20130610

On Caltrain Tags

I had some things come up this weekend, so I wasn't able to grab any photos.  Instead, here's a PSA on Caltrain tags.  

Watching people on the train, you'd think that organizing bicycles was something along the lines of rocket science.  Apparently, "group all bicycles going to X" is a difficult concept for some people to grasp, and it's made even harder by the staggering number of bikes that lack Caltrain bike tags.  


A standard tag looks like this - simple and effective.  Image from here.
If you're a regular on the train, you know (or should know) that all bikes have to be tagged with their destinations so that they can be grouped together.  Though the grouping system that Caltrain uses is pretty terrible to begin with, when all of the bikes have tags it makes it just a little easier to navigate the madness.


From here.
All said and done, it makes life a whole lot easier to have a train tag.  For the few people that I've met who have used the excuse that Caltrain is either out of tags or the standard tags "are too ugly," here are a few ideas that you can use to give your bike a tag and make everyone happy.

Expert Mode:  This guy decided to go all out and make not only a tag but a top tube protector as well.  It's big, it's visible, and it keeps his bike safe from the insanity of Caltrain.  Definitely the coolest type of tag I've seen.


Super clever!  Image from here!
Classy:  If sewing usually results in you getting needles in various body parts, this might be more for you.  In fact, this person will even print them for you and basically make the entire tag!  I like these because they stand out and add a bit of personality to your bike, but without needing to be permanently attached or too over the top.  Plus, it's easy to change your location if you need to!

Image from here!
Permanent:  Lots of people use labels on their top tubes, usually made of vinyl, to show their destination.  These are nice because they're permanent (meaning they can't be stolen), weatherproof, and also inexpensive.    Occasionally people overlook it, but more often than not I get people asking about it.  Places like Vinyl Disorder sell these for about $2 each, and you can do almost any color and font.  


I have mine on either side of my top tube.  
Tried and True: The regular tags work well enough, and people often take an old luggage tag and make their own.  The only issue is they can be stolen and are not weather proof so touch them up every once in a while.


I don't think I know that transfer point.  Image from here.
If nothing else, a post it note, a piece of tape, or lined paper wrapped around your top tube will all do the trick and let people know where you're going.  And really, if you're too lazy to wrap some paper with your destination scrawled across it in ball point pen across your top tube, you might want to step back and reevaluate your life.  

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