First, from the comments.
@ ammon -
the problem isn't really Caltrain, it's too many cyclists all insisting on bringing fixed frame bikes on board during rush hour. Caltrain's first priority has to be moving people, not their stuff.
Folding bikes would be more compatible. There are even a few models with electric motors and Li-ion batteries on the market. While those are still expensive, they mean cyclists aren't going to board the trains all sweaty, a courtesy other passengers would surely appreciate.
Caltrain's first priority should be moving people! Why is he telling me this? He needs to go to the JPB meeting because Caltrain apparently didn't get the message.
Lots of stuff, where are the people? Apparently they aren't on the train, seeing that Caltrain has just been served a stinking heap of 12% ridership decline Aug 2008 to Aug 2009. That didn't stop me from getting bumped from 226 this morning, in large part due to all the people bumped from 324. Despite extra bike capacity, Caltrain is still seeing too much demand for the bike service during a period of sharp decrease in ridership.
Caltrain kicks butt - at getting you from one station to the next. The problem is - how do you get to the station, and how do you get from the station? Three "primary" options are MUNI, SamTrans, and VTA - all three of which recently cut service and raised fares. Caltrain itself reduced service - and if they were to lose the revenue they get from the cyclists, the cuts would be deeper. I will take MUNI/VTA/Company shuttle in a pinch - read if I am injured or going drinking after work. Otherwise I can't see adding an hour to my round trip commute by excluding my bike.
Rafael also pulls up the old canard that folding bikes are like origami ducks that fold and fold and fold and then tuck carefully behind your ear. As for sweaty cyclists, I will quote one of my favorite conductors who says "The bike car is for cyclists and their bikes. If you don't have a bike, may I recommend one of the other 534 seats in the other nine cars."
Moving on - here is some logic from SFGate that would have Aristotle spinning.
The road has rules
It's only a matter of time before one of us kills a bicyclist flying through the Haight and Scott intersection in San Francisco. We've stopped, it's our turn to go, and as we start driving though the intersection, some idiot on a bicycle comes out of nowhere, and we just miss hitting him. (So far, I've only seen "hims" engaging in this death-seeking behavior.)
What is it about being on a bicycle that gives you such a sense of entitlement? You're on wheels, you're on a road, and you've got to follow the rules of the road. I ride my bike a lot (though not that much on city streets because having been a San Francisco emergency room doctor for many years, trust me, the bicyclist always loses), but I still have to stop at stop signs. BTW, the skateboarders also love tearing through that intersection.
My fav was watching a skateboarder blast through the intersection, roll over the hood of a car going through the intersection and then flip off the driver of the car.
Bicycle, skateboard - drive responsibly. It's not all about you.
If I get this straight.
Accidents with bikes are caused by the bad bad cyclists.
I am a good cyclist - implying I won't get into an accident.
I don't ride my bike in San Francisco because I will get killed in an accident.