Monday 31 May 2010

This was not me

Just to clear things up. I am still alive.

It doesn't surprise me that a number of cyclists stopped to lend a hand and perform CPR. If a cyclist sees another cyclist who is not cycling, they tend to slow down or stop and ask if they can lend a hand. The person who has stopped might have suffered some sort of mechanical failure, like a dropped chain or a broken cable or a flat. In this case, it was the cyclist that had the mechanical failure rather than the bike, and there wasn't much that could be done.

Riding in the rain

No photos today - pulling the camera out only would have resulted in it getting wet and me putting up photos blurred by a lens covered in water. I checked the weather radar before leaving, and it showed a solid mass of green over most of Sydney. Some of that was dark green, and other colours denoting very heavy rain.

The trip in was odd because it rained when I was riding in sunshine, and didn't rain when I was riding under dark clouds. The wind was blowing from every direction, and at times the rain was almost horizontal.

The worst of it was when I got into town. It's not too bad if you are moving, but I was stuck at a red light, and it is the slowest light change in the city. Just as I pulled up, it started to bucket down like there was no tomorrow. I've been in Singapore during the monsoon, and it was like that for a few minutes.

A lady was sitting on a step outside a pub, nursing a coffee and a fag. She looked at me in the pissing rain and started laughing good naturedly. I laughed back, and told her that the worst part was just standing there copping it. It would be fine once I started moving. The rain was coming down so hard, I had to repeat myself and shout. We continued chuckling until the light went green.

Clearly, she thought I was totally mad.

As there was only one other bike parked at work, she might have been right. There are normally at least a dozen. I saw only one other cyclist on the way in today, whereas normally there are dozens and dozens and dozens.

Was it a problem?

Not at all. I have good wet weather gear, and frankly, it's not that tough when you know there is a hot shower waiting for you at the end of the ride. When I compare it to standing in a half dug gun pit for most of the night in the pouring rain, with the temp not far above zero, the mud creeping up above your ankles and nothing more than a lousy army issue raincoat for protection (you've never seen a crap raincoat until you've seen what the army used to dish out), it doesn't even rate on the difficulty scale. Particularly when you discover in the morning that you section commander has just found a leech on the end of his knob.

Sunday 30 May 2010

Sunday morning is cake time

No recipes or anything like that. I just liked the way the buttermilk gooped when poured into this mix of oil and eggs.

It reminds me of those whacky drinks we used to have back in the 1990s. What were they? Brain haemorrhage's and things like that?

Saturday 29 May 2010

Moron of the week

The scene - a wet morning, around 0745. The roads are slippery, and the traffic is building as the school runs start. The road I am riding down is wide enough for two cars to pass - most of the time, but not all the time. It's definitely not wide enough for a car to overtake a bike when there is traffic coming the other way.

But that's just what the moron behind the wheel of ANT 73Z decided to do. Whoever he or she was, they were in a big hurry. My worry with these idiots is that they don't get completely past before panicking at the oncoming traffic and thus swerving hard left - into me. Yes, it is an uncomfortable feeling to have a car go past both closely and quickly.

To cap it off, he cut it pretty fine going through the roundabout at the bottom of the hill. Like I said, they were in a hurry, and weren't going to let wet, slippery roads slow them down.

Friday 28 May 2010

A crap way to start the day

Not the best way to start the day - a ute with three blokes standing around it broken down in the middle lane of the approach to the ANZAC bridge. Just as peak hour is starting to kick in.

I had a day like this last week. I had to catch the bus to work (leg was playing up after going down some stairs in a funny way) and as I hobbled to the bus stop, a bird crapped on me.

After I sat down, a loon sat down opposite me. She was probably in her late 30s, and looked about 65. She was missing half her teeth, including all her front ones, and had a variety of very badly inked tatts all over her. If I didn't know better, I'd say they looked like prisons jobs. I could see a bit of one leg, and it was covered in scabs - meaning she had run out of veins in her arms. After a short period of silence, she started talking to all and sundry. She was a complete whacko.

I was the only person on the bus unable to take refuge in an iPod. Luckily I had a magazine that I could hide behind.

When I got off the bus in town, it was raining, and I had left my last usable umbrella at home.

Such is life.

Thursday photos

Yes, I know, I am posting these on Friday, but they are photos from earlier in the week. I still have two rides to do today, so there might actually be some Friday photos too.

It's been a wet and gloomy week. Apart from yesterday, it's pissed down almost constantly all day. I've been wet from the moment I stepped out the door. That has meant roads almost completely free of bikes - some people either aren't physically prepared (spray jackets and so on) or they are not mentally prepared. It's just been a week of head down, bum up misery.

Thursday was different though in that the showers were spaced well apart. I managed to avoid them going in and coming back - I even managed to photograph a shower that was heading our way. It hit about 10 minutes after I got home.

The bike is a complete mess, and will need a thorough clean this weekend (if the sun comes out). When it rains, lots of mud and sand gets flicked all over the place from the tyres, and whilst some ends up on the frame and under my seat etc, a lot goes into the chain and gears. A thorough degrease, lube and scrub is in order.

Sunday 23 May 2010

Cool Studebaker

Is Iowahawk in town?

I think it's a 1957 Silver Hawk. What an unbelievably cool looking car. They certainly don't make them like that anymore.

Friday 21 May 2010

Friday photos

They're all grey, tinged with little bits of orange. Yes, it has been cold and wet in the mornings.

I don't know how the rowers put up with training in May and later. When I was a wee lad, we did our training in the summer, and the races were over by Easter and that was it for the season.

Thursday 20 May 2010

A very near run thing

Filmed on the way home tonight. The clown in the van went through the "roundabout of death" at high speed - thankfully, I was well behind him and out of harms way. I then sat behind this van clown for half a minute or so at a red light. When the light went green, this clown went across the intersection and then went over a double white line onto the wrong side of the road. He very nearly hit a car coming the other way around the corner.

The woman in the car that he almost hit was quite shaken up by the whole experience. And it was all because this knobhead in ALQ 48B was in a hurry and not paying attention. You get the dickhead of the week award.

Wednesday 19 May 2010


I passed this bloke on the way in, then took my usual detour, and then caught up with him a bit later on. I thought, "Ha - got you."

Then I noticed that his right leg ended at the knee.


Roundabout of death

At the back of Darling Harbour, there is a roundabout that I call the "roundabout of death". When heading south, cars come flying into the roundabout from the city via a downsloping ramp, and as they are coming off what you might call a freeway, they are sometimes doing about 80. Some show no desire to slow down, or even look, as they enter the roundabout.

In the case below, a taxi comes down the ramp and then proceeds into the roundabout. I was far enough away for the taxi to not have to stop and give way to me. However, the car behind the taxi was a different matter - he should have given way. He saw the taxi going, and figured that if the taxi was going, he could go as well without bothering to check if there was any traffic in the roundabout - like me.

There is a bike lane on the far left hand side of the road, and I avoid it like the plague. Riding over there means you have absolutely no sight lines up the ramp, so you can't see cars flying down, and they can't see us. I get right out into the middle of the road - or the far right hand side - and open up the sight lines as far as humanly possible.

It's the little things like that which keep you alive.

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Wet and cold

Or is it cold and wet? All the winter gear has been dragged out of storage, and in the process I have discovered that my 'waterproof' shoe covers are knackered. They are made out of thick neoprene, and have a zip up the back. The zip on one of them has gone, and I am stuffed if I am going to ride around with only one shoe cover.

Consequently, both feet got wet and cold today. My rain jacket is too thick, so my upper body was steaming. When I got to work, I really needed to have a cold shower whilst standing in a bucket of hot water (in order to thaw out the feet).

In the heat of summer, we yearn for the cooler months. Right now, with winter only just beginning, I'm already thinking how nice it will be when it gets sweaty again.

I saw only two other cyclists on the road today. All the fair weather wimps have given up and bought bus passes. The second cyclist was cruising along the footpath in jeans and no helmet. When I got alongside, I looked over and he had a cigarette dangling from his lips as well. I guess it takes all sorts...

Saturday 15 May 2010

I have not been squished

Just got nothing to write about. If you've nothing sensible to say, keep your mouth shut.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Why are some taxi drivers such morons?

I've taken a few taxi rides through town lately. One driver was very interesting - he spent the entire drive down George St cursing at other taxi drivers. He was ferocious about it - he hated them with a passion. His take was that if a taxi is empty, the driver will never let you in as they are paying for it. If they have a passenger, they'll let you in as the passenger is paying for it. We tested that theory on our short drive, and he was right every time. He also told me about a good coffee place, but I have now forgotten where it was. Ah well.

On the right here, we have a motorbike parking area. This taxi is about to pass a motorcyclist that is standing there, waiting to reverse his bike in.

Instead of waiting, the taxi driver decides to overtake. He uses the same manouvere many use when overtaking me on my bike - instead of changing lanes, he tries to squeeze past.

From my vantage point, it looked like he missed running over the biker's foot by about 3 inches. The video really didn't capture it that well. I was sure the biker was going to be upset with that. I would be.

The taxi then sped off up the street.

At the next corner, the lights were red.

I counted it on the video - from the time I caught up with the taxi, we waited 18 seconds for the lights to change. He probably waited 30 seconds.

He could have waited a few more seconds for the biker, or he could have gone wide and given him lots of space when he went around him - but he was an impatient dickhead and he did neither. All to get to a red light sooner.

Taxi T 1731 - you are the moron of the day.

Blink and you'll miss it

For starters, watch this video at 200 Weeks. It took me 3 or 4 goes to get it.

Had my own "blink and you'll miss it" experience this week. I was tailing this guy, taking it easy, when his sunnies popped out of a pocket on his back pack and when flying past me. I was thinking of posting a bit of video on it, but it's not that interesting.

I overtook the bloke and told him he'd lost his sunglasses. As he had headphones on, I am not sure if he heard and understood me. Just hope he got them before they were squished.

Sunday 9 May 2010

Deveny and a free press

I was so impressed with this comment that I left at Iain Hall's place that I have decided to republish it and expand on it.

I disagree with this idea that “if you dislike this rubbish on twitter, just ignore it”. Deveny has been running the media-convergence play. That is, she has been using her column and social media as a mutual system to boost her profile. What she says on twitter is important as it is completely designed to be picked up by the wider media, giving her the maximum audience possible. She’s been very good at getting herself the maximum airplay on TV and radio by using these methods. It’s a cross-over ploy.

It doesn’t matter if I don’t follow her on twitter – she produces this stuff solely so that it will leak into the old media and give her a bigger run. This was simply a cunning plan that was too cunning by half. What she failed to understand is that she is operating in a number of different media markets, and the consumers in those markets have different tastes and standards. What is acceptable by her twitter followers fell flat when it hit the pages of the Age. She was smart enough to use these new media outlets to gain a celebrity that she never deserved; but not smart enough to understand the differentiation between the old and new media markets.

I love the fact that we have freedom of speech in this country. It is one of the things that allows us to stand above the despotic hell holes that the world is still littered with. It is a freedom that we must defend, even at the cost of having the likes of Deveny causing our ears to bleed.

We don't really have a free press though. Journalists and commentators are not free to have everything they write published. They have editors to get past first, and those editors have to answer to the CEOs of their organisations. All professional writers scribble away within limits, and those limits are set by the taste of their editors and owners.

And then there are the advertisers.

In the end, the editor is tasked with making a simple calculation - is a particular writer attracting more of the right kind of readers (ie, readers that his advertisers want to advertise to), or repelling them? If there is a net gain of the right sort, the writer is rewarded. If there is a net loss, they are dropped. A newspaper is, after all, a business. It has to make money. It makes money through advertising. Those writers are only paid to write because they have the ability to attract eyeballs, and your eyeballs may occasionally wander over an ad placed next to their columns - and that is valuable real estate.

It's not good if Deveny attracts 1,000 smelly yet penniless Arts students to the paper if she turns off 100 well-heeled adults out in the suburbs. The adults with money are the people that the advertisers want to reach; not the grotty people with too many facial piercings. (If she was writing for Rolling Stone, it would be different - but Rolling Stone wouldn't employ her - they tend to go for very good writers, and Deveny is controversial but crap).

Friday 7 May 2010

Friday follies

A small example of how many motorists treat cycle lanes. I'm riding in the bike lane - up ahead is a roundabout, and the cycle lane continues through the roundabout. In an ideal world, a bike and car could go through the roundabout side by side. Except.... (note the BMW on the left - it will reappear later)...

The truck decides to go wide and completely fills the bike lane. I've had this happen to me a few times where I've gone in first, but a car has decided to overtake and because they've been going too fast, they've had to go wide. meaning they have gone right into my lane and pushed me aside. I now go straight through roundabouts in the middle of the lane - too bad if someone behind me wants to go faster.

Even the driver of this car couldn't help going into the bike lane. The only thing that would stop this would be a proper concrete kerb between the lanes to keep cars out.

Like this one, on the exit. A few years ago, I was coming down here and found a truck tipped over on its side. The driver had tried to fly through the roundabout, but come a cropper on this kerb as they tried to exit. Good.

Stupidity example number 2. There is a car in front of me. In front of that car is a cyclist. The car driver is impatient and wants to get ahead.

There he goes, attempting to overtake - except the taxi coming up on the left has blocked them. Note the red tail lights as he brakes.

He gets around - just - giving the cyclist about 6 inches of space. Note that I am riding in the middle of the lane - my position is designed to stop idiots doing this sort of thing. If they want to pass, they have to change lanes and go right around me.

As usual, I blasted past the hubbard.

Idiot driver had raced up to a set of lights, which were red. I timed it on the video - I sat behind him at this light for 33 seconds before it changed. Would it have killed him to just patiently sit behind the cyclist, rather than tearing up to a red light? Did it gain him anything, apart from having his number plate BBO 75Y emblazoned on this blog with the word DICKHEAD next to them?

An odd sight - this bloke pulled over in front of me and started packing up his fold-up bike. I reckon he parks here (for free) then tonks into the city over the bridge on the bike. It avoids a lot of traffic and the hassle and cost of parking.

And here is that BMW again - a day later, in the same spot, with the hazard lights still flashing.

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Wednesday photos

Your really need a bit of cloud to get a good early morning shot.

It was a really nice morning up until this point - and then it started raining. Funnily enough, I had spent my ride up until that point thinking about buying a lightweight spray jacket.

The same view in the afternoon.

It was too windy for even this fellow to be out flying. I couldn't believe the headwind on the way home - it has been a long, long time since I have ground over the ANZAC bridge in low gear, puffing and panting - but it was so bad, I was thinking of getting off and walking. Over my dead body. Shortly after taking this shot, I went around a corner and the wind was behind me. I was doing 40 on the flat without turning the pedals.

A bit of a rarity - see cyclists heading out of town at 0700. Normally, the traffic is all one way.

Jerk of the day. For starters, he was wearing a Guy Sebastian type hat. In the car. His BMW has no model tags on it - I hate it when people do that. And he had shitty mags. To cap it off, he had his phone glued to his ear. Hey, knobhead - if you can afford a stupid hat and a BMW with mags, you can afford a car kit.

Funny place to get a flat. I think the bouquets are there from May 1.

Tuesday 4 May 2010

Tuesday photos

Must remember to go down this street again and see if this thing is still on blocks. Hope his wheels didn't go voom in the night.

Rowers in the dawn light.

Shucks, this is starting to feel like a Turner painting.

Don't see many of these around. The Tradesmen's entrance.

Saturday 1 May 2010

Why were Housing Dept homes not provided with insulation?

INSTALLERS may have ripped-off millions of taxpayer dollars fitting ceiling batts in public housing units, which were not covered by the axed $2.45 billion home insulation scheme.

The South Australian government has confirmed that about 400 housing commission homes were wrongly fitted with insulation under the Rudd government scheme axed last week after four deaths and more than 20 fires.

What was the thinking behind this decision? Did the Housing Dept do a cost/benefit analysis and figure out that it wasn't worth it - that it would not pay to insulate government owned housing?

If so, why pay for it to be installed into houses where the owners have done a similar calculation and reached the same conclusion - that it was never going to be worth the money?

Maybe those McMansions are a good idea after all

"Melbourne and Sydney are education hothouses, carefully designed to cultivate the best-growing mushrooms, the kids," Mr Salt said.

"Education begets education. If both mum and dad work and are educated with a tertiary degree, then you're more likely to have a home environment that cultivates further education and the resources like a separate bedroom, a study and computer."

From The Aus today.

How likely are you to get a kid's bedroom in an older house that is large enough to give you enough space for a big desk and a computer? Or even a separate study?

Having lived in a lot of inner city houses, I can say "not many". Maybe, just maybe, those 5 or 6 bedroom McMansions are actually being used as a 4 bedroom house with 2 studies for the kids?

What are the anti-growth, flat-earth marxist green-monkeys going to say about that? Kids should go back to studying with a tablet and chalk stick under a tree?

I have come to eat the humans

Looks a bit like a sci-fi monster from a B-grade flick.

Great photos.


Follow the link.

Filming the filming of a riot

Film crews pop up in the oddest locations. I did a detour under the City West Link this week and spotted a film crew at work across the canal. They appeared to be doing a riot scene under the bridge.

The car park contained a couple of police cars and a hot rod that would do Iowahawk proud.

"Police Rescue" vehicles parked behind the trees.

The crew setting up for a shot. Or having lunch.

And 20 seconds of video showing a motley crew surging forward and yelling for the cameras - which is why I presumed they were trying to do a riot scene. Pity about the lack of tear gas and water cannon.

Friday photos and a fender bender

Photography has been dead quiet this week - the weather has turned miserable, and all the fair weather two wheelers have vanished. About the only bloke I saw was this Ninja - dressed in black from head to foot and doing his best to blend into the surrounding murky darkness. I hate the near-miss head-on encounters that I have with these clowns when the sun is not around.

Rowers returning to the sheds and putting their boat away. It was as cold and grey and miserable as it looks.

Fender bender at the lights. The three blokes on the right are exchanging details. I just wish it had been one tradesman in a ute who had smacked into another one. They're impatient buggers, and they fly up and down this stretch of road without regard for others every morning.