Monday, 18 May 2009

Rear view mirrors are old hat

There is now no need to worry about having rear view mirrors sticking out and slowing you down, or breaking if you drop your bike.

Move up to the i-rearview era and get-with-it with technology (and a few dollars more).

Yes, the rear view TV screen simply bolts to your handlebars and you can watch what goes on behind without ever craning your neck again.

See here for full details:

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Toowoomba Longsocks

Looking to promote cycling in the community with your fellow cyclists?

Wanting to look really good on your bike?

Want to help our most vulnerable community members?

Join the Long Socks for Kids ride in support of the Toowoomba Hospital Special Care Nursery

Essential Requirements

* Your bike and helmet
* A pair of long socks
* A $25 donation to the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation (fully tax deductible)

Date + Venue

* Saturday May 23 6.20am (Assembly) Burstow Street opposite 4GR.
* Finishing approx 7.45am
* Free light breakfast for riders in long socks
* Great Prizes available including best socks, silliest socks
* Charity auction after the ride
* First 100 registered riders recieve a free commemorative T-shirt

Read more here:

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Cyclist kills four

Cyclist, Mr. Ian Cognito, was found guilty yesterday of running a red light at Ruthven and Long Street and crashing into a four wheel drive, killing all the occupants.

Cognito said “A spider dropped from my helmet visor and I didn’t see the red light”.

Police prosecutor, Senior Sgt. John Smythe, told magistrate Peter Kantblamecars that Cognito was cycling recklessly when he hit the four wheel drive with such force the two tonne vehicle was turned over, killing all four inside.

Emergency service personnel treated Cognito for shock at the scene.

Magistrate Kantblamecars fined Cognito $500 and suspended his bike licence for two months.

Cognito applied for and was granted a work licence having claimed that he couldn’t “earn a quid” if he was denied cycling the two kilometres to work, “besides”, Cognito said, “I haven’t walked anywhere for years”.

Outside the court Cognito was heard to remark that “Four wheel drives belong on the pavement and shouldn’t be taking up space on the roads because they are such a danger to cyclists”.

A RACQ spokesperson said the motoring lobby group was trying to keep four wheel drives off pavements because of the problems caused to pedestrians, especially when school children are being encouraged to walk to school more.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport advised that more bicycles were sold than cars each year and that four wheel drivers had to accept they were in a minority and take their place on the pavement.

A Toowoomba Regional Council officer agreed that the road was no place for four wheel drives, and they were building 2.5 metre wide shared pedestrian and 4WD paths as quickly as they could, but drivers of these vehicles had to be patient “Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all”.

4WD drivers were reminded that while using shared paths they must pull over and stop to give way to pedestrians, give way to all cyclists while crossing side streets and they must get out and push their car at roundabouts and traffic light controlled crossings.

The TRC Four Wheel Drive and Pedestrian Strategy has been in place for some years but none of the 63 action points have yet been addressed, according to the 4WD Drive Users Group.


Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Articles our City Fathers need to read (Australian Cyclist)

Safer is slower
In a crash between a cyclist and a vehicle travelling at 50kmh, there is a 90 per cent chance the cyclist will die. Yet at 30kmh the cyclist has a 95 per cent chance of surviving, says a UK transport expert. Debra Mayrhofer hears his life-saving message.

Reducing traffic speed is vital to making cycling safer, and thus more popular, according to John Whitelegg, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of York in the UK.

Professor Whitelegg is also the sustainable transport adviser to the Lancaster Cycling Demonstration Town project, which is committed to doubling cycling levels over a three-year period. He recently conducted seminars in Australia on local initiatives for sustainable travel and didn't pull his punches in outlining the priorities for safer cycling.

Read more here:

Seeing red?
Traffic lights allow us to share the road in safety, right? Not according to new thinking, which says they diminish road safety, increase congestion and add to environmental pollution.

Cyclists are notorious for running reds - a study from New York City last year found that nearly 60 per cent of cyclists observed failed to stop at red lights - and pedestrians are just as bad. Another study found that even those who do stop tend not to wait for the green signal, with almost half the cyclists starting shortly before the light changed, especially in heavy traffic.

As a result, cyclists have a reputation for being arrogant, too focused on their own deadlines and thinking themselves above the law. In some cases this is true; in many cases, it seems that cyclists are ignoring traffic lights as a safety measure, because they feel that it allows them to distance themselves from following traffic.

Read more here:

Read this slowly
Speed limits, fixed cameras, traffic islands, road humps - is there an effective way to slow drivers and protect cyclists? Sally Dillon reports on a simple solution near San Francisco.

Imagine driving past a traffic sign emblazoned with the words, ‘Is today the day your speed hurts a child?' Would you slow down? Would you think a little bit more carefully about how you were driving?

A US city council that installed such signs found that motorists did indeed tend to slow down in response to such warnings.

Read more here:

Recumbent cycling

A few questions have been asked about recumbent cycling as the Greenspeed GT3 and Longbikes recumbent tandem have appeared on the scene.

Here are some links taken from the Fuse Recumbents web site here:

Medical Research Pertaining to Recumbent Cycling

Following are some links that discuss some of the physiological aspects of cycling in general and recumbents in specific. Note that in some cases listed a "recumbent bike" is in fact a recumbent stationary exercise bike, and as such the conclusions drawn may not totally match the reality of on-road cycling. Nevertheless, the broad direction of the conclusion should hold.

The recumbent position may be beneficial in reducing loads on the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee while cycling:

Cycling on a tandem machine produces lower physiological stress than a single rider machine:

Recumbent cycles may be more beneficial than conventional cycles for some diabetic riders:

Is there any difference in penile blood flow during cycling in an upright versus a reclining position?:

"The Vicious Cycling" - a discussion of some of the urological issues of upright cyclists that recumbents avoid:

From the USA

Here is a city that is trying hard in the USA, and has featured on here previously, Portland.

Have a read through this web site and recognise the similar state of mind, even if Portland is well advanced in its thinking on cycling:

And here is another USA story. An article on bicycles and the law in California. Obviously not Toowoomba, or Queensland, but worth a read all the same:

Many motorists do not know that legally, bicyclists on conventional roadways are never required to use a separated path, or even a shoulder. Further, there are persuasive reasons why cyclists prefer the roadway.

Like other travelers, bicyclists want to reach their destinations safely, conveniently, and with minimum delay. Paths are often indirect and disconnected; they fail to serve the cyclist’s destination; they may be poorly designed and maintained; and they are usually shared with pedestrians.

The roadway has none of these drawbacks. Nor are sidewalks or paths adjacent to a roadway safer than the road, as noncyclists and even many cyclists believe. Bicycle riders on sidewalks parallel to arterial streets have been found to suffer bicycle-car collisions 1.8 times the rate of those on the adjacent roadway (because of blind conflicts at intersections and the promotion of wrong-way travel).

The conclusion that parallel paths are undesirable is accepted as fact in existing standards for bikeway design. In any case, almost every bicycle trip must at some point use roadways shared with motorists, because the roadway system serves nearly every origin and destination, while bicycle facilities do not and cannot.

Bicyclists, too, may be unaware of their right to use the roadway, ignorant of its advantages, or intimidated by belligerent motor vehicle traffic. As a result, bicyclists may be unwilling to exercise their rights under the law. A clearer statement of the law would lead to greater respect for bicyclists’ rights.

Rex Hunt kisses fish and breaks cyclist finger

When you have a high profile, people pay attention to what you do or say, so when Rex Hunt appears in court for assaulting a cyclist it is 'news'.

We have not heard of anything similar here, but the aggressive behaviour towards cyclists is well recognised.

However, all is not lost with this case as Rex offered this comment after leaving court:

He said if any good could come out of the case it would be the elimination of parking on Beach Road.

"I just hope the cyclists of Beach Road get a real fair deal,'' Hunt said.

"Cyclists have a right to ride along Beach Road and unfortunately the bad news for motorists is that parking must go.

"We don't need any other incidents and we don't need any other deaths.''

Have a read, if you missed it all over the weekend papers last week:

Vintage Bicycles

This is a magazine to make cyclists dream.

Vintage Bicycle Quarterly is an amazing magazine of great quality and interest, far surpassing any Australian bike mag' offering.

Do visit the web page and examine some of the available stories.

James subscribes, and will let people read his copies if they can ride his big 'wheel' around Queens Park.

Visit and wonder:

Toowoomba has 'mountain cyclists' too

An interesting blog site:

Can we allow these people to leave us behind?

Cyclos Montagnards
The Cyclos Montagnards promote unsupported long distance cycling inspired by the French pioneers of randonneuring. These early riders demonstrated accomplished cycling ability and self-sufficiency. They would dream up serious cycling challenges and then strive to achieve them.

The Cyclos Montagnards seek to emulate this spirit by providing a series of challenges worthy of these early randonneurs. Becoming a Cyclo Montagnard is a matter of completing these challenges.

Read more:

Sites about cycling from BUG supporters

Portland seems to understand-can Toowoomba?

In Portland, where he is a political writer with The Oregonian, Mapes' bike commutes were made safer when the city shut down one entrance ramp to the Hawthorne Bridge that was causing bike-car conflicts.

"A movement has grown slowly, under the radar screen, which people are hardly aware is going on," Mapes told a Tuesday night forum sponsored by the Cascade Bicycle Club.

Seattle is a big blip on bicyclists' radar screen. The city's big street repair package, approved by voters a couple years back, provided $27 million for bicycle projects.

At a weekly Madrona neighborhood breakfast, Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin often shows up in riding attire, taking his helmet off as he orders coffee. About 4.2 percent of trips taken in the Emerald City are by bike, triple the figure of a few years back.

Read the rest here:

Australian Bicycling Awards
Read more here:

It seems Mayors can win bicycling awards too, and if the Brisbane Mayor can be nominated and win one, why shouldn't we expect to see the Toowoomba Mayor up there too?

“One of the standout winners this year is the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Campbell Newman for his visionary $100 million investment in bicycle infrastructure and encouragement programs to help make Brisbane more liveable” Ms Speidel said.

Well, Toowoomba cycling would have to be lifted from 'low priority' to 'high priority' and the creation of a consultative mechanism that dealt with the wide range of stakeholders, local and from Government agencies, would have to be the starting point.

Workplace BUGs and Ride to Work day 2009

Does your Workplace have a Bicycle User Group (BUG)? If not Bicycle Victoria have some useful tips to help get your BUG started and keep it growing:

The BV 'Cycle Friendly Workplace Guide':

Some useful tips to start your Workplace BUG:

* register your BUG online
* send an email to everyone in your workplace to let them know you have
established a BUG
* plan an initial get together
* put up some posters around the workplace to encourage others to join the BUG

The BV 'Workplace BUG' guide:

Your BUG is what?

* keep it active - monthly newsletters or prize incentives
* organise BUG social days
* arrange for a bike tool box to be kept at your work
* use your BUG to drive change - establish a steering committee and rally for
things such as better bike parking

Bicycle Victoria are seeking Ambassadors to promote National Ride to Work Day 2009 throughout their workplaces and in the wider community.

See details of the 2009 R2W Day here:

Ambassadors are senior managers who have made the commitment to:

* make National Ride to Work Day (14 October 2009) a date on the company calendar
* promote it well in advance through intranet and staff newsletters
* organise a celebratory breakfast on the day or encourage attendance at your
local CBD breakfast, organised by Toowoomba BUG

Odds and interesting ends

Wooden bikes:

History of recumbents:


Building a sidecar:


Greenspeed Australian Velomobile:

French Velomobile site:

German Velomobile:,en/

Homeless cyclist? Try this:

Safety reflector strips for bikes

A new safety visibility product from Mattman, who produce 'BESEEN' reflective strips.

Order from them:

See the strips 'in action':

Turn signals

The BUG has been sent details of a new bike signal product with a request we pass on details to BUG supporters.

This also features in the new Australian Cyclist on p.15.

It is advertised at $150 plus GST (thought prices had to include GST?)but on the link we were sent the offer is a mere $99.00.

See their web page here:

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Toowoomba Hospital BUG

Mothers Day marked the inaugural ride for the brand new Toowoomba Hospital BUG,with fifteen riders taking part.

The ride took off from the Art Gallery Garden at 8.00 am and returned there at about 9.30 am for coffee and snacks.

The ride was led by Andrew Elvery, who has worked to get the Hospital BUG up and running. Considering it was Mothers Day, the turn out was rather good.

A town circuit was undertaken, going down Herries to Kitchener, along past Lake Annand to the waterbird habitat, up Alderley to Rowbotham and then a quick circuit of Picnic Point to fly down Long to Lake Annand and left down Perth to Ruthven and back to the Oxygen Cafe.

Two young children, one in a trailer and the other on the back of the bike, enjoyed the ride, while three young riders managed to keep their pace down to accommodate their parents and other adults.

The Toowoomba BUG is pleased to see another major workplace in Toowoomba forming a workplace BUG and looks forward to working with the Hospital BUG in many joint ventures.

Well done Andrew, the Queensland Health staff, and their children and partners, for taking this great step for yourselves and for Toowoomba cycling.