cfsmtb in low earth orbit

Monday, January 31, 2005

Friday Mass pics, Tasman Bridge follies & USA bike news

Unholy Trinity: Johnston Street Collingwood, Very, Thorin and Her

Great photos from Friday night, see here: Lucas Chan :: Photos :: Critical Mass Melbourne (Jan 2005) Also, CM news from Portland:

Potter pedals with Critical Mass to test his political mettle

Tom Potter's Friday? Well, there were the suit-and-tie meetings about the Portland mayor's upcoming trip to Japan and his recent takeover of the city's bureaus. There was a quick visit to a new Toyota import plant. Oh, and at nightfall, he took a spin with the city's two-wheeled pirates. At least that's how many cops and motorists see the bicyclists who participate in the monthly Critical Mass protest ride through downtown. Pedaling punks. Gear-shifting anarchists. A bunch of hoodlums with no respect for traffic laws or rush-hour motorists trying to get home after work. But Friday night, Potter -- a man who won by 23 percentage points without taking a donation over $100 -- once again showed that he takes his mandate as the city's new mayor seriously.

Several people e-mailed City Hall to berate Potter for his planned ride. It was tantamount to supporting one of the city's biggest menaces, some complained. "This is just a bike ride," Potter said as he answered a barrage of questions from TV and radio reporters before the throng of cyclists departed from their gathering spot near the North Park Blocks' giant elephant. I don't see the big deal."

Hallelujah, a politician who gets it! Now, only if we could get Cr John So (MCC), Cr Diana Asmar, (Darebin), Cr Jack Wegman, (Boroondara), Cr Mark Higginbotham (Moreland) or Cr Kay Meadows (Yarra) along for a spin to mass.

Here's a list of Victorian Local Government Councillors we could invite along to the local version of CM. Worth a try, certainly might prove successful than trying to invite along Andrew Bolt, see here for Alex's polite invite and Andys response. On to other stuff.

Hurt cyclist cites bridge safety
Bruised, battered and bloodied cyclist Tony Oakley wants to warn other cyclists of the dangers of riding on Hobart's Tasman Bridge. Mr Oakley, 57, of Lindisfarne, is 'in a mess' after coming off his bicycle and hitting the bridge's steel fence on Friday night. Soon after, as his wife was driving him to hospital, an ambulance was attending to another cyclist where Mr Oakley had come to grief. The ambulance service confirmed a male cyclist was injured and taken to hospital. Mr Oakley is in no doubt his accident was the result of recent painting of the bridge's footpath. "Since it's been repainted, it's like skating on ice," he said.

Think I've been out of the state too long, I'm just simply amazed anyone would ride around Hobart & the surrounding environs. Still entertaining the thought after all these years of tracking down that frigging MTT bus driver who terrified me badly enough as a kid to stop cycling.

USA - St. Cloud becoming bike friendly
When Jan Peterson's car broke down almost two years ago, she decided to bicycle 10 miles to and from her job at Chipotle Mexican Grill. Eventually, she got the car fixed. But by then, she was hooked on biking -- so hooked that she got rid of the car. Peterson cycles mainly for health reasons. This summer, there's an added benefit: She and other biking commuters don't have to worry about gasoline climbing to $2 a gallon. 'I'm aware that we're saving money, not only in gasoline but also in wear and tear on the car,' said Ted Sherarts, 70, who has biked to work for 18 years.

USA - Probe of bike death thorough
The system is working. On Thursday, exactly four months and 10 days since Josie Johnson died on a crisp autumn day while bicycling up Big Cottonwood Canyon, the driver suspected of hitting her from behind was charged with negligent homicide. Elizabeth 'Betsy' DeSeelhorst, 66, faces a Feb. 17 arraignment on the class A misdemeanor charge, after a lengthy investigation by the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office. It is tragic from every angle. And yet, the matter is moving forward. To Johnson's friends, family and thousands of cyclists who have followed this case, getting here seemed to take forever.

Digging Holes around Melbourne

More crap from the Victoria road building lobby, akin to loosening a belt to lose weight.

CityLink looks at more hot spots
A pact with the State Government on eliminating a bottleneck will save time and improve safety. Up to 10 minutes of peak hour travel time will be slashed for motorists between the Melbourne Airport and the city under a $150 million upgrade of one of Victoria's worst bottlenecks. The State Government and CityLink operator Transurban have a struck a deal to fix the Tullamarine-Calder Freeway interchange near Essendon to try to improve safety and cut congestion.Two more of Melbourne's worst traffic hot spots, both of which feed into CityLink, could be improved under similar deals.

Transurban's $300m Tullamarine Freeway upgrade
Transurban Groupo (TCL) today announced that it has reached an agreement with the State of Victoria and VicRoads to use CityLink concession notes to fund an upgrade of the Tullamarine/Calder Freeway interchange. Transurban advised that this work is now to commence in the immediate future and should be completed within three years.

Eastern-Tullamarine link not on Govt's agenda
The Victorian Government is resisting calls from the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) for a link to be built between the Eastern and Tullamarine freeways. The motoring group says the traffic bottleneck at the city end of the Eastern Freeway is intolerable and cannot be fixed by minor works. The RACV has even proposed tolls to fund the project, which it says is only a last resort.

Fascinating article from Cyprus

Read more here Here's one recent visitor to our sunny shores who didn't enjoy their stay and obviously isn't a big fan of speed cameras.

Having lived and worked in four separate countries around the globe I have witnessed the many desperate attempts made by police forces to minimise the risk of traffic accidents.

By far the worst decisions were made by Australia’s state police forces, which have resulted in almost totalitarian police ‘regimes’, terrorising anyone who dares to get on a road. In Australia, the average citizen spends more time worrying about how to get from A to B without copping a heavy fine than actually enjoying the trip. Disputes between the police and shire councils are common in the frenzy to collect the millions of dollars made every year from speeding fines.

‘Multinova’ speed cameras sitting on a tripod every five kilometres or so are everywhere to record violations as low as five kilometres over the limit. The speeding fines that arrive in your mailbox, photograph included, are big enough to drain your entire salary. The demerit points system quickly gobbles up your merit points and the end result is an ever-growing number of otherwise law-abiding citizens turning into “criminals” once the vicious traffic offender cycle kicks in. Here’s how this vicious cycle works:

The first step is the loss of one’s driving licence for around three months, which can often brings the loss of one’s job, which of course brings the loss of one’s income, which finally brings financial debt and ultimate ruin since you can no longer pay your mortgage and other debts. In essence your last five-kilometre over-the-limit offence could cost you your job, house and family, not to mention the financial burden of the fines themselves and the time and money spent in the courts.

It’s no surprise that more and more Australians are choosing to stay indoors than risk any potential road calamity, a traffic accident being the last of their worries! This also suits the police just fine, since they can control the masses much more efficiently if more and more people are thinking twice before driving off in a car.

What was once a traditional pastime to go for a drive around town over the weekend has now become a serious risk of being caught at an imperfect driving moment and ultimately losing everything.(more in article)

Announcement: You heard it here first - our Australian outdoor lifestyle is apparentely being irreversably altered due to SPEEDING FINES. Read the first two highlighted sentences - yes, you read it correctly - social control via SPEEDING FINES. Maybe that will result in LESS CARS on the roads.

Struth! Crikey! Well I'll be fu......anyway there's several more astonishing conclusions mentioned in this article. Ok, obvious one for starters - speeding fine may make you lose everything. How about speeding, causing a accident, and losing everything because you're well, er, DEAD. I ask you to simply disperse and return to your homes, to your homes. Two hundred cars are on their way, filled with soldiers, and we don't know how this is all going to end. So thank you for everything, but please return to your homes. This rather apt quote was nicked from somewhere else.

Very heavy sigh.

Global Warming et al & Michael Crichton talks crap

Scientific gathering to assess global warming
World experts are expected to come to a depressing conclusion when they gather next week for the biggest scientific assessment in four years of Earth's global warming crisis. New evidence put forward by leading scientists will add pieces to a mosaic of evidence, which suggests the climate crunch is speeding up. The evidence also suggests that global warming will have a harsher outcome than previously thought.

New novel turns tables on global warming theory
A new novel that says fears of global warming are unjustified and stoked by an environmentalist-media conspiracy is taking Washington by storm. State of Fear, by Michael Crichton, the best-selling author of Jurassic Park and creator of the TV show, ER, compares scientists who warn of global warming to advocates of eugenics who said that the mixing of races would ruin the world's genetic stock.

The danger is hot air, not global warming
To lift Africa from the ravages of poverty and Aids would to most world leaders seem a big enough topic to fill a single speech. But not Tony Blair. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, the Prime Minister moved swiftly between the subjects of Africa and climate change. 'On both,' he said, 'there are differences which need to be reconciled. If they could be reconciled or at least moved forward, it would make a huge difference to the prospects of international unity, as well as to people's lives and our future survival.'

Experts to discuss global warming threat
Concern about the impact of global warming on the NSW mid-north coast has prompted three scientists to call a series of meetings in the region. One will be held early next month in the Hastings. Palaeo environmental scientist Mary White, retired physicist Ken Inall and climate change researcher Tony Doherty say people need to wake up to the reality of global warming.

Turkey - Global warming could be twice as bad as feared: computer model
Global warming may be twice as bad as expected, according to a new assessment of a commonly-used yardstick of possible carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

CenterLines Electronic News Bulletin #115

From the US of A - CenterLines. Wait a couple of days until #115 is available on the site. Think I kicked off this blog back in Aug 2004 with a link to the (then) most recent bulletin. Like many, I'm despairing of much of what the US produces either in the media, culture or any form of intelligent discourse, but CenterLines is a superb ‘heads up’ to what several agencies are attempting to do at the coalface of social change.

For another example of a pluristic approach to cycling and sustainable transport, refer to either
BikeBiz and Bike For All. Australia desperately requires a centralised news source such as these if cycling is to overcome petty tribal differences, rival NGO's under cutting and overlapping each other, and the heavy, unhealthy influence of the bicycle industry dictating to consumers what THEY think the rest of us really need in a bike.

In other news, CM didn't get rained on (yay!), bad news, our fave LBS had the front door smashed (boo! hiss!)

Friday, January 28, 2005

Oh sod it

Oh poobumwee - only 2.15pm and the atmosphere around Melbourne is already cooking up a storm.
Doesn't forebode well for tonights CM festivities. Remembering back to Jan 2002, now there was a legendary CM ride. The heavens threw down great sheets of rain, and hardly anyone left the ride since it stayed lovely and warm. Splashing through big puddles in the back streets of Richmond & unisex wet t-shirt perving, finishing up at the Rising Sun in Burnley St where the nervous publican locked the doors on the milling hordes of thirsy/tired/hungry cyclists. Silly chap.

Daily Road Toll Update

Three cyclist fatalities in Victoria as of 28 January. Any squeaks or press releases eliminating from peak cycling organisations yet? Just a seasonal spike in the stats or a prelude to the new year?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Divine Feline Revenge

Making amends for that recent dose of atheism, here's a feline take on Ezekiel 25:17, that was slightly paraphased in Pulp Fiction.

Cyclists offering rewards, Critical Mass & fugly concept cars

wrong colour, wrong place, wrong Fiat Uno, but still a awful little car.

Daily News - Cyclists offering reward
Two Durban cyclists are offering a reward of R10 000 and have hired a private investigator to help track down the driver of a green Uno who has been terrorising cyclists on the freeway. On Saturday Nino Chidoni, 50, had a narrow escape when he was deliberately hit by a car during a training session. He suffered two fractured vertebrae. Now Chidoni and fellow cyclist Arthur Limbouris are offering R10 000 for information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of the motorist

While many people would prefer due process and avoid the slippery slope towards vigilantism, some cyclists in SA are taking more proactive action.

Also, a article from pertaining to java & cyclists.

I'd sooner prefer a well-deserved beer after a ride. Which may happen later tomorrow night, after some of us may of gone for a ride through the inner suburbs. Which in the long standing Melbourne Critical Mass tradition of not really knowing whats going on - can not be confirmed or denied at this stage.
You know it makes sense.

Found this monstrosity courtesy of velorution. What a absolute horror. Pays more than a passing resemblance to the cars depicted by Andy Singer, see below.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Andy Singer gets it right

Buy this book!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

There Is No God

Boy, 4, killed when hit by truck
A four-year-old boy was killed when he was hit by a truck outside his home in Melbourne's south-west today. It is believed he was struck by the truck while riding his bicycle outside his home at South Shore Avenue, Point Cook, about 11.20am (AEDT).

News like this just totally guts me.

Kitten torched
A kitten was doused with petrol and set on fire the day after two teenagers were charged over the torture of another kitten at a Sydney railway station. Three boys were caught on closed circuit TV (CCTV) stoning, stomping on and twice running over an eight-week-old kitten with a bicycle about 2.30am (AEDT), police said.

Parents blamed for kitten attacks
Parents were to blame for a culture in boys that lead to cruel attacks on kittens, RSPCA president Hugh Wirth said today. Commenting on three separate attacks on kittens in 10 days by groups of boys and men, Dr Wirth said the behaviour was uniquely male and uniquely Australian.

'It's an Australian, male cultural issue where Australian males from birth have been educated by their fathers and in some cases their grandfathers and their peers to hate cats,' Dr Wirth said.

'(They're taught) cats are a female thing, you can't handle cats, you can't control cats. 'It certainly isn't ingrained into English males or American males or European males.'

Dr Wirth said he had no doubt the frequency of attacks on kittens was growing. 'It is surely getting worse and it's always young males and it's always kittens,' Dr Wirth said.

Yeah, show yer mates what a MAN you are. Start with torturing insects, small animals, buy a wardrobe of wifebeaters, grow up to inflict emotional and physical pain on the long suffering partner, friends, family and any other poor bastard that crosses your path. Stinking vermin, they better be praying the vast army of Cat Ladies don't get to them before the rest of us do.

Again, news like this just totally guts me. Read the brief life story of Jeffrey Campbell from Canada. He's the sort of mongrel **** that kitten torturers evolve onto...

'Pure psychopath' jailed indefinitely...

......Jeffrey Campbell drove into 65-year-old cyclist...more dangerous psychopath than Olsen, Bernardo. Jeffrey Michael Campbell, who deliberately ran down and killed a Brampton senior with a stolen car, is going behind bars, perhaps forever. The 26-year-old Windsor man, who scored higher on a test for psychopathy than Canadian serial killers Clifford Olsen and Paul Bernardo, was declared a dangerous offender yesterday for that brutal homicide - and a history of violence that started when he was a toddler.

"Campbell has had a history of using vehicles as weapons to harm his passengers or strangers. He also has a history of arson, and has faced numerous allegations of assault and death threats against women, and jail guards and their families."

"Campbell set his first fire at age three and used a lighter to set the clothing of two playmates ablaze when he was five. He has had more than 40 convictions, 22 of them before turning 18. An ex-girlfriend alleged in court that Campbell fed a cat to a pit bull, which he denied. He is now one of Canada's youngest dangerous offenders. "

May this Irish curse be upon Campbell & his kind....may the seven terriers of hell sit on the spool of your breast and bark in at your soul-case.

A thousand tears

Begin story, last Saturday morning....

Cyclist dies in hit and run
A man Melbourne police were searching for after a fatal hit and run accident today has contacted police. A cyclist in his 30s died at the scene of the accident in Bundoora in Melbourne's north just before 7am (AEDT) today, police said.

Man comes forward after hit, run
A man Melbourne police were searching for after a fatal hit and run accident today has contacted police.

Hit-run surrender
Alleged driver contacts police. A hit-run driver who allegedly killed a cyclist is expected to turn himself in to police.

Cyclist killed in hit-and-run crash
A cyclist on his regular Saturday morning ride was killed in a hit-and-run crash in Melbourne's north yesterday. Police said the man, in his 30s, was riding with a friend just before 7am when a late-model Holden Commodore hit and killed him at the corner of Lower Plenty Road and Janefield Drive, Bundoora. A 28-year-old South Morang man surrendered himself at Mill Park police station just before 6.30pm and was released without charge about an hour later. A police spokeswoman said it was expected the man would be charged on summons with culpable driving and other offences.The man's solicitor had contacted police at 1.30pm, ending a seven-hour search that followed the fatal accident.

Related threads on cm-melb and aus.bicycle/cycling forums:

Saul Pasque

photo from The Warrnambool Standard

Friends from around the state are mourning the death of popular Camperdown man Saul Pasque, who died in an accident near Geelong on Tuesday. Devastated friends yesterday described the talented cyclist as a caring, fun-loving and selfless young man. Saul, Camperdown Cycling Club's president for the past four years, died in hospital after being hit from behind by a car while riding his bike near Ceres. He was 31.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Latest Aeolian Ride - Cape Town

Aeolian Ride
"The Aeolian Ride is 50 people in wind-inflated-suits riding bicycles through cities around the world. The first ride was in NYC 06.05.04. Next, San Francisco, then Cape Town, South Town"

Check out the site, would be amazing to see 50 people suited up on Beach Road. Might put the "wind up" some of the roadies, so to speak, but it would be a awesome spectacle.

Silliness from last year

photo courtesy of green guerilla

Capt' C. Star & Harry Butler* at last years Car Free Party in Lygon Street. (*actually Simon from Melbourne BUG)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Cibas -The coolest mascot in the world

Every society needs a mascot
Not only can the mighty Cibas ride a bike, he's the mascot for the
Central Indiana Beer Appreciation Society.

Even cooler, Cibas can ride his bike in low earth orbit. I wish I could do that.


The London Transport Museum has just received its newest exhibit, a 76-year-old bicycle that has been in almost continuous use since it was made in 1929. The bike's owner, 95-year-old William Flagstaff, rode it virtually every day until two years ago. He gave up cycling only recently after a brush with a motorist.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Latho's Swansong

Leunig got it right in todays Age.

Mark probably didn't ride a bike recently but he deserves a mention. Continuing on in the great Labor Tradition of Self Immolation & duly buggering off into sunset. Bloody media, reminding me why I haven't purchased The Australian since 1986.
At least we've still got Seymour Hersh to cheer on.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Huygens In Low Titan Orbit

What we thought it could of looked like

New Scientist: Huygens sends postcards and sounds from Titan

Wow! see more images via link below,
Huygens' View From Ten Kilometres High Above Titan

BikeLand! WhooHoo!

33m bicycle try-out centre mooted for Derby
Jim McGurn of the Company of Cyclists had the idea for a large-scale bicycle try-out centre ten years ago. Part of his dream was put into reality at Doncaster's Earth Centre, which closed October 2004, but with cash and a fair-wind a full-on, pedal-powered Bikeland would be more than just a test track and a fleet of roadsters and recumbents, it would be the world's first cycling theme-park.


Velo News - Why ride a bicycle? Ten reasons and counting

Why ride a bicycle? Ten reasons and counting
'Nothing compares with the simple pleasure of a bike ride.'- President John F. Kennedy

Why ride a bicycle? When I asked 10 observers of the bicycle industry, they replied with inspired observations, unprintable expletives, lively endorsements of guilt-free dessert consumption and one common complaint - 'Jeez, to pare it down to just one reason is difficult.'

Meanwhile in Melbourne, children at some schools are stopped from riding due to "safety concerns". Federal, State & Local governments, along with NGO's & community groups are considering and implementing sustainable transport initiatives, only to be impended by these Catch-22 attitudes.

Monday, January 17, 2005

UK - Stars in big cars target of 4x4 rage

Environmental activists have formed a nationwide network to target celebrity owners of "gas-guzzling" 4x4 vehicles such as the actress Felicity Kendal and Chris Eubank, the former boxer. The organisation, an alliance of nearly 1,000 members from groups including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Green party and Transport 2000, claim that the vehicles are unnecessarily large, use excessive fuel and clog up urban streets.

They have posted 40,000 imitation "parking tickets" on 4x4s, attacking their use in cities. Among those targeted are the former Citizen Smith actor Robert Lindsay and David and Victoria Beckham. Gail Porter, the television presenter - who is understood to own a Jeep Grand Cherokee - and Cheryl Tweedy, singer with the band Girls Aloud who bought a large Toyota last year, are also in the alliance's sights. The colourful tickets, placed under windscreen wipers by more than 400 volunteers, are part of a growing campaign against what are nicknamed "Chelsea tractors" and "Satan's runabouts".

Re: Our very own local version, Toorak Tractors & Balmain Bulldozers, see here:

No Oil in NZ, Renaissance in Singapore, Not So Fun in the UK, Paris & USA

Greens predict oil crisis in 10 years
An oil-free New Zealand is on the Green Party's agenda. At the party's 'Picnic for the Planet' on Waiheke Island yesterday, co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons warned of an oil crisis within 10 years.

Vote for pedal power !
Bicycle-friendly Singapore is first step to Renaissance City
The last time I rode a bicycle in Singapore, I narrowly missed hitting a pedestrian. The man had veered onto the East Coast Park bike track directly into my path, forcing me to stop so abruptly that I fell off my bike, in the most ungainly way possible. Yet to add insult to injury, I was the one called a "road menace.

Also, refer to thread on aus.bicycle

UK - 'Road Block' protest group formed
Road Block has warned direct action may become common. A new umbrella organisation has been set up to coordinate anti-road protests across Britain. Campaigners behind Road Block say they have formed the group because of proposals to build new motorways or widen existing ones.

Driven to despair, Paris heads for gridlock
Transport rows and vast traffic tailbacks are turning the city of light into the capital of road rage. To a tamer motorist, the haze of exhaust fumes rising amid a chorus of klaxons on the junction of Rue de Varenne and Rue Bourgogne would denote impossible gridlock. But plumber Manu Mota always finds a way.

USA - Nowhere to ride
How best to accommodate bicycles has pitted riders against home and business owners along A1A. The decision is up to the state. Broken and bleeding, the man staggered into the lobby of the oceanfront condominium and collapsed. A security guard called 911. Someone had been shot, the guard said. No, said 42-year-old John McCurdy, lying on the floor. He hadn't been shot. He had been hit by a car.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Yarra Council's Gone Nuts, Yarra Council's Gone Nuts, Yarra Council's Gone Nuts, Yarra Council's Gone Nuts.....

Whether this is true or not is still to be decided, attempting to get my mits on a press release that apparentely states the transport section has been completely shafted.

Well, if the new councillors can do that - why can't they at least a design a half-ok website too.
This is complete crap.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Nude Up & Ride

Can't get more Sydney than this....but then we had thousands down here Nuding Up in the darkness & freezing cold for Mr Tunick. In the US there's been several versions of "Critical Ass", so we could organise our our local version, and spell it correctly in the process.

Critical Arse anyone?

Monday, January 10, 2005

Last years Australian & US elections results finally explained!

Amongst the muck & mirth on ircimages - genius occasionally shines through

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Breaking News - I've got a new bike!

41cm Shogun Ninja! And it's got carbon forks! Shimano 600 gruppo! Road triple! Bull horn bars!
Just a little matter need to be altered, like having the ancient pair of integrated 7 speed v-brakes, but at least it gets me started. Still building, should be finished soon! Salute to Irene Plowman here we come! Huzzar!!!

Friday, January 07, 2005

Australian Cyclist January 2005 - News - CPF news: City of Yarra leads the way

The City of Yarra, Melbourne, has won the Cycling Promotion Fund's (CPF) national Bicycling Achievement Award for Contribution by Local Government to making Australia more bicycle friendly. The City of Yarra is adjacent to the Melbourne CBD and includes some of the city's oldest suburbs such as Richmond, Collingwood, Fitzroy, Carlton North, Clifton Hill and Alphington. It covers an area of 19.5 square kilometres with a population of close to 70,000 people.

Meanwhile, the City of Yarra can't be bothered putting this info up on the council's website. I've tried contacting both Access Yarra & Richard Smithers, but to no effect so far. Our local council wins national award but couldn't give a flying proverbial about promoting their achievements. Even if YarraBUG got invited to the opening of a small vegemite jar, I'd be letting everyone with earshot know about it....

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Critical Mass around the world

That must be Takver, hmm, who's that sexy chick on the left????

Ah, New Years! We watched the fireworks display up on the golf course at Yarra Bend, could easily see the smoke residue drifting between the buildings. $$$ should of been spent for the Asian Tsunami Appeal. sigh. As for the Ride that Dare Not Speak It's Name, after Swan Street it turned into a dogs breakfast that when t*ts up, at least the bit along Burnley Wharf was a peaceful & relaxing jaunt. sigh again. Had a lovely BBQ with Recumbenteer, Philbike2020 & the very sexy Bikesoiler along the banks of the Yarra. Back to CM, at least you're bound to be disappointed somewhat with the mixed results. Sometimes happily, but that's another story...

On the right, a gentleman who rode 20,000km around Australia, left, there's that chick again.
(photos courtesy of MitH)

NY ressies? Finish the long-running road bike saga, major work on the Dean SS (wheelset, eno & powercoat), re-build the commuter on Felt MTB frame, rebuild 3 townies, one needs a powercoat, one is existing commuter frame in use thats being spec'ed down to a supermarket/pub bike, the other is a pre-1920's machine to be restored. Not forgetting a couple of cycling-related websites that need to be done in 2005, will avoid Flash after reading recent comments on another thread......Oh, yes must do more riding once I've had some repairs done too.

Anyway, Alpine Classic in a few weeks, I'm not up any of the rides due to a lack of training and/or bike but am entertaining the idea of a genteel 50km r/t jaunt up to Hariettville on either Sat/Sun. Either that or hand out refreshments as a volunteer on the day, still thinking about it. Enough of Melbourne ramblings, now back to international CM News....

Critical Mass Portland hassled too
It seems the cops of the world are determined to hassle Critical Mass even in Winter in Portland Oregon.It's New Year's Eve. Thousands of motorists are preparing to operate heavy machinery under the influence of alcohol. Portland Police are busy harassing cyclists. Due to heavy rains, blowing winds, and cold temperatures, Critical Mass turnout for December Critical Mass was even smaller than years of police harassment have made it. Despite only 5 riders meeting at North Park blocks, PoPo had a large presence.

Critical Impasse
The NYPD has lost yet another round in its legal battle against the Critical Mass bike ride. On Thursday, December 23, U.S. District judge William H. Pauley denied the city's request for an injunction that would prevent Critical Mass cyclists from gathering and riding without city permits. Judge Pauley's ruling was a victory for cyclists, but only a defensive one. It doesn't do anything to stop the NYPD's aggressive crackdown on cyclists. The real benefits of Bray vs. City of New York will likely be felt in the long-term. Attorney Norman Siegel's legal team is shedding public light on the irrationality of New York City's dysfunctional, car-oriented transportation policies and the NYPD's role in enforcing them.

Bloomberg Warns Critical Mass Over New Year's Ride
We know about the big events for Dec. 31, but the end of the year is also happens to be the last Friday of the month, and besides all those revelers, it also means the monthly protest ride of the environmental group known as Critical Mass.

Infoshop News - NYC Critical Mass: We Win!
Perhaps it was a fluke that happened because the cops were too busy fretting over possible terrorism or other trouble at times square (although it's not like that really stopped them at RNC), or perhaps the determination of NYC's cyclists to stand up for themselves & Judge Pauley's precedent-setting pro-cyclist rulings have finally gotten through to them. Either way, let's hope that New Year's Eve was a hint of things to come in 2005. December Critical Mass rolled deep with around 600-800 (my guess) participants, followed by an 'intermission' party at the Time's Up! space and a later ride of 200 or so to central park to watch the fireworks from belvedere castle.

Massive Global support for Disaster relief effort

article from International Indy Media with contributions by Takver
Over the final days of December there has been massive community support for aid agencies in the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster. The United Nations has had promised from Governments more than $US2billion for disaster relief, with a similar amount likely to be raised by private and business contributions. This level of global support is unprecedented, raising more in a period of about a week than all humanitarian fundraising programs in 2004.

Buy a ticket in Tatts!

Man recovering after falling down mine shaft. A man from Rushworth, north-east of Bendigo has had a lucky escape from serious injury after falling down an old mine shaft. Andrew James was riding home from a New Year's Eve party when he had problems with his bike and decided to walk home. He fell into a 14-metre deep gold mine shaft and managed to raise the alarm using his mobile phone.
Creeping baby jesus - now there's mobile coverage for you! Why does it always crap out under tram lines in the inner 'burbs but not down a frigging mine shaft out in the sticks? Ah, the mysteries of Telstra. Really hope that no extreme DH riders get inspired by this!

Oil follies*

Runaway Train
Consider this basic and sobering group of facts: In the 100 years and change since we dug that first well, the human race has used half of all the oil on the planet. Author Michael C. Ruppert points out that this oil took literally millions of years to produce, and is the result of climactic conditions that have existed on a grand scale at only one time in the Earth's 4.5 billion-year history.
(*Subtitle: We're all gonna be rooned. Or not)

Now For Something Completely Different -riding in the cold cold snow!

Bicycle-tire studs are not created equal
Sometimes the good deal isn't the best buy. The third smack-down on my mountain bike was enough to remind me of that axiom. Goldenview Drive had proven wet and slushy, but easily rideable. Bragaw Street had slippery spots, but nothing scary. The crossing from there onto Abbott Loop Road behind the Section 16 equestrian park had been a push through crusty old snow. Then the ride got crazy.
Abbott Loop was a skating rink all the way to its intersection with Abbott Road. I no sooner got on the bike than it went down. The first fall was unexpected. So were the next two. On studded bike tires, it is usually possible to ride over almost anything. Only later would come the discovery that my cheap studded tires weren't really studded anymore.
Learn a new cycling fact everyday!

All wrong

Pledge steers F1 cars closer to city
Melbourne's city streets are almost certain to become a temporary formula one mini-circuit following a pledge of more than $100,000 from Melbourne City Council towards the Grand Prix's 10th anniversary celebrations. But formula one cars that take part in the pre-Grand Prix city demonstration may have to cover cigarette advertising to comply with state and federal laws. In November, The Age revealed that the Grand Prix corporation had asked the council to help fund and organise a demonstration run to mark a decade of the grand prix in Melbourne.

Fucking obscene waste of public money! Letter writing is in progress!

Herald Sun: Motorcyclist clocked at 245km
A Motorcyclist caught doing 145km/h over the speed limit has led Queensland police to appeal for road users to slow down. The rider was clocked travelling at 245km/h in a 100km/h zone near Ayr in the state's north yesterday, police said today.'That sort of behaviour is totally dangerous,' state Traffic Support Branch inspector John McCoomb said.

Road rage accelerates in women
After a passenger is critically hurt, experts say stress is fueling problems. Central Florida's latest reported road-rage incident involved female drivers, which doesn't surprise behavioral experts who say women, succumbing to media influences and the everyday pressures of work and family life, are being more combative on the roads.
Now I don't feel so guilty about suffering from bouts of Tourettes Syndrome during the afternoon commute, at least it's mildly amusing for anyone overhearing me having a attack of the Swear-o-trons. At least I'm not trying to kill anyone, just talking to one's self & letting off steam. Now, what was that about talking to yourself? ummmm

For no apparent reason

Cycling News & views

Only indigenous bicycles can help rebuild tsunami-battered countries
That's the conclusion of the director of the biggest US bicycle recycling organisation, Pedals for Progress. His sentiments are echoed by the director of the main UK bike refurb organisation. As well as problems equipping local people with tools and spares for finely-tuned Western bikes, the countries affected by the tsunami don't want our bikes, they have their own bicycle industries.


Bicycles can help countries recover from Tsunami damage
With the death toll from the Asian earthquake disaster still rising, one small part of the recovery process for the countries affected could be the access-all-areas bicycle. A US charity is aiming to ship out bicycles to Indonesia, other bicycle refurbishment charities could follow suit.

Robotic Lions and frog-legged cyclists
Harry Pearson gazes into his crystal ball and decides what, almost certainly, won't happen this year.
Read "July' - just plain silly!

Cyclists begin movement to lobby for rights
Members of the cycling community have started a movement to lobby for the rights of cyclists on Singapore roads. Spearheaded by local cycling group Triathlon Family, this movement was prompted by the death of its member, Mr Sylvester Ang, last month.

Travails of cycle travel
This morning, a group of cyclists honoured Sylvester Ang by riding down Old Upper Thomson Road in red jerseys - his favourite colour. Sylvester, an avid cyclist, was knocked down by a bus along Lim Chu Kang Road and dragged 7m. He was pinned under the wheel of the bus and SCDF had to jack up the bus with airbags just to get him out. He died three days later on Christmas Eve.

New Zealand:
Bid to encourage cycling
Dave Robertson has a plan to put more Ashburton people on bikes - improving their health and easing congestion on the roads it is his job to look after. The Ashburton District Council roading and street services manager will begin work this year on a strategy that could lead to cycleways on Ashburton's main thoroughfares. Having fewer cars on the streets would help ease the congestion caused by the 18,000 vehicles that use the State Highway through Ashburton on a daily basis. Mr Robertson said many households in the town ran two vehicles and people needed more encouragement to leave them in the garage.

LifeSite Special Report - Eco-Extremists Exploit Tsunami Tragedy to Promote Global Warming Ideology

Environmental activists are shamelessly trying to exploit last week's earthquake-tsunami catastrophe in hopes of advancing their global warming and anti-development agendas. Two days after the tragedy, the executive director of Greenpeace UK (search) told the British newspaper The Independent, "No one can ignore the relentless increase in extreme weather events and so-called natural disasters, which in reality are no more natural than a plastic Christmas tree.

Read the article & draw your own conclusions. Should folks like Michael Crichton should stick to writing big fluffly books about fluffy nonsense? Should Environmentally conscious types be more tactful of the human condition?

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The biggest disaster of a generation

image from

From Crikey:
"...Before leaping into any strong criticism of governments and media over the coverage and reaction to the Indian Ocean tsunamis, it should be acknowledged that this is one of the most difficult stories to cover and disasters to deal with. And it couldn't have happened at a time when more people were on holiday and tuned out.

That said, the response of media and government has been mixed and the resources being committed by both is rising by the day as the scale of the disaster becomes apparent. It was certainly a slow initial response from many key groups. George W Bush finally interrupted his Christmas vacation on his Texas Ranch on Wednesday American time to speak and the key message that came out of this was rejecting a sledge about stingy rich nations emanating from the United Nations...."

After watching the
ABC News tonight showing the devastion of Aceh, everything seems pointless by comparison. Trying to think about cycling related plans for 2005. inane. Trying to think about what we here in Australia can actually do. trivial. During the last few days, Artie Shaw passed away too. At least he had a great innings & relatively peaceful passing.

More on
Tsunami Relief via Google. Also, Wikipedia links
Australia captain Ricky Ponting will lead a Rest of the World team in the first of two cricket matches to raise funds for victims of the earthquake and tsunamis that killed 150,000 people in 11 countries. Ponting, 30, was one of five Australians named in a 12-man squad for the Jan. 10 one-day international against an Asia XI team at the 80,000-seat Melbourne Cricket Ground. A second game will take place in Asia in February or March.

Be there.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Wanna go for a ride?

New Year, new resolutions, some serving suggestions here at

Bikes and Wheels Expedition: Cross Australia on your bike!
A supported overland bike ride Gulf to Gulf across Australia, more at: