cfsmtb in low earth orbit

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Auf wiedersehen, Kaiser Jan

Jan Ullrich retires

1997 Tour de France champion and 2000 Olympic Gold Medallist Jan Ullrich has announced the end of his career as professional cyclist, but will stay involved in cycling as an advisor to the Austrian Professional Continental Team Volksbank.

At a press conference this morning in Hamburg, Germany, he said, "I could ride again immediately, I could get a license, I am fit, as fit as last year and could immediately have a team. I have seven offers, including ProTour teams."

But, as he noted, he decided against it. "It has taken months until I was sure what I wanted, what would make me happy. Today, I want to officially announce that I will stay involved in cycling, but not as an active rider."

Don't forget, Ullrich has NOT been convicted of ANYTHING so far from Operación Puerto.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Introducing .......


As you can see from this pic, he's young 12 weeks old, he's hot it was 35C+ when this pic was taken, he's IT savvy and he's just come back from the vet. and lost his bollox

Beer Can Hill's newest fluffy resident is settling in well playing chasies with his new mates Harry (Mr Orange), Cleo (Princess Bitchy Pants), Miss Betty Blue Heeler and the giant NZ cat that just moved in next door.

Yes, his name does have a magazine reference.

For a ex-feral Coburg street fighting cat, young Ralph will be a valuable addition to our happy home. Also if you like the look of this gorgeous silver tabby, he has three cute brothers & one sister (all desexed) looking for patient loving homes who wouldn't mind giving a bit of time, TLC and guidance to wayward feral kittens.

As an example, Ralph has been miraculously materialised into a playful, loving kitty in only three weeks. Welcome aboard Ralph!

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

"This news article fails this test"

Critical Mass Sydney. Image courtesy of Moz

Back tracking to November last year to the Daily Terror Telegraph op-ed piece: Chain gang chokes city written by Andrew Carswell, the Australian Press Council has upheld a complaint made by Mark Robinson.

As I'm obviously not a Sydney resident and the paper in question probably won't have this adjudication published online, here is the text of Adjudication Number 1344, of which the DT is to publish in full.

If you happen to come across a stray copy of Fridays edition blowing around in the street, could you be as kind to find and scan the page with the printed
adjudication and send to moi? Ta muchly in advance.



The Australian Press Council has upheld a complaint by Mark Robinson about a report in The Daily Telegraph in which one thousand bicyclists on a Sydney protest ride, which blocked city peak hour traffic for an hour, were described as "selfish fools". The mobile phone number of the ride organiser was published in a headline so that motorists could complain to him personally.

The headline urged readers to ring or text the phone number, as a result of which the organiser received some two hundred calls, one hundred and forty of them abusive or threatening.

The bicycle ride was organised by Critical Mass, a loosely structured international cycling group whose stated aim is to improve city environments through better urban transport planning.

Mr Robinson said the report was unfair in that the use of such phrases as "selfish fools" in a news report did not distinguish between fact and opinion and that the publication of the organiser's phone number was a blatant breach of privacy.

The newspaper agreed that an opinion had indeed been expressed in the news story but argued that this is now done routinely. It said that the justification for publishing the organiser's phone number was that Critical Mass had no contact or head office, denying motorists the opportunity to complain to the group. The complainant told the Council that Critical Mass had a 24 hour internet info line where anyone could leave comments.

In an era of journalism where commentary increasingly trespass upon news reports, fact and opinion need to be distinguishable.

The introduction of opinion into a news report makes it essential for the report to provide all the facts necessary for readers to judge the validity of the opinion. This news article fails this test. No comment was published from government or the police who permitted the protest ride. The opinion expressed in the report is not a breach of the Council's principles in that, by its obvious bias, it distinguishes itself as that of the authors who are clearly identified by their bylines.

However, the Council's principles say that where individuals or groups are singled out for criticism, news reports must be fair and balanced. Since only the cyclists were criticised in the article, without publication of a balancing response, the Council considers the report was not balanced and upholds this part of the complaint.

Regarding the second leg of the complaint it is difficult to imagine a more grievous invasion of individual's privacy than to print their phone number in a headline and then encourage readers to call and complain. That the newspaper subsequently published five letters to the editor, all critical of the bike protest, demonstrated that there was a non-intrusive avenue for complaint: in the newspaper's own columns.
Phone: (02) 9261 1930 or 1800 025712
Fax:(02) 9267 6826
Mail: Suite 10.02, 117 York Street, Sydney 2000

Friday, February 09, 2007

Share the lurve

Right-o, this excellent YouTube vid "The Messenger of Love" from eleventooth starring Jaimie, has inspired me to resurrect the One, the Only Big Red Fat Cat out of retirement. Well, in the cooler months, since wearing four inches of red and white synthetic fur would induce hyperthermia in temperatures over 15C.

What Melbourne, and the world, really needs right now is more whimsy, mirth, pointless silliness, i.e.: generally more large felines riding bicycles and basically sharing the love
and shit and giggles on our mean streets. I'm not really interested in appearing Survivor, although a berth on 1 vs 100 would be ace.

What extraordinary powers and abilities would BRFC possess? A uncanny ability to sense ProtaCat in nearby stupidmarkets, track down Goat outlets or embarrass the living crap out of errant cagers and naughty cyclists bustin' reds? Damn, what can I use instead of an archaic phone booth? Cycle connect bicycle locker?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

BFA: Raw Deal for Commuters

Bicycle Federation of Australia: Media Release - Raw Deal for Commuters
Employees of the Federal Government, its agencies and statutory authorities; Australia Post, and some private companies including Telstra will be dealt a reduction to their conditions of employment if amendments to the Comcare workers compensation scheme go through Federal Parliament.

The proposals would remove benefits for injuries sustained on a trip to or from work or at lunch-time. It would mean that employees covered by Comcare or self-insured under the Comcare scheme would receive no payment for loss of wages or medical expenses that they have been entitled to for many years.

“No commuter, whether they walk, catch a bus, drive or ride a bike, will be covered. A motorist who walks from a car park, trips, and fractures a wrist will not be covered. Motorists will be on their own if their injuries are not another driver’s fault. Nor will a person who comes off her bike and breaks a collar bone on her way to work,” said Peter Strang, spokesperson for the Bicycle Federation of Australia.


A bit of local background, Kennet(t) removed workcover on work trips here in Victoria in the 1990's, now Federal Government employees covered by Comcare are facing a similar issue.

With the bleeding obvious increase in public interest with cycling for transport & health, why this retrogressive step right now? So do the Feds now prefer their employees to be in private cover and no financial onus on them? And isn't Ride to Work Day going national this year?

Then cynically, what should we expect from a government lead by a 'climate change realist', who believes that carbon horse trading and nuclear energy is the longterm method to go to curb scientifically proven global warming? Why does a colloquial expression that includes the words "arse, elbow, hole in the ground" spring to mind?

Funny that.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Free bicycles!

Although you'll have to travel to Gay Paree to get one (read below) An intriguing side issue - Clear Channel are clearly miffed that the contact went to JCDecaux.

Clear Channel to study JCDecaux contract win
PARIS, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Outdoor advertiser Clear Channel France said on Wednesday that it would "closely" review the terms under which Paris city hall awarded a contract to French rival JCDecaux for the provision and operation of a fleet of bicycles and advertising panels.

And remember, the lovely folk at Clear Channel previously had a problem or two with their unwholesome attitudes towards cyclists a few years back..

Clear Channel Promotes Violence Against Cycling

North Carolina Coalition for Bicycle Driving: Clear Channel Radio Responds:
In response to the public outcry over recent anti-bicyclist broadcasts made by Clear Channel Radio DJs in Raleigh, Cleveland and Houston, Clear Channel Radio President and CEO John Hogan met with League of American Bicyclists Executive Director Elissa Margolin and Communications Director Patrick McCormick on November 5th, 2003. The League representatives collaborated with cyclist advocates in Raleigh, Cleveland, and Houston in order to communicate the concerns of local cyclists and to pursue a constructive resolution.

Oh well, it's all water under the bridge, we're all (apparently) friends now, and making money is money. I wonder how successful this "free bike" scheme will be in the longterm, either if the scheme works at all (ie: remember Yellow Bikes ?), it's overall effectiveness in combating pollution issues in Paris or they invariably all get nicked by well-intentioned Parisians.

Paris to roll out free bicycles
PARIS: The City of Light wants to soon become a city of bicycles. Paris City Hall announced it has selected French outdoor advertising firm JCDecaux SA to operate a new free bicycle service in the capital. Joining other European cities like the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, Paris wants to make thousands of bikes available for free to commuters, strollers and tourists - in part to help cut down on pollution.

JCDecaux's Somupi unit is to have some 14,100 bikes deployed in the capital by this summer. City Hall's choice of contractor was announced Monday. The company was chosen over a consortium of rivals including U.S.-based Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc., and several major French companies.