cfsmtb in low earth orbit

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Tour of Romandie. And Bjarne Riis humps donkeys

KaiserJanLet the Heras have his Veulta, and let the Basso and the Salvodelli have their Giro. But the Tour? The Tour is mine.

The Kaiser throws down the gauntlet
Oh, do not being getting the Jan wrong, there has been much weeping and gnashing of teeth as I flow down over the peloton like the hot pink spectre of doom and pestilence that all men know me to be. But the true crushing has not yet done the beginning in earnest. Only once will I open the portal to pain and death and rain down a storm from the darkest of hells upon the peloton. That will be in the July, of course.
Hey Jan, just lay off the pies and learn to spin. Now I'm off to listen to Laibach & Killing Joke whilst valiantly tackling the weekend housework.

Steering away from road cycling shenanigans, here's an intriguing report from ITDP regarding the possibility of defining bicycles as environmental goods in World Trade Organisation negotiations.

Current efforts to designate bikes as “environmentally preferable products” free of tariffs and other trade barriers have gone largely unnoticed by the international bicycling community.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ten Years On

Autumn leaf
Here I am, wondering how to approach this post without becoming too maudlin. Friday is the tenth anniversary of ghastly series of incidents at Port Arthur most would prefer to forget or wish to whatever deity had simply never happened. Personally it's simultaneously a tragic anniversary and bittersweet blessing. In the aftermath of things utterly unimaginable sometimes comes the catalyst for another stage and a new approach.

That catalyst for me was a dear friend who left a bike frame out the front of my house, retrieved from the local tip. They realised I was literally losing the plot in the months after April 28 and badly needed some form of positive diversion. That crappy old Malvern Star became the first Frank, the first in a vast flock of bikes I've been privileged to fiddle, twiddle, admire, crash, break, decorate oddly and generally thrash to the shithouse. Oh the tales those bikes could tell. Oh the tales the boxes of stuff could tell, that have been accumulated over the last decade, full of bike magazines, propaganda, leaflets, notes, minutes, posters, posters, documents, drafts, stickers, dozens of costumes, decorated helmets and a myriad of cat and bike weirdness. Oh the tales several computers have accumulated on their hard drives. An estimated 1027 posts spread over four blogs. Ok, it's really 1006 entries if you preclude the beer & kittys silliness.

MalvernaiStarFringeParade2001Malvernia Star @ Fringe Parade 2001

There's this vast conglomeration, a convergence, an over abundance of all things bicycle themed that I am now ceaselessly fascinated on a continual basis. Happily there seems to be no end in sight and I have this outlook that one is only at the beginning of something unfolding waaaayyyy into the future. Oh sod it, I will become maudlin.

Sometimes after going through unimaginable shit you do find something. I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now, I see.

We love bicycles.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Tips for beginner commuters

She came from Planet ClaireShe came from Planet Claire

As petrols *tipping point* of $1.40+ litre looms, I have been wondering about a list that could be quickly reeled off as advice for those starting to commute to work. So I've kicked off yet another
aus.bicycle thread to garner responses from the peanut gallery usual suspects.

Either a top five or even a top ten. I thought about behaviour including being predictable, assertive etc. But as one rather aggressive cyclist in Thornbury on Saturday arvo illustrated to me, (and everyone else watching), being assertive and not knowing any basic road skills certainly isn't a good look. Neither is it good public relations for cycling.

- You are legally a road vehicle;
- Behave in a predictable way, ie: hold your line while in traffic;
- Keep at least one meter from parked cars, don't be forced into the gutter;
- Follow all traffic signals & stop for red lights, including ped lights;
- Keep a reasonable speed on shared offroad bikepaths, stick to the left, slow on all corners and say "passing" when indeed passing another path user;
- Curb your aggression, be polite, acknowledge other road users;
- Switch your lights on at dusk. If you haven't front & rear lights, get them promptly;
- Get appropriate cycling clothes/rain jacket and footwear. It may look funny to you but it's been designed for cycling. Saves your work clothes, and if you commute a shorter distance you can wear what you want.
- Wear a helmet, on your head, not on the handlebars. It's the law and internerd h*lm*t arguments are useless when you're about to be fined by the police.
- Be nice. Or something that approaches that form of behaviour for you.

Ok I'm rambling and haven't had a coffee yet. All contributions welcome except for boxtards. All I'm thinking of is a nifty list that we can all easier use at the lights & at work for newbies.

Blessing of the Bicycles
We're On A Mission From God

Despite not being terribly religious-y, a local ecumenical service similar to Good Samaritan Hospital’s Blessing of the Bicycles in Los Angeles would be absolutely divine. Does anyone know of a friendly pastor or church who could be interested in holding a event like this? Shall be doing some enquiries.

Here's an intriguing poll from Eric Brittons New Mobility blog: New Mobility Citizen Poll for Your City– A Proposal for Discussion. And a not so cheery article on our species continued deathwish .. Driven to destruction

Car design and road conditions are not the main causes of traffic deaths and horrific injuries. It is our thinking that needs to change.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Ahoy!Shiver me timbers yer son of a biscuit eater! Pass me more soy sauce!

Like autumn following summer, as night follows day, yet again the nutjobs are out on the internerd spruiking their nonsense like the dull little parrots they sadly are ...
Sick of paying a fortune for petrol? There is a SIMPLE solution. Oil companies and petrol suppliers are colluding to form a monopoly. To fight back, all that consumers need to do is to act as one. The following information holds the key to never paying more than 80 cents per litre for petrol in Australia. This information was published more than 6 months ago but Australian consumers appear to be happy to pay more than $1.30 per litre because nobody has bothered to spread the word.
As I mentioned on this thread, it's all a vast fishy conspiracy. So, when is the government going to admit we'll being attacked by giant killer squid? We've seen their evil groupthink at work, slowly infiltrating local councils, subtly altering state government policies and even telling Johnny what to do! Nothing will stop GIANT KILLER SQUID from their final goal - TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION!!!

Except for the fact I love Chilli-Salt Squid with ginger & extra crispy noodles.

For those perusing this blog with a slightly more mature outlook, here's a link to a PhD dissertation discussing alternative bike culture and some mob calling themselves Critical Mass. Well worth the read.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

ver 3.142

a.bspokecardApr06Woooo, look at that ... can I have one Mum!

Here's another version of those vastly popular aus.bicycle spoke cards. Yes they're winging their way to your letterboxes. I promise. A bit smaller & slightly re-jigged. Email the cfsmtb helpdesk via cfsmtbATgmailDOTcom for your very own ubertrendy conversation starter at the red lights or at that next coffee stop. Yes folks, keep those orders flooding in. For you DIY aficionados, simply nick the image from here, print and whack thru the office laminator when the team leader pisses off for a smoko. Makes two back to back, or four with another backing.

Farren Bicycle CollectionCrank Brothers: The Early Years

In Melbourne bicycle-type-news if you've all been paying attention to the wondrous Bike Funnist calendar, the next PubBUG Goat session is April 21. And on Friday 5 May there is the Farren Bicycle Collection + Mountain Goat Brewery. Yes there'll be more old bicycles, idle chatter about bicycles, goatage, beer and bike nerds than you can poke a pointy spoke nipple at. 6pm - 131 Brighton Street, Richmond (Melways 58 F1) Come along, mingle with fellow cyclists, and view the amazing vintage bicycles & tricycles collection. Later during the evening we can adjourn to the Mountain Goat Brewery (cnr of River & Clarke St, Richmond) Goat Management allows your trusty bike to be parked inside the premises & the doorbloke is very nice. (where have we heard that before?)

'ello sis! ..... 'ello sis!

If you can't wait for your bike FIX, this Good Friday, FR5 takes place tomorrow morn down on B!tch Road. More details on the a.b thread. At last, finally, tra la la la, I have uploaded a veritable FEAST of bike pics to various flickr gallerys. Perve away here: Commonwealth Games Lysterfield MTB :: Commonwealth Games Track Cycling :: Commonwealth Games Womens and Mens Road Cycling :: Farren Bicycle Collection ::

Now you have my permission to scurry away and eat chocolate.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Aeolian Updates :: Truck off :: Fun with 4WD ads

Aeolian Ride - Fitzroy Street, St KildaWARNING: Objects In Mirror Are having more fun than you Closer Than They Appear

Jessica has updated the Aeolian Ride site with Melbourne ride pix.
Hello World!
How are all of you? I hope you are well and doing something you enjoy - or maybe planning to :) The Melbourne Aeolian Ride went off sweetly. It was a perfect day. The riders were from of all different interests and everyone was super enthusiastic. We got a good response from peds and cars. Melbourne is a definitely good city for bikes.

Big thanks to Chris Star for organizing the ride, to all those who showed support, and to all the riders and volunteers who participated! You keep it going! Check out the latest pictures on the site. There are a few more great pictures to come - I will let you know when they arrive. A limited number of the first Aeolian t-shirts are now available for purchase online in the GOODIES section, along with a button set and the poster. Proceeds go towards funding the ride. Get yours today!!

Where will the next destination be? Interest has been expressed by people in Beijing and Amsterdam. If you or someone you know is interested in bringing the ride to these or other cities please contact me at for more info. :) Stay well and keep on riding!

Truck OffRecent graffiti on Francis Street Yarraville, image from Yarraville Residents Action Group website. NB: YRTG does not endorse the use of graffiti

In local news :: Maribyrnong Truck Action Group are holding their first major protest action today, go to their website + forum for more info. This issue has been affecting local residents since the Kennett Government saw fit to make Francis and Whitehall Streets in Yarraville part of the "Docklands Highway".

From MTAG:
This will be a family friendly, peaceful protest held with the cooperation of all the relevant authorities (Victoria Police, Maribyrnong City Council, Vic Roads). Although we will be stopping traffic at this intersection, we will inform truck companies and other motorists in advance and advise alternate routes; it is our intention to make a strong statement but not to grossly inconvenience anyone.

Have some fun and creatively work off any 4WD bias with this bit of fun courtesy of the folks at C.I.C.L.E :: Subvert the Chevy Commercial Challenge Chevrolet has created a 'gimicky' website designed to advertise its monster-behemith gas guzzzler, the Tahoe. It works like this, a very simple video editing software is available online at their site. The objective is to direct a 'winning' commercial that will sell gazillions of Tahoes to unsuspecting buyers. Well, perhaps they should not have allowed the user to enter her/his own text, because that made it oh sooo easy to subvert. Way too tempting, and really quite fun too.

Here's our *special* Aussie edition, view while it lasts! By the way, who pressed the button marked "Autumn" for Melbourne? Ecchhhh, time to get those thermals, over booties and Gore-tex jackets out of storage!

Monday, April 03, 2006

And Cats and Dogs Will Walk Side by Side

Mark and LanceMark and Lance

If you haven't wised up to the fact that cileo's last post was APRIL FUELS DAY JOKE, here's one even more potentially surreal for those who don't know about Mark Webbers extra curriculum activities.
F1 star lobbies for increased awareness and respect for cyclists. This is bloody terrific news in helping to assist breaking down those barriers and improve road conditions for all road users. It will be fascinating to observe whether this pluralistic attitude will have a longterm influence upon Aussie motorists behaviour. Onya Mark!

Another local example of bicycle-revhead convergence,
NillumBUG a new Melbourne bicycle user group are working together with the Peter Brock Foundation. Sign of things to come? Anyway for those who may get their knick(er) s in a knot over such things, the auto industry got it's start from shared technology developed by the bicycle craze of the late 1800's.

Webber urges drivers: watch for bicycles
Formula One star Mark Webber has urged Australian motorists to take a leaf out of the European book and pay more attention to cyclists on the road. Webber, who admits to being a huge cycling fan, said while motorists in Victoria had improved in their attitude towards cyclists in the last five years, the rest of the country was not so patient.

"Sometimes road users may not have an idea how much room a cyclist needs," said Webber, who is a patron of the Amy Gillett Foundation, launched in Melbourne. "I've ridden my bike in many different parts of the world, the culture is different in Spain, in Italy and in the UK, and in Victoria the culture is very, very good. "But there's probably other parts of Australia where (cyclists) are not as well accepted." The foundation has been set up in memory of the Australian cyclist who was killed by a motorist while training with five teammates in Germany in July 2005. It aims to promote a safe relationship between cyclists and motorists, provide an annual scholarship for emerging female cyclists and help the five women injured in the crash. Up and coming cyclist Jessie Maclean, from Canberra, is the first recipient of the scholarship.

Other reading material for your perusal: the Melbourne April BikeFun calendar is out. All rides go at social pace, run rain or shine, and are free. For submissions, email: To subscribe to the electronic version of BikeFun,
Celluloid Cycles a festival of bicycles on film kicks off this week at Kaleide Theatre, RMIT University, Swanston Street, Melbourne (b/w La Trobe St and the City Baths) See you there!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Celebrities ride for fun and fitness

Happy Smiley PeopleNumbers of happy smiley cyclists on the rise

Celebrities ride for fun and fitness
It can be difficult dealing with the cooler months across Australia, especially when getting the bicycle out of the shed and going for a ride through the local neighbourhood. But many Australians are looking to the two-wheeling pastime as a means of transportation - and daily exercise.

Michael Pascoe, one of Australia's most respected and experienced finance and economics commentators, said cycling to work is a growing trend and a very welcome one in Australia's car-obsessed culture. Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are just a few cities that have "Ride to Work" events to encourage people to get out of their cars. "If we can take people from the front seat of their car, put them on a bike and have them do 15 minutes twice a day, five days a week, that is a tremendous improvement in overall health," said Pascoe. "If people put five dollars in a jar every time they rode their bike to work, they would retire richer, healthier and younger."

MitchellMitchell: Bum in great shape

Neil Mitchell, who admits to being car-dependent for most of his life, has also made the transition. He rides from one of Melbourne's suburbs. His partner already had a car and it didn't make sense to pay for insurance and parking for two cars. He decided public transport was fine, but realised he could ride his bike. "It was a phenomenal financial savings,'' said Mitchell, a high-rating talkback announcer on radio station 3AW. He even travels to meetings throughout the day on his bike: "It's quicker than hailing a cab.'' What may have started out as a monetary decision quickly turned into a lifestyle choice with many benefits. Cycling to work has helped to whittle the one-time overweight Mitchell into trim and fit cyclist. "And the bum is in good shape ... when people comment, that feels so good,'' he said with slight embarrassment, adding that no one ever commented on his derriere before his daily cycling ritual.

"My job doesn't allow me to - or I guess I'm using this maybe as an excuse - to go to the gym on a regular basis and work out. Riding guarantees me close to an hour a day exercise and it's not taking away from time that is geared for other things. It's fitting in the health time. I have to move from place to place and I can use that time as opposed to driving a car or sitting in a cab and actually get some exercise.''

Cycling on the road is possibly safer than commuting the same distance

Others can't give up their daily cycling fix. Michael Duffy, who presents Counterpoint on Radio National and is a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald, cycles to work come rain, shine or hail. "Cycling on the road is possibly safer than commuting the same distance''. Duffy said, "Riding to and from work every day was a wonderful and convenient way of making exercise part of a daily ritual." He also mentioned there are three things people needed to include when incorporating fitness into their lives: strength, flexibility and endurance.

"(Cycling) definitely helps with endurance and probably helps with leg strength. If you do stretching before and after your bike ride it probably helps with flexibility,'' he said, emphasizing that wearing a helmet, having lights and travelling on relatively easy roads and paths, as opposed to driving on freeways, make cycling a very safe form of exercise.

Mitchell, Pascoe and Duffy all agreed the simple effort of riding a bicycle to and from work results in better cardiovascular health, keeps diabetes in check, helps with osteoporosis and overall mobility. As a bonus, Duffy said the ride to work wakes him up and the ride home helps him leave work at the office. And it allows him to feel as though he's doing a little bit to cut down on the smog that often chokes Sydney.

Hook, line and sinker, plus a copy of Anglers Times? March 32nd Edition?

Further contributions from Cycling News and Mr Sheldon Brown should post something soon-ish.