Archive for the ‘Cycling’ Category

Tomorrow when the government began

September 4, 2010

Apparently we are going to get a government this weekend. And purely by coincidence the heaviest rain of the year and gales and thunderstorms. I suspect that there is a God and s/he has an evil sense of humor.

The helmet law that has foredoomed the bluebike hire scheme in Melbourne city has finally come into open discussion. In fact what moved me to comment was this thread on BV forums. Its just another of the endless helmet threads that usually are only fought out by those who have long established their position. But over the years a noticeable shift has occurred, few now are overwhelmingly in favor of compulsion, nearly all accept that less people cycle because of helmet laws and their is some derision, not entirely all down to me, when someone claims that their helmet saved their lives, leaving them with not a hair out of place or a scratch. We have even seen crashes on BV forums in recent weeks where bones were broken without the words “my helmet saved my life” appearing at all. And now TV and news stories questioning the helmet law. And some well known personalities

However this post by taka

    ( demonstrates that some people totally lack empathy and the ability to think)

demonstrates that some people still don’t understand the argument that a good idea (wearing a helmet in case you fall off) can be a bad bit of legislation.

Dear Sue, I am sorry you feel so strongly about helmet. But if you want my rego’s TAC money to cover your head injury, well … that is so unfair.

Yes I totally agree that you should have your freedom of choice, as long as I don’t friking pay for it at the end.

I am no saint. I don’t care if u die. I just don’t want to be worse off in my pocket. Not to mention you have created more work for a pathologist who has to do your autopsy.

The argument that the helmet law is a bad thing goes like this. Firstly the helmet law dooms bike hire schemes like the Melbourne scene. Secondly the evidence that bicycle helmets actually save lives (as opposed to stitches, mild concussions and the odd ear) is far from totally convincing. The statistical studies that claim to prove it are clearly crap when you actually look at how the data was obtained. All the ones that see no such proof appear far better designed And the fact that motorcycle helmets, seatbelts, airbags, and the like actually work is perfectly clear from similar studies. And at best arguably not so in this case. So if the evidence is not clear why legislate? Its nanny state nuttiness.

But its the third argument that is totally convincing. To even the most callous pragmatist such as taka. Provided they are capable of clear thinking at any rate. And that is the economic argument

I,ll keep this really simple and let my readers do the research. Or not I guess, depending on how interested they are. But essentially this argument goes like this. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease are huge killers. Therefore they cost the health system a packet

Cycle commuting and cycling generally are both environmentally nice and an effective defense against these issues A helmet law clearly decreases cycling use. Lots of pro helmet people say not by very much.. but personally I think the evidence is hugely against them in this. The failure of the bike hire scheme, the only place in the world such a scheme has failed, seems a pointer to me. However lets concede the point.. absurd to do so but for the sake of the exercise lets. Even a few % discouragement is still discouragement

On average IF bicycle helmets cut fatal accidents by half (of which their is no evidence) and if helmets discourage cycling by only 10 % or so of people then on any possible set of figures more of these people will die from disease bought on by the lack of exercise than will die by accident on a bicycle due to not wearing a helmet. That is to say that the best case you can make for a helmet law still has more people dying because of it than are saved by it.

And that is ignoring completely some of the more subtle issues of a helmet law.. for example the UK studies that show that motorists give helmet less riders more space, maybe you are more likely to be hit wearing a helmet. Risk compensation theory says you are more likely to take risks wearing a helmet. Its widely accepted that the more cyclists that are on the roads, the more likely car drivers are to behave sensibly around cyclists and the less risk per cyclist. The public perception of cycling as dangerous only seems to actually exist in countries with high rates of helmet use. These sort of effects are likely to more than negate any beneficial effects of a helmet law in themselves.

And of course repealing a helmet law does not make it illegal to use a helmet. It just means one can hire a blue bike to get across town without having to go and buy a helmet.

Australia has one of the lowest commuter cycling rates in the world. And we have helmet laws. Good laws travel. Practically no one else has helmet laws. Seems pretty obvious to me. I find the economic argument to be totally convincing. Its a bad law.

But maybe I don,t understand economics. Was a story on the news this morning. In the US many people are defaulting on their house mortgages. Apparently many mortgages are far more than the property is worth. And apparently if someone walks away from a mortgage, then the moment it is reclaimed by the bank its worth 10% of what it was worth hours before. So why does this not push the mortgage rates down? Why are people not giving loans to people who have defaulted on a house loan to buy their house back for 10 cents on the dollar?. What am I missing?

The movie Tomorrow when the war began, which I have previously discussed on this blog, is now showing. Its going to be a smash. I shall go and see it in the next few days and report on it

We have two web sites probably going live this weekend.
dromanamowerservice.com.au which is Dromana mowers… Gozzo from BV forums, and plantsupplies.com.au which is a joint venture between us at PerfectNotes and our occasional staffer Mark Condron. Don’t buy anything on the plantsupplies site just at the moment.. the shopping cart stuff is in final testing.

3 strikes and you are…..slightly embarrassed.

September 1, 2010

Might be a long and somewhat rambling discourse today, unlike my normal swift, tightly edited and targeted posts. (Falls over laughing) I have much on which I wish to comment.. so if I can remember any of it at this silly hour I shall do so.

Was told.. by someone who as far as I know is in absolutely no position to know, that the ideal number of blog posts is 3 a week and never on a Monday. I have not the slightest clue if their is any truth to this whatsoever yet I notice that I do seem to average about 3 posts a week, and my Monday posts do seem to not score many hits. Interesting. I wonder if their is anything to it.

Cycling is a sport where a lot of drug cheats are caught, and expelled from the sport. We claim it as a clean sport because we catch cheats. Other sports claim it as a dirty sport for exactly the same reason. I love the irony in this In very topical news under the laughably weak Australian Footy League drug testing policy.. which essentially consists of waiting for Victoria Police to catch someone using drugs (usually after the hospital runs blood tests after they have rolled their car up into a ball) well known Hawthorn footballer Travis Tuck has now be caught 3 times using drugs. He is not well known to me by the way.. hopefully I have the club right. 12 week suspension. Heh.. try getting a 12 week suspension for your third offence in cycling mate. And yes he was caught by Victoria Police.

He is the first bloke to be caught under the 3 strikes and we will tell your club you have been a naughty boy and let the media know about it policy of the league. Its not surprising, I have never been drug tested by the cops.. or by the footy league. The last time I looked at this the league averaged one drug test per player per year. In cycling I have heard of pro riders having a team of testers cooling their heels in a riders lounge while a second group of testers had a go. In off season. And 3 strikes before drug use is alleged.. bet Lance wishes that was the case.

In cycling we find and deal with our drug cheats. Footy hides theirs. Pretty obvious which sport is really the cleaner. To a thinking audience.

Speaking of the Police, I was passing Box Hill cop shop last night on my commute home. Cop car out the front. RACV van in front of it. RACV man changing the Cop Cars flat tire. Sigh. I remember when cops could change a flat themselves. My dad remembers when they might stop and give you a hand.

The last combat troops pulled out of Iraq today. Mind you they are leaving 50,000 heavily armed and armoured non combat troops and any number of heavily armed and armoured private security people in the county. But essentially Iraq,lacking a government and most essential services is running its own security. By any measure the US had firm if not total control of the country…a few people killed daily is not the same as not having control. And clearly no one wanted the US there. But its going to be interesting to see what happens. The Iraqi army was never much chop, how its going to stop the country becoming a toy for warlords and mullah’s is beyond me. The problem of course is all the real normal people stuck in the middle of it all. I don,t have any answers, well I do have one very politically incorrect answer that I won,t share here. I hope the optimism is warranted.

The cost of the Iraq war to the US… well 3/4 of a trillion dollars US. Could be looked on as a financial stimulus package I guess. 4000 ish US soldiers dead. In 7 years Which sounds a lot. But its actually less than a 10th of a years road toll. In fact its less than the number of Americans shot dead in America yearly. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Australia also has no real government after the election last week. Which major party wins is going to come down to the independents. Who are negotiating for stupid little concessions for their own electorates like a pimp looking for a good price. It looks like Senator Conways bill for internet censorship is dead.. but he is going to keep his job. Dammit. Family firsts senator is still around. Ahhh… those keen, incisive and very forgiving and tolerant religious types. The national broadband network is going to go ahead too.. all of the independents are in country areas and strangely the country seems to be in favor of moving telecommunications into the 21’st century. All in all I guess its a win.. it certainly makes the point that the electorate is a bit fed up with politicians. It does however leave our country with a government in exactly the same deadlocked situation as the government of Iraq. Hopefully not for as long.

We have quite a lot of work on at the moment. I,ll write on that in the next post I think.. Cos I had better go and do some

A Pyrrhic victory

August 28, 2010

A Pyrrhic victory is one that comes at great cost to the victor. Let me explain.
This morning was the monthly Begian Beer Cafe Cycling Club brecky. A must not miss ludicrously cheap breakfast and social get together for the very very elite of Melbourne cycling. Afterwords I had to go and help a mate move….a sad story that certainly should not be related here, and a tough second half to the day. But the morning promised to be fun.

So up at some silly hour before dawn. It was pouring.. seriously teeming down. I changed…. gulped down a coffee and set off. Soaked in meters. Ahhh well. On to Whitehorse road. where in Box Hill after a short chase I caught another cyclist. We looked at each other.. both wearing spray jackets, his red.. mine yellow.. both with faces streaming with water. I said “morning”, he replied “lovely morning” “Mmmmm bit damp” I said, and we splashed off in our different directions. Turning up through.Burnley for the 3rd month in a row the same fool in the dirty unpainted aluminium riveted body 8 ton van brushed past within inches. This time however I saw where the tu$% parked outside Burnley Golf club. Heheheheheh

It stopped raining in South Yarra. Met up with the motley crew at the BBC and we set off for the traditional pre waffles ride to Black Rock and back. Trying to organise a peleton but honestly its like herding ducks. Me Sally, Brice, Dale Katrina and Thorie did our best to set a good example up the front. I managed a mild dig off the front at the Black Rock but was beaten in style by Baudman. Meh. Amble back somehow again on the front. Chatting to various acquaintances, admiring the female joggers.. especially the HAF exhibitionist in the halter top. By the time we got to St Kilda only 5 or so of us were left. In spite of our best effort. Be patient, I am getting there.

Pootle down Barkly st marvelling at the lack of skill of the average car driver, and then the big dig for the days remaining glory. KIng of the Mountain of Barkly st Hill. Big dig… look back.. no one close. Baudman 100 metres back and everyone else not even that close. Across the line. Win. Glory. Roll to a stop at the lights. THen Baudman and a couple of others.
And a car in the other lane. Apparently had been driving beside the others yelling “Allez Allez” out the window.

And he says out the window to Baudman. “What happened? You let the old bloke beat you”

Sigh.

Well it WAS a good day.

August 26, 2010

THere is always so much I want to fit in these blogs. I always post so much less than I want to say. Sometimes I go back and edit but there are few of them I am really happy with. ,starting to try to segment the cycling, social comment and work bits..but life does not come neatly parcelled and mostly neither do my posts.

On Tuesday evening I went to the aid (sorta ) of a mate who is going through a difficult time. Aiding him consisted of listening to him while eating his pasta. Its the sort of thing I do for my mates.. eat their pasta. As to my enemies… well actually I have no enemies.. a few people I hold in total contempt but I digress.

On the way there I saw the single stupidest pedestrian of the year. I was at the intersection of Brunswick St and Johnston… heading north. Red light. Off to the right is an ambo with lights and sirens in splendid working order coming towards us. We get a green light. Amazingly no one moves. The ambo moves into the intersection at barely walking pace. Tall young african girl pushes through all the 20 or so peds waiting for the ambulance on the SW corner of the intersection and ambles across. The ambo has his hand on the horn.. both sirens working and has stopped a metre from her before she notices. She does a classic double take and still takes another few seconds to get out of the way. Some of the other people gave her a spontaneous ironic clap. Which in Brunswick St.. not the home of the worlds smartest pedestrians, has to mark her as something very ‘special’.

Seriously. Aside from the fact you are just not a useful person if all you contribute to the world is getting in the way of an ambo.. what sort of person goes through life that enclosed in their own mind that they miss that much of the world? And what is the point of living with that minimal amount of awareness of the world you live in? I see dumb people all the time.. people with minimal awareness of anything outside themselves Wake up guys. Smell the roses. Have a look around. The life you save may be mine. Besides if you don.t notice anything of life.. how much point is there?

We did a seminar in Docklands, the Melbourne Bayside and up and coming area. It was on small business opportunities and directions.. and part of the state government’s month long push to promote small business. By weird coincidence I ran into a bloke I had just met the day before at Monash. And a bloke studying business at Swinburne Uni where I have my degree from. And made a bunch of potentially useful contacts. Kathy and I got up early and went into town two up on the motorcycle.

I cannot understand why anyone would commute by car.. I would commit suicide or homicide in a month. I guess many do. Some drivers out there were insane… Would the woman in the Honda Jazz please put her book down. And you the loon in the silver Audi (why does no one sane own a silver or black Audi, is it some sort of sales requirement.. “Oh look a loon.. lets sell him a silver one”) 6 inches from Kathys left boot at 60 KPH is not as smart as you think it it. I know you think you won,t get hurt in the .. and I use the word loosely… accident… don’t take that for granted. 😦 Was fun watching you squeal to a stop in Victoria St when you realised you were not going to fit through the gap we did tho. Heh. Get a motorbike mate. Or a pushbike. Then it will be you that your inappropriate overly agressive driving hurts. Which seems far more morally acceptable to me.

We went in by the MRR. The Maling Room Ride. A regular bicycle training ride that ends at the Maling Room Cafe. I do the ride pretty regularly and Kathy caught up with some old friends. It was cool turning up on the motorcycle. No one wanted to take me on in the hill climb. And surrounded by the shivering lycra clad, us two leather clad people felt smugly warm. 😀

The seminar was great. Took a phonecall from a client about a dead laptop during it. Not actually when one of the speakers was up…unlike the loud woman nearby. She probably did not need the phone.. was talking loudly enough to be heard by the person she was speaking to, without telecommunications. About time we started telling people like this how bloody rude they are. Anyway I arranged to call in on the client on the way back to PNHQ (Perfect Notes Head Quarters) Got a lot of ideas out of it all. Starting to implement them now.

What do you think of this as an elevator pitch for PerfectNotes?

We do IT related support for your small business

Yes? I really think that that one works. Would appreciate feedback tho. A bunch of stuff to implement. Mark and my website for Marks online plant sales is up at plantsupplies.com.au It has no content yet but it will happen pretty soon. Quite a lot happening at the moment.

We left.. swung by the client and I sorted his machine in… oh.. 15 mins. Smug grin. We went to Lygon St and ate lunch, then went home. And thats when I discovered I had lost my new camera. Bummer. I am seriously depressed. Must have put it down when I answered the phone. Idiot. Total idiot. Seriously upset about that. Spoilt my day.

Ok in an attempt to cheer myself up this really good Vidman pic from Sundays ABOC session

Most of Team Splat! training

Team Splat!

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One less car! :D

August 17, 2010

I cannot believe it. 6 days without a new post and wow.. a new highest number of hits.. and a steady climb in readership. Must be a lot of intelligent articulate types out there just discovering my verbose nature.

The toyota has finally gone. A young bloke won it for.. oh about $225 so about 75 bucks less than the first time it was up for auction.. but still about $100 more than it was worth as razor blades. Its in the area I could live with. So its gone. Our dweeb tombro1546 who won it the first time but never responded has er.. left ebay.. time wasting piece of cow dung that he was. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

When the boys turned up they spent so long playing with the thing I honestly thought they were going to give us issues. I mean honestly.. its straight.. never been seriously hit.. has no rust.. moves under its own power both forwards and backwards and they got it for pocket money. But the buyer did not seem totally happy.. It did turn out that every battery I had was incapable of keeping the thing running. They ran it out of fuel on the test drive. And in the end took off with one of my fuel cans. Sigh. Nothing is simple. They turned out to be ok. Maybe they will bring it back. My can that is. NOT THE CAR

I went out before they took it away. Took a couple of pics with Kathy on the bonnet. Meh. Here is the good one. I swear the other one is one of the more unflattering pics I have ever taken. If enough people ask I might just put it up. But for the moment I shall be kind.

Kathys Toyota

The BMW in the pic behind Kathy is the next thing to go. Kathy has some time ago devalued it by a few K in about 0.5 second. Its not worth heaps. Want it?

We went to DISC again Sunday. Sally managed to have a light fall.. dodgy tire.. and my mate David who I had dragged along.. in his first 10 seconds or so riding on wood managed to run over her. And stay up Nothing wrong with his bike skills. I have quite a few pics to put up this time. Mostly taken by Jenny who did not ride this time.. the dreaded lurgy. Convincing proof that I am crap at holding a wheel Here is one shot. I,ll put up another couple later.
Dave1

The pic below was taken by Rach. Pretty good shot of a pretty bad paceline.
Dave in bad paceline

I have a couple of jobs at the moment I have way underquoted on. Always depressing. Not big jobs tho. Finally have bits of the plantsupplies.com.au site happening.. in fact I will spend some of tonight getting some of the nursery pics in shape for it. Is going to be really cool. That site is going to make us some real money. Just as soon as I figure out how. Sigh.

The Mullum Mullum trail post I did spawned a thread on BV forums here. It did not lead to the huge explosion in comments I was hoping for.. with plans eventually to maybe make a reporter notice it, instead leading to a couple of pages of discussion on the forum. But its all totally solidly in support of my point. For example rjk starts off like this

The wooden bridge i had the off was on the one just past quarry road on the way to Mitcham damage 2 ribs and bottom bracket axle, right pedal and crank, also probably weakened my handlebars which might have caused my big off 6 months later.

Also this grate gave my a brown pants moment
Photobucket

The election is 4 days away.. I have no clue how I am going to vote on that. But Sally has made her own points in her own blog I will be putting Conroy last. Way last. Very last. I hope its last enough.

On any sunday.

August 9, 2010

Feeling very lazy here. Doing lots of entry of data into a customer site. I must ask Kathy what we charge for this. It cannot be enough.
Its a case of creating the object.. uploading and editing a table type description, doing a short description of the thing in English and I know little about these particular ‘things’, more than anyone else here does mind you, and then guestimating shipping weights and dimensions. When we show all this to the customer hopefully he comes back with more accurate numbers and I get to put those corrections in. Oh joy :D. When I spoke to him on FB the other night mind you.. he said I was spot on with some of them.

Its a grind. Needs to be done tho.

How many people picked up on my cunning plan to fix the temporary power outage on the top floor of a customer building? I,ll give you a big hint. It involved an extension lead. Not by any means a perfect fix but hey it got their mail happening again. And I did check with them to find out if such a solution was acceptable. And yes I did go in early Sunday morning and implement it. If its stupid and it works it ain’t stupid. I shall write about dodgy but working tech solutions soon I think. I have a couple of great stories.

A 24/7 support organisation us. Woot. PerfectNotes IT… for all your IT, some of your cycling and all your 84 Corona needs. And yes someone has bid on the ebay Corona, and a nice young couple came around and looked at it last night

Too much data entry to do.. so to fill out this post.. pics follow from DISC last night.
Last night was as always good. I am still slow but working on it. Jenny came and was very brave. The sad news that an unnamed Team Splat! rider will be moving to Newcastle in the new year hit Team Splat!s race director hard 😦 The individual concerned claims its for personal reasons but the rumor is that they have signed a lucrative contract with a pro team and will be racing in Europe next summer.

I had a win in that Swervin Merv Hughes bought some surplus cogs along and gave me a 12 (never had a 12 before) and a 15 to replace the one Sally had borrowed. Sally bought the 15 back as well (heh) so I was able to tell her to keep it. Thanks Merv, I owe you a beer for that.

Very atmospheric shot of Jenny vs ‘the Wall’ that I think captures something of how scary it can be
Jenny

Sally vs ‘the Wall’
Sally2

Practicing starts.
Starts

Emily launches
Em launches

Carl “Mr ABOC” Never called that. Sometimes called Bleve.
Carl

A really good pic of Sally
Sally1

Team Splat! girls
TeamSplatgirls1

TeamSplat!girsl2

ABOC training group.
ABOC training

Maybe we should have let an engineer design it?

August 8, 2010

Instead of the work experience kid.

On the other hand not just everyone would give an 18 year old engineer a budget of $21.95 and responsibility for an entire bike path.. and even fewer would give him a case of booze before turning him loose with a drafting table. And the results have given us all so many giggles.

So on Saturday I was woken up by Kathy.. server had fallen over at a clients work place. Eventually I drove in and checked it out.. Server had fallen over because the UPS had gone flat. Because it was getting no power. Because the floor had no power. Hmmm. No immediate solution but I do now have a cunning plan. (to quote Blackadder) Next post may elaborate. Or not. Guess you will just have to read it to find out.

So back home. Young Jenny turned up and we decided to go for a ride. I have long meant to comment on the superb design qualities of the mightly Eastlink bike path and so I took my new camera and we set off. And just a couple of klicks from home is the first interesting bit of er ‘innovative’ design. Entertaining design anyway.
Photobucket
Just a tunnel you say. Nothing bad about that. No at that point 15 feet or so from the end it looks fine.. just a blind left turn.. keep left and you will be fine… Except for this Photobucket A steel grate hidden just around the bend exactly square in the middle of the left side of the path. If you do not know its there then its potentially lethal and why would anyone expect it to be there? But if you do know its there then the safe way to pass it and avoid any chance of a head on with an oncoming cyclist or jogger is to pass the grate on the left. Which means your helmet clears the corner of the tunnel entrance, which is hard edged concrete, by a few inches. If it were wet or icy and there was traffic going the other way it could end in tears. Total genius. Someone who owned a funeral parlor contributed to that design.

See what gets me most about this sort of stupidity is that no one would ever do it on a road. They would expect to get their ass sued off when inevitably some less than bright person stuffed up and got hurt. But its a bike path so who cares? Its a foreseeable hazard so take care and if not, too bad. But really.. no one expects freeways for bikes.. but surely we can do better than this.

This bit is cute. Its not actually dangerous.. and in fact its fun. But really…. either this is a path for saturday pootles or one for commuting.. This is a bit experts only.. Oh the path is just barely visible in the top of the pic to the right. Well maybe only cos I know its there. Thats right.. they could have done it all in a straight line

Photobucket

Wooden bridges and especially curved downhill wooden bridges with camber are sort of dangerous to bicycles, I have already written about one recent death on one. There have been others. Really a stupid thing to put on a bike path therefore… a wooden bridge. Like this.
Photobucket

Slippery when wet

And when dry. When covered in leaf litter. When frosty. When cold. In fact slippery all the time except for at noon on a hot day in summer. All of em are curved. Mostly downhill or uphill. One of them leads straight onto another one turning the other way. The one below has wire netting into the braking zone.. to improve traction. Its the only one. I guess someone got badly hurt their and the Parks people decided to do something. Hmmm. Something is wrong with that plan I think
Photobucket

How about this? Jenny propped in the middle of the path?
Photobucket
Or not.
Photobucket
Amusing huh? The road actually goes no where. Its a dead end. And the car traffic faces a give way sign for the bike path. So I guess bothering cyclists by telling them of the road would just bother them unnecessarily. I mean the cars are going to stop. Right?

To keep us amused the path has a couple of little road sections. This is one.
Photobucket

Yes.. Thats all of it. Cute huh?

Lots of the path is really really pretty. Lots of the corners have little streams running across the path after our recent rains. To be fair Easlink undoubtedly spent more on drainage for the tollway than they did on the whole path. The other amusement is the rises and falls in the path. While cars have to manage with pesky engines and so need a near flat surface bicycles suffer no such issues. Here our lead climber tackles a steep pitch without even a rope to save her from certain death.
Photobucket The slow sign is totally redundant. Personally I think it a sick joke on the part of the designer, The path goes around that bend then kicks up steeper for a couple more hundred metres with (of course) another ‘slow’ sign. No problem for grandad on the K mart roady and the 5 year old on the tricycle. Not much.

The path is more than twice the distance of the on road route. At a guess it has more than 4 times the amount of climbing. Its probably 3 times the distance of the onroad route if bicycles could use the tollway. So as a commuting route its rubbish. As a jogging path its fine…as a sunday ride path for families its rubbish.. As a skills session for the reasonably quick who are decent climbers and not totally adverse to sharing the path with the odd rabid out of control dog and its rabid out of control owner its wonderful… just not sure that thats the target market for this sort of infrastructure.

Let me know if you want to see more?

Back to Track

July 25, 2010

I was going to talk about the bike lanes in Albert St East Melbourne so lets do that first (or was I going to rave about the hire bike scheme? My mind is going.. I can feel it. Ahhh well one rave at a post)

These two pictures one taken just before and the other just after these lanes came in. (thanking the Age online ) shows what we are talking about. The cars in the left lane are actually parked. Maybe. Sorta hard to tell. Definitely part of the issue.
albertst bike lane
Let me point you at this thread on BV forums.

Here is Bicycle Victoria’s take on it all. Most of which I think is rubbish.

Speaking as a very experienced cyclist (he says looking at the floor shyly and scuffing his cleated feet) going into town in times of heavy traffic its sort of ok(ish) . But crikey some people park so badly they should lose their licenses.. or at the very least be booked. I am going to take a camera in some time soon. Its mildly entertaining watching them.

Coming out of town.. late in the evening its rather lethal. 40 kph is dangerously fast on it.. and I usually hit 50 for most of that trip on the mostly downhill road. Pretty safely using a lane and traveling at the same speed as the cars . The bike lane green surface is unsettlingly loose. The driveways are lethal.. and at 30 I usually manage to have a near miss with someone pulling across the bike lane and propping while they check for cars. Although the green surface may be loose I know of someone who has destroyed a tire on it while panic braking which means that the surface must be as abrasive as hell. The normal problem of cars overtaking marginally faster than you.. and instantly turning left is aggravated by the design.. they have some actual excuse They come up the outside of the row of parked cars and you come up the inside The poles now sticking out of the edge of the bike lane on the north west end are absolutely for sure going to kill or maim someone. And they are so obviously lethal that I plan to go in with a camera on Monday.. take pics of them and make them available to the police and or coroner when I hear of it happening

What I would do is.. maybe try it for a bit longer on the uphill into town.. With some serious enforcement. On the way out of town I would lose the car parking altogether. I would make the left lane entirely a bicycle lane.. it would be very wide. And I would allow cars in it. Difficult to say what I mean but try and market it as a non exclusive bicycle lane in which bicycles have the right of way.

The way to make cycling safer in the city is to make the strict liability on the car. Where there is an accident the car driver is assumed at fault in the absence of other evidence. If it can be demonstrated the cyclist is at fault then the cyclist is charged but otherwise the car driver is assumed at fault. This works in a lot of countries and pretty much gets rid of the sort of accident where the car driver claims the cyclist must have swerved. It makes car drivers careful of cyclists. It makes the more dangerous vehicle carry the onus which to me at least seems absolutely reasonable. Comments anyone?

Coming up Lonsdale street in the evening on friday one of my tail lights came off.. Stopped in the middle of the lane. Maybe a hundred cars missed it but the very last one.. some sod in a Camry managed by swerving to hit it fair and square. Class mate… pure class. Whoever you are, your wife and kids think you are worth living with. Wait. Sooner or later they will find out the truth.. self evident to many of us who share the planet with you. Take your small minded moment of triumph and hug it to you because you are indeed pathetic..

OK two raves per blog post.

The sad part of the day was the Grand Prix Cycles memorial ride for Steven Hart. I slept so late I took the car in. Our guesstimates of numbers for the ride varied.. maybe 200 or so with nibbles after. It was a very varied bunch.. and I got at least 2 dozen “how did you know Steven” I met some old mates. And TheotherActiveFeetGuy from BV forums. It was not so sad as all that actually. He touched a lot of people. RIP Steven. Life is fragile. Being missed is not so bad
Vale Steven Hart

Team Splat did track tonight. All 3 riders currently on the books. The gorgeous Sally back from her world travels finally made an appearance. And the Lovely Jenny.. still getting her mind back together after her nasty crash last year not only came .. but rode on a wooden olympic velo. And its only a couple of months since that scared the living daylights (not the original word I used here) out of me so I know exactly how much courage that took. I don,t think I can possibly describe how proud I am of her. She rode the full program too. Immensely proud of both girls. But Jenny beat her demons tonight so I don’t think I will meet anyone as brave any time soon. She came around yesterday and we put new ABOC approved super sticky track tires on her bike and she was nervy then.. was waiting when I got to DISC and nervy then. And did just brilliantly.

A weirdness. That goes to it being a very very very small world indeed. One of the other girls at track was talking about her husband. Penny dropped. (no not that Penny. Yes her husband is a perfect notes client. And a good one. And possibly has a netbook for sale.. that might conceivably sort another issue. Amazing huh?

The last mountain

July 23, 2010

Its been an awesomely quiet week on the work front. Have done a lot of administration, organizing and promotional stuff but not much actual work. Really quite depressing. I have some bits and pieces of web dev to go on with.. and some of the same to do for ourselves and other things begin to look more organized but still. Blog hits continue to go up.. that is going much better, and the number of people looking at PerfectNotes from here is going up. Which is good. Its the only way I can justify this prodigious self serving ranting to my starving staff.

A couple of our clients are absolutely and totally flat out.. which makes me wonder why our local downturn. Its not such a complete downturn.. either, have had a dozen people or more ask for advice.. advice of the type that we cannot quite call consulting and charge for. Including one person wanting to talk about going from Thunderbird to Outlook. Can sum that bit of advice up pretty easy in one word, But it seems they were using a CRM package called ACT, Instead of ours. Sigh. And ACT cannot talk to IMAP. It needs Outlook. A reason to not use it right there I should think. Ahhh well. It turns out their is commercial software letting you turn IMAP to PST. And we have software of our own letting you go the other far more sensible way. So its all covered.

One of the things about proprietary software like MS Outlook is that it has its format for keeping data in. (PST) Athough PST supposedly subscribes to an open format no one else that I am aware uses it Getting it into another format to use with someone else’s software is difficult and expensive.. Sometimes impossible. So once you have your 6 months worth of calendar stuff. email, business contacts and the like in Outlook its probably staying there. Welcome to the wonderful world of Microsoft, loyal Microsoft sl… er customer.

Kathy is off to Echuca. She says to explore possible Virtual Assistant customers. But I happen to know that their is a blues festival happening there this week. I suspect a connection.

Last night was the last mountain stage of the Tour de France. A bunch of us went to Blackburn Cycling Club and watched it live. About 15 of us this time. Bundled in blankets, watching it on the big(ish) screen. eating hot snacks.. Listening to Penny being soft. It was all good.

The stage was amazing Contador. knew his real danger was Schleck and stayed glued to his back wheel. He had to stay within 8 seconds.. and Schleck had to pull out.. realistically something like 30 seconds. Each attacked savagely up the last mountain Eventually each attack ended with Contador 6 inches behind Schleck and the peleton coming apart behind them. And that’s how it finished. Contador 6 inches behind and 8 seconds ahead. Schleck winning the stage. Contador almost certainly winning the tour. Desperately hurting riders coming up the hill in dribs and drabs. The remainder of the main peleton down to maybe 20 riders some 5 or 6 minutes down. Armstrong still in with them. A great evening.

Tomorrow I shall expand on my opinion of the Melbourne Bike Hire Scheme. Wonder if the Age will post my comment.

Sometimes you’re the nail.

July 21, 2010

Wow, that was nail biting stuff on the tour last night. A desperate brave solo breakaway by Carlos Barredo who was hunted down and caught.. and passed, exhausted and broken within the last kilometer, And in the breakaway that hunted him down… attack after attack launched up the steep heartbreaking slopes of the four Pyreneean summits the stage took in on the way to Pau Armstrong prominent in that bunch, riding strongly with his trademark impassive face, responding to the attacks and launching a serious dig or two off his own… and at the end. while probably the poorest sprinter in the bunch, he managed a sprint.

He did not win.. few fairy tales in the tour… its way too tough and brutal for that. But he hung with the leaders in a day long breakaway in the toughest of the mountain stages, and finished sixth. Its likely the last bit of greatness we will see from Lance… but it was superb. No one can really doubt that he is going down fighting and showing style. He once said “No gifts” and no one is giving him any, that is for sure.

Pierrick Fédrigo of France won the stage. But sorry Pierrick.. but no one cares. Armstrong got sixth… that is what everyone is going to remember.

Armstrong commented after his early crash that dropped him out of overall tour contention that “Sometimes you are the hammer and sometimes you are the nail” Well a lot of people have been hammered this tour…Renshaw out.. Evans back with the main bunch and ever further out of contention.. nearly every one in the peleton missing skin or nursing broken bones of greater or lesser consequence in what might become known as the ‘tour of the crash’ Its really wonderful to see Lance go out with style.

I was going to comment on Contador’s unsporting behavior in attacking, and indeed taking yellow while Andy Schleck was having a mechanical issue the other day. But I think I already have. If Alberto wins the one thing he won’t be able to say is that he won it without any gifts. Well he will be able to say it of course.. and modesty is not Alberto’s best thing so he will say it loudly and often. But its just not true. Interestingly he has since apologized. I suspect that while he is not going to admit it he feels the same way I think the boos when he got yellow were probably a serious slap across the face. He deserved them IMO. But rumor says he is a nice bloke and smart, so hopefully he learned something

Ok yesterday was a group mentoring meeting at Box Hill Tafe yesterday afternoon Some useful point came out of it.. and I have been playing with this blog and will be playing with the website a lot doing Search Engine Optimization stuff. We generally do OK at that stuff.. but some useful suggestions came out of the meeting. One issue that Kathy had pointed out the other day is that while the blog is taking on a life of its own with a steady increase in readership the people concerned are not going to our business website. Which is Perfectnotes.com.au So go and visit it now. I am attempting to address this issue.

Another issue is that my style is a bit idiosyncratic. This blog is about half business blog.. and half cycling blog.. it works for me.. its how I like to write and this blog is at least partially about me liking to write. Its less polished business site than it could be. That is by design.. i think this sort of style is far less formal.. and it is at least partially about me as a person and us as nice people who will try pretty hard for the customer. I mean I don.t want to be a company like Telstra. A Telstra blog would have no soul. And they absolutely will not go that extra mile.. or even two cm for you. But a Telstra blog would be polished. So I could do polished if I want to. But if I do its going to be because someone has hired me to do polished for them. But it does mean that doing tags on content in my posts is an issue.. I mean is this a cycling post or is it one about SEO? And how many people are out their searching for posts on Cycling Search Engine Optimisation? Having a multitasking blog is tricky.

SEO needs frequent revisiting tho. Its a work in progress. As any web site should be. Another issue we have at the moment is that currently the blog is a wordpress site but the website is not. In the fullness of time the web site will be hosted by us and running in Plone and we will host the blog on the same site. But how to deal with it in the intern is an issue.

Bought print cartridges from France this morning. A lot cheaper than local. But then again its harder to sort a warranty issue. Kathy asked how long they were likely to take to get here. Well, its a mystery. But the last time I bought stuff from the UK it took less time to get here than the last time I bought stuff from Sydney. Such a small fragile world. I shall have to devote some more time to think about the election. Cannot help but think the world is too fragile to trust to pollies.

This group mentoring thing was run by Georg who I have mentioned previously as having a nice little financial software package called Finetunebiz Cashbook.that is probably a good fit for lots of small businesses worldwide. He has carefully stayed away from making it country specific and is pretty much targeting the user currently using a shoebox to manage their finances. He was really happy to see us as I had mentioned that I liked his bit of software and his analytic’s program had picked up on it. So here is another little rev for him. I do think that the success of Perfectnotes is totally dependent on how well we network.. so this is me networking. In spite of all too many interruptions by the staff.