"You take up too much space."
I admit that I don't have the body of a supermodel or some triathletes. But the driver who bellowed that complaint wasn't referring to my physique. Rather, he was referring to a collective "you" of me and and fellow cyclists. He believed we were "taking" space from "his" street.
That charge has been leveled against us in other contexts. It's used as an excuse for not letting us bring our bikes into business establishments or other buildings. It's also a rationale for charging us exorbitant fees to bring our bikes onto trains and planes.
And, apparently, ferries.
Never mind that said vessels--specifically, the ones operated by Brittany Ferries--carry cars and trucks. The company operates commuter and cruise ferries between its French homebase and the UK, Ireland and Spain.
Anyway, that was the excuse BF gave for wanting to charge 75 GBP to allow Lee Craigie's mountain bike to accompany her from Portsmouth, England to Santander, Spain. At that price, "can we expect a valet service," the former pro mountain biker wondered aloud. Actually, she asked that question on a Tweet, which is sort of the same thing.
In response, she and her bike riding chums--who would have had to pay, collectively, 230 GBP--came up with a creative solution:
This was our workaround @BrittanyFerries wanting to charge us £230 to wheel our bikes on board! Our thanks to all the wonderful staff who thought we were funny and weird rather than annoying. Next stop Ainsa… #NoFlyWinterMigration pic.twitter.com/XhnI6hjlrI— lee craigie (@leecraigie_) February 8, 2023
They brought bike bags with them, disassembled their machines and carried them aboard as if they were any other passenger carting a piece of luggage.
For me, that begs more than a few questions. One is this: If they'd brought their bikes in a car and an employee spotted them, would they have been charged that 230 GBP for the "space" they took up?