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This is a question Hitchhiking and fare dodging

Epic tales of the thumb, the open road and getting robbed by hairy-arsed truck drivers. Alternatively, travelling for free like a dreadful fare-jumping cheat. Confess.

Suggested by Social Hand Grenade

(, Thu 21 Aug 2014, 13:34)
Pages: Popular, 3, 2, 1

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Hitchhiking to Australia
A friend of mine hitchhiked to australia, because he figured that it was greener than all the CO2 belched out by flying. Amazingly, he made in it 10 days.

And then flew home.

When I asked why, he said 'mate, if you'd seen the shit coming out of the exhaust pipes of most of the lorries I ended up in, I reckon a 747 is the cleanest way to go.'
(, Mon 25 Aug 2014, 22:27, 18 replies)
Sitting in a trailer
Sitting in the back of a car with my mates, somewhere in a traffic jam near Indian Queens in Pastyland, I needed a wee. I figured that the traffic was so jammed up I'd have plenty of time to run to hedge, have a piss, and then run up the road to catch them up.

No sooner have I started, the traffic opens up and they roar off in a flurry of laughter and wanker signs.


I start to jog up the side of the road to catch them up at the next layby, where I knew they'd probably wait for me.

As I'm panting up the road, a friendly couple in a VW Beetle lean out of their window, laughing, and ask if I want a lift up to my mates. 'oh yeah, thanks!'
'No worries, jump in the trailer.'

I wedge myself in their little trailer between camping equipment and a rusty barbecue and we whizz up the road. About 400metres later, I see my friends dutifully pulled over and I wave to the my saviours in the VW.

Unfortuntaly, at this point two things have happened. The traffic jam has eased, and the couple in the Beetle have clearly forgotten I'm there. I fly past my friends at 60mph, catching a glimpse of the equal parts astonishment and hilarity displayed on their faces.

Several miles later, they finally notice my frantic waving in their rear view mirrors and pull over and drop me off, embarrased, but also clearly trying very hard not to laugh.

10 mins later I wave down my friends to pick me up as they finally catch up. They drove past, laughing...

I started to jog down the road again.
(, Mon 25 Aug 2014, 22:18, 4 replies)
Foul of the filth
First time I ever went to Glastonbury, in the 80s, I realised on the Friday afternoon that I'd forgotten to go to the bank en route. 'No problem', says my friend, 'Just walk to Shepton Mallet - it's not far.'

Never been in that part of the country before but, undaunted, I set off and being confronted with a crossroads at the entry to the festival, asked a friendly policeman which way to Shepton Mallet.

He looked me up and down and then points along the road to my right, which seemed to stretch on to the horizon. 'That way', he said.

And so, being slightly stoned and completely ignoring the streaming crowd of people carrying straight along the road in front of me, I turned right and started walking into the empty distance. Away from everybody else.

About an hour later I was wondering exactly how far it was going to be to Shepton Mallet when I heard a car engine and a Volvo estate pulled up beside me. An old couple, must have been in their 70s, sat there.

'Where are you going, son?'

'Shepton Mallet.'

'Not that way, you're not. Get in - we'll give you a lift.'

And so, despite my protestation of being quite muddy (we'd arrived the night before and it was a bit rainy - 'Oh, never you mind that, it's only mud...') they drove me all the way to Shepton Mallet and dropped me off more or less outside the bank, just in time to cash a cheque, which shows you how long ago it was.

On the way they asked why I'd walked along that road and I told them the police had directed me that way.

At which point the old woman said: 'Oh, they're bastards, they are. The local police are all right, but they draft loads in from all over the country and they hate being here. You stay as far away from them as you can.'

What lovely people - I'm sure they went well out of their way to see a total stranger right. No idea who they were but I've never forgotten them.

(Sorry, it's also a bit boring but it seems to be that kind of a week...)
(, Mon 25 Aug 2014, 16:51, 8 replies)

(, Mon 25 Aug 2014, 16:19, 2 replies)
Cumquats guide to Hitchhiking
I've hitched in a lot of different countries in this world. When you hitch you have an awful lot of time standing on the sides of roads to contemplate the nature and psychology of it. I thought Id share my opinions, for what they're worth. It's a good and cheap way to see the world.
Generally, the more lonely the road, or hostile the environment, the more lifts you get. Many people are motivated by pity to pick you up. Busy on-ramps to motorways, they think "ah, somebody else will pick him up". Standing on an empty road in Norway with snow falling, or out on the nullabor in blazing 40 degree heat with a single car every 3 hours if you're lucky, you'd need a hard heart to drive past and leave me to die.
Country Guide: the Scandanavian countries are great, mostly for the reasons above. I had a few long rides in rural iceland where they didn't say a single word the whole trip, I said my destination and the rest was silence. They're a weird people. Ireland is very good , maybe the easiest country, as is France outside Paris. Australia, Canada and the States are decent. England is hard in the south and midlands, but good for rides in the north. Germany is hard, make sure you have a book to read, the selfish pricks. Spain is alright, but the former communist countries are hard to hitch in. Brazil is good, all other latin american countries apart from mexico are more difficult. In mexico, they often want you to pay. Didn't do much hitching in India, as the train and bus is dirt cheap, but I got a couple of rides. Southeast asia is difficult, though sometimes they pick you up for the novelty value. China it was illegal, and I sensed I wouldn't have much luck anyway.

The best advice to get rides is be a woman. If you can't manage that, then go for the clean cut backpacker look. people are interested if they think you're a foreign backpacker, but won't pick you up if they're the least bit afraid of you. you don't want to blend in with the locals when you're hitching. If a local is hitching it probably means he's a homeless vagrant. Embrace your inner gringo, even if means cracking out the pastel t-shirt and shorts.
An obvious piece of advice is you need a good line of sight up the road. There is a certain amount of time drivers need between seeing you, recognizing you as a hitcher, wrestling with guilt and inner demons, then deciding to pull over. You need to make sure they have time to go through each stage before they've passed you. More visual time = more time to feel guilty.
One thing I had a lot of success with, and I wish I'd thought of it in my earlier years of hitching, is carry an acoustic guitar in a case. This advice is gold, trust me. You get a lot more rides, even if like me you can only play the opening bars to Stairway to Heaven. By the time they find this out, you're already in their car. People like to pick you up if they think you're a musician, and it's the first question they ask.
Lastly, the majority of people who pick you up, apart from lorry drivers, are going to be bored middleaged men in shitty sedans. They've gone to the trouble of giving you a lift. You should at least show some conversational interest in their small pathetic lives. It's the decent thing to do.

TLDR: The germans are selfish cunts
(, Mon 25 Aug 2014, 3:55, 4 replies)
Forgot about this one.
Pumping up the tyres at Gordano services, was approached by a Neanderthal foreheaded bloke in an ATS work boilersuit and a Bristolian accent so thick you could cut it with a tree branch who wanted a lift a couple of junctions of the M5 as he'd locked himself out of his van and just wanted to get back to the depot to get a spare key.

The story seemed to check out (indeed an ATS van was parked on the petrol pump forecourt) so I nipped into the kiosk to bag the nadir of my travelling life, the Ginsters Ploughman's Roll, and let him into the car.

He wasn't talkative but that was fine with me, just a couple of junctions, no worries, sow a bit of good karma etc. when he started creeping me out, firstly by turning and staring at me as I drove, and then picking up the Ploughman's Roll I'd just bought and turning it over, looking at the wrapping, and then reading out loud from the wrapping.."A...delicious....blend...of...sausage..and...juicy...pickle...and...traditional...cheddar....cheese....with...subtle....herbs...and..spices..." et cetera, until he had read it all, and then just sat with it in his hand looking at me again in eerie silence, unti lI cracked and said "Help yourself if you want, I wasn't that hungry anyway".

Before I even finished the sentence he's torn open the wrapping and started noisily pushing it into his face, crumbs flying everywhere as they do. Then he chucked the wrapper on the floor and said "Got anything to drink?" to which I had to admit, no, I didn't. "Well that's no good, is it?" he growled.

Oh shit. This is not good, how long till the junction he's getting off....if he is?

The next few miles went very slowly because of the traffic but thankfully in silence. Then I pulled off at the appropriate junction and stopped in a layby, asking 'This do you'?

He got out with an exasperated huff and without a word of thanks and slammed the door behind him. I may have fucked off with greater than the normal amount of speed in case he demanded to be dropped off at the door.

Not picked up anyone since.
(, Sun 24 Aug 2014, 16:36, 12 replies)
A thumb goes up, a car goes by, it's nearly 1 a.m. and here am I.
Hitchin' a ride, hitchin' a ride, gotta get me home by the morning light. I got no fare to ride a train, I'm nearly drownin' in the pouring rain. Hitchin' a ride, hitchin' a ride, gotta get me home to my baby's side. Ride, ride, ride, hitchin' a ride. Ride, ride, ride, hitchin' a ride. Long distance call, I got today, she sounded lonely, so I'm on my way. Hitchin' a ride, hitchin' a ride, gotta get me home, keep her satisfied. Ride, ride, ride, hitchin' a ride. Ride, ride, ride, hitchin' a ride. A thumb goes up, a car goes by, oh, won't somebody stop and help a guy? Hitchin' a ride, hitchin' a ride, been away too long from my baby's side. Ride, ride, ride, hitchin' a ride. Ride, ride, ride, hitchin' a ride. Ride, ride, ride, hitchin' a ride. Ride, ride, ride, hitchin' a ride. Ride, ride. Ride, ride. Ride, ride. Ride, ride. Ride, ride.
(, Sun 24 Aug 2014, 14:54, Reply)
When I was young, my dad worried so much about getting extorted by female hitchhikers screaming rape that I was under the impression that was how women got pregnant. I remember once picking up at dawn a hitchhiking, medal-festooned fellow in an unfamiliar uniform. He was trying to quickly get to a rendezvous point to help search for survivors of a plane crash. He had stories about blundering through thickets in remote areas. Like my dad worried about.
(, Sun 24 Aug 2014, 14:38, 1 reply)
I used to pick up hitchers if I could
and if I didn't think there was a reasonable chance of them murdering me along the way to steal my beautiful Mk2 Polo with the square back.

I don't think there's that many interesting stories to tell, though. There was the guy I didn't pick up from Toddington services because the other hitcher there was really scared by him and convinced him that they'd have better luck getting a ride if they waited separately on the slip road, so he told him to go and stand fifty yards away. I picked up the first guy, who was going the same way as me, and when the other hitcher saw this he shouted and started running towards the car and he was all like "Drive! Believe me, you don't want to give that guy a lift." He said the guy was obviously on some sort of MASSIVE DRUGS and he'd been more or less incoherently threatening the whole time they'd been waiting together, so lucky escape there I suppose.
(, Sun 24 Aug 2014, 8:14, 2 replies)
I was offered a lift to Syria
But only if I grew a beard, subjugated all higher reasoning to a moronic Salafist agenda and beheaded kids.

I just couldn't live without bacon.
(, Sun 24 Aug 2014, 4:31, 5 replies)
ian botham's footpenis

(, Sun 24 Aug 2014, 4:04, 1 reply)
"You have lovely sheep."

(, Sat 23 Aug 2014, 19:36, 1 reply)
As a regular business class flyer (which costs thousands of pounds, you know)
I have never encountered anything as vulgar as hitchhikers. I mean, how simply ghastly.
(, Sat 23 Aug 2014, 19:08, 4 replies)
Traveling under false pretenses
As a diminutive 16 or 17 year old before I suddenly shot up in size, I purchased a child ticket for a return journey from Oxenholme(Kendal) to Aberdeen. On the return journey was informed of train time from Aberdeen, and the connection from Edinburgh to Oxenholme. Upon arriving at Edinburgh I found the train to Oxenholme did not exist, panicked and asked a rail employee what to do. I was promptly pointed in the direction of the station managers office. I was informed that as I was a minor they had an obligation to get me to my destination. Phone calls were made and I was put on a train going through Lancaster station, which they kept open specially to allow my safe passage, and a taxi was waiting (paid for by the rail company) to take me right to the door of my humble abode in Kendal. Thank the great Prophet Zarquon I looked half my age!
(, Sat 23 Aug 2014, 16:51, 1 reply)
Roger Waters' first solo album is pretty crap.

(, Sat 23 Aug 2014, 12:14, 3 replies)
I feel rather excluded from this weeks question, having never hitchhiked, fare dodged or picked up dirty povvos from the side of the road.
Couldn't I just write about one of the many times when I travelled from one place to another place and managed to keep my dignity?
(, Sat 23 Aug 2014, 3:21, 12 replies)
Got picked up by a guy in a campervan whilst hitching from Lowestoft to Aberdeen.
I got out at the Southwold junction as I was too freaked out by what he had in the back of the vehicle:

(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 23:08, 3 replies)
I once saw Alexei Sayle in the northbound car park of Keele Services on the M6.
Dunno if he was hitching. Probably not.
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 22:13, 1 reply)
Picked up a Hitchiker in my Accord
Drove her to the Home Counties, Subjugated her bawbag, got some pish in my mouth.
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 22:02, Reply)
Hitching from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire to Aylesbury , Ducks.
Usual technique, out the gates, cross the road to the lay-by on the southbound and wait. This one time a black Daimler came out the camp gates from which I'd just emerged and stopped. "Whar yew going airman?", demanded a face just south of a cap resplendent in scrambled egg. "Aylesbury sir" says me. "Right" says sir. "Climb in the front with my driver."
The AOC bomber command was on his way back to HQ in High Wycombe and i slid off his magic carpet at the end of our street.
At that time, in uniform, you would hardly ever be passed. Cold War and patriotism what what!
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 21:55, 12 replies)
The only person I've hitched a ride with
is Jesus.
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 21:26, 8 replies)
I was picked up by a woman working in the pornography business.
My hitchhiking thumb got me a ride with Gail Palmer, who before producing and directing pornography, operated the Beal Film Group at Michigan State University. I was in the back of a station wagon, holding on to castles of movie projector film cases.

"I know how this story goes down!" I thought, knowing that art imitates real life.

Yep. She and her projectionist talked about ticket revenues and expenses the entire ride.
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 20:21, 1 reply)
Back when I was working summers at my dad's steel processing factory
I had to make a run with a transit full of pallets to drop them off someone outside Bristol. Stopping at the services at Michaelwood there were a hippy-looking couple (dreads and paisley), early 20s, thumbing a lift. Following the reasoning that they were probably strapped for cash and looked harmless enough, I pulled over- "Where you going to?"
"We're going to Glastonbury but anywhere further down the M5 you can take us, that would be great".

Oh, so it was Glasto weekend was it? Being a young metalhead Monsters Of Rock was somewhere on my calendar radar but I didn't have a clue about Glasto. Looking at the map I thought- well, it's only about another 30 miles down to the junction they'd need to get off so I can make the extra loop and still deliver the pallets on time.

At this point I should also add that my knowledge about recreational drugs was limited to what I could glean from the Fabulous Furry Freek Brothers comics- and my participation almost nonexistent.

So it was with some incomprehension I witnessed the girl sat in the middle of the 3-seats in the driver cab produce extra long rolling papers, rolling tobacco and a plum-sized chunk of brown/green cannabis resin. Then burn chunks off the edge of the resin and proceed to make a production line of spliffs, presumably to sell at the festival.

I did make some excuse about not wanting to drive while stoned so I opened the drivers' window a bit to let clean air into the slightly fuggy cab while she stacked up the joints and put the gear away in a tasseled bag.

Conversation carried on in a nonchalant kind of way while I wondered how I would explain this to any motorway cops if they happened to stop me, and then we got to the junction where they were getting off, s oI pulled into a layby on the roundabout and let them off.

Amid many thanks and the girl leaning over to give me a hug and a kiss on the cheek, I prepared to pull back onto the road, she appeared again at my window with a bright smile on her face. I wound down the window to ask if she'd forgotten anything and she said "For your trouble!" and handed me one of the spliffs.


Shit, I am packing contraband now. And when would I smoke it when I couldn't get found out? Where?

In the end I took it home and hid it inside my clock radio and promptly forgot about it until about 6 months later when paranoia kicked in and the only way I thought I could get rid of it without smelling of smoke was to eat it.

Not much happened, my hearing went a bit echoey for an hour or so. Glad it was free, I would have been right narked if I'd have paid for it. Weak ass spliff.
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 19:11, 3 replies)
I never rode in a convertible before!
Star Wars.
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 19:01, 1 reply)
The worst car in the world
I used to hitch to and from Uni. One memorable time I was picked up by a hippie-looking guy in a Morris Traveller - one of those with the wooden frame at the back. As we trundled along, I noticed that the driver had the seat belt wrapped around his arm, rather than in the more traditional position.

The belt was also wrapped around the door-frame. He was apparently using it to hold the door closed. But no, looking closer it became apparent that the entire driver's side of the car was no longer connected to the rest of the vehicle, except at the front wing; rear of that, the the wood had rotted away, and the entire side was flapping gently in the breeze. Yes, he was using the belt to stop the side of the car from falling off.

Amazingly, we arrived safely, and with a cheery smile he rattled off. A few weeks later I came across the car again: it had completely collapsed, all four wheels splayed out, and the body collapsed into a pile of rust. I wish I'd seen it happen - but from outside.
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 17:04, 1 reply)
Pearoast from years ago
I have committed one terrible fare-dodging scam which still haunts me to this day. Apologies in advance for length, girth, etc.

As a quick aside before I start, I'm not looking for kudos for this, nor am I proud of what I did. This was a silly idea that I had when I was young and naive and thought that nothing could possibly go wrong...

Most of my friends took the decision to go straight from A-levels to university. I, however, was offered a three day a week job doing odd jobs at a local web design company. Therefore I decided to defer my university entry for a year. Said company were paying me quite handsomely, and coupled with the minimal work hours, this meant I was able to jet around all over this fair isle visiting friends at their respective universities for long weekends of partying, boozing, and partying some more.

My weapon of choice for getting to these places was National Express. Very reasonably priced, more comfortable and punctual than trains, and if I travelled on one of the right routes, I was provided with entertainment on the coach TV screens. I would book my seat a couple of days in advance via their website, print off an e-ticket, and go visiting.

On one particular trip I made the observation that upon boarding, the drivers don't really pay much attention to the e-tickets. I made an assumption on this trip that the driver was probably only checking the route number (i.e. 402), and the origin and destination of travel. So I made a mental note next time I booked a ticket to save the e-ticket HTML file to my hard drive for further investigation.

Being an experienced website designer had its uses. I realised that it was perfectly easy to tinker with the e-ticket's HTML file and edit the information contained therein. So next time I travelled I printed out a counterfeit e-ticket, tailored to my exact route and journey, to see if the driver let me on. I chickened out at the last minute and bought a genuine ticket as well, stored safely in my bag just in case the fake one was turned down. But as I expected, the fake one passed the scrutiny of the driver's inspection and I took my seat, happy in the knowledge that I now possessed the ability to travel for free on National Express.

Of course I wouldn't have done this if I had felt any guilt. But I couldn't bring myself to feel guilty about it. This was a victimless crime. These coaches I was riding on would still be running if I wasn't riding on them. The few extra pennies that they would have to pay in fuel due to my weight were more than offset by the generous £2 tip I would anonymously leave on the driver's dashboard upon alighting. Nobody was losing out!

This was until one fateful journey, when I was set to go and stay with a friend in London. "Just get the coach to Heathrow, my housemate can pick you up from there", said this friend. Two minutes of HTML editing in Notepad, and I had 'booked' myself a ticket. Can you see where this is going?

Fast forward to the coach station: I boarded and took my seat on the coach, noting that it had turned up seven minutes before its timetabled departure. I then noticed the driver conducting a head count. And then pulling away six minutes early, presumably because the number of passengers on the coach matched the number on his passenger list. Except-fuck. Fuck fuck shitting fuckity fuck. I wouldn't have been on the passenger list, having not actually made a bloody booking. If the driver had counted the right number, we were clearly missing one passenger. Glancing out of the window I saw this one passenger: a young lady, laden with luggage, frantically running towards the coach trying to get it to stop. But the driver hadn't noticed her. And I couldn't bring myself to let him know she was there, in case I was found out and reported to the police. We drove off, minus this would-be passenger.

I spent the entire journey racked with guilt, which increased tenfold when I realised that this poor young woman was probably on her way to Heathrow to catch a flight, which I probably made her miss.

That was the last time I travelled with National Express, and certainly the last time I even thought about creating counterfeited travel documents. Someone was bound to lose out at some point, but unfortunately in this case it was an innocent passenger, and not the person who deserved to lose out (me).
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 15:57, 5 replies)
Never used to hitchhike....
... then I learned to paraglide. At first, that meant turning up at a hill, flying back and forth for a while, landing by the car, packing up and going home. Eventually, though, I got some good at it...

So now it means I turn up at a hill, fly back and forth for a while, then get a decent bit of thermal lift and end up at five or six thousand feet up, rubbing my head on the clouds. Round about then I point downwind and look for the next cloud that's working, glide off and hope I find some more lift. This can end up with me landing some considerable distance from my car - 48km is my record so far. If I've landed near a bus stop or train station it's all fine, but otherwise it's stand by the road with the thumb out and a sign saying "GLIDER PILOT - JUST LANDED - LIFT PLEASE?", which works surprisingly quickly in most cases. Most people who stop are by definition wonderful, brilliant, etc. and it's churlish to complain about anyone who's prepared to let you get in their car, but...

Got a lift once from a clearly slightly confused man out for the day with his elderly mother, who sat in the passenger seat repeating the last word of anything he said in a thin, reedy voice. E.g.
Me: "Thanks so much for the lift."
Him: "That's OK, we're just out for a drive."
Her: "... drive."
Him: "It's lovely up here on the moors."
Her: "... moors."

And so on.

They didn't take me very far, just three or four miles, and I was grateful. I was also a bit frustrated, as even with a paraglider rucksack on my back I'm reasonably certain that if I'd been in a real hurry I could have walked - not run - faster than he was driving the car. It was a very remote, little used road, but we were overtaken by four vehicles, two of which felt the need to sound their horn as they went by. I was quite glad to get out, really.
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 14:52, Reply)

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