State Bike Count reports:

Today's bike count by Bicycle Network NT has revealed, yet again, that more women ride in the top end by percentage.

So what is it that gets so many women riding in a stinking hot, sticky and sweaty environment like Darwin and Alice Springs? Why is it that this Australian territory is setting the trend for the rest of Australia?

Well it is a number of reasons. so let's take a look at what is different about Darwin and Alice Springs compared to the rest of Australia.

FemalesRidingDownunderPICTURE: Helen Orr

  • Darwin has lots of paths. These are dedicated to cycling, not shared with pedestrians
  • Alice Springs is predominantly a tourist destination, it is designed to have people relaxed and enjoying the roads
  • Footpath riding is accepted and normalised
  • Drivers are used to seeing bikes because more of them ride anyway
    • Normalised by way of numbers
  • The helmet requirement is different, let's face it, it makes a difference

If you're 17 or under, you must wear an approved helmet if you're riding on a public place or footpath.
If you're over 17, you are not required to wear a helmet on a public place or footpath unless riding on the road.

NT Bike Safety

  • Life is slower and more relaxed makes people and more relaxed
  • Riding a bike is quicker.

Yip, it is easier, nicer, cleaner and cooler to ride a bike. No need for aircon, no need for armour, but many photos out of NT are of riders using wide brim hats.

Yes, there is still a lot of sports riders training and exercising - in full kit and under CyclingNT. They still wear all the required gear and they are no different from anywhere else in Australia.

Their roads are not wider in the cities and they have very few bike lanes. But they allow more normalised riding. Going from door to door, home to work. Shopping and dropping of the kids is just a normal day.

Even bike share in NT are missing something, and no one cares.

BikeShareNT

There is still plenty of testosterone, but that is definitely balanced by normalised riding.

Thank you for leading the way NT, the rest of Australia still has a lot to learn.

What is it about bicycle riding that confuses people?

Photo by Omar AlOmair

There was once an Australian Prime Minister who we thought was going to be the one to put bicycle riding on the map, he was going to save us from the freeways, the by-ways and improve the way of life because he was a cyclist himself. And we thought it was great.

But he didn't fight for cycling, he put it behind everything else and ignored it. Just like everyone else does in positions of power, the ones that can make real change.

Read more ...

It has to be said that I have always been a big advocate in cycling.   Even as a child I loved to ride my bike.

Over the past few years I've changed my opinion on a number of items when it comes to cycling, this has lead to a lot of internal conflicts in my own thinking. I haven't changed my love of cycling at any time, but I have changed the way that I cycle based on my current information.

To this day I still believe I have an open mind about anything and everything. But many people we deal with end cycling and in other road issues don't think the same way as we do.

This is not the end of the dialogue, it creates the dialogue. Much in the same way as you argue with your parents over what vegetables you would eat when you were a child, we have to convince other adults of different ideas and ideals they don't hold close.

Not everyone thinks the same as you!

Convincing someone to think like you is not easy. It comes at a cost and that cost comes in many forms:

  • your energy
  • your sanity
  • your friends
  • Even your family.

So why do we do it? What makes an advocate? Why put ourselves through this? These questions I cannot answer for others, I can only answer them for myself.

So why do I do it? It was a mistake that turned into a good idea that turned into a great idea that turns into Cycle.  Cycle is much bigger than I could have ever imagined and I am so proud of it, I guess I do it now because it's something I've always doing.

What makes an advocate? Someone passionate enough to care, they see less about what is in it for them and more about what is in it for the greater good of all. Yes it is altruistic of me but I am also a little narcissistic as well. I discovered I could talk well and express my point was getting more people on side rather than alienating people, so it just became important to me to carry on doing what I was doing.

Why do I put myself through this? I have no idea. It was so much easier working full-time and a job going to work going home and knowing how much money was coming in each week.

So what's the point of this blog. It's to open the idea that sometimes even when you're right you're wrong. Sometimes even when you have the wrong, no answer you have the right answer. Not everyone wants to hear what you want to say. It is those times you need to ask are you providing a clear message.

BackFireEffect

I have been a fan of Dr Stephan Lewandowsky’s work for some time. His ability to see the argument for what it is and not what we want to make it just made sense to me. Getting people to discuss the topic on topic is so hard in this instant messaging world.

But the story of the Backfire Effect  has never been better explained than in this video by CollegeHumor and Trutv on their show Adam Ruins Everything, it has been cut to show just the Backfire Effect.

BackFireEffectDrSL

This example shows us that no matter what we do we will not win with an argument that goes against the belief of the person you are arguing. In fact the actual argument becomes more ingrown into the personal beliefs already structured in both people. It becomes a brick wall. You have already lost.

But if you ask for their research, their ideas and explain to them why it is wrong using open and descriptive discussion. You will achieve what you are after, a mutual understanding with both sides reaching a level of agreement. Sometimes this means a total win to your side, sometimes this means total loss. But most of the time it is a mutual understanding that you can grow on.

In the case of Cycling, this is never more prevalent than the good old ‘Rego debate’ when someone says all bikes should be registered. We will dig in our heels to say ‘no- what a dumb idea’ but we would be able to open a better dialogue with one word ‘Why?’.

Asking why allows you to see where their information is wrong, we know the correct answers so we know where to correct their thinking, and if we do it properly we may just change their mind.

You can download the Dubunking handbook here.

So when next you go into a debate, instead of accusing, attacking or ‘fight mode’, just give yourself a moment and ask how you can get this person to understand your side of the debate. You may find more people willing to talk to you about their thoughts.

When the RACV posted this story on their website from the upcoming Royal Auto Magazine - the world almost ground to a halt.

Driving on Empathy

RACVDarkside

https://www.racv.com.au/membership/member-benefits/royalauto/motoring/information-and-advice/driving-on-empathy.html

"Has the RACV become a front for the bike lobby?", "Has the RACV Board been taken over by lefties?", "I'm pulling my insurance" - these were the cries from #Motordom.

From the others were the cries of "Wohooo, RACV gets it, they are my best mates." and "Yip, that sums it up, all drivers are barking dogs." Well before you get too excited, let me explain something here. This is not a news piece, it is not an advert, it is an editorial (mind you it is a damn good one, but it is an editorial none the less).

The image is so powerful, Dogs drive, birds ride, cool cats on motorbikes and deer cross roads.

The editorial is about how we are losing our humanity. Our empathy on the roads is reducing through our desire to make it from A to B in the quickest time possible.

This is not just a traffic problem, it is societal and it is encouraged from the top down.

Read more ...

What are we doing to our kids?

We want them to grow up happy and well adjusted. But all they know is what they see 30 centimetres from their eyes on a 10-inch screen.

TooDangerousBecauseOfCars

Today's announcement of the reduction in the number of kids riding to school has me truly concerned for the longevity of our species.

We are getting closer and closer to the Wall-E way of life with people floating on chairs watching hollo-screens centimetres from their noses.

gallery 1493134203 wall e lazy humans

It is not escaping any of the sports clubs that numbers are dropping as parents are more and more concerned about injuries and awards. We seem to be less and less allowing kids to be kids. We want them in their rooms or on the couch. Happy for them to do hours of homework as long as we know where they are.

When we were kids, we were out after school with one rule - be home by dark.

We did it all, climbing trees, jumping off building and running around - we were fit, we were healthy and we had fun. We can't wind back the clock on our time, but we don't have to take what we had away from our kids.

Read more ...

AnnerleyRdSouthBrisbane

A recent challenage to the Cycle team was to go out and take photos of commuters. It was to show how much Lycra is worn in the different states around Australia and compare them to Melbourne where I knew Lycra was on the decrease for the morning ride.

I was deeply disappointed when the photos came in, it was image after image of people riding wearing normal clothes. One by one the fdifferent images were sent to me and the more that I saw the more impressed I was. It was like a bigots nightmare, a news desk editors worse hell. The amount of Lycra is going down.

Now first of all I need to say that Lycra is not a demon material, it is actually a brand. The real word people should be using is Spandex. And the fascination against this material is comical, to the point that our mediia use it over and over again as a derogatory term to describe cycling in its many forms.

But riding a bike is not defined by the clothes you wear, on the day I took my photos, I was in full Cycle Kit, Lycra top to bottom. I dont wear cricket pads to swim on the beach and I dont wear foot clothes to play tennis. I wear appropriate clothing for what ever I am doing. Lycra is comfortable for long rides and therefore I will wear it.

But the images we have here show the ways we have grown and how our cities are changing with more people opting to ride to work ready for work. No shower required. And in fact it is rare to need a shower on a casual ride to work.

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