Wednesday, 8 July 2009

TBUG shirt design?

Place mouse on shirt and click to see a bigger picture.

See previous link for details:

Two cycle from Oxford to Sydney

Here is the first episode of a fourteen part Youtube series that records the travels, thoughts, trials and tribulations of a young couple who cycled from the UK to Australia.

Not a bad effort, for a pair who really did not cycle much beforehand.

There, but for the size of the task, go many other people.

Watch this one, and then see if you want to watch the rest.

It is compelling viewing, and each episode is only about 7 minutes long.

The postscript episode catches up with the pair, living in NSW seven years after stopping their ride at the Opera House, with two children and one more on the way, still living simply, still with their well travelled bikes, and still trying to keep their 'footprint' down.

Well worth episode one anyway:

More trips by bike than car-Amsterdam not Toowoomba

Amsterdam: More Trips by Bike than by Car
The bicycle is the means of transport used most often in Amsterdam. Between 2005 and 2007 people in the city used their bikes on average 0.87 times a day, compared to 0.84 for their cars. This is the first time that bicycle use exceeds car use.

In 2006 the inhabitants of Amsterdam engaged in some 2 million trips a day, an 8% reduction compared to 1990. This is due to the number of trips per person per day falling from 3.6 to 3.1%. The number of transfers has fallen in the old city within the ring road in particular.

The number of trips by car, compared to 1990, has fallen in all districts (-14%), whereas the number of trips by bicycle has only risen within the ring road (+36%). The bike is used most often in the town centre (41% versus an average of 28%) and the car least often (10% versus an average of 28%). This can be attributed to the restrictive parking policies enacted here since the 1990s.

‘Dienst Infrastructuur en Beheer’, the infrastructure department of the city registered approximately 235,000 car movements in both directions at the city centre in 1990; by 2006 this had fallen to 172,000, a decrease of over a quarter. Over the same period the number of daily movements by bicycle rose from 86,000 to over 140,000 (+60%).

Published @ 23-06-2009
See the whole web page:

Mini electronic bike horn

Who knows how good this is?

But it might be worth a try:

British tales of cycling

Liverpool cycling history:

Certainly the concept of people and vehicles sharing the road, and thus rendering it safer and more efficient, is counter-intuitive, because vehicles are regarded as inanimate thugs that do more damage than bicycles and pedestrians. But vehicles are driven by people with eyes, who only become dangerous when treated as automatons. That is why shared space has saved thousands of lives across Europe in the past decade. It also saves pollution, time, money and policing costs. It is a no-brainer.
Read about civilised streets here:

"Why Cyclists Don’t Like Stopping" or, put another way, "There’s more to Kinetic Energy than meets the eye!"

When one rides a bike, one soon learns that stop-go cycling is whole lot harder work than to keep on rolling at a steady speed. However it's clear that the people who design British cycling facilities do not share this tacit knowledge (of course, here in Australia, this is merely an academic discussion... the facilities for cycling in Toowoomba and beyond are "world class", so long as one doesn't notice that most of "the world" has poverty as its defining feature) – unlike in other countries! So I thought it might help if I investigated the engineering principles that discourage us from using the brakes and explained the wasted energy in simple terms of extra distance ridden.
More here:

Since arriving in the UK he's sampled Scotland and Northern Ireland. In the latter a car passenger threw a beer can, which lodged between his front wheel and a pannier bag. Fortunately he braked in time without mishap. He's also experienced verbal abuse and spitting from car passengers. For a short time he cycled with a fellow Dutchman, who he later learned had had to cut his holiday short after sustaining a broken collar bone from being hit by a car:

Ah, so Toowoomba is not unique after all. Having cans hurled at you is not an 'Australian value' after all!

A Welsh perspective on road builders

Why is this?

Firstly, Highway Engineering tends not to attract intellectual high flyers. The clever, dynamic engineers tend to go into building structures, bridges etc at the more glamorous end of the industry. Highway Engineers are therefore a little intimidated by well informed cyclists, which is why they don't come and talk to me, and why they hide behind obscure regulations when their designs are challenged. They also don't always know their subject very well.

The Highways Agency "Design Manual for Roads and Bridges" is a huge, Byzantine collection of disconnected advice notes. Knowing all the regulations affecting any given situation is well nigh impossible. It is almost universally inapplicable to the sort of situations where cycle infrastructure is needed (it is aimed at National Roads, Trunk Roads and motorways - not local roads) but engineers use it anyway because it is the only prescriptive guidance available. The sprawling nature of the regulations also makes it very difficult for lay people - campaigners, councillors, individuals - to challenge designs. The designer only has to claim it is in accordance with such and such regulation and it will get rubber-stamped. Whether that regulation is correct or relevant will probably never be checked.

Highway Engineers all seem to drive to work, so their impressions of cyclists come through the windscreen - cyclists are usually a "them", not and "us", and all the usual prejudices apply. In my 20 years of working I have noticed that cycle sheds are populated mostly by structural engineers, architects and geographers - all creative thinkers, with very few highway engineers. This is a reflection in the highway engineering design culture - applying prescriptive rules dictated by others, and doing what everybody else does rather than thinking for themselves.

Neither Highway Authorities (County Councils - publicly answerable), nor their designers like "risk". We are of course talking about the risk of being sued, not risk to members of the public. They therefore stick to prescriptive guidance, whether it is relevant or helpful. If a DfT advice note says make cyclists jump off a cliff then that is what they will do, and the Safety Audit will endorse it. If there isn't an advice note detailing how to do it, it will never happen.

Nor do they like criticism. Of course they get a lot of criticism from cycling groups but cyclists are a "them" and cyclists' views, however accurate and clearly argued, can therefore be written off as extreme, politically motivated, single issue, or just the ramblings of a bunch of tree-hugging, weirdy beardies. Criticism that counts comes from the newspapers, and from friends and colleagues in the car park (they are of course an "us" in us / them terms). It is extraordinary to see how peoples' attitudes suddenly switch where cycling issues come into a conversation. One minute I am a highly respected designer, entrusted with a multi-million pound project, then suddenly I am a self-interested, single issue trouble maker who knows nothing - all because we strayed into territory touching on the other person's attitudes and behaviour. People know that driving causes all manner of ills, but they can't handle the feelings of guilt that come with acknowledging that, so they pretend it is all somebody else's fault - him over there, that ***** in the lycra.

As for the easy life - making space for good quality cycle infrastructure is never easy. It takes drive, determination and the will to stand up and take criticism from all sides. The path of least resistance is the nasty compromises we see all over Britain - no use to cyclists, but fulfilling the political imperative of being seen to be green.

Cycle Promotion Fund BUG information

Click here to view online:

This newsletter includes updates on the findings of research undertaken by the Cycling Promotion Fund on cycling organisations in Australia including workplace bicycle user groups, information on resources available for workplaces and an invitation for workplaces to attend a seminar as part of the Ausbike Trade Show in Melbourne.

* Survey of Cycling organisations
* Survey of Workplace Bicycle User Group's (WBUG's)
* Effective interventions to increase cycling
* Resources available for Workplace BUG's
* Free seminar for workplaces “Encouraging makes good business sense”

Survey of Cycling Organisations

The Australian cycling sector has a comprehensive network of local, state and national cycling organisations. According to a research project conducted by the CPF in May there are an estimated 1,115 cycling organisations around Australia covering urban, regional and rural areas in all states and territories.

Previously little information has been available about the range and scope of their activities, a critical step for us to be able to argue for funded programs to be made available to the cycling sector. To fill this information gap, we contacted 800 cycling organisations to encourage them to complete an online survey.

Thank you for those who have responded. We received 185 responses from a diverse range of organisations around Australia. The survey has provided us with some excellent information to demonstrate to Government that the cycling sector plays an instrumental role in encouraging, maintaining and increasing physical activity levels in the community and has the capacity to expand those activities.

* Read the full report on the survey findings
(PDF file, 194kb)

Survey of Workplace Bicycle User Groups (WBUGs)

According to our research Australia has 276 WBUGs and this number is growing. We received 47 responses to our survey providing us with a snapshot of information on the size and scope of WBUGs, the range of activities undertaken and the level and extend of business/organisational support and incentives to encourage cycling to work and support which would assist WBUGs to maintain and expand their activities.

WBUGs play an important role in encouraging, motivation and supporting staff to cycle to work and in putting pressure on workplaces to provide end of trips facilities for bicycle riders. 94% of workplaces surveyed provide shower and change rooms and 82% safe bicycle lockers. Workplaces which have WBUGs have also a much higher number of people regularly cycling to work than the average modal share of ride to work trips. Providing salary sacrifice for bicycles is seen as one of the most effective strategies to encourage more people to cycle to work.

* Read the full report on Workplace Bicycle User Groups
(PDF file, 152 kb)

Effective interventions to increase cycling

The CPF has been researching and documenting effective interventions to increase cycling in a range of categories:

* Education and Skill Development
* Events
* Regular rides
* Social Marketing
* Targeted Interventions
* Community-Wide Interventions
* Policy and Environmental Approaches

We have made a strong case to the Commonwealth that a broad range of interventions are needed to address the individual, cultural and environmental factors that influence people’s participation in physical activity. There is no single strategy that works.

Later this month, the Preventative Health Taskforce will release a National Preventative Health Strategy to make Australia the healthiest country by 2020. The discussion paper highlighted the important role of workplaces in encouraging healthy and active lifestyles. Hopefully the recommendations will include a focus on incidental physical activity such as cycling and walking to improve the health and well-being of our nation and result in a boost to funding for effective interventions.

Feel free to contact us if you like a summary of effective interventions to increase cycling.

Some of you may be interested in a great program set up in Sydney to make it easier for novice riders to cycle to work called “Bike Bus” which provides opportunities for people to cycle together on a set route and timetable.

* To find out more about the program and how it works visit the website:

Resources available for Workplace BUGs

Cycling Safety Video Clips
A reminder that the cycling safety video clips developed by the Cycling Promotion Fund and the Amy Gillett Foundation with funding support from TAC, are available both online and as DVD.

* View the Cycling Safety Video Clips

DVDs can be ordered from the CPF office ($5 dollar charge per DVD includes postage). They are a terrific resource to be used by WBUGs to provide work colleagues with practical tips to avoid some common risk when cycling in traffic. If you have a newsletter or website you may like to consider including a link from your website to the cycling safety clips. To make it easier to include a link, we have developed web banners which can be downloaded from our site.

* View the Cycling Safety Video Clips web banners

Promotion and Advocacy Resources
The CPF has developed a range of resources targeted at people interested in taking up cycling as well as resources targeted at organisation interested in promoting cycling and in advocating for cycling improvements and greater investment.

* Promotional Resources
* Advocacy and Research
* Publications
* Resources and Submissions
* Download a Publications Order Form

For not for profit cycling organisations, a certain quantity of our publications are free.

Free Seminar for Workplaces: Encouraging Cycling Makes Good Business Sense

The CPF is organising and sponsoring a seminar targeted at workplaces to provide them with practical advice and information on innovative policies and practices used by companies to encourage staff to cycle.

This seminar is held as part of the AusBike Trade show which is held in Melbourne on the 16/17. August 2009.
The trade show is only open for the trade but workplace representatives attending the seminar have the opportunity to get a tour of the trade show to see the newest product and services and meet wholesalers directly.

* Click here to download the seminar flyer (PDF file. 260kb)

We encourage you to pass on the information to the relevant senior person at your workplace to enable them to be inspired to implement innovative policies and guidelines to support and encourage staff to cycle to work. Keep up the great work as WBUG coordinator.

You are making a real difference in inspiring and supporting more people to cycle to work.

American sourced stories: a collection

Sheldon Brown discs:

Sheldon Brown frames:

Giving up the car (in the USA):

The fabled, legendary, almost mythical Surly Longhaul Trucker:

After you've completed Cycle Qld- how about 'the world'?:

Panniers vs. trailer an empirical perspective:

Thinking of a recumbent bike?:

Three mothers, their children and their tandems:

Velomobiles again

More on velomobiles as an alternative transport:

More on bugshirts

No, not 'the' BUG shirt, but bugshirts that are worn in American summers to keep itchy, biting insects, or bugs, from your body.

Just the garment for a ride across to Perth, or just about anywhere in outback Australia.

Worth having a read for when you suddenly make up your mind to 'go west':

Bicycle 101

This web site covers basic but interesting aspects of cycling. An American site, it is still very relevant to us here in Australia.

Take a visit here:

And here is an interview with a cycling Queenslander, Dave McLeod:

News from NZ and Groundeffect clothing group

For those who enjoy riding in the rough-stuff, and in New Zealand's impressive countryside, this came from clothing manufacturer Groundeffect, recently.

From: Guy Wynn-Williams

Subject: Heaphy Draft Plan Released

The Heaphy Track is reckoned by many to be the best long distance singletrack ride in New Zealand. And the Department of Conservation has just (as in today) released its Draft Partial Review of the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan. The Plan proposes to trial seasonal access for mountain bikes on the Heaphy from 1 May to 1 October each year. And general access for mountain bikes on the Kill Devil and Flora Saddle-Barron Flat tracks.

This is great news and the 'rules of engagement' detailed in the plan are consistent with what Mountain Bike NZ has lobbied for over the past 15 years.

There is wide spread support for this change. In 2005 the NZ Conservation Authority changed the General Policy for National Parks to allow for mountain bike access on selected tracks in National Parks. This decision was backed by an overwhelming majority of submissions. Of the 1305 received, 1106 supported the change while just 22 opposed. Support came from organisations with a wide variety of interests including many Conservation Boards and tramping clubs.

Support included:
• Federated Mountain Clubs
• the Nelson/Marlborough, West Coast, Waikato and Southland Conservation Boards
• the Tasman, Buller and Nelson Councils
• the Golden Bay, Motueka and Waimea Tramping Clubs
• NZ Alpine Club
• and Mountain Bike NZ.

The Cycleway Project led by our Prime Minister and vocal support for bikes on the Heaphy from Nelson MP Nick Smith all add political clout. But there are plenty of individuals and groups who oppose the change. So it's vital that mountain bikers and others who support seasonal access to the Heaphy make submissions in quantity and quality.

To get more information, including MTBNZ's submission template rush to

Submissions close on Friday 4 September 2009

Rail-trails and cycle tourism
In Victoria’s northeast, around 94 kms of cycle path runs from Wangaratta to the delightful towns of Beechworth and Bright, the ‘Murray to Mountains Rail Trail’. A recent study has found that the way in which cycle tourism advocates go about presenting tourism-related opportunities to small businesses – such as bike hire, cafes, restaurants, winery tours and accommodation houses – can help in the economic development process.
Have you got what it takes to attract cycle tourists?

ARTRC researcher Matt Lamont is approaching the completion stage of his PhD thesis which examines independent cycle tourism in Australia – trips involving at least one night away from home where a bicycle is the main mode of travel at the destination. Matt’s research has taken a broad approach to studying cycle tourism. Areas studied included infrastructure requirements; transport systems to, from and within the destination; and services and facilities necessary to cater for cycle tourists’ needs.

Previous research has found that cycle tourists can generate significant economic benefits for host communities, particularly in regional areas. This is because cycle tourists generally work in professional fields, are relatively high income earners, and tend to have a longer length of stay than many other tourists. However, destination planners and managers need to be aware of these tourists’ specialised needs if cycle tourism is to be developed in their area. Significant implications for the planning and management of cycle tourism initiatives arising from Matt’s research included:

* That the key attractor for cycle tourists to a destination is the area’s cycling routes (e.g. scenic roads; rural roads with low traffic levels; or dedicated cycling paths/trails). Quality cycling experiences are top of the list for these tourists, which means that other tourist attractions play little role in cycle tourists’ decisions to visit a given area.

* Safety and appealing natural scenery are most sought after attributes of cycling routes. Much attention needs to be paid to managing interaction between cyclists and motor vehicles on public roads to reduce the possibility of personal injury to cyclists.

* Transport carriers servicing a destination should be empathetic to the needs of cyclists, and should adopt policies that do not unreasonably restrict the carriage of bicycles on coaches, trains or aircraft etc. For example, cyclists should be able to place advance bookings to guarantee carriage for their bike on coach services to the destination.

* Cycle tourists are mobile tourists, meaning that they do not stay in one place very long. Therefore, the construction of infrastructure (such as paths, improved road shoulders, or the provision of specific signage) should be undertaken using a regional approach. Collaboration with adjoining local government areas, avoiding fragmented provision of cycling infrastructure, is the best approach to the successful development of cycle tourism and may lead to enhanced benefits for the region as a whole.

At the time of writing, Matt’s thesis is at final draft stage and he is aiming to have the research completed by early January 2009.

Associate Professor Dr. Sue Beeton:
Rail Trails provide safe access to many areas in regional Australia, with few traffic or challenging gradient issues. However, they require significant support from government at all levels to establish and maintain.

Many trails have been funded during the development stage, but without ongoing maintenance, the standard of these trails will deteriorate. La Trobe University undertook an economic study of three Victorian rail trails in 2003 in order to ascertain the economic inputs into the communities the trails pass through. The study was conducted shortly after the 2003 Victorian bushfires, which will have affected the results, with fewer people using the trails at that time.

In an effort to understand the long-term benefits and issues of Rail Trails and study a trail during a peak time, a further study using a similar methodology, was undertaken in Easter 2006. The results are even stronger than the original survey, suggesting that not only have the trails increased in popularity, but that cyclists are spending more money in the local communities surrounding the trails.

The findings from this research will have relevance for those proposing or managing Rail Trails in Australia.

Ride and wear out: knees and rims

Here are two articles from the UKs CTC organisation.

Detecting rim wear:

Dealing with knee wear:

Miscellaneous stories

More on bamboo bikes:

Overcome your fear of falling into a 'safety ravine':

What is supermodel Elle Macpherson up to?:

Bikes, trucks, London mirrors and green lanes:

Naked bike ride:

UK kids can't ride:

The Bicycle Diaries- a travelogue:

Not a bike... a car:

UK cycle touring vision

An interesting UK document describing the 2010 Vision for the UKs major cycle touring organisation, the CTC.

Well worth a read to see what others are up to, and to compare with what is happening here in Australia:

A story: Brisbane to Mt. Isa by bike

This is a good story, a few years old now, about a bike ride from Brisbane to Mount Isa.

Well worth a read if you are thinking about doing some long distance riding, and particularly relevant because it is so 'local' to us here.

There are plenty of stories on this web site:

'Cycle Queensland' event visit

Bicycle Queensland manager, Mr. Ben Wilson, and BQs Cycle Queensland organiser visited Toowoomba on Tuesday 23 June, holding an information night at the Metro Café.

The meeting was well attended, with many TBUG faces present.

Adventurers were told all about how the event ran, what to expect, what to bring and not to panic about racing ahead each day.

BQ need both riders and volunteers for this event to realise its full potential. Riders can join for less than the full nine days if time-off-work is a problem. Volunteers can work full time for the whole event, or sign up for fewer days also.

It seems that two state politicians will be making the ride, but ‘no names’ were tabled. There is work to be done locally by TBUG, who will send an invitation to each TRC councillor and both the MLAs and our MHR for Groom to join the ride, at least for one stage.

The journey starts at the TAFE College before winding its way to Goombungee for the first nights rest and recreation.

Full details of the Cycle Queensland ride:



Entry form:

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

News from the USA

If you think foldable bicycles are a relatively new innovation,
think again. For example, as documented at the following website, a
BSA (Birmingham Small Arms) folding military bike was utilized by
some of the British paratroopers deployed in the D-Day invasion on
the coast of Normandy on June 6, 1944--as blogger Rich Kelly
learned at last week's "Wings Over Gillespie" air show outside San
Diego. Fascinating stuff that begs further investigation.


"The afternoon bell rings and students rush out to claim their
rides--except for about 20 students who wait in the school's
lobby for third-grade teacher Derek Carlson. It's Tuesday
afternoon, so that means it's time for another meeting of the
Lake Harriet Bike Club." So goes this story about the Lake
Harriet Community School in southwest Minneapolis, whose bicycling
program could make a great model for similar programs elsewhere.
It's part of a district wellness policy adopted in 2006 designed to
encourage healthy eating and physical activity among students. "In
a district where not all schools allow students to ride bicycles to
school, Lake Harriet's upper campus stands out," writes Southwest
Journal contributor Dylan Thomas (his name sounds familiar, but
we're not sure why).
Read the rest of the story by pointing and clicking here:



Thousands of Miles is an upcoming feature-length documentary from
Project Pedal that focuses on the concept of individuals being
connected via the places they've visited by bicycle. "Rooted in
the maze of backroads stretching from small town to small
town ... all of us who've traveled by bike share in a personal
experience that is difficult to put into words," says co-director
Mike Ambs. "Stockpile is an element of our feature film, an outreach
campaign to collect a pool of raw media from other travelers and
with it, help visually express that our experiences on the road are
intertwined in ways we often overlook." Learn more about the project
at these links:

Monday, 6 July 2009

A talking point

STOP PRESS: This is the latest 'yellow' and will be brighter on a real shirt.
To see the shirt in a larger size, place your cursor on the picture and click your mouse- this will open up to a large shot.

TBUG has quite a following these days, so we thought it might be a good idea to start thinking about a TBUG identifier.

This is merely a starting point to find out what people think about:

The idea of a TBUG shirt

The design for a TBUG shirt

The colours for a TBUG shirt

The cost of a TBUG shirt

This design has long sleeves, to help save riders from too much sun but we would need to know whether people wanted long or short sleeves.

The colours in this design are just to get a design out there but we asked mainly for a bright yellow component without making it look like an industrial work-shirt. There is a brighter shade of yellow available, apparently.

The white is a good idea to break up blocks of colour.

The bike and road logo is what the original TBUG supporters came up with, so it only seems appropriate to keep their handiwork.

The 3Rs is important to help demonstrate to other road users that we are there on the road, with them, and following the same rules as them.

The blue was put there by the Scody designer, and could be any colour that looks good, that TBUG people can (largely) agree on.

We have looked at the Toowoomba City crest for colours. Yellow reflects the wheat, blue the sky, white?... not sure, but purple is a feature in the crest and that might be good in place of the dark blue.

Obviously, if there is no demand for a shirt we will take this no further but it would be good (actually essential)to hear back from TBUG supporters.

The shirt as presented will cost about $98.00 each and there is a minimum group order of 25 (prepaid).

There is a one-off charge of $500 for setting up the design and a delivery charge of $30.00. The shirt price is inclusive (I think) of these two costs.

We have asked if that can be reduced at all, and are awaiting some feedback.

We have also asked if we can get a mix of unisex and female-fitting shirts within the minimum order, given that we will not be ordering hundreds (yet).

If this idea is adopted, then we could look at shorts to go with the shirts if there was a call for that, but the initial idea was to get a clear identifier of TBUG, while making our social riders more visible on our Sunday rides.

Of course, the hope would be that the people would wear TBUG shirts as they ride to work, on club rides and just when they go shopping (even in the car).

There's nothing like publicity to get a name out and about.

Please send your thoughts to the TBUG on