Because I have had more time of late than the average punter to read, I find myself increasingly reading about safety on the roads. Bear with me folks, we are about to go for a bit of a ride.
I have read a lot of information from both sides of the road (for want of a friendly term). Now when I say information, I mean lots of words, some informative and some that I think is from a person who is in need of professional help. I have read about death, injury, rego, licence, sharing, enjoyment, stress, freedom, time, speed, love, hate, safety, war, peace, mode-ism (great read) and a whole lot more.
These comments have all been made by people. Strangely enough not one car, not one bike or truck, bus or motorcycle, road, cycle lane or path has commented or written an article. I have therefore come to the conclusion that the solution lies with the people also. I am a glass half full kind of guy so I am going to give blame the flick as I, as a person, are part of the solution.
Now when you read lots, one tends to want to discuss what you have read to share ideas, understand more, and get face to face opinions from real people rather than an alias and to fill time between sips of coffee. During one of these conversations it was discussed how within approximately an hour a video had been posted, gone "viral" enough to have been seen, commented on and debated, passed to the authorities, identified the "perp", released his details, found where he worked, workplace made aware and then said video and all comments removed from all 3 Facebook pages where it had been posted.
Why we ride this time is about two amazing ladies.
Carol Cooke in the World Champions kit and Hannah MacDougall in the Hampton Cycles kit.
Both of these athletes have not let their disabilities get in the way of the sport they love. These two were racing at the Kew Boulevard in a time trial. Here are their stories and a couple of pics from the day.
“I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1998 and by 2001 I was wheelchair bound.
Through exercise and a bit of medical intervention I was able to get out of that wheelchair. It has been a long process to becoming World Champion but I honestly believe that cycling and exercise in general is keeping me walking.
The power of positive thinking is very important to me. I believe that if we dare to face our fears and believe in ourselves, we can accomplish anything. I could still be sitting in that wheelchair but I refuse to let my MS dictate how I live my life. I will continue to cycle not only to keep my health in check but also because I love it!”
Hi my name is Amanda Flower and I am aiming to fundraise $5000 for The Rogue & Rouge Foundation, to enable young people to get the financial support to recover from mental health challenges.
I have therefore challenged myself to cycle 2000km between 1-30 March around the Gold Coast and northern NSW. I think it is essential that we create a positive and supportive community for our young people to live in, including putting a stop to our rising rates of mental illness in our youth.
From the same mate in the local cycling club...
It's November 30, 2013. The Club leaves at 6am on our Xmas ride. A very tidy bunch of 16 riders sets off for our destination of the Newport Arms Hotel via Bobbin Head. After the Spike Milligan Bridge near Woy Woy a green ute squeezes past, just clearing the front riders by about 10cm. It was clearly the drivers intention to send a message that we should not be there and he was not prepared to make any concessions to another road user. Certainly not for bike riders. Despite the expected heavy traffic at the Sydney end we complete the rest of the ride without incident.
I have ridden about 4,500 since the Xmas Ride and I have had just one other close call. Coincidentally it was an almost identical scenario. This time the ute was white. Both times the drivers actions were intentional and unnecessary because it was early morning with very little traffic. Perhaps that's why they did it, thinking they would not be seen. Clearly they were not thinking, because imagine what their life would be like if they seriously hurt or killed someone.
In this time interval, there have been literally hundreds of times when motorists and their passengers have shouted abuse, blasted their horns, tried to startle us with a shout, tossed rubbish, flicked the bird, impress us with the exhaust note from a big acceleration whilst passing or faked a swerve as they pass. There is also that annoying thing where they make their turbo's go whoosh whilst adjacent. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard the bon mot "G.O.T.F.R." (Get Of The ... Road). Stupidity like this is not really a huge issue for experienced riders. It's also amazing how little impression it has when the car is on the other side of the road, sometimes separated by a median. However, I would hate to be on the receiving end of all this if I were a new rider.
We're Sue and Evan and we are touring cyclists and commuters.
The interesting component is that we do this on a tandem. It's our preferred method of travel. Why? You might say.
every beautiful experience we have has come from our legs.
Well, almost ten years ago when we were caught up in the daily grind of work spending twelve hours each day apart, we decided we needed something we could do together. We'd always played cricket but our bodies were broken and worn out from years of wicket keeping.
On a weekend walk we saw a couple on a tandem and had a chat. The first thing they told us was how hard riding a tandem is but also how much fun it is. We were hooked, or should I say Evan was hooked. Once he has an idea in his head, there is no shifting it. So, he set about finding a tandem that we could afford. Not an easy task but eventually he came upon a Raleigh with 26" wheels and wide tyres that had been in the shop for a couple of years, an old model. Thank goodness for credit cards because the bike was immediately purchased - there was no procrastination. We set about learning to ride the tandem.