Date: Fri Jan 15 05:04:57 2010
From: Austin Bauman <austin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
helmet saved me yesterday. Frame broke while I was riding. I went over the front and dug into the ground head first. If it weren't for the helmet, it would have been a lot worse ... (or if I had been naked). Pics: http://musiccitycycling.us/comments.php?DiscussionID=76&page=1#Item_0 On Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 9:39 PM, Michael Dodd <mikeydodds@xxxxxxxxx> wrote: > *I* think the sydney morning herald are turning into the good guys.... > > http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/never-mind-the-nudity-wheres-your-bike-helmet-20100113-m6xo.html > > *"Cathy Duder, the New Zealand police officer who stopped two naked cyclists > at the flashy beach resort of Whangamata just before Christmas, let them off > with a warning - not about the nudity but about the lack of protective > clothing on their heads.* > > *On the nudity front she was blase. "They were more shocked than I," she > mused, though that's a little hard to swallow. The chaps were sober, after > all, and must have known they were laying bare their privates for scrutiny. > Yet the senior constable dismissed the nakedness as an innocent bid for > ''total freedom''. The absence of headwear, though, that was serious.* > > *The incident shows how eccentric NZ really is. I mean yes, it adds piquancy > to the field of bike-seat erotica, from Alexander Waugh's observation that > his great-grandfather Alfred was obsessed by "pretty girls on bicycles" to > Paul Keating's preferred pejorative for investigative journalists as > "bicycle-seat sniffers". Globally, though, it must principally be seen as a > good fashion opportunity squandered, since cycling, you may have noticed, is > suddenly chic.* > > *This isn't just about the purist fixies (those uber-primitive bikes without > gears or brakes derived from New York's West Indian courier tribes) versus > sedate '60s ladies' bikes that now, renovated, outsell new ones. Suddenly > there is a whole new world of cycle fashionistas - clothes, bags, > accessories for self and bike including handlebar cup holders.* > > *Helmets, however, are decidedly uncool. Many argue helmets save lives. But > the opposing arguments are equally numerous and, actually, pretty plausible. > Not only are proper randomised studies hard to come by - like, where are the > volunteers? There are also unanswered questions about how helmets modify > cyclists' behaviour, making them less likely (some say more) to take risks. > Or how helmet-wearing relates to personality type and gender (the causality > here being reversed).* > > *But the point really is this. Countries with highest bike use and no helmet > laws also have fewest bike fatalities - Denmark and the Netherlands being > the most obvious. Copenhagen initiated the Slow Bicycle Movement, the > non-lycra approach to cycling. There, 37 per cent of commutes and a > staggering 55 per cent of all trips are by bike. In Sydney, where cyclists > are routinely spat on and abused, it's more like 1 per cent, but rising.* > > *In London I used to cycle everywhere, not at first from choice - though it > did prove addictive - but because driving was like pushing slugs through > mud, and the alternatives even more disgusting. I'm saddened to report I > never cycled nude, or for that matter helmeted, but I did do it in peach > suede stilettos, long diamante earrings, houndstooth miniskirt, fur-lined > mittens and ankle-deep snow, sometimes all at once. Only for the snow was I > stopped by police.* > > *No such nonsense in Sydney. Arriving here we were advised to quit cycling, > much as they tell you to move to the burbs to procreate. (Why children have > this special claim to mind-numbing boredom I've never understood although > perhaps, again, the causality is inverted; it's the tedium that aids > conception.)* > > *"Nup," they shook their heads sagely. "No one cycles here. London, sure, > people have manners. Not here. Much too dangerous." And for a while - OK, a > decade - I caved in. Sold the bike, played safe. As a mother you feel > obliged to stay more or less alive.* > > *Now I've thought again. Not about survival, about cycling. And not just as > exercise - twice round the park with the lycra legions then fossil-fuel-it > home for breakfast - but as transport. I like streets, real world, feeling > purposeful. I also like those little bike-logos, strewn round the streets > like welcome mats. They change nothing, legally, except how it feels on that > fragile, whizzy machine. And, it finally dawned, only if people do it, will > people do it.* > > *Plus - and this is key - it's fun. Exhilarating, even, to arrive at the > opera or the formal meeting with raised pulse, no parking worries and zero > emissions. It has a rakish, adventurous quality - not nude, but close.* > > *Imagine my surprise then to be recently stopped by police. Not for being > nude (which I wasn't) or even for riding on a footpath without appropriate > signage (which I was). "We're cracking down on cyclists without helmets," > said the coppers, writing my details into their notebooks.* > > *A true road warrior would have checked their credentials. How did I know > they even were cops, not petrol-head thugs on a road-rage revenge binge? But > I was fully occupied not coming back with some kind of kamikaze quip. > "Cracking down, officer? On cycling without helmets? You kidding me? What > about cracking down on our third-generation neighbourhood smack dealers over > there? Or the local housebreaking fraternity?"* > *The best way to encourage cycling is enhancing safety, but the best way to > do that is to increase numbers. Circular argument. Fining cyclists won't > help. Cycle lanes will (instead of promises); stopping the gas-and-telco > guys leaving long, tyre-grabbing road scars; smoothing kerb crossings that > are routinely the size of the Tamarama escarpment; giving priority at > lights. Then maybe your standard cyclists will behave more like homo sapiens > and less like, well, Tony Abbott. But next time you're tempted to nude > highway cycling, remember, the roads are to share. Like the sign says. Cover > your load. Fines apply. Mine eyes dazzle"* > _______________________________________________ > Messengers mailing list > Messengers@xxxxxxxxx > http://ifbma.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/messengers > -- Austin Bauman Owner / Messenger Green Fleet Messengers http://www.greenfleetmessengers.com work: (615) 463-0602 cell: (615) 870-8848 austin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx "When you send a bicycle, you replace a car."