Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An open letter to The Age: "The Cycle Section"

An open letter to The Age,

I have included a picture of the cars section from your website.  No doubt you recognise it.  I can understand you having a cars section.  People like cars.  Top Gear is a pretty popular show.  There are famous movies about cars such as Herbie and Cars (whoever came up with that title deserves an Oscar).  There are big car races and car shows.  People spend a lot of money on cars and take pride in their vehicles.

Cars interest many different people from various walks of life.  Some people like sports with cars such as F1 and rallying.  Some have specials interests, like vintage, drag, hotrod, lowered, raised, stretched and fizzed.  Some people just use their cars to get to work.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Melburn-Roobaix 2011

Today was the 6th annual Melburn-Roobaix.  The weather was perfect for the 800 or so athletes who subjected their bodies to the punishment doled out by the fabled cobbles that are peppered between Hawthorn and Brunswick.  Andy of fyxomatosis fame put on a slick event that was enjoyed by all.

While this is a serious event ("a ride, not a race"), there was still room for a bit of fun.  There were Power Rangers, unicyclists, tandems for two and tandems for three, spandex, lycra, wool, sound systems, baguettes, and beer.  There were hipsters, commies, roadies and posties.  There were rich and poor, old and young, shaved and not.  All sorts were brought together by one thing; bike.

Unfortunately, I couldn't catch everything on film, as I was concentrating on other things, but here are a few snaps I did manage to catch...enjoy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Banff Mountain Film Festival

I had no idea what to expect when I headed into Capitol Theatre last night to see the Banff Mountain Film Festival.  To be honest, up until a couple of hours before, my cycling-tuned brain had me thinking I was off to the Banff Mountain Bike Film Festival.

Despite not being all about bikes, I was nonetheless in for a treat.  While it doesn't have something for everyone, it's appeal is certainly broader than your average sports documentary.  To give you a taste, here's the trailer;

Melbourne's Winter Lights Video

Here's a short video of Melbourne's Winter Lights in action (which I wrote about yesterday).  Not a professional production, I'll admit...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Melbourne's Winter Lights

M is for Melbourne

The Winter Lights crew outside the Arts Centre

Last night I took part in the opening night of Winter Lights; a collaborative initiative between Melbourne Bike Festival and the City of Melbourne.  Every evening for the next two weeks, a band of merry cyclists will be cruising the streets of Melbourne town stopping off at various spots to have a chat and perform various tricks on various types of bikes.

The idea of the event is both to encourage Melburnians to get out on their bikes during winter and to offer some light entertainment to those in town.

Each of the bikes are fitted with MonkeyLectric lights.  These contraptions comprise of a set of LEDs that attach to your spoke and create pretty patterns when your wheels spin.  They can even be programmed to display something specific.  For example, the City of Melbourne's logo:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spate of doorings leads to police crackdown on cyclists

An article in today's The Age, Cyclists face fines as police gets tough, raises a couple of concerns for me.

Before I go on, here's the article;
Cyclists entering Melbourne's CBD will face fines of hundreds of dollars if they disobey the road rules under a police crackdown beginning today.  Police will patrol major routes into the city at peak times following a recent jump in bicycle crashes that have left some cyclists with serious injuries.
Senior Sergeant Dale Huntington said four cyclists had died on Victorian roads this year, and in recent months several cyclists had been injured after riding into car doors on St Kilda Road.
Bike-related laws to be enforced include failing to wear a helmet (a $146 fine), not having lights ($146), failing to obey a traffic light ($292) and riding in a tram safety zone ($292).
“We have seen a number of incidents recently, particularly in the St Kilda Road area, where cyclists have collided with opening car doors," Senior Sergeant Huntington said.  "We're asking both riders and also motorists to share the road, to be courteous and considerate of each other.  "There's no second chance for a bike rider. When involved in an accident it's always going to be a serious incident."
The most recent figures from Bicycle Victoria's annual road count, taken on March 1 this year, revealed that 1510 cyclists passed through the intersection of Swanston and Flinders streets in the city between 7am and 9am.  That was the busiest bicycle commuter intersection in the city, recording an average of 12.6 cyclists per minute.  However, the number of riders was down 18.5 per cent on the previous year due to wet and windy conditions in the city on the day the count was taken.
Senior Sergeant Huntington said that under Operation Compass, police would target four key entrances to the city — Footscray Road, St Kilda Road, Albert Street in North Melbourne and Royal Parade.
He said despite bike helmet laws being enforced for the past 10 years, officers were finding cyclists were still flouting them.  "They also aren't wearing the proper lights at night time," he said.  "It's a winter period and we've got people riding to work later in the night time and also early in the morning when it's dark.
"Motorists find it hard to see bike riders at the best of times, so when you're not wearing those reflective vests, not wearing a helmet or not wearing the lights, you're riding around invisible to other road users."
He said Operation Compass would run for the next three months.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Old man, pink bike, workman's hat = hipster

I saw this old man at the supermarket today. I love old men and this one is particularly cool. He's rocking a pink bike with a milk crate on the back. And the workman's hat is a fine touch; I can't believe the hipsters haven't caught on to that yet. As they say, hipsterism fetishises the authentic, and what could be more authentic than a workman's hat? Additionally, a workman's hat is nothing if not vinatge, and we all know that hipsters base their image on a carefully created sloppy vintage look.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ginkgo tree no match for these thieves

I've locked my bike to trees many times in the past...I won't be doing that any more.

Meanwhile, these guys have style.  They are not prepared to steal just any bike.  No, first they have to try it out.  And clearly this one simply wasn't up to their exacting standards.

I can't help but feel that maybe they're a bit bored too...

For some tips on how to avoid having potential thieves test ride your bike, read here.

Monday, June 13, 2011


It's the end of the long weekend and what better way to lament that fact than by enjoying some Muppets on bikes.  And it turns out Kermit has mad skillz...who knew?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Le Coq Sportif

This year, Le Coq Sportif (The Sporty Rooster) will replace Nike as the supplier of jerseys for Le Tour de France.  This got me thinking about why there is a sporting brand named after a flightless bird.

For me, chickens don't represent much in the way of sportiness.  When I think of chickens, I think yummy, a bit noisy, and commonly eaten by whatever animal wants to eat them.  Sure, if you’re a piece of grain you don’t want to come up against a chicken but otherwise you’re probably all right. 

So, I hit up a popular, free, web-based, collaborative encyclopedia to bring you the lowdown on this athletic domesticated fowl.

The brand was founded way back in 1882 by Émile Camuset.  He named his brand in honour of the Gallic rooster, which is a national symbol of France.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pit In


"Why do I have to get off my bike just to go and sit on another seat?"

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Photo Op.

Bicycles make the perfect models.  They're not shy at all, even when they're naked.  They are always photogenic.  They look good from any angle.  The wind doesn't ruin their hair.  They can work on no sleep.

China, somewhere rural

Bicycles tell a story about the world around them.  Just like people, bicycles come from many different countries.  Just like people, bicycles migrate for many different reasons.  And just like people, bicycles do many different things, from racing around a velodrome to delivering newspapers.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pushy pushbikers pushing their luck

Today I want to bring your attention to Danny Katz's article from The Age.  It sums up all the problems with pushbikes succinctly, fairly and truly...except that recumbents aren't four-wheeled.  That said, Danny, I'm sure you can find plenty of other reasons to berate recumbents.  For example, they're stupid.

Anyway, without further ado, Danny's article;