City Desk

Harriet Tregoning Busted for Unbagged Bike on Metro

Unsuited for Metro!

You can't take a folding bike on Metro during rush hour unless it's in a bag. Even if you're Office of Planning director and Brompton acolyte Harriet Tregoning.

Tregoning tried to bring her Brompton onto a Metro train last Friday, on her way to a meeting in Virginia Square. Lo and behold:

“I had some hardass station manager who didn’t even give me a warning and told me, ‘You have to get out of there,'" she says. She went to another station, where a station manager let her through the turnstile but did warn her that she was breaking the rules.

Folding bikes, unlike full-size bikes, can be brought on Metro during rush hour. But they need to be folded up and in a bag. This is, as Tregoning points out, rather silly: "Foldable bikes don't come with bags because they’re intended to be compact anyway."

She says she knew she was breaking the regulations, but her unbagged Brompton hasn't been a problem in the past. Tregoning has asked WMATA to reconsider its policy. A Metro spokesman didn't immediately return a request for comment.

Folding bikes are allowed on MARC, VRE, and Amtrak trains without bags.

Photo by Alex Baca

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  • RedDead

    Of course bags are required! I don't want you grubby, greasy bike chain rubbing against me on a crowded train. Rules are rules, Harriet. They shouldn't be changed just for you, even though you have the balls to make such a request.

  • washcycle

    RedDead, if you look at the bike, the chain folds up into the inside. So, you can't rub up against it. Also, the correct phrase is that she has "the ovaries" to make such a request.

  • WhataDisgrace


  • DCer

    Easy solution: Unfold it, and lock the parts in place. Now it's a regular, if a little funny-shaped, bicycle. Roll it on like any other bike.

  • Alex Baca

    @DCer, she brought it on during rush hour. Full-size bikes, and unfolded folders, aren't allowed on Metro trains during rush hour.

  • Mario

    Both sides are at fault. Tregoning for using a poor substitute for a real bicycle and Metro for imposing a baseless rule. How about those ridiculous double wide strollers with 8 inch wheels? Those should be bagged too. Cyclists will always be 2nd class citizens in stodgy east coast cities.
    But, frankly, it seems silly for a cyclist to use public transpiration unless they have a mechanical issue. You already HAVE your own transportation. Either get more fit or leave it at home.

  • dynaryder

    Is that her bike? Because it's not folded right. The front wheel should be turned around and the bars should be folded down on the right side.

    I actually agree with the bagging policy. Bromptons are pretty much the exception in the way that they fold. Most Dahons and their various clones leave the chain exposed where it could pretty easily cause a mess.

    Mario:ever climbed some of the hills we have around here on a bike? Many cyclists use Metro for uphill trips,esp in this weather. Metro is also sometimes necessary to come in from the burbs. I've purchased bikes at the Rockville REI and Perf Bikes,and 355 just isn't safe to ride on,and there's no legal way to cross the Beltway except to peel off onto Beach Dr and go out of your way to get back on Wisc.

  • Alex Baca

    @dynaryder It's mine. It's not folded properly, I know.

  • Mr T in DC

    I wish Metro would change the policy. Other reasons to be on the system with a folded bike: (1)it was nice weather on your morning commute but a thunderstorm hits when it's time to leave work (2)you need to ride somewhere in the distant suburbs in a reasonable amount of time (3)you left your helmet at the office and don't feel comfortable riding in without it etc.
    It would be great of Metro would change this policy, and remove another small barrier to biking, having to carry around a stupid bag with you, and shove the bike in there.

  • cminus

    I think everyone here is missing the forest for the trees -- a Metro station manager actually enforced a Metro policy!

    Never mind the details of folding bicycle options -- find that first station manager and put them in charge of Metro's employee training program.

  • Jes’ sayin’

    There's often not enough room for people on rush hour Metro trains, and people must pay a higher fare during rush hour. For what? To stumble over some bureaucrat who can't fold her bicycle right?

    I'd prefer not having someone's dirty bicycle tire rub up against my clean suit. Also.

    Sorry, Harriet. Rules are rules. As one who makes them, you shouldn't be one who breaks them.

  • noodlez




  • just another rider

    355 isn't rideable through there? I disagree!! That section of The Pike is not too frantic. Drivers there are more agreeable than in many other places and drivers don't go too many different directions. Now, if you're worried about the interchange with i495, I cannot disagree that 355 there is a hairy ride. If you plan going south into Bethesda, take the Bethesda-Rockville Trolley Path. It'd cross i495 without issue and return you into downtown Bethesda.

    To the point, while I wish foldables were permitted sans bag, mine, even while folded, is only "luggable." It is sensible to maintain that bagged, folded cycles are little different from luggage and only somewhat disruptive to a train filled to the gills with impatient riders, certainly about like luggage. So, if I'm going to waste time wishing for folded bikes to go on without a bag, I might as well wish that ordinary bikes were allowed during rush hour. All the same, I'd like to thank Ms. Tregonning for asking Metro to review and reconsider allowing folded bikes without the case. Approval to use without would save me 5 minutes on either end fighting with the bag.

    At the same time, however, there's something expectant about her attitude towards Metro. Whatever has she to be appalled that a station master would be firm about the rules? Is she so crass about someone telling her to follow the rules? --Or is this City Paper's pandering to its audience?

  • thatshitcray

    Of all the things Metro needs to worry about a folding bike should be wayyyyyyyyyy down at the bottom of the list.

  • Haters love to hate

    For you haters that seem to be so put off by something that's never actually happened to you (the slimmest chance you might possibly contact a bicycle on metro), why are you even riding metro? Shouldn't you be more worried that metro doesn't enforce it's own safety rules, which have actually contributed to deaths of passengers or metro employees? Life is so dangerous for you, and you're putting your clothes and life in jeopardy, you really should save yourself and take a cab or drive.

  • arrogance

    Yeah, ok. So the mother hen of the DC urbanist blogosphere and DC Planning director clearly flaunts the rule she is admittedly aware of. Metro employee "shockingly" does his/her job and tells her no.

    So what does she do after not only knowing she is in the wrong, but being caught? Simply try another entrance to try to get through.

    She is am embarrasment.

  • keithdcil

    Ms. Harriet, Please consider running for Mayor.

  • Typical DC BS

    Typical liberal. All high and mighty about making rules for everyone to follow except for her.