Sunday, October 13, 2013

Missiles on wheels

A couple of two-wheeled missiles

Sometimes I think that if it wasn't for The Herald Sun, this blog wouldn't exist. And with that in mind, today I'd like to explore an investigative report from the Law and Order section of yesterday's edition.

The crux of the report can be summed up in this sentence:
The Herald Sun clocked 170 bike riders with a calibrated radar gun at Southbank last week, with 73 caught doing more than 20km in the 10km zone.
At first I was confused. Since when was there a distance limit for cyclists? Why can't I ride more than 10 kilometres when passing through Southbank? How does a radar gun, designed for measuring speed, calculate the distance a cyclist will travel? And how on earth would a person ride a bicycle for 20 kilometres? That seems like an awfully long way.

But then I realised the investigative journalists meant kilometres per hour. They are journalists after all, not physicists. Easy mistake to make and one which they rectified later on in their exposé.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Chariots of Fire


It's been a year since I've added to this blog. A couple of things have contributed to this. One is a new and very special addition to my life which can be viewed in the photo above; my Moots Mooto-X mountain bike. It has been a labour of love that I've put a lot of time both into and onto.

What's more, I've sired a progeny, Theo, who also happens to be in the photo above (he's inside that trailer or "thing"). And I bought a white car and a house with a picket fence behind which I've planted some vegetables and sometimes I listen to ABC Radio National.

And all this inside 12 months. It takes most people, like, a decade to achieve all these grown-up things. Like with many things in my life (talking, walking, sleeping, reading, maths, using analogue clocks), I lagged behind but then caught up. It's an approach that worries my parents but it seems to work for me.

Sorry mum. Sorry dad.

Anyway, I digress, or would have had I begun with the topic to which the rest of this post will be devoted.

This trailer is a recent acquisition and I've been a bit surprised by the responses of friends and family. Some people seem to have pretty strong feelings about the use of these "things". The concerns are to do with the contraption's position and stature; it's low, it's close to the ground, cars can't see it, it's dangerous.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Magpie swooping season

If you wanted yet another reason to hate Collingwood, magpie-swooping season may be just what you're looking for.



If you've ventured outdoors in recent months, you may well have experienced the indignity of being dive-bombed by an overly-agressive bird with delusions of grandeur. That's because it's nesting season and by walking or cycling past their tree, you're a threat.

Some facts (that I stole form this Australian Geographic article):
  • 9-12% of all magpies swoop aggressively.
  • Nearly all attacks take place during nesting, between August and November.
  • 99% of swoops on humans are by male magpies.
  • 52% of swooping magpies target pedestrians and ignore cyclists. They’ll also let most people walk by untroubled, swooping on just 35 per cent of them.
  • 8% of aggressive birds target only cyclists, showing no interest in pedestrians but going for 65 per cent of passing bike riders.
  • 29% of aggressive magpies target both cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Sometimes swooping magpies target specific individuals – repeatedly attacking one person in a family and leaving the rest alone. They have long-term memories so can continue attacking an individual years later.
So, are there any ways to avoid being attacked? Well, some people seem to think so. Like this person;

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Police to "target" safe cycling

"Police will this month put their wheels in motion and target bike safety as part of the 29th annual Safe Cycle Month." - VicPolice website

So, this month, safe cycling will be "targeted".

Let's break that down a bit;

Target: verb (used with object)
  • to use, set up, or designate as a target or goal. 
  • to direct toward a target: The new warheads can be targeted with great precision. 
  • to make a target of (an object, person, city, etc.) for attack or bombardment.
I guess they're going for the first reading, however, I can't help but think they could have chosen a better word, like one that isn't a synonym for dropping bombs. Perhaps something like "promote" or "champion" or "advocate".

Especially when on the very page they are targetting promoting their campaign they have this at the bottom;


Now it's as though if you're a "target", you've either recently robbed an ATM or you're a cyclist.

What's more,
"Cyclists who are observed displaying safe cycling behaviour during Safe Cycle Month will be given an information card by police. This card contains road rules and safety tips, and cyclists will have the chance to win a number of prizes."
Ah, shouldn't cyclists displaying unsafe cycling behaviour be the ones to receive this information? I guess they'll just get a fine.

So, what tips are offered by the five-O on being a safe cyclist? Well, there's this;
“Bike owners need to check that their bike is in roadworthy condition and that their helmets are well fitted.”
So don't go getting one of those $5 helmets from 7-Eleven because I can assure you they will not fit.
"Wearing bright clothing and planning journeys in advance along safe routes will also reduce the risk of injury on the road."
Under no circumstances should you make an unplanned journey. I once made this mistake and I can tell you it was not pretty. I didn't have any food supplies or wet-weather equipment. I only had a vague idea of what direction to head in and the sun was beating down. If it weren't for the existence of street signs and thirty years of local knowledge, I don't know if I ever would have made it. I guess god does exist.

Oh, and the fact that I was riding to a rave was also helpful as I was wearing a becoming fluoro ensemble that warned all and sundry that I was there.

So, if you plan on riding around this month, watch out because “Police will be watching, acting and enforcing the road rules for the safety of all.”

I think @Treadlie Magazine summed the whole thing up pretty well with this tweet;


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bike-Changing World Champion

Blink and you'll miss. Don't blink and you'll probably miss it too. Here is a video of Quentin Jauregui riding for France in the recent Junior World Road Race Championship.



His mechanics clearly find it pretty impressive too as does a bystander who asks whether the rider actually just changed bikes.

Here's another video which shows the change a bit more clearly;



Apparently, Jauregui has a cyclocross background which explains his skill somewhat.

For the record, while he may be a bike-changing world champion, in the actual race he came 46th.

MoreArt 2012


Wall pastings by Sadie Chandler

I went on a bike ride today to check out MoreArt, the Moreland City Council Art Show. As part of the show, the friendly folk down at the Squeaky Wheel are taking cyclists on tours of the Moreland area
showcasing art that has been displayed.

Today we began our exploration at Coburg train station and meandered our way southwards on the train line. Along the way we saw various paintings and installations, each with a story and a local bent. Some of the artists even came along for the ride to explain their works.

Details and photos below the break.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Trials of bicycling

Here's some nice footage of Melbourne trials rider, Andrew Dickey, jumping on things all around Melbourne.

The only thing that would improve this video is if he jumped onto the Ferrari at 2"45'. Oh, and if the music were different.

Enjoy.