Okay, here is the deal with the Railrunner bike straps: they suck!
See those little yellow straps securing the rims? They totally suck.
While the picture above appears to convey bicycle happiness and order, don't be fooled. Those yellow straps are a real pain in the butt to work with. First of all, the ends are frayed making buckle threading a near impossibility, and when trying to unstrap your bike, the metal bear trap inspired buckle doesn't let go fast enough.
Three things happen when using the strap-buckle contraption:
1. While attempting to strap in your bike, the line of waiting Railrunner riders and other bike commuters grows. This results in the stink eye from annoyed riders and bicyclists who want nothing better than to get out of the hot NM sun, sit down and enjoy the scenic ride to their destinations;
2. While unstrapping your bike Railrunner riders have to wait for you (taking your sweet time) to get your crap together so they can get off. In the mean time you're feverishly tugging and pulling and gritting your teeth fighting with the strap and buckle. The longer you take the more likely you are to have the train doors shut on you and the train leave with you still inside messing with the damn buckles. Your bike commute just increased by another 14 miles because that's where the train stops next.
3. The strap/buckle hassle is too much. The result? Bikes piled up six deep and no straps and bikes all over the place. Lord help us if Railrunner riders have to get out in an emergency and they can't because bikes are piled up everywhere. I can see the Albuquerque Journal headline (above the crease): "40 Railrunner passengers die in fiery wreck: unstrapped bikes to blame."
Four weeks ago I wrote an email to our NM State bike/walk/horse coordinator, Tom Trowbridge asking him to check into replacing the strap/buckle b.s. with either: a) hooks, or b) velcro straps. He hasn't responded. Perhaps Trowbridge is too busy for a quick email, "Thanks, I'll check into this and get back to you soon." Or, perhaps the pedestrian/equestrian portions of his job are amazingly important and utterly demanding of his time that spending the three seconds on quick response would cause complete failure of pedestrian/equestrian infrastructure of this dusty southwest state.