Bike Nazis at the Texas Medical Center

Before going to the office this morning, I cycled over to the Texas Medical Center to visit Chris Gray, the Press's whiz-bang music editor who is recovering from an apparent heart attack. I greatly enjoyed sharing laughs with Chris during my visit, which lasted about 20 minutes. (He's doing much better, by the way.)

When I returned to my bicycle, somebody had played a joke on me. Or so I thought.

Wrapped around the frame was a pamphlet. Stapled to the yellow piece of paper was a citation that included these handwritten cursive words: "No Bicycles Allowed Period! All Bike's & Locks Will be Removed Nov 7th."

"Jesus," said a coworker a half-hour later when I showed her the citation. She also pointed out that there should have been a period after "Period" instead of an exclamation point. I'll also add that in the second sentence, "Bike's" should have been "bikes."

Okay, so maybe my coworker and I are the copyediting police/grammar Gestapo. We'll definitely take that over being a Texas Medical Center bike Nazi.

Back at the Texas Medical Center, I read the citation and all I could think about were the reasons I chose to bike to the hospital to visit Chris.

One is obvious. Parking is an absolute nightmare. The only surefire way to score a spot is to pony up $15 for valet service, which a coworker did yesterday. Before the colleague returned to the office, she forked over a $5 bill for tip because that's the only thing she had in her wallet. Twenty dollars. Poof.

The second reason partially pertains to why I've been a bike commuter for so many years. My workdays are usually jam-packed, so cycling guarantees at least a little bit of exercise. Said another way, I biked to the hospital so I don't end up in the hospital.

Now, I admit that I did see a nearby sign prohibiting bike parking. However, the posted warning did not seem to apply to a median area that housed three other bicycles, each locked to steel posts. It also wasn't clear to me that this area is where unattended bikes came to be cut away and removed by Texas Medical Center Police and Security Services. (Apparently, there are all sorts of bike racks in the Med Center, but I sure as heck didn't see one.)

To me, that's not even the silliest thing. That yellow leaflet that I mentioned earlier? It's a "Bicycle Theft Reduction Report Card" that grades bike-locking performance. (I passed the "BICYCLE LOCKED WITH U-LOCK" item! Awesome!) There are also tips about what to do if your bike is stolen as well as disadvantages of cable/chain antitheft devices versus U-locks.

Say what? Y'all just told me that bicycles weren't allowed "Period!" Why try to school me on proper locking techniques if my primary mode of transportation is illegal in these parts?

Makes zero sense to me. At least I'll have a ridiculous story to tell Chris next time I see him at the hospital. Now I just gotta figure out how I'm going to get there.

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