Monday, 31 March 2008

Fraser Coast BUG invite

The Fraser Coast BUG have sent an invitation to Toowoomba BUGsters inviting us over there on
3&4 May 2008 for their 'River to River Ride'.

That's Burrum River to River Heads.

We can send you their flyer if you email requesting 'Fraser BUG' us at:

Or contact Fraser Coast BUG.

Web page:


Please note that you cannot email from the BLOG site addresses here- you have to email from your mailing account so just cutnpsate the addresses.

And the Fraser Coast web page does work, but again you'll have to cutnpaste it into your browser to work, apologies and the reasons are not obvious here.

Travel hints

This web site is worth a visit if you're thinking of cycling in China. There are no prices available on the web page, it's from the Chinese Embassy site, but if you contact the tours directly they can provide you with the details.

See here: Cycle in China-

Bicycle training this weekend

Skills Training ... Open Invite on behalf of the TWBA TRI CLUB.

This short course is being run by the I-Ride staff on behalf of the Toowoomba Tri athletes Club.

New riders, parents, kids and seasoned cyclists, Darren & Peter will be hosting a practical skills session next Saturday 5th April ... this is a good chance to learn how to handle your bike properly OR brush up on a few basic skills you seem to have forgotten.

DATE- 5 April Saturday 2008
TIME - 9am SHARP to 11am
COST -$10 each $5 tri club members.
WHERE -JAHNKE TRANSPORT, Tait St opposite the hockey grounds (Boundary Rd)
YOU - Bike, helmet, shoes, water, sunnies ... desire to learn more.

About 15 riders attended the last session put on by the TRI CLUB and I am happy to say there were 15 safer riders on the road after the class.

Thanks to the TRI CLUB as well.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

16 March but 19 riders leave town

On a slightly overcast morning 19 riders gathered at the Art Gallery gardens in anticipation of the Cambooya ride.

New riders again this month, welcome to all of you.

The prize for 'Most determined rider' must go to Rita-may who persevered with her borrowed stead, complete with 'clunking' stand, and is still determined to go and buy a 'real' hybrid bike for next months ride.

Two riders peeled off at pre-determined stages and 17 riders returned to the same hitching post area to coffee at the Oxygen Cafe.

New rides were discussed along with the rising tide of anger many riders find out on the road. Sgt. Col O'Shea's visit and talk were very much on the mind of one rider who had been targeted by a ute driver on his way home from work.

The incident was over so fast no number plate could be taken this time.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Sunday 16 March Social Ride

The last ride, a tour of outer Toowoomba, had 20 riders including some new faces. A big welcome to Ritamay, Marion, Andrew, Lesleigh and Brett.

We have a longer ride this month, starting at the Oxygen Café and riding up Herries Street, along West Street to Anzac Avenue, then on to Drayton, Cambooya turn off, Wyreema and back to Drayton, making it an almost round 49 km.

There will be a 10 to 15 minute break at Cambooya Park where you can buy a cool drink at the local store or bring fruit or bar for a snack.

Our coffee stop will be at the return destination, the Oxygen Café.

Just a reminder that we are a Social Riding Group and if you are a fast rider please be prepared to wait, or double back.

Our main aim is to introduce people to riding so you can go on to bigger and better things, or just a social outing, with exercise.

Please invite a friend along, or let others know of it.

All new Toowoomba Regional Council members are invited to join the ride to test the roadways.

We will leave from the Oxygen Cafe at 7:00 am., on Sunday 16 March.

Looking forward to seeing you all.

Remember to bring sufficient water, phone, pump, repair kit or tube and suncream.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

TBUGs '10 Questions' for TRC candidates

TRC Mayoral Candidates
None of the mayoral candidates returned the survey questions.
Peter Taylor was the only candidate to attend the meeting where he expressed considerable support for cycling overall, the objectives of T-BUG and the importance of the Bicycle Advisory Committee that T-BUG has been promoting to the old TCC.

Questions 10, 10a, 10b

We have decided against posting the response to questions 10, 10a and 10b for all candidates. Unfortunately, most candidates misunderstood the question and thought we were asking if they would commit to 'riding to work' when we simply asked them whether they either rode on a regular basis or would take up riding on a regular basis should they be elected. The truth is, most candidates reflect their age groups in the wider community, most of whom do not ride. The real value of this question was to get the TRC candidates to think about it rather than the almost inevitable answers that surfaced.

Returned surveys
The following candidates returned the '10 Questions' answering 'Yes' to all questions from 1-9:

The following candidates answered 'Yes' to most questions but 'No' to those adjacent to their names:
Huxley: 9
Marks: 5, 6
C. Taylor: 6, 7

The following candidate, Orford, answered 'Yes' to: 1, 4, 6, and left the rest blank.

The following TRC candidates did not respond to the questions but gave their support to cycling in general and the aims and objectives of the T-BUG and the need for the BAC:
In addition, candidate Cahill sought out a BUG representative to spend some considerable time with discussing both the BUG objectives and his views on cycling, of which he was very supportive.

Who attended the 9 March meeting?

There were 16 TRC candidates who attended the 9 March meeting:
Alroe, Barron, Beer, Cahill, Englart, Frizzell,Huxley, Ledbury, Marks, Michael, Orford, Smith, Sorenson, Williams, Yeates, (Peter) Taylor.

You have to make your own mind up on who to vote for using this information in conjunction with your other research on all these TRC hopefuls.

What were the '10 Questions' again?

T-BUGs ten questions for TRC candidates

1) Will you support Toowoomba’s growing cycling fraternity, by taking a leading role in the improvement of road safety and infrastructure, as outlined in the current TCC 'cycle strategy'?

2) Do you agree that the new regional council has a responsibility to participate in all aspects of national, state and local cycle policy and strategies?

3) Are you prepared to support the implementation of the current TCC 'cycle strategy' action points?

4) Should TRC help make this a cycle-safe and cycle-friendly region?

5) Can you support the Toowoomba BUGs 3Rs community awareness campaign, in relation to 'road user behaviour '?

[3Rs = same Road, same Rules, same Responsibilities] - for all road users

6) Do you support formation of the Toowoomba Bicycle Advisory Committee ensuring cooperation between TRC, relevant government agencies and the Toowoomba Bicycle Users Group?

7) Do you support the community ideals as expressed within the TCC 2050 Plan?

8) Are you aware of the importance of 'end of journey facilities' to commuting cyclists, in encouraging more people to ride to work?

9) Are you aware of the need for increased secure bicycle parking throughout the TRC area?

10) Do you regularly ride a bicycle?

If No: If elected, are you prepared to start riding a bicycle on a regular basis, promoting the environmental, economic, social and health benefits of this alternative, efficient, low cost, low impact means of travel?

If Yes: If elected, are you prepared to keep riding a bicycle on a regular basis promoting the environmental, economic, social and health benefits of this alternative, efficient, low cost, low impact means of travel?

Toowoomba BUG meets TRC candidates

Cycling received strong support from sixteen Toowoomba regional council candidates who met with local cyclists today. Candidates came from across the region.

Interspersed between childhood memories of bike riding, including daring range descents and even more daring returns, the council candidates all expressed their support for the major aims and objectives of the Toowoomba Bicycle Users Group (T-BUG), according to TBUG co-ordinator David Allworth.

“T-BUG is very pleased to see candidates indicated their intention to progress the current Toowoomba Pedestrian and Cycle Strategy at a faster pace,” Mr Allworth said.

“We would be looking for the principles of this strategy to be applied across the region,” he said.

“The only mayoral candidate present, Mr. Peter Taylor, supported not only general improvements to cycling infrastructure but progressing a regional response to ensure cycling takes its rightful place as part of the solution to concerns, such as high fuel prices, personal health issues and greenhouse reduction targets,” he said.

Mr Allworth said: “Candidates clearly understood the concerns of city based cyclists as well as being aware of the difficulties posed by too narrow roads outside the city limits.”

“Pleasingly, it looks as if the new council will progress the recommendation from the outgoing Toowoomba City Council that a Bicycle Advisory Committee be formed, if these candidates are anything to go by,” he said.

“For our part, we hope to encourage the outlying towns in the new regional council area to create their own BUGs to work with us to ensure as much thought goes into cycle related matters in, say, Crows Nest, Highfields, Pittsworth, Clifton and Oakey as there clearly will be in Toowoomba.

“Anyone wanting details of how to start a BUG in any town or workplace should contact us by email at:,” Mr Allworth said.

"One of theT-BUG objectives is to build a network of BUGs across the region, to ensure all politicians work to shift the current emphasis of roads-for-cars to roads-for-all-users," Mr. Allworth said.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Competition for James?

Toowoomba citizens are used to seeing James belting around town on his pennyfarthing but is this snippet from the US website Adventure Cycling a bit of competition for James?

Have a read and make up your own mind:

One of the most amazing bicycle tours we've followed in recent years is British citizen Joff Summerfield's round-the-world ride on a penny farthing bicycle. How he has made it up some of those hills and over those rough and muddy roads is anyone's guess. Last we heard, as soon as he managed to get his visa in order Joff planned to head from Malaysia to the United States. Go here to find to Joff's main page, and then click away on the countries of your choice to see some truly stunning photography:

Cycle holiday in Indonesia

Have a look at this Indonesian cycling holiday web site. 1200 kms and 27 days on a bring-your-own bike supported holiday. This site is worth investigating and anyone who signs up is welcome to write a story for posting here.

Cycle South Sulawesi, January 2009, 1200 kms, 19 cycling days and 8 rest days:

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

What sort of person would want to charge bicycle registration?

The Federal Opposition spokesperson on sports, Mr. Pat Farmer, a Liberal MP from Campbelltown, Sydney, recently proposed a registration system for cyclists to be paid through bike shops by all cyclists over the minimum driving age. Mr. Brendan Nelson, the Liberal Party leader, has seen his popularity with electors go downwards ever since, with his personal approval rating now sitting at it’s lowest level in memory.

The Cycle Promotion Fund disagrees with the Liberal Party spokesperson, "There is no country around the world which has registration for bicycles, and the revenue raised would be quite low," said the organisation's programme director, Rosemarie Speidel.

Preliminary results from a study undertaken on behalf of the Department of Health and Ageing found cyclists saved more than $82 million in public health costs, almost $64 million in traffic congestion-related costs and $9 million in greenhouse gas-related costs.

Pat Farmer's Liberal Party proposal for bicycle registration risks raising yet another barrier to increasing the health and activity levels of Australians. A recent study commissioned by Medibank Private identified the cost of physical inactivity to the federal health budget at $1.49 billion each year and Governments are struggling to encourage more people to become active.

Research undertaken by the Cycling Promotion Fund for a soon to be released report, indicates that current commuter cyclists in our capital cities save the Government $9.2 million in greenhouse gas emissions, $63.9 million in reduced congestion costs, and another $71.2 million in health costs.

"Cycling levels in Australia need to be increased to address the health, environmental, fuel costs and traffic congestion problems. The suggestion to register cyclists simply places yet another barrier in front of someone who might be thinking about cycling" Rosemarie Speidel, Program Director of the Cycling Promotion Fund said.

In 2006 the Federal Government announced a subsidy of $1.5 billion to support motorists by providing incentives to drivers to convert to LPG and to encourage the use of ethanol-blended fuels by petrol stations by offering cash incentives. This policy has been as a response to higher petrol prices.

Given that 50% of our car trips are less than 5km in length, it appears to be good public policy to invest money to make our roads safer so children can cycle to school and parents do not have to drive them and to enable more people to commute by bike. Australian's have discovered the convenience of cycling to work, since 2001 the number of people cycling to work has increased 22% according to the latest census figures.

Governments at all levels should be investing to making it easier for people to cycle rather than introducing a levy. This will save Governments millions of dollars in health, congestion reduction and lower greenhouse gas emissions and enables people to reduce their petrol bills.

Surely, an intelligent solution that is in the national interest?

The countries that have the highest rates of bicycle friendliness, most notably the Netherlands and Denmark, do not charge any registration fee for cycling.

In fact, they understand the numerous savings to the economy that come from cycling. To this end, they have a much better record of providing financial incentives for choosing to cycle, like rebates on unused car parking spaces in the workplace. Governments have chosen not to impose such fees on cyclists for a number of important reasons.

In Australia, motorists’ registration fees contribute only partially to providing and maintaining roads. The cost of providing this infrastructure amounts to some $7 billion annually. The annual registration fee revenue amounts to a much lower $3.8 billion. Yet this provides only part of the picture. The real balance sheet shows a large net road deficit of $8.0 billion. Moreover, by including the costs of traffic congestion, the net road deficit climbs to $19 billion.

So, perhaps we need to register all those baby strollers, skateboards, roller skates, pedestrians, walking sticks and dogs to make up the gap?

A composite story with sources including:

Monday, 3 March 2008

TBUG meeting ‘Roundup’ 2 March 2008

BUG supporters heard about the ‘Ten Questions’ for TRC candidates. These are on the blog now and a ‘candidates response story’ will be posted after 10 March, the deadline for TRC hopefuls to respond by. TRC candidates have been invited to meet cyclists on 9 March at the Dr. Price Rooms at 11.00 am, to provide answers and to listen. Toowoomba media outlets have been invited to cover the story.

Matt and Hugh have met twice with Councillor Graham Barron, who is responsible for our TCC roads and footpaths. Councillor Barron supported the BUG request for TCC to create a Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) to enable State government departments and TCC (or now the new TRC) to work together on all cycling issues. TCC has supported the BUG initiative and it will be presented to the new council as a positive decision of TCC to be considered for adoption after March 2008.

We were advised by the local Department of Health officers that they have received funding which will include some amount for advancing cycling in Toowoomba. The T-BUG has been asked to work with QH to provide some advice in the future.

Matt, David and Hugh attended a meeting of BUGs from around Queensland organized by Bike Qld at Caloundra. They presented the idea of 3Rs – same Roads, same Rules, same Responsibilities and reported on BUG initiatives for the BAC. It seems the Toowoomba BUG is one of very few in Qld to be pushing for the creation of this form of committee, which is a priority of BQ and a pre-requisite for creating a good cycle strategy through a cooperative local partnership.

Other BUGs gave details of their experiences, some of which involve quite hostile relations with local government councilors and officers. The hostility of vehicle drivers seems more acute in some parts of Qld than others, with Toowoomba not as bad as some cities.

A major discussion led by BQ concerned how to get protection for cycle related activities – in the form of public liability. Since this meeting BQ have provided some further advice about what BUGs are covered for and what they are not.

[It is worth mentioning here that Bike Qld provided the required cover note for both 2 March and 9 March meetings to enable the BUG to book the Dr. Price Rooms, for which TCC demands $10m coverage of ‘public liability’. The TBUG supports BQ and encourages supporters to join BQ as individuals-details on the blog or via Google. The membership helps cycle advocacy in Qld, covers members for bike related public liability problems, and provides access to bicycle and other insurance needs via the BQ insurer].

This topic was covered at the 2 March meeting also. Much discussion centred on whether or not the TBUG should incorporate. People with views one way or another should email their thoughts to and they will be collated into a discussion for later. The decision to incorporate depends very much on what activities are undertaken by BUGs, with not all BUGs being incorporated.

David met with one TRC candidate who wanted a face-to-face meeting with the BUG. His response to the ‘Ten Questions’ will be posted later.

Sergeant Col O’Shea from the Queensland Police Department and Toowoomba Traffic section came and spoke to us about taking action against drivers who abuse or act dangerously towards cyclists. Sgt. O’Shea advised cyclists to always take a note of the number plate, maybe using your mobile phone to record the numbers immediately, and to take brief notes as soon as possible after, describing the ‘event’ and any relevant details. Witnesses are vital for a prosecution but it is worth reporting incidents to the Police even without any. This still allows them to speak to the driver and warn them that their activities have been noted. The blog site has a pro-forma form for reporting traffic incidents on it, on the righthand side.

Toowoomba Police do prosecute drivers who ‘assault’ cyclists when they are able to take it that far, so it is worth trying to help them by noting number plates and vital details. There have been about 10 prosecutions in recent times concerning the poor behaviour of car drivers towards cyclists, and a much greater level of follow up to encourage improved behaviour. It seems that nearly 25 percent of Toowoomba Police ride bikes, something local car drivers should be more aware of.

The meeting endorsed the Bike Victoria Ride to Work 2008 later this year (details on the blog). It is hoped to make the Ride to Work Day (R2W) a major event for cyclists in Toowoomba this year. Any BUG members in a workplace can help create a ‘workplace BUG’ to start getting workplaces across the city and region to think about supporting the R2W day. The TBUG will write to TCC (TRC) and local business and community leaders to start the process and encourage bodies, such as the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce, to provide both moral and financial support on the day. The successes at the Toowoomba DPI and at USQ will be built on by those groups in 2008. It was decided to organise some form of rallying point at the Village Green on R2W day if possible, subject to various insurance considerations, of course. Further ideas are sought and all are encouraged to organize something, however big or small that can be managed, at their workplace.

As stated previously, there will be a meeting of TRC candidates at Dr Price Rooms – 9 March. The route from Russell Street to USQ via the TCC created cycle-path will be featured in there in a series of still photographs-with-commentary for discussion with TRC and BUG supporters in a visual presentation of the key arguments concerning the benefits and necessity of improved bicycle facilities in Toowoomba.

The flyer, ‘Cyclists, Coffee & Candidates’ was agreed to be sent to all and sundry as a reminder to turn up. The three bike shops are always included in these sort of communications, with a request that they pass the information on to their e-lists too.

Because of human fallibility, and the need to pick up keys on a Friday afternoon to get into the Dr. Price Rooms on a Sunday, it was agreed that, once the 9 March meeting was over, future meetings will be booked for the City Library meeting room. The next more formal meeting will be held there in about two months, with the date to be confirmed and emailed to supporters in due course.