Things bogans like: blocking traffic!

Those dumpy shaped bogans that litter the place nowadays appear to be designed to block footpaths. If not, it’s a hell of a coincidence that they’re so perfect at it. It only takes two or three of them at most to make a bike path unusable. And they get mouthy when you ask them to step aside. A ride along the Broadwater on a sunny Sunday is littered with bogans and their toys. They love jet skis and powered Eskis with radios in them and large inner-tubes used to tow their dumpy girlfriends around behind the jet ski…and no outing is complete unless at least one bogan from the pack drives his/her car up onto the footpath to unload fishing equipment, drinking equipment, flotation equipment or just so we can enjoy the stereo booming from the boot.

What makes bogans nearly impregnable is their inbuilt natural defense mechanisms which include a  piercing  nasal whine and a heard mentality that means they always outnumber you. They’re stubborn, stupid and oblivious.

Yet, much learned and scholarly research has been done into the nature of the bogan so that we need not fear them. A measure of concern and even compassion has crept into the way we regard the bogan, with people from all strata of society acknowledging their inner bogan. In this spirit I abandoned the footpath to the bogans and sought out the road instead.

Important reading for anyone who wants to understand the bogan.

What bliss. Only the cars to contend with and they were moving at barely more than walking pace. What’s more, for the first time in living memory no-one had parked a 4WD in the cycle lane out front of the playground. Could it be that entire families were now suddenly capable of walking a hundred metres to a parked car? The sweaty father, the fat mother, the two fat kids, their Esky, toys and garden chairs? Carried to the car? Probably not. Probably just a break between families.

The best part was reserved for the run up The Spit, a 4km long traffic jam of standstill proportions. I love it when people are parked bumper to bumper in what they had so lovingly thought of as “their transport” until so very recently. This feeling I get is in direct contrast to how I feel when I am with them in their traffic jam wondering how I could ever have been so stupid and lazy or why I even owned a car or moved to this planet in  the first place. But I can revel blissfully in my smugness when the moment arises, completely oblivious to any contradictions on my behalf. I’m not above making baaahing sounds at them either.

It always makes me ponder at such moment, when the car is proven to be such a pointless and inefficient transport, that so few people look to an alternative. I was the only cyclist out that day. I had my board tucked into my trusty Carver surfboard racks and completed the 10km ride in..whatever…didn’t take long (and I don’t carry a watch). In a world where coal seem gas production is bedeviling landholders everywhere and climate change attracts way too much high-pitched outrage  no-one is prepared to do the obvious: leave their car behind. Even when the car is slower by several hours. I was reading today an article by Richard Eckard that informed me that transport emissions have risen by 34.6% since 1990. So, since we became aware of how gobsmackingly screwed up our planet has/will became/become we have managed to increase emissions by 34.6%. Can you imagine what would happen with no climate change debate? I can. Emissions would have risen by 34.6% The alternatives, walking, riding, public transport, or cars without V8s, are unthinkable even for those whose high-pitched outrage so regularly fills my bleeding eardrums.

My Route. A lovely ride on a sunny day. 

Despite the stop-start traffic going the other way and the almost traffic-less conditions going my way the ride up The Spit was not free of the Bogan Menace. One guy in a Commodore saw fit to slow down and swerve into the bike lane several times, enjoying the feeling of being invulnerable in his 1 tonne vehicle. Another guy in one of those shitbox Skylines that bogans love so much came roaring off the verge just as I was approaching, showering me with dirt and gravel. This time I  got properly pissed off. I’ve got a decent track record for chasing down morons but on a straight track, no traffic, a single speed and a surf board I was outgunned. I let my temper simmer and the shithead move on to menace another.

Riding is not for the faint-of-heart, the lazy, the dim-witted, the idle-minded, the careless pondering types or the accident prone. Natural selection (read: bogans) will take care of those quick smart. But it is also not for those who cant endure/enjoy a bit of aggro and still arrive at their destination with their karma in tact. To wit, all was forgotten when I stepped onto the beach. (I have a friend who gave up cycling because of one or two choice bits of invective thrown at her by wayward bogans from cars. I’ve been trying to convince her that she wasn’t singled out for rough treatment, but that the abuse and carelessly dangerous driving are a part of cycling and she should shrug the victim talk and get back on the bike. This is, for reasons that are obvious to her but took longer to dawn on me, was not a argument she’s ready to accept.)

The surf was pretty decent and I enjoyed the paddle. I watched a black shape bodysurfing effortlessly on a wave, tumble turn off the wave and swim out to sea, a single female bodysurfer. Their is a simplicity and grace in bodysurfing that gets lost when we introduce equipment. It’s kind of the single speed of surfing. You can’t do all the same tricks but it has style when you do it right. I used to bodysurf a lot when I was a younger man and at moments like this I’m tempted to ditch the accouterments of surfing and see if I still have the style. I didn’t of course. I’m not dragging a board all the way to the beach just to leave it there.

I don’t who Bill and Cato are, except that they’re some of the Gold Coast’s finest surfers and filmmakers. And they filmed this at The Spit.

My wife joined me at the beach and we stayed till sunset, by which time the roads had only a smattering of traffic.  Since my wife  was in a car it was natural that I should try to race her home. (You know, as natural as when you have two sausage rolls and your mate declares a sausage roll eating competition and suddenly you’re stuffing your mouth with greasy pastry and meat like there is no tomorrow.) I don’t recommend racing in a wetsuit shirt but I am happy to report that I arrived home (dripping in sweat) several minutes before my wife (whereupon I informed her she’d lost the race she didn’t know she was involved in).

On the way home there was a trifling incident with a car that tried to run me off the road. I was in the bicycle lane coming past Marina Mirage as the car overtook me…but simultaneously moving across into the bike lane. I shouted “Whoa whoa whoa!” and they glided closer and then cut me off entirely as they turned into the car park next to the Sheraton pool. “Lucky morons,” I called (or something like that…) and then looked up and quite unexpectedly saw several policemen staring at me from a booze-bus station ahead. The penny dropped pretty quickly: car driver was too worried about impending breath test to notice cyclist. Car snuck into car park ahead of drink drive test.

Normally these booze test stations have a car available to mop up the drivers who try to avoid the station with irregular U-turns and the like. As I already had the interest of several police I approached them with a widening smug grin and informed them as I rode past, “I think they’re drunk.” I can only hope justice was served.

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