Shame on Herald Sun – Cyclist with Baby. It’s normal!

The most popular article on the HS today is a photo of a female cyclist transporting her child around in a manner she sees fit.  A normal and natural way to get around.  An acceptable, non-event pretty much anywhere else.

But, unfortunately, the HS has written a vile article calling this person the most irresponsible woman in Victoria and stating some irrelevant and generalised stats that don’t even back up this claim.  A bit rich…….  The disgustingly overly dramatic “child’s life at risk”, “life threatening situation” makes it seem like this perfectly normal activity of transporting yourself and your child to your destination is certain death for even thinking about such a thing.

Cycling is safer than walking and much safer than driving.  This person’s actions wouldn’t have even been cause for a second glance internationally.  Why have we allowed car culture to permeate every pore of our being so that the only perceived “safe” way to transport children is inside a tonne of metal?

I would also like to make a special mention of the person who took the photo “Melanie, 39”.  It seems to me that they have taken this photo whilst operating a motor vehicle, from my understanding of the road rules, an illegal act that has the potential to kill someone!  Don’t see a huge write up about that one!

What is up this week, Major Newspapers?  Your coverage of cycling has been reprehensible this week with several terrible anti-cycling articles.

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I Share the Road

James from the Toronto bike blog – The Urban Country has started a campaign for road safety called I share the road.

For as little as the postage cost ($1.50 CAD), you can get 10 x I Share the Road stickers in two sizes – large and small.  Small is a great size for chucking on the bike – on the fender, mud guard, seat post, racks.  Postage time to regional Qld was about 2 weeks.

I think I’ll be adding these stickers to our X-mas cards for our friends and family.

Below the cut is some photos of my stickers in action.  There has been one particular instance in the last two weeks where I wish I had the sticker to refer some drivers to. Continue reading

Australian women’s cycling website

In my browsing on the Bike Vic website, I found a women’s cycling section!  http://www.bv.com.au/general/bikes-and-riding/43851/

It has interviews with prominent women’s cycling, fashion advice and a women’s riding forum.

I’m not sure I agreed with the tone of all the articles (some of them felt quite artificially ‘girly’ to me and even a touch condescending) with quotes like “I nod knowingly when other women discuss pedicures and laser hair removal even though I’ve never witnessed either procedure. Lasers just make me think of WTB Laser Disc Wheels, and I’d rather adjust my toe clips than paint my toenails.” and “I am not what many people might call a ‘normal’ girl.”

***rant warning*

I really hate quotes like this.  To me, it implies that to ride a bike well, or even to ride a bike at all is not, inherently ‘normal’ for a woman and that you need to be ‘special’ to be a rider.  I think this kind of thing, whilst well meaning, is really discouraging for ladies to ride, as it implies that women who ride bikes are not normal, or somehow more masculine (like that’s a good thing).

It is normal to ride a bike (for both sexes). I don’t need to ‘give up’ my femininity or somehow lose my second x chromosome by riding a bike.  I can wear a dress and ride a bike or ride my bike to a pedicure just as easily as I can hook round singletrack or load my panniers up for a tour.

Rant being over, there are some good articles on the website and some sections are well worth a look

Ditching the Car

An interesting opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday about trends on people moving away from the car.  The stats in the article show that car take up isn’t keeping pace with population growth and the number of people obtaining a driving licence is dropping.  It talks about how driving has, in recent times, been the default position in society and even a coming of age milestone but several factors are starting to erode that ideal.

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Queensland Cycling Strategy 2011-2012

In September, the Queensland Government released its cycling strategy for the next two years.  The strategy sets out what the Queensland Government will be doing to promote cycling for this period.

This post is going to be on my thoughts and general musing around the cycle strategy and as such, isn’t really in a narrative format.  More dot pointy and some times ranty.  You have been warned!

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World time trial champs –

World road time trial championships are going on at the moment in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Australia has done really well this year with Jessica Allen winning the junior women’s time trial and Luke Durbridge winning the under 23 men’s time trial.  In addition to this, Michael Hepburn won bronze in the under 23 men’s time trial and Dave Edwards also won bronze in the junior men’s time trial. That has to bode well for the Olympics next year.

Looking at their bikes, I always think they look some uncomfortable – I mean skinny handlebars, bum at the same height as your head, weird helmets and lots and lots of lycra – which part of that looks like fun? That being said, these guys fly.  They are averaging above 50 kms an hour on regular roads, including speed bumps!

Women in cycling – literature

Another interesting journal article, looking at women in cycling:

Currently, there is an inverse association between being female and participating in cycling in Australia (only 6% of females could recall riding a bike in the past 12 months).   Travel surveys regularly find greater participation in cycling by men, then women.  Yet in many European countires (Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany), there are more females participating in cycling then men.

Continue reading