Archive for July, 2006


Just a bunch of bloody Marxist vegans…

July 7, 2006

God speed to anyone joining the Manly Dam ride tomorrow. I’ve only recently changed by bike’s tyres from knobblies to slicks – little suspecting that this offer to do some XC/Trail riding was just around the corner. That said though, I love how much easier and faster it is to ride with slicks on the roads.

I’m off on leave next week (heading to the snow to tackle some mountains on skis), so you’ll have to nominate a different SpokesPerson if needs be.

Meanwhile, here’s some stirring words to psych up any ABCyclists hitting the trails this weekend…

“IT’S TIME to get bikes off our roads. As a mainstream form of transport, the bicycle has proved itself the equivalent of communism: a lovely idea that failed dismally in practice. Bikes are dangerous to ride and slow traffic, which creates more pollution.… Today, fewer than 1 per cent of all trips in Sydney are made by bike. The bike activists blame this on the paucity of bike lanes and tracks, but this is like Marxists excusing the failure of communism in the Soviet Union by blaming the nature of its regime.”

Those insightful thoughts were penned by ABC Radio National’s own Michael Duffy on December 3 last year. Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, his opinion piece was entitled “Off yer bike – for the sake of all of us on the roads”. Michael warned his readers that “Bike riders tend to be unhappy and resentful people.” (Personally, I struggle to imagine how anyone could stoop so low as to exude unhappiness or resentment anywhere near the sweet-natured Mr Duffy).

 For her part, Miranda Devine recently narrowed her sights on that most gentle of species, the herbivorous bike-rider. In her SMH Op-Ed of June 15 this year, “Traffic hazard ahead: vegan cyclists”, Miranda took a bead and put her foot down and let rip.

Sydney is reaching gridlock and motorists are not to blame, writes Miranda Devine… Sydney has too many hills, too many narrow streets, too much traffic, too many buses, is too spread out and too hot and humid, to make riding a pushbike to work feasible for more than a handful of people…The road is not there to share. It is for cars.”

In fact, succumbing to triumphalism, Miranda celebrated the state government’s recent decision to scrab a bicycle lane on William Street and restore “what was once a beautiful six-lane road”. You go girl.


Our Growing ABCycList

July 7, 2006

Dear ABCycList,

How do you like that as an informal title for our growing mailing list? I’m quite pleased (if I do say so myself) with the little play on it being a “Psych List” – geddit? – as in, we can psych each other up to greater cycling heights (not to be confused with the Psyche List, which is that rather well-subscribed mail list of ABC staff who like to share their innermost thoughts about their tortured psyches). Anyhow, if you think “ABCycList” sucks, let me know.

Since my last email, we have gathered quite a few more names: Annabelle Quince, Ronald (Ron) Foley, Tim Palmer, John A. Thompson, Mark Tamhane, David Mark, Mark Cash, Gary Bryson, Gretchen Miller, Angus Kingston, John Jacobs, Brent Clough, Phil Carrick, Damien Beaumont, Justine Langford, Chris Norris, Steve Burstow, Maryke Steffens, Geoff Pow, Kevin May, David Garlick and Leah Abernethy. Cycling legend John Shovelan (the former Washington correspondent who kept ABC Radio listeners enthralled with his regular bicycle-saddle reports on his US trans-continental road trip) has also been nominated by Tim Palmer to serve as ABCCycList mascot and club captain in absentia (he’s still in the States). Personally I like the idea of Shov becoming a Boonie-Doll style hood ornament that we could all strap to the front of our bikes. Perhaps we should contact some manufacturers…. If we were to add Shov’s US email address to the ABCycList, it would bring us up to a total of 50 names now on the list – which when you think about it adds up to 100 tight butt cheeks (steady Alice).

 That’s certainly a force to be reckoned with, and maybe we could seek to us our numbers to exert some pressure on the ABC to address any bicycle-related issues that might exist. For example, MediaWatch EP Peter McEvoy has written with one suggestion:

“Dear ABC Bike Club coordinator, What about agitating for better bike racks and more spaces? The big racks down there are pretty useless – they don’t have many options for locking your bike and my bike has mudguards so can’t even fit. I suggest we take it to the Board. Peter.”

Of course we all know what a rabble-rousing trouble-maker Peter is, but he raises a good point. Does anyone else have difficulty? Can anyone suggest a better design? Another issue I’ve encountered is the slipperiness of the carpark floor, especially at the base of the entry ramp, where the corrugated surface gives way to polished concrete just at the point where you have to turn. Its treacherous when the floor is wet. My bike slipped out from underneath me there once, despite having knobbly mud tyres. I emailed ABC Building Services about it and suggested they should have some kind of textured surface there instead… perhaps a few board members nailed to the concrete would help, eh Peter?

Regards, Nick.

PS. Here’s Mark Whitfield’s contribution to the ABCycList.


Manly Dam MTB ride this weekend

July 5, 2006

Hi Fellow cyclists,

As Nick stated I regularly organise or am involved in group MTB rides. Sometimes they are XC/Trail rides, sometimes we do some DH shuttles, sometimes some semi long distance rides (ie to wollongong). Upcoming rides will include The Oaks at the blue mountains, a ride to wollongong, roadie miles at centennial park & trail riding and DH at Oxford falls.

There is a ride on this Saturday that you are all welcome to attend. Here are the details:

What: All day mountain bike ride in the hills behind Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Geared towards singlespeeders, but everyone is welcome.

When: Saturday 8 June. Meet at the Manly Wharf Turd 9:00-9:30 (8:45 Ferry departing Circular Quay).

Where: Rough route as follows:

Cruise along the surf beach bike path from Manly Wharf. Ride up Manly Dam. Follow the Pipeline through to Red Hill. Ride the trails through to the Wakehurst Parkway. Cross over to Oxford Falls. Ride ‘Rode to Nowhere’. Walk or ride if you are brave to the waterfall. Follow Deep Creek out to the Parkway again. Lunch at Narrabeen. Return through Red Hill and the back of the sports and rec centre. Pipeline to The Dam. Descend to Manly.

It is flexible though depending on the day.

Why: FUN

Rod O’Hara

Here is my Youtube contribution:


On Yer Bikes!

July 4, 2006

Dear Assorted Bicycling Colleagues,

I’m pleased to report that there’s been an enthusiatic response to my original email, and I’ve received several names to add to the list.

The distribution list now includes Mark Whitfield, Stuart Miller, Rod O’Hara, Dav Verrecchia, Dave Martin, Sandy Sharp, Roland Clifton-Bligh and Antony Green.

The Chaser’s Alison McClymont and Oz Story’s Ben Cheshire have welcomed the mailing list, while Jonathan Harley, sounding exactly like the 7.30 Reporter that he is, has opined that it can help us all make a valuable contribution to the national debate. Hear hear.

For her part, Jennifer Macey has demonstrated the kind of initiative and drive expected of Rcaff reporters, vowing that she will not rest until Miranda Devine has become bicycle roadkill.

Alice Brennan strikes a more conciliatory stance – she reckons Miranda is really a fellow-traveller who is simply in denial – AB suspects that behind closed doors Miranda is secretly sliding her body into lycra. Perhaps she also likes to don dark glasses and go incognito to hang out with the unwashed bicycle couriers who make Barrack Street in the CBD look untidy.
Also, as you might have read elsewhere, Alice Brennan is keen to gather on Level B2 with anyone with a tight butt. In fact, Alice’s proposition leads us into a discussion of organising a “gathering”, an idea suggested by several of you. For example, Christopher Zinn has suggested a lunch-time bike outing, perhaps to a nearby harbourside park. Others have proposed a picnic. Perhaps with a tight-butt parade for Alice’s benefit.

Rod O’Hara meanwhile has pointed out that he regularly organises/attends mountain bike rides and has offered to pass on details of any upcoming “Epic”, “Downhill” or “X-Country” events.

If you’re more interested in recreational mountain biking, Josh Mullane reports that he rode the Manly Dam bike track last weekend on his brand new Trek dual-suspension mountain bike and had a hoot.

Finally, the ABC’s own resident nudist-on-wheels and Sydney Body Art Ride organiser, Jake (A lick of paint would work wonders) Lloyd Jones, has also embraced the concept of the mailing list. He’s also upped the ante with his own video link offering:

Not to be outdone however, I’m volleying back with this one:


ABC Cyclists

July 3, 2006

G’day all, 

I’ve been thinking about building up a mailing list of everyone who rides a bike to and from ABC Ultimo – don’t ask me why, I just thought it seemed like a good idea. Maybe we can exchange thoughts/ideas/warnings/boasts about our shared practise, which depending on who you talk to is either an absurdly healthy, or crazily dangerous/unhealthy thing to do.

If you’d rather not be on this mailing list, send me a reply and I’ll remove your name from future correspondence. I’ll understand completely if you’d all prefer to stay underground – lets face it conservative columnists like Michael Duffy, Miranda Devine and countless other serving and future ABC board members have a well-known antipathy for bicycles – anybody wearing lycra bike-shorts will no doubt be the first with their backs against the wall come the revolution. 

But are bicycles just another of the ABC’s Marxist plots to change the world? Okay, so the Long March would have never got started without the humble bicycle (its a little known fact that Mao pushed his Malvern Starr all the way), and sure Trotsky was a pioneering dragster-rider, and the seminal Australian film “BMX Bandits” might have been a thinly disguised communist tract – but honestly, who but cyclists are better suited for the kind of fence-sitting that befits the modern national broadcaster?

So – for all of you who’d rather die pedalling than live on your knees, its time to rise off your bike seats and be counted – or if you’d like to dob-in/nominate any other cyclists to join the deathlist… er, mailing list, let me know their names and I’ll add them in.

Cheers, Nick Grimm

PS. Given that its Tour De France time (for those few competitors who seemingly haven’t been having funny blood transfusions), maybe you’d like to get in the mood with this video link.