On Cycling and How To Meet Hot Chicks

The Courier mail might be a tabloid in denial but it’s been kind to cyclists’ issues recently.  They recently made me aware of Dominic Flynn who has been videoing his rides and posting all the bits when some dickhead in a car negligently runs him off the road.

I like Dominic. I’ve had a notion to do this myself but have to be honest, I really couldn’t be bothered. I’m lucky if I can keep those flashy things charged and attached to the bike, which is harder than it sounds when you have (uses fingers…one, two, three…sips coffee…damn, lost the count…starts again…) lot’s of bikes. Then I’d have to detach them at the other end of my journey. And. Stuff. Whatever. It’s hard okay and the act of cycling has to be simple or I’ll forget how to do it. Besides, getting run off the road is part of being on the road (on a bike). After I’ve muttered sarcastically to myself (“By all means, come into my lane. Let’s disprove physics by making two objects inhabit the same space at the same time.”) or yelled at them (“Where’d you get your license mate, back of a Wheaties packet?” – yeah I know, great material) I’m pretty much done with it. Sometimes I enjoy the futility of trying to chase them down. Watching a car (and once a truck) zig-zag down the back streets of your town to escape a bike is always a lot of fun but pretty soon the adrenaline wears off, I’m about ready to puke, and the experience has been sufficiently cathartic or wearying so I can stumble on with my ride.

Also, as I said in Death Spike recently, it’s not like anyone will give a flying fuck about your little videos. Even police. Even if you have graphic proof that the guy who smashed up your legs pretty much did it on purpose. That was the experience of Craig Cowled, who tried to show the police his video as evidence against the moron who run him off his bike.

One thing about Dom’s work is he’ll never run short of material. My experience with cycling is you only need to nip into town and back and at least a couple cars will cut you off. Here’s some of Dom’s work:

 

This is a  beautiful piece of work from the cartard. Not only did they overtake just before a roundabout (one of my favorites, right up there with overtaking in the roundabout) they also did it on the inside. To be honest, in moments like that, it’s hard to know whether to video them or ride up and smash off their wing mirror with a u-lock.

But Dom is more forgiving than I am. At least if they’ve got firm buttocks:

 

Looking at this video, I can’t help but wonder if Dom should have hit the pavement. The takedown was just looks too easy.  I’m left wondering if Dom was taking one for the team. You know, letting the car clip him for the sake of some good video. I hope so because it’s either that or maybe Dom shouldn’t be riding on our streets. Maybe Dom might get himself killed if his road sense and reflexes can’t keep him out of this kind of trouble. After all, as my friends at the Courier Mail have told me, people are getting killed for smiley faces.



Or maybe Dom just wanted to check out her cute buttocks.

 


I spoke to a copper the other night. He’s busted drivers for texting, only to pull them over and discover a bowl of breakfast cereal and a make-up kit in their lap. On the other hand, he’s also busted a cyclist for riding up the wrong side of the street, headphones on and no helmet. When he tooted and then gave them a blast of the siren they still didn’t react. He tried to block them with his police car. Still nothing. He ended up driving ahead, getting out and blocking the path and waving his hands to get their attention. In a world where half of young drivers drive while texting you’d reckon this kind of negligence would get you into trouble eventually. Then again, I think the world has some sort of solipsistic urge and those who ignore it get away with almost everything. I’d love to be this oblivious but I have a feeling it’d get me killed. I’ve said too many bad things against the world to pretend it doesn’t exist now.

I try not to get involved in the helmet debate too often. There’ll be no winners in that argument. But in reference to riding with headphones on and no helmet, the headphones are (in my not-so-humble opinion) by far the greater danger. A helmet might help protect your precious brain when you get run over my a Mack truck but being aware of your environment and staying out of the way of texting drivers is by far the better way to stay safe.

As someone who already treats helmet use as optional (like when I ride to Coles without once ever riding on a road) I was interested to read this:

A committee has told the state government there’s insufficient evidence about safety benefits to justify the current law requiring riders to always wear helmets.

They’re talking about giving cyclists some discretion on when and where they wear helmets. Of course it’ll never happen. We cyclist are worse than children and once we’re allowed to decide stuff like when to wear a helmet we’d soon after forget when to put on our underwear. What the Queensland parliament will do instead is mandate flouro jackets and elbow pads.

It’s interesting though to see a mention of the failing bike share program (in the article linked above). You’re not going to save that giant piece of cow poo by removing the requirement for helmets. Just take a look at how many people cycle around Brisbane and then ask yourself why the hell do we need thousands of bikes stationed on every street corner to cater for a few hundred cyclists?  Are non-cyclist going to look at those cumbersome bike share beasts and think to themselves, how nice would it be to join the traffic pedalling a bike that weighs more than your average motorbike? I know they do this in other countries but in other countries people actually ride bikes. In other countries they have drivers and conditions more conducive to cycling. Or, as is the case in New York (where the NY bike share was recently launched) they have so many people, cyclists will ride despite the conditions and murderous taxi drivers. In a place like Brisbane where you can still drive across town in about five minutes it makes little sense to risk your life on a big blue anchor masquerading as a bicycle.

Addressing the real problems with cycling around our cities, like the dangerous and negligent morons we share it with (cute buttocks not withstanding), is what we really needs happen to encourage more cyclist. Fiddling with a few laws aint gonna help here. For instance, the committee recommended a 1m space between cars and cyclist. My experience with cartards is you can paint a big green space on the road and paint a bicycle on top of that and put up a sign that says no cartards in the bike lane and they’ll still drive in it any time it suits them. If a law could make us safer then we’d be in pretty good shape already, at least here on the Gold Coast where almost everywhere I need to go is covered by bike lanes.

The real problem with cycling is that so few people do it. The step from car driver to cartard is a short one if you’re not re-familiarizing yourself with the experience of being a cyclist or pedestrian. At first you’re aware of how easy it is to kill someone in your fast and massive contraption. Then you’re using it to block or “nudge” cyclists or you’re eating breakfast while texting and driving. Now with Australia being one of the fattest nations in the world and obesity doubling in the last 20 years we’ll need to get people on bikes soon or they’ll no longer be capable. We’ll be designing cars to accommodate our increasingly massive population instead, with little steps to help them get in and out when they have to stop and check on the latest cyclist they just ran over. Unless you’re this chick of course:

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