cfsmtb in low earth orbit

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


CooofeeeeImage from Sorted Cycles - Morning Rush Coffee Holder!

Right-io, we require a couple of silent business partners to back a Melbourne version of this nifty
Cars r' Coffins setup, and I'll happily do the admin + R&D. (Yes, I am serious!)
Fueling the bicycle culture
Two coffee shops are keeping gearheads happy with brew, bikes, T-shirts and art shows.You've heard of biker bars, right? How about bike coffee shops? The bike coffee shop is just like a biker bar, except instead of beer, there are cappuccinos, and instead of Harleys, there are Surlys. These bicycle culture hangouts are devoted to the philosophy of four wheels bad, two wheels good, and caffeine is better. The concept got its start in the Twin Cities a few years ago with the opening of the One on One Bicycle Studio in the Minneapolis Warehouse District, where you can sip a cuppa, buy a bike, look at art and scavenge for used parts in a space that formerly housed a massage parlor.

Then a few weeks ago, the Cars-R-Coffins Coffee Bar opened in South Minneapolis. That's enough for us to declare a trend in the making. It's why we pedaled across the river recently to find out how the coffee tastes in a café geared for gearheads.
Hrmmmm ... walks off, deep in thought .. walks back. Now remaining on the themes of coooffeeee and cycling, Yarra Boulie will be open again for car-free business on Sunday 12 March.

Due to popular demand, the coffee man will be back - there will also be other refreshments available on the day, or you are welcome to bring along a picnic.

Aeolian Poster
A perfect winddown from the Aeolian Ride, which incidently Jessica informs me, has been fully subscribed with 52 riders! Please feel free to register & rock up, just in case we have pikers on the day! Last Friday evening, the glorious Combat Wombat & crew helped raise $200 in donations for the ride. There's a second Aeolian Ride Benefit Gig: $5, 7.30pm Friday March 10 at Glitch Bar. Presentation + Videos by the amazing Jessica Findley and a *very special bicycle film* screening. If you can’t make it – please feel free to donate online or buy a poster. If you're feeling particularly enthusiastic, the Melb version of the World Wide Naked Bike Ride is on at 2pm Sunday 12 March, Smith Reserve, George St & Alexandra Pde in jolly Fitzroy. Email for further details.

Recapping on the recent Connecting Cycling conference, here is Dr John Puchers presentation: Public Health and Urban Transport :: Promoting Safe Walking and Cycling to Improve Public Health: Lessons From The Netherlands and Germany. Remember, if you want to reference this presentation, please cite John.

Oh, and new rejigged aus.bicycle spoke cards coming soon! They will be produced on quality card & laminated, so email moi if you want one for your pedally.

Jessica's touching down in Melbourne tomorrow, so I better get back to the housework and scrubbing the floors in readiness.

Monday, February 20, 2006

There but by the grace of God go I

GriefThis morning, one was geared up to transmit a big dollop of cheery bike news from around the planet, but tragic local events have captured my attention. This is the question I just asked over at aus.bicycle and cm-melb.

The drivers license test - are there any questions about peds & cyclists? This is probably a question that should be posed over at Anyway for those of you with licenses, do you recall anything either in handbooks or the computer tests that directly related to pedestrians or cyclists?

Today the media is full of depressing news about the terrible Mildura deaths, Victorian police admit they're bewildered over the road toll and there's more defeatist pissing and moaning about aggressive road behaviour.

At the Melbourne Connecting Cycling Conference I attended last Thursday, Dr John Pucher demonstrated how with the German drivers license: 30 / 40% of the questions directly pertaining to
pedestrian/cyclist interactions. Suburban zones have a strict 30km limit, the Autobahns are quite another matter!

While I'm waiting for a copy of his presentation to verify my notes I've been going through the VicRoads website trying to check for references to peds/cyclists in driving tests. And all I'm finding is rather cursory references and a lot of gobbledigook. Am I missing something, as I've never driven a car, or is there a bleeding obvious lack of education, enforcement and clear speaking?

Team AIS 2005AIS 2005 squad with coach Warren McDonald

Essential viewing on ABC tonight. One story that saddens yet inspires, the other tale especially for golf-playing business buddies and assorted fuckwits.

8.00pm Tonight (Monday) on our ABC: Australian Story: One Perfect Day
Next on Australian Story, Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) women's cycling coach Warren McDonald talks for the first time about the crash which killed one of his team members and injured five others. McDonald was driving the team's backup vehicle about 80 metres behind the cyclists and witnessed the moment they were struck by an out-of-control car in south-eastern Germany last July.

I briefly muttered something on Saturday night at Joe-dome/DISCworld about a Alexis Rhodes 'cheersquad' at the Comms Games. During the light of day, and taking into consideration I'm now sober thinking coherently, I still reckon the idea's got wings. Wotdoyathink?

At 8.30pm - more on our ABC: Four Corners: Wheeling and Dealing
There’s road rage over private tollways… Have deals between politicians and tollway bosses killed off grand new visions for public transport and decongested streets? Are they creating a road monster that leaves Australians addicted to cars?

Ride of Silence planned for May

The 2006 RIDE OF SILENCE is on May 17 at 7pm (worldwide at this time) Australia's RIDE OF SILENCE is planned for Melbourne and Brisbane. More cities may add, please register (FREE) as a co-ordinator and set up your local ROS 2006 ride by visiting web site This is a worldwide event in its 3rd year where cyclists ride to honor the memory of all cyclists killed, maimed or injured whislt doing what they love Riding a Bike. Every ride is the same, protocols on web site

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Magic Roundabout

roundaboutAs a cyclist, it's difficult enough battling the aggression caused by roundabouts, let alone a giant DJ's hand coming down and transgressing your personal space. Shall we expect to see this adopted as a new LATM strategy by local councils & Bicycle Victoria? *chuckle*

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Kissies!Hello Young Lovers, it's Valentines Day! Say it with flowers? Nah, say it with a new XTR gruppo or Velocity Mountain Goat wheelset with Eno hubs. Sorry, getting ahead of myself there folks.

So what's new and groovy around the traps? First off the mark is that entertaining, but blatant misrepresentation of Melbourne Councils draft traffic strategy, re: that Shun readers poll I commented upon from last Friday. Read the timeline of events here. The published results: Should cars be banned from Melbourne's CBD? (Feb 10) No: 338 (36.5%) Yes: 590 (63.5%) But the results at (original) close of poll Friday midnight: Should cars be banned from Melbourne's CBD? No: 253 (31.58%) Yes: 548 (68.41%) Votes so far: 801. You surely don't need a calculator to see a disparity in the results. Then, oddly, the poll kicked off again on Sunday (12/2) and then somewhere between 9pm & 10pm Sunday evening switched to "Is it time for John Howard to step down as Prime Minister?" Shall we call shenanigans or contact Media Watch?

Courtesy of mX: The Saga of "Warrick of Rowville": The usual aus.bicycle threads :: and here too :: Closing remarks: what a boring plonker.

Bikelane of the futureVote NOW for new improved Docklands bikepaths (thx Adam for the pic!)

Important Wordy Stuff: Inquiry into Australia's future oil supply and alternative transport fuels. I started a aus.bicycle thread with links & info et al, please use them if you want to make a submission. In regards to influencing government policy, ever felt as if 'we' were collectively banging our heads against a brickwall? In the first episode for 2006, Four Corners "The Greenhouse Mafia" offered up a few reasons why this maybe occuring.

Extract: Janine Cohen: But it was during his time working for government that Guy Pearse first noticed a powerful group from the top end of town. They were lobbyists from the high-energy-using industries who seemed determined to undermine the Environment Department and block any greenhouse reforms. They were well connected to other government departments - but just how well, Guy Pearse didn't realise at the time.

Democracy! Ve$ted intere$t$! Withholding of information due to vested interests! Now where were we. As for the entire sustainable energy debate, we need a carbon-neutral system, but I very much doubt government and business interests have either the time or motivation to implement such a massive change in energy production. Regarding sequestion, to my non-scientific analysis it's akin to farting into a pillow. Hey there's lots of tax breaks in it though, please forgive my cynicism..

Bike Stuff: This February, Melbourne does seem to be the centre of the cycling universe.
Today 14/2 : From BikeFunnist: Greetings Fellow Bike Funnists, for those that won't be making it to the big roundabout for the bicycle kiss-in, please feel free to come to the after picnic. We'll be showing up at Dights Falls, with chapped lips about 7ish+, and stay until the last person has left. For submissions or to sign up for the electronic version of BikeFun, email: BikeFunMelbourne: Promoting cycling community in Melbourne through prolific bike fun. Please, have more bike fun.

Sustainable Living Fair: Seeds for Change: 25 years on and Tips and Tricks for Cycling.

Connecting Cycling Melbourne
: Health & Culture in Planning for Bicycles is a free 1 day event featuring speakers from a variety of fields. This is a free event, lunch & refresements are included with your registration. 9:30am - 4:30pm, Thursday, February 16th at the Department of Infrastructure Theatrette, Level 29 80 Collins St, Melbourne More information & RSVP (by Wed Feb 15th) please contact Elisabeth Williams, Ph 9655 6227

Bill + 40kgThree events from the Pedal Powered Vehicles Workshop:
Exhibition of Pedal Powered Vehicles at the Sustainable Living Festival. The vehicles and accessories designed and prototyped through the Pedal-Powered Vehicle Workshop will be displayed for public comment and discussion, along with examples of work-trikes and bikes by two leading Australian human-powered vehicle developers and manufacturers Greenspeed and Trisled. When: 10am-5pm both Sat 18th & Sun 19th Feb

Finale forum: A forum presenting pedal powered vehicles and sustainable transport strategy. A two-part forum, firstly with guest speakers discussing sustainable transport planning in Melbourne and the potential of increasing a work-cycle culture, to be followed by a series of presentations to transportation stakeholders from the Pedal-Powered Vehicle Workshop participants that propose ideas to ‘make pedal-powered work’, including vehicle prototypes. When: 9.30am-12.30pm Fri 17th Feb. Where: RMIT City Campus, Ground Floor, Building 50, 11 Orr St.

Ride-On-Dinner: 6pm Fri 17 Feb, Start north end, Carlton gardens at corner of Carlton & Canning Sts . . .grab your cycle and an appetite for the spice of life to join a cavalcade of cyclists served a 3-course meal, pausing in 3 different locations, over a 3-hour evening inner-city ride . . . meals are limited! the first 50 people to register for the Ride-On-Dinner will receive confirmation to be fed, receive a map, and a cycle-worthy napkin. . . all cyclists welcome to pedal alongside. . . register by sending an email to

Read FD's observations of Amsterdam after his *very recent* trip: From Amsterdam with Lerv (long...)
99% of bikes are black, 0.5% are red, 90% are steel, 9.99% are Alu. Saw one CF and one Ti roady out in countryside, 80% are 700c, other 15% made up (fietsbikes of these differing shapes and sizes so differing wheels sizes. I probably spotted a dozen mtb's in 2 weeks. no sh1t. 5-10% were folding bikes. Lots. They have recently introduced rebates for commuters on both PT tickets and folders to encourage more use of both. They had a fleet of them modern rickshaw thingies that have recently been launched in Melb. Saw 4 fixies. 3 of em couriers (of course).

From Sydney (SBAR)
browse here for super cool pix of Sundays Body Art Ride.

Sundays' Yarra Boulie ride
was grouse. Despite the chip-seal surface being as rough as hessian undies. Give me VicRoads hot-mix anytime, especially when you're on 23mm Rubinos. Probably forgotten to add something else in, but hey I'm kinda busy and I've got the attention span of a ferret. If it's *really important*, wack it in the comments. Time for a noice cuppa.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Won't someone please think of the kittens!

Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!Breaking news from Santa Clara: Hordes of Giant Killer Kittens rampaging towards Yahoo HQ

b3ta's yahoogroup no longer in existance!
Site News: Yahoo please talk to us! Help! - our email list (with over 100,000 subscribers) has been deleted. We don't know why. If you work with the Yahoo! Groups department or know someone who does then please get in touch with me (robmanuel at gmail dot com). BTW: This means no newsletter today - sorry - but if there's no one to send it to, then we're not posting it.
posted by rob on 10th Feb at 2pm
WTF?!? Tech issue, major clusterfuck or censorship???? Check wiki for updates.

Friday, February 10, 2006

We are the goon squad and we’re coming to town

The Emperors new clothesBeep beep ... the Emperors new clothes

There's something wrong. We're losing ground. I don't hear people talking about fun and enjoyment. I hear radical, gnarly, fast, suspended, Lycra, titanium. I don't hear sensing, the environment, and feeling." - Bob Seals

Mine's a pint: a preposterous excuse for a Porsche
... They were all being ridden not so much by people who needed to get somewhere but by people who wanted to draw attention to themselves. How can I be so sure? Because they were all in fancy dress, and you appear in public in fancy dress only because you're trying to make a statement. It's why Fathers for Justice always turned up as Spiderman.
My first impression was that James May comes across akin to a whingy teenage who's got all pissypants about his fave indy band becoming fashionable. But I'll concide he's on the mark about carbon fiber arts n' crafts. Before you get your arse out of shape about James' P.O.V, he does a stint co-presenting BBC2's Top Gear
. At least the shows producers are listening, after Transport 2000 took aim last year. Hey I'll admit one of my steeds has cf forks but I don't lose sleep at night worrying about my perceived social status due to our bike fleets lack of suitable highend components. Fuck that, and fuck the trendy pseudo competitive crap that's crept into mainstream cycling. Fair enough, if you want to improve overall fitness, commute to work, join a club or organise bunch rides, but shessh, during the last 4-5 years hasn't the wank factor has gone up several notches? Remember folks, there's nothing wrong about choosing to wear clothes that are practical and suit your tastes. Wear your knicks with a favourite tatty tshirt. Wear ankle straps with rhinestones. Wear interesting funky stuff. I'm going to keep wearing my comfy cowboy shirt until it's threadbare. Ride forth with pride. *cough*

I'm waiting for the associated campfollowers/tryhards to move onto the next fad. Then we can look forward with glee to reading Trading Post, eBay & MelbFreecycle for cheaparse gruppos and providing lonely ti frames with good homes. End rant.

Good News: Commonwealth Games cycling events. Lysty is a ticketed event, regardless we're still digging finding a way in, afterall Bikesoiler did assist with the course design and has been industriously building singletrack and improving relations with Parks Vic. Melbourne City Council: On Tuesday, CoM Finance Committee voted YES to $1.9 mill of bicycle infrastructure for the 06/07 budget. The CoM Planning Committee voted YES to putting out Transport Strategy for public comment. But todays Herald Sun poll: Should cars be banned from Melbourne's CBD? If that link doesn't work, goto the homepage .. and peruse righthand column for poll heading.

Trust the Hun not to comprehend even the first sentence of
CoM's press release:
Public Transport, cycling and walking will be
given priority over cars according to the City of Melbourne’s new draft Transport Strategy released today. Fridays whingy editorial. Go ahead, utilise the online voting links if you give a stuff.

Errata: to a certain smartarse yes you cfsmtb DOES NOT translate as "carbon fibre full suspension mountain bike". *boom*tish*

Friday, February 03, 2006

Melbourne Aeolian Ride - 11 March 2006

Aeolian blueAt long last we can officially, and proudly announce the Melbourne Aeolian Ride. For those bicyclistas up for another challenge, Sunday 12 March is Melbourne World Naked Bike Ride. So either suit up or nude up if one prefers. Here at cileo HQ, the management strives to serve up a rich pageant of the bicycling universe. Cycling may indeed the nu golf, but it's not all tasty carbon fiber p0rn and Jan Ulrich's cute new 'Frodo Baggins' curls or Viatcheslav Ekimov's aerodynamic mullet.

Please feel free to email moi at cfsmtbATgmailDOTcom
if you can assist with the ride ;)

From Jessica: I am very excited to announce that the Aeolian Ride will be heading to Melbourne, Australia on March 11th 2006. Sign up is available online now! Bring your bike and your friends! Get inflated! Volunteer to take pictures or film the ride!
Aeolian RidersThe ride will start at Station Pier next to the Beacon Cove Food Store, suiting up at 4pm and ending at around 6:30pm the Belgian Beer Café where cyclists are loved.

PLUS, there are now 52 inflatable suits thanks to Jonathan H. from Los Angeles, who got his mother, a professional parachutes seamstress for the US Department of Defense, to make a perfect pair of suits and donated them to the ride.

The first 52 web signups to CONFIRM will get wear a suit for the ride. Riders who won’t be wearing suits are welcome to ride along for the fun! The Rain Date for the Ride is Saturday March 25th – same time and place.
Aeolian Riders
All the rides I have done outside of New York are made possible by a member of the local bike communities who volunteers to co-organize ride. These people are the champions of their local ride. This ride’s champ is Chris Star who is an active member of the bike world in Melbourne. A big thanks to her and her pals for helping out. Let me know if you are interested in co-organizing a ride in your city!

AND a big thanks to all of you who have supported the ride. Remember to order your lovely hand screenprinted Aeolian Ride poster online to help keep the Aeolian Ride blowing up!

Love always,


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Harry and the Giant Zucchini of Doom!

HarryBarry and the Giant Zucchini of Doom!Harry BarryCat and the Giant Zucchini of Doom!

Our delightful Melbourne weather has been a bit 'Darwin' of late. We're planning on slicing this GZoD! in two via a bowsaw, constructing a
sturdy outrigger and paddling down Merri Creeks fearsome rapids. Now onto sustainable transporty type stuff.

Flashback to an earlier more innocent time. The time was the late 80's and the radio station I was listening to was still playing records, not carts. The needle skipped and unintended hilarity ensued. With apologies to the late great Robert Palmer, but this old memory rose to the surface when I read the following. Funny that.

.. Might as well face it, you're addic.. Might as well face it, you're addic .. Might as well face it, you're addic .. Might as well face it, you're addic .. Might as well face it, you're addic ..

US 'addicted to oil'
US prize fuckwit President George W Bush will say "America is addicted to oil" and must develop technologies to address soaring petrol prices in a State of the Union speech today that argues against a US retreat from Iraq and the war on terrorism.

In jolly Melboring: Plan to axe cars from city centre
Cars will be driven out of the city in favour of public transport and bicycles under a radical new council strategy that abandons plans for a multibillion-dollar cross-city tunnel and suggests slashing speed limits in the CBD. Under Melbourne City Council's draft strategy, commuters would be "weaned" off cars.

Article is currently depicted online with a Saab ad, with a bicycle + roof rack. Oh again, the unintended humour... seriously though, to "ween" commuters off cars, combining this council strategy with tax breaks, ie: rebates & salary sacrifices might prove more successful. Despite being a *Inner Northern Suburbs Cultural Imperialist* (INSCI) I dislike people being forced into changing situations without resources being readily avaliable (fate/peak oil precluded here!) I can walk out the front gate & within 1 minute be at a tram or bus stop. 5 minutes I'm at a train station. 20 minutes on the bike and hey presto, I'm in the CBD. Not everyone has that opportunity - and denying people the scope to adapt easily can create resentment. And possible failure of a very well intended scheme to get cagers out of their boxes.

:: The Age Your Say :: aus.bicycle discussion thread :: Further evidence that planners tend to forget that peoples legs aren't painted on: Transport planners out of step on walking* :: Melbourne Walk 21 Conference 2006 ::

This weekend we're off to the Austral Wheel Race. BYO: one swivel bar stool to be strategically placed next to infield bar. Hang on, didn't somewhat similar dodgy thinking get me into trouble two months ago?

*Look, there's that bloody Saab again!