Monday, April 4, 2011

Have Bike, will be an Asshole

Of course, this doesn't apply to me.

But it does apply rather squarely to the gentleman who got onto a Northbound line 1 train last week with his puny folding bike and promptly took over the place.

Generally-speaking, folding bikes are made as such so that they can be folded to be carried or loaded into smaller places for transport. This is a very convenient thing for Seoul commuters who can easily bring a small-folding bike onto a fairly crowded train and not piss-off a bunch of people. If your bike doesn't fold, then you are allowed to enter designated areas of the train (usually at the ends) where seats have been removed for standing-room, luggage, and bikes.

That is of course unless you're the walking and riding saggy sack of Korean male entitlement that made his way onto the train with his bike last week. Not folding his bike, he simply walked it onto the train, loudly ordered a gray-haired woman away from her seat on the "seniors only" bench, and then took-up two of three available seats on said bench - one for him, and one blocked by his bike which, though it is one of the smallest ones on the market, was still too big to bring onto that section of the train in its unfolded state.

I gave the woman my seat. The man sat there glaring at everyone - apparently proud as punch of his bike and his ability to scam prime seating from an old and frail woman. He got off the train as I did at Banghak, and as soon as he was on the platform, he got back onto his bike and rode it through the throngs of people toward the stairs, constantly ringing his little bell like he was actually on his way somewhere important.

A few obvious rules were broken here:

1) You should defer to the elder among you.
2) If you require a seat for some reason, you should politely ask for one.
3) (My own addition) If you haven't allowed yourself to go gray naturally, you give up your right to sit on the "seniors only" bench.
4) When you're riding a bike of any size in a crowd of pedestrians (especially on a subway platform), don't be an asshole.

I was hoping against hope that someone would find something strong enough to snap into his spokes and send him head first down the stairs Last Crusade style. Alas - nobody came forward.

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