Cycling as Method, Cycling as Weathering IV: A Brush with the Law

Working at WSU throws up the big question of how to get there. More details about that below for the urban transport nerds. The highlight of this trip, however, was my brush with the law. In other words, the “weathering” of this post is somewhat metaphorical (though it was unexpectedly raining when I arrived in Parramatta and it’s very smokey in Sydney today too).

At Burwood three uniformed police officers get on my train. Tasers. Guns. Caps. The whole godforsaken deal.

They sit next to me. I instantly feel guilty.

That’s fairly normal for me, but today I was also breaking a law I’d heard about once. One time I was told by a rail officer that it is “an offense to tie anything to rail corp property”. And I got off with a warning. This offense was clipping my helmet around my bike to the pole on the train to stop it from falling over or moving, given there isn’t space to put one’s bike on a train in this city. “I could fine you, but I won’t this time” she said with a smile. Such a nice, power-tripping transport officer! Despite this stern warning, I have kept doing it because I don’t really know what else to do and it seems rather minor in the scheme of things. I’d clipped my helmet around the pole this morning. Here’s a picture of the actual crime scene.

Fortunately these cops are either unaware of this law, or they too assume it doesn’t really apply to my little life hack. And, really, they have more important things on their minds. They proceed to start talking to each other. Suddenly I’m on the set of an cop ABC drama—Blue Murder (the first one; the ABC one!) maybe? The scene prior to this one on the train was in a strip joint. And the train scene I’m in cross-faded from a close up of the pole-dancing pole in the smokey bar to the yellow pole on the train. A seamless transition!

You do know the pole dancing montage in cop dramas, don’t you? Someone should write a book about its ubiquity in certain police stories. Maybe someone has? Music and bums, booze and corruption. The characters drunkenly move between mild disinterest and mild titillation in the dancers, but, really, there here for a deal. Neat whiskies are swigged, beers chase. Money changes hands, with a little extra in the nickers of the dancer. Music and bums, booze and corruption, a smoke machine, some wretched-looking extras, coloured lights. It’s Blue Murder meets Beverly Hills cop (actually I’m sure there’s a strip club scene in Blue Murder, but I can’t find a photo!).

In my scene its the following week. (I’m just an extra: look for “sporty commuter #1” on my IMDB page). The hangovers have cleared. The story of the weekend’s antics are being relayed to the fellas on the train (sneaky deal edited out). Oh god they were all so pissed. It was at least 2am. There was so much gambling. An esky (An esky? This seems like a continuity error in my mind: it kind of shifts the boozy-night scene from a strip joint to a backyard – I guess maybe they were “pre-loading” at home first?). Then they’re at the casino (Ah yes, back on song!). Then there’s a mate who gets so drunk he always pisses on the floor. Streams of urine trickling all over the floor of the men’s toilets. So much alcohol. More and more. And, then, there’s his extreme fetishes. “Every fetish under the sun, mate”. I’m trying to read about resilience and the taser’s yellow handle in my peripheral vision has a stronger hold on me than the words in the centre of my field. This script is so goddamn overwrought. As if cops are really like this!

They alight at Auburn.

I continue to Parramatta.

The reason I was on that train was because I’m trying to figure out how to get to Parramatta from Earlwood, via daycare on bike. One must deliver toddler to daycare, from Earlwood to Marrickville, in the bike trailer. Then somehow get to Parramatta Station and then to the campus. Tempe’s my local. Marrickville is next in line. Neither are on the Parramatta line.

So I’ve started experimenting with different bike and train configurations. The logical thing for me is this:
Bike Earlwood to Marrickville (drop Stan)
Bike Marrickville to Tempe
Train Tempe-Redfern-Parramatta
Bike Parramatta station and along River to WSU.

Tricky thing is peak hour trains at Tempe are completely totally no-personal-space-left full. So last week I rode to Burwood where the express train to Parramatta stops. Then I tried riding to Newtown and swap at Burwood. Then I tried just all PT, no bike, but someone died on the train tracks and plans were changed. Today I tried something different. I rode to daycare, then trained Marrickville to Redfern and then out to Parramatta. It was OK, but I am still not sure it’s the “best”. So the question is still alive.

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