2) The weight of the bike is a critical part of the equation-- gravity holds the back wheel in place.  Every such story I've heard of a bike falling out of the rack has been a lightweight/ road style bike.

3) Buses go fast and bounce quite a bit on LSD-- every story I've heard of a bike falling out of a rack has been on an express bus on the drive.

In short, even if you had properly checked the retainer arm first, it still would have been a very risky affair putting this bike on an express/LSD bus.  Not really sure what the answer to that is, besides seeing if you could get away with bungeeing the rear wheel down.

If this is a common occurance, then why has the CTA not handled it properly? I mean if this has happened in the past, both on and off LSD (one of the links to someone's else's story was off LSD) and it hasn't been fixed by the CTA, they are absolutely positively responsible to every single degree.

This isn't a simple matter of a bike falling off a CTA bus on LSD. Any bike that falls off is liable to HIT A MOVING CAR causing a legitimate traffic accident.


So, if this has been an issue why hasn't it been addressed? At the risk of the bike? How about, at everyone's risk because of the CTA's very rudimentary ignoring of a SIMPLE MORNING ROUND CHECK INCLUDING THE RACKS.

If the laziness of the CTA (as we all know to be a very. Very real thing) is to not regard the racks, then the very least they can do is put an "out of order" tag on the non-functioning rack.

Also, you're telling me that this driver, who in his rant to me exclaimed his "15 years of experience" didn't notice an issue at all from Beuna Ave to Michigan? Why? Oh, yea, because it was strapped properly and he not any mechanic checked the spring recently. I am not a mechanic who knows that there was an immediate issue. Upon the God damn incident and investigation I sure as hell learned. But who
And what is next before this is PROPERLY ADDRESSED? FORMALLY ADDRESSED. Not leaving a rider to have the machanical discernment. Not our jobs.

Inept. The whole "authority".

I have called claims 3 times. A woman named Tonya returned my call and said to call back. I have. Two times. And have left a message. She hasn't gotten back to me yet. In over two days.

This is all unacceptable. All of this. And it ends. It ends this fucking month. Because I am elevating this. Because clearly, it's us vs. absolute stupidly. Which shouldn't be hard to prove as an illogical way to run a transportation system in the third latest city in The United States of America.

Some people don't have the mechanical knowledge base to know that a grave mechanical falilure is eminent. Just as when a CTA train gets (God forbid) derailed, the conductor would probably not really have immediate knowledge of why it happened (except for the blue line conductor who fell asleep at the lever causing a collision with the O'Hare elevator...which still isn't repaired btw. Hats off for that one by the way CTA).

So what I'm saying is, not all bikers would really know these points. And before you know it, a bike flies into a car on Lake Shore Drive.

I will personally walk to fucking Buena Avenue myself with a roll of black electrical tape, test each 146 that comes by in the morning Rush, and will tape each faulty functioning rack up my God damn self. Because clearly, the CTA isn't going to do shit (they'll just allow people with literal shit on themselves to ride the red line indefinitely).

No more of this bullshit CTA.

"Well, you know, at least we have a transit system..."

Yea? I wonder what the CTA looks like stacked up against any European system, and hell, even Boston and D.C.

Ok. I'm getting off topic and letting my rant stray too far now.
I would agree with h's advice and try to get the "CTA" driver to go along with bungeeing it down. I would even try to use a construction (black-rubber) bungee. They are stronger.

h1.0 said

3) Buses go fast and bounce quite a bit on LSD-- every story I've heard of a bike falling out of a rack has been on an express bus on the drive.

In short, even if you had properly checked the retainer arm first, it still would have been a very risky affair putting this bike on an express/LSD bus.  Not really sure what the answer to that is, besides seeing if you could get away with bungeeing the rear wheel down.


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