Thursday, 29 July 2010

Harden up, you wimps

Normally, I can't stand reading anything by Elizabeth Farrelly in the SMH. The only reason I read her today is that she wrote about cycling. I won't comment on her article, but I will comment on comments like this:

All bikes do is clog an already over-clogged and dilapidated roads network.

Expecting people to cycle to work is ridiculously illogical. You can't ride to work up steep hills in 40 degree heat (or pelting rain or freezing cold depending on time of year). You also can't keep your suit pants + jacket + shirt + tie + dress shoes in a bag.

Expecting people to cycle simply isn't practical in Sydney. It might work in Amsterdam which is flat as a tack but Sydney isn't Amsterdam (even Paris and London are flat compared to Sydney).

Clover's insistence that we can use cycleways and the worst public transport system in the world (seriously, I have used Rome's transport system and it is better and the Italians are known to be hopeless at organising anything) is not a viable solution.

No more money should be wasted on this project. Our city streets should be opened up and more bus routes, train stations and trains should be built.

Gedoff | I h8 Alan Jones - July 29, 2010, 9:14AM


The bit I take issue with is this:

Expecting people to cycle to work is ridiculously illogical. You can't ride to work up steep hills in 40 degree heat (or pelting rain or freezing cold depending on time of year).
For fuck's sake, what a pathetic, wimpy, lame, lily-livered, craven, gutless, wussy thing to say. "It's too hot!" "It's too wet". Look at the female above cycling to work on a wet day - she's not afraid of a bit of water falling from the sky.

Fuck me. When I'm cycling to work surrounded by cars, I'm actually cycling through a sea of timorous, mousy, spineless girly-men who think the only purpose of the rear view mirror is to apply lipstick.

It's time I recycled a comment that I left at Tim Blair's last week:

Harden up, you girl. Hills aren’t a problem - grow a set of legs (and a set of gonads). And hot weather? Pfft, what’s a bit of sweat to a real man? And rain? Ooooh, does it make your hair gel run? Does your mascara go all funny?

Christ, the settlers and Anzacs who made this country great would be spinning in their graves if they could hear this wimpy, limp wristed piffle about how “tough it is to cycle in Sydney”.

Our awful Premier, KKK, has more testosterone than you blouses.

Take a tip from Chopper - go drink a big mug of harden the f*ck up.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

How does it come to this?

A picture from The Australian today. Caption - "Kenny Windley, of Hermannsburg, in one of the houses in his township that ‘nobody ever came to fix". I'd be pretty upset as well - but what upsets me more is that no one is saying that this house was wrecked by burglars or vandals or squatters - it appears this mess was caused by the occupants. Why the bloody hell should the taxpayer foot the bill for fixing it?


Lajamanu, to the northwest, has been offered a housing package of just $10.9m -- expected to deliver about 17 houses -- despite having a population exceeding 1000 and a critical shortage of housing.
That comes to $640,000 per house. Tony Abbott was lightly roasted recently for dropping in for tea with a family in Sydney's west - it just so happened that their rather large McMansion cost $760,000 and had something like 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.

Given the cost of land in Sydney, and the cost of building anything, just what the hell are we building in places like Lajamanu?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Typical

I gave the bike a really good wash today - the best in months. It was a beautiful sunny day - the sort of day where the bike dried out in minutes. Got rid of all that nasty road grease and mud that is the result of a week or so of rain.

And now it is bucketing down.

Tomorrow, I will add a fresh coat of mud and muck. You sometimes wonder why you bother.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Knobs

If watching frustrated drivers leaning on their horns gives you a laugh, then hanging out at the bottom of Victoria Rd on any weekday morning will have you in fits. During the morning peak, the lanes are fiddled with so that 3 lanes go left and one goes right. The odd nerk doesn't realise this, and ends up trying to turn right from a lane that is going left. You very quickly end up with a long queue of drivers who have no qualms about letting their feelings known about the driving habits of the driver in the car up front. Some people just stuff up - they aren't from around here, and they don't know about the morning lane change. But others are wankers - they do it to bounce to the front of the line. I've seen drivers so mad at that sort of behaviour, I thought I was about to see a good fight break out in the middle of the road.


The horn honking erupted just as I was going over the bike bridge on Friday morning, so I grabbed a shot of the knob above. Just after the lights went green, a wanker (photo below) tried to push their way in at the front. The driver he was pushing in front of didn't look happy - if the cop car wasn't right next to them at the time, I'm sure he would have pushed the wanker's car into the traffic barriers.

Friday must have been a good day for this sort of thing, as when I got into town, another chorus of furious honking broke out behind me. I had a quick look, and it was apparent that a taxi driver had decided to jump the queue by going down the left hand lane at a set of lights, then going straight ahead when the lights went green. The courier in the next lane across refused to let the taxi in, and much honking and swearing resulted.

Couriers and taxis are normally the sworn enemies of cyclists. However, in this matter, the courier saw that I was a witness, and at the next lights, he wound down his window and the two of us had a good chat about what an arsehole the taxi driver was. I agreed that the courier was completely in the right, and should have pushed the taxi into one of the support posts for the monorail.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

F-111: fighter or bomber?

I ask this question because the SMH ran a story today titled:


After 2000 hours flying the air force's controversial F-111 jet fighters, Micka Gray is sad to see them reach the end of their 37 years of service as the stalwart of Australia's air combat fleet.
Since most models of the F-111 weren't fitted with a cannon, or carried AAMs, I always thought of it as a bomber or reconnaissance aircraft. Wikipedia describes it thusly:

The General Dynamics F-111 "Aardvark" is a medium-range interdictor and tactical strike aircraft that also fills the roles of strategic bomber, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare in its various versions
Hmmm, don't see the word "fighter" mentioned anywhere. Sure, it can be traced back to a fighter bomber program in the late 1950s, but I don't think anyone has thought of throwing it around the skies in aerial combat as a fighter since before I was born.

It wouldn't surprise me if I discovered that most SMH writers though the B-52 was a fighter as well.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Bogan with a slogan

Best description of Gillard that I have yet seen.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The joy of mechanicals

It's a pleasure to sound all "pro" and to talk about a stuffed bit of kit as a "mechanical". I used to say that the franinfranfanjan was busted - now I say I'm down with a mechanical, or a "mechanical incident".

I've clearly been watching to much of the Tour. I'm absorbing the lingo.

My brain has also been absorbing the crashes. I have had dreams about crashes every night - except it never hurts when I hit the ground. Phew. Last time I took a tumble, I just lay there on the cold concrete for about two minutes, gasping with how much it hurt to slam into an unyielding surface from just a few feet above.

The mechanical is done with though. What takes 30 seconds to fix on the Tour took me 24 hours. I've been off the road for two days - and been stuck on buses instead. Even though I have been travelling outside of peak hour, I have spent nearly 5 hours either walking to the bus, waiting for the bus, sitting on the bus and then walking to work/home after getting off the bus - in just two days. 2.5 hours per day, down the toilet. I used to think that spending 35-45 minutes on the bike, plus 5-6 minutes at each end getting changed, was a lot of time. Two days on the bus has served to remind me that it can be quicker all up on the bike.

I also had to deal with a complete loony on the bus on both days. At least when I am on the bike, I only have to deal with one loon - myself.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Some people have no shame

I was a bit slow on the draw a few weeks back, and missed a nutter standing at the end of the ANZAC bridge with some sort of Nova FM sign (Nova are a radio station over here that I rarely listen to). I had shot past him by the time my brain noticed that there was a freak waving a sign at the passing traffic, and I wasn't about to go back and try for another shot.

Having missed the first bloke back then, I was prepared today when I spotted Freak Number Two. Nova broadcast (I think) from a building directly behind where this guy is standing - I guess they are running a contest that tries to get people to make total dicks of themselves.

I wasn't the only one taking a photo - the woman on the right had her camera out.

I had the thick gloves on this morning, so I missed out on all sorts of great photo ops. There were a bunch of people getting out of their kayaks on the Bay - the sun was in just the right spot to really set them off. Then there was the rower in a black shell on perfectly still water. I've decided I am just going to put up with frozen fingers and go back to wearing fingerless gloves. Otherwise, I'll never photograph anything.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Weeds

Friday morning was deluxe. Crisp, cold and clear. With the rain and clouds gone, the temp dropped to a nippy 7 degrees, which meant the old fingertips were feeling a bit crispy at the start.

Then I found this mental dude wandering along in shorts zapping weeds. Maybe it's the wind chill that gets me.


See? Told you it was a lovely morning. I get to see this, or something like this, almost every morning. I get to experience it; to savour it. I never get that feeling when I'm in the car. There's something about that glass and metal box that cuts you off from the world. It's great for getting places, but not for experiencing places.


Rubbernecking is bad for your health

Yes, it's a blurry, abstract kind of video this time - as you'd expect when the light is dim and it's raining. I have no idea what went on here - the Police had a bloke up against the wall on the left and were patting him down. I was rubbernecking so badly, I almost ran over the female police officer who crossed the road in front of me. I saw her at the last moment (when I looked to the front) and we both got a bit of a shock - she wasn't really looking either, and neither of us were expecting a collision in the middle of the road.

video

Another view of the "roundabout of death"

Some idiot road engineering people have gotten this stupid idea in their heads that they can improve bike safety at roundabouts by painting a bike lane through the roundabout (or around the edge of the roundabout). The idea is that cars and bikes can go through the roundabout together, safely separated by a two inch thick strip of paint.

Conceptually, it sounds good. I am sure it sounded good when presented to a conference of road safety experts and traffic engineers.

However, in reality, it's about the stupidest fucking idea I have ever seen. It is a well engineered death trap.

Why?

Because most drivers simply drive right over the two inch thick strip of white paint, regardless of whether there is a bike in the bike lane or not. Most of the bike lanes have been retrofitted to existing roundabouts, and when those roundabouts were originally designed, they were dimensioned with only cars in mind. They are perfectly good in their original form for just cars, or trucks, or buses.

But they were never designed to be a multi-lane roundabout. Instead of just painting a line, what the engineers should have done is ripped up the ground next to the roundabout and installed a new, wide bike lane - and a big concrete divider. Preferably a concrete divider about three feet high.

video

Until we get them, I am always going to go through roundabouts with the cars. That annoys some drivers, but fuck 'em. It's just too easy to get run down by some moron who isn't paying attention.

Knobhead with mobile

The best lesson that I picked up from doing a motorcycle course was the idea that you always need to be ready to stop when some dickhead does something stupid - like pulling out from a side street without giving way.

Which exactly what the knob in this 5 second clip did to me on Friday. I always, always go down either the middle of the lane or even over to the right on the double white line on this road - it gives me the maximum visibility of cars entering from the left, and it allows drivers to see me and stop until I go past.

video

About 1 in 50 drivers on this road is like this bloke - a knobfart if I've ever seen one. He got to the corner, slowed down, didn't bother to look either way and then pulled out - steering with one hand - as his other hand was clutching a mobile to his head.

That motorcycle course, along with years of on-road experience, has taught me not to get angry and righteous, but simply to pull on the brake levers and get out of his way. It's more important to stop and let the idiot who failed to give way get out of the way than to stand your ground and get run over.

Thankfully, he had his window down, and I was able to shout "Dickhead" very loudly into his ear as he went past.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Snoring on the couch

Boy, I feel like doing a bit of couch snoring at the moment. And yes, I have been at stage two for some time - my snoring does wake me up.

Miserable bloody day today. I went to bed after watching Cadel crack on the climb, and then woke to find that he'd gone up that bloody mountain with a broken elbow. And although he lost time to the leaders, he still went up that thing faster than almost all the best cyclists in the world. He was going faster uphill than I go on the flat. What a bloody legend.

The misery of watching Cadel lose yellow was compounded by the Weather Gods. The sun had a really hard time getting started this morning - it was murky as can be a good hour after sunrise. And it rained. This bloke has a classic case of cyclists bum streak - the water and mud flicking off his back tyre has left a skid mark right up his arse. Modern cyclists poo-poo the mudguard, and get poo-poo on their bottoms instead. As I have panniers, I don't have this problem anymore.


Another cause for misery - Mr Fancy Socks. We had a headwind all the way home. I was hoping to get on this bloke's wheel and ride in his slipstream, but he dropped me and left me to face the wind alone. I was chugging mournfully across the bridge, feeling a cramp coming on in both legs (hamstring in one, quads in the other) and thought, "It's time to get into low gear". I hit the lever - and found to my dismay that I was already in low gear. I never use low gear - but the wind was gusting at 20-30km/h, and I was buggered. Getting off and walking was really looking like a sensible option.

Then I thought about Cadel, and pushed on through the cramps and the pain and the wind.


Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Tuesday photos

Crikey, what happened to the last few days? It's seems like yesterday was Saturday. I didn't even have a good drunken weekend to account for the lost hours. Watching Le Tour into the wee hours of the morning should explain why I wake up feeling like my brain has been replaced with a stale muffin, but I haven't even been able to watch that all the way through - I keep on conking out on the couch.

Monday was nice. Today was miserable - but warm. Although it rained all the way home, I was too hot to put on the spray jacket. It's funny watching pedestrians crouching over and shivering as the dart from cover to cover as I tonk along trailing a thin cloud of steam.



That's an odd way to perch at the traffic lights.




The ongoing saga of the open-and-shut cycle path continues. One moment, there are barriers pushing cyclists onto the path. The next day, there are barriers blocking it off, and guys with jackhammers are tearing up the path. I hope these blokes aren't ripping up freshly laid concrete (I have this horrible feeling that they are - the stuff is about 2 weeks old). Typical government job.


The only irks this week have been two taxi drivers that decided to push me out of my lane. I was coming home tonight, rolling along quickly in the right hand lane (as I wanted to turn right at the next lights) when this taxi came along side and then just moved into my lane. The driver didn't try and get in front of me, or wait and get in behind me - he just decided to push me out of the way. At the lights, he was held up, so I got in front of him and then went around the corner reeeeeaaaaalllllyyyy ssssllllloooowwwwllllyyyy. I annoyed him enough for him to honk several times. When he tried to go wide to get around me, I simply drifted over and blocked him. If he wanted to be a prick, I was happy to reciprocate.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

What's a clwon?

Must be a French thing. The caption here reads: "A clwon reacts as the peleton with Brent Brookwalter of the US, left, passes by".

Gumby cyclist

Some drivers are idiots, and the same is true of cyclists. We all do stupid things sometimes. The bloke in this video takes a quite amazing risk in my opinion - passing on a blind corner where cyclists come rattling around from the other direction at speed. In the mornings, I zip down this hill and around this corner in the other direction at a fair rate of knots. This bloke was lucky not to have a head-on with someone coming the other way, and no doubt I would have been caught up in the carnage.

video

What really annoyed me is that he crawled up the hill to the corner, and then overtook at the most dangerous point. I normally put the hammer down as I come off the ANZAC bridge, and try to be doing 40-50km/h as I hit the base of the slope. With that sort of speed, I hardly have to work on the uphill bit, as you need to bleed off speed to get around this blind corner at the top safely. Gumby trundled up the hill at about 20km/h - a frustratingly crawling speed - and then passed an even slower cyclist at the stupidest point. Aaargh! Some people shit me.


ZIX 702 - knobhead number one

I'd like to say a big "Hello, and fuck you" to the Simmons Contracting knobhead that nearly took me out at a roundabout earlier this week. I should have rung this bloke up on 9983 0779, or gone to their address at:

A. Simmons Contracting
Suite 5, 186 Mona Vale Rd, Ives, NSW 2075

and given them a piece of my mind.

video

The driver of this ute was clearly in a hurry. This is a 50km zone, and I was doing 40 as I started braking for the roundabout - you need to really slow down for this one as visibility to the right is impeded by a building on the corner. (I was almost taken out by a Porsche there on Friday, which I saw too late). When I was 2/3 of the way down the hill towards the roundabout, there was no traffic behind me - and then suddenly there was this bloke. He was moving.

As I braked, idiot decided to cross the double white line and go around me without slowing down at all. I hate it when drivers do this, as they fail to realise that whilst there might be enough room for them to get side by side with me at the entry to the roundabout, there is rarely enough room for us to be side by side in the middle of the roundabout and especially at the exit. And cars going too fast for the roundabout tend to swing wide as they turn and they take up all the available space on the road. If I had been going straight ahead, I could have been sideswiped as he swung out, or been forced off the road - and it's never fun crashing over a raised kerb at speed.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Friday photos

What happened today? Oh yeah, it rained. I was cursing my spray jacket all the way into town, as it didn't rain, and then it rained in the last kilometre. If I hadn't been wearing it, I would have been soaked. I didn't wear it on the way home (the afternoon is much warmer than the morning) and I got soaked - but who cares? I sloshed in the back door, threw the shoes in the dryer, the wet clothes in the washing basket and splashed through the house to a hot shower.

Check out that sunrise - like a Turner painting.


I am getting better at taking photos with my thick winter gloves on - it just takes a bit of practice. That means I am back to taking photos on the run - or on the wheel. It's not that easy, and I do miss a few thanks to fumbling fingers, but I am improving.


Another shot of that glorious sunrise.


I can understand people not wanting to do the whole lycra thing and to be relaxed and comfortable in their normal clothes - but surely that's not much fun in the rain?


Will Joolia launch the BDR?

We've had the BER - Building the Education Revolution.

Now it's time for the BDR - Building the Detention Revolution.

Coming soon to a pacific island nowhere near you. A $3 billion grass hut with a plaque on the side.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Targeting Gilrudd

Andrew Bolt had a lot of fun with this photo today. A lot of commentators made remarks about Nazi salutes and so forth.


As much as I would like to bash Gillard, it's not a salute. It's a target indication that she is giving. This is the way I was trained to indicate a target - you never point with your finger. You point with all fingers outstetched in the manner demonstrated here. I left a comment to that effect, and only Habib picked up on it (he's serving somewhere in some sort of capacity - he knew what I was talking about).

What this photo says to me is that Gillard is observant and a quick learner. I'm sure she wasn't on the boat long before she noticed that the swabbies were indicating things port and starboard in this fashion - and she worked out why and copied them. Good on her. I doubt Rudd would have been that quick - or he would have chewed them out for pointing in such a "silly" fashion (silly as far as he was concerned, since he was such an Enormous Box of Brains).

So I'm not going to make any cracks about Fascist salutes. She's paying our military a complement by doing as they do. Some people need to pull their frickin' heads in.

Bloodnut jokes will resume tomorrow.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Shagged

Shagged. Just shagged. Absolutely wrung out. It's nothing to do with the weather, which was almost half pleasant today. I was only rained on twice.



It was mainly to do with these two buggers. They overtook me on the way home, and me being me, I just had to chase them. Dogs chase cars for no sane reason. I do the same with cyclists that overtake me. Woof.


Trouble is, they were lighter, fitter and faster, and although I managed to hold their wheels, it came at a cost. The couch looked very welcoming when I got home.


Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Tuesday photos

Another murky, wet day. I had two goes at taking this photo - the first, I let the camera choose the light levels.


The second, I set the light level on the muddy spit sticking out in front of where I was standing. Complete washout.


Coming home was little better. I left the spray jacket off, thinking it would be too warm to ride with it - and it started raining a minute later. Not heavy enough to warrant stopping and putting on the jacket - I thought about the cyclists in The Tour who had to ride 200km through the rain yesterday, and put away my wussy thoughts and pushed on regardless.


Monday, 5 July 2010

Monday photos

Had a really crap night's sleep, so it was a late start again this morning. The forecast was showers, but I avoided them all. When I left the office, a bloke on a motorbike was leaving at the same time and he proclaimed that "I was going to freeze my arse off" on the way home. Motorcyclists forget that cyclists actually use a few muscles when moving around - you do more than twist one wrist and knock one foot up and down.

Anyway, to the photos. Check out that sky - all glowering clouds down below, sweetness and light up above.


The water really did look that grey and moody.



Thursday, 1 July 2010

Thursday photos

Took lots of photos this morning, but only felt that a few were worth putting up. I made a radical change - I actually stopped for a few minutes and took a series of photos from the one spot as the sun came up. When I got home, I found that I didn't like any of them, so I stood there freezing for nothing.



The last two were taken from the same spot, but have different ratios of sky to water. I was trying to show the reflection of the clouds on the almost-still water.


Sorry Cav, had to ignore your rule of thirds for the last one.

If I can be arsed, I'll take the tripod back to these spots after dark one night and do some time lapse photos as the planes fly overhead. I'd like to try and do one where I capture the lights of the aircraft both in the sky and reflected on the water.

Close call

Kevin Rudd hasn't been given a cabinet post.

I imagine there are thousands of public servants who will be getting pissed as newts this Friday night in celebration of the fact that their department is not going to be headed up by Arsehole Number One.

If he was an abusive control freak as PM, just imagine what he would be like as a bitter and twisted ex-PM with an axe to grind.

The Bloodnut Number One should never have promised him a gig after the election. Every public servant in Canberra with half a brain will now vote Liberal in order to minimise the risk of him being their minister.

Explanation for the cold snap?

We all know that everything freezes when Al Gore is around - the Gore effect is well documented.

However, he hasn't been anywhere near Australia lately.

On the other hand, he's getting divorced from Tipper. Maybe she has decided to take half the effect as part of her settlement?

Anyone know where Tipper is at the moment?