Friday, September 28, 2007

The A, B, Cs of Health-How to Boost the Riding-Health Cycle

(Or, how to make the best of life's opportunities when the certainties of taxes and death are inevitable... )
Governments and Commerce don't seem to want to let go of their drive for profits and taxes, as they mean bigger business and bigger government.

So before they get too far ahead of themselves, (and the world just might take it all back and say sorry mankind you stuffed up ), we can say, meanwhile think about this...
Pharmaceuticals dont want to cure, they just want to "manage", Food producers dont want to produce traditionally healthy food for humans, they just want to maximise profit from poor substitutes that deliver huge profits from Human Interferred foods, (Bleached Wheat, GM modified, Highly refined Sugar, chemically extracted oils etc) , the lazy just want a pill to cure their obesity because Pharmaceuticals have one to exploit that!

Well we can do something about it, its called healthy choice.
Making healthy choices is expounded by many, but heeded only by those who have got the message, for the other's, well good luck.

Many of us have been sold the line that all can be cured by a pill. But really, that's a cop out if there ever was one. Pharmaceuticals have their place when life is seriously threatened in a triage sense, otherwise, we can do a lot more for ourselves, our planet and our future if we choose wisely when we have the ability to do so.
We can choose not to buy or consume Human Interferred Food, we can choose not to smoke, we can choose not to have dangerous sex, and we can choose to excercise.
I saw an excellent summary on how healthy excercise and food can combine to ensure the ABC's of life are maximised for our benefit.
It is Health: How to boost the riding-health cycle By Joe Beer - Check it out.
He talks about the building blocks of overall physical and mental outcomes, and that they build on each other. You need health to have fitness and you need fitness to have performance, simple as ABC. Bit what ABC's do you say?

The ABC's mentioned are, Absenteeism, Brain health and Coupling!
Whoah you say, WTF?, yep

A- Absenteeism, companies and employees alike benefit from a healthy work force... simple forget exploitation for profit, have healthier people working for you, they are happier, miss fewer days, your enterpise benefits in better productivity from absentee minimalisation and on-the-job application is maximised. Riding a bike is a way to achieve the ABC's of health , and great benefit to employees and employeers from raised fitness levels reduced absenteeism and it gives a dollar payback to companies on investment in bicycle facillities for employees.

B- Brain Health, it goes like this - 'anima sana in corpore sano' - that is, a healthy mind in a healthy body . The brain needs excercise, if you ride your bike, it will get both physical and mental excercise. Simplistic in itself, research establishes as fitness levels increase depression and mental illness reduce.

C- Coupling, ahem, ie couples who ride bikes are fitter and it is reflected in their relationship. Well one of the additional benefits of cycling is the tendency of it to help your spouse or partner also to become more active. Data shows that highly active older men are three times more likely to have a similarly active spouse. Married men and women tend to exercise more than those who are single. It is unclear if this phenomenon also applies to younger age groups, but a person who regularly makes time for exercise may show those around them how easily it can be dovetailed into the day (and night!).

Riding can make you a better worker, improve your mood and help to encourage those around you.

Get out and ride today - it does you and those around you a lot of good.

Friday, September 21, 2007

BENCHMARKING REPORT-Correlation- Cities with High rates of walking cycling and excercise have lowest rates of Obesity, Diabetes,& High Blood Pressure.


6 September 2007- Bicycling and Walking in the U.S., the Thunderhead
Alliance's first biennial Benchmarking Report released August 29th, clearly links the decline in bicycling and walking and the surge in numbers of adults and children who are obese. The report was released to Thunderhead's network of bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations and government officials throughout the country.

The report compares, for the first time ever, bicycling and walking
levels, investment in bicycling and walking, and public health. The
findings reveal major disparities between cycling and walking levels,
traffic fatalities, and federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.

"Most public health advocates already preach the benefits of biking and
walking," said Sue Knaup, Thunderhead's executive director. "This report
clearly demonstrates that cities and states with the highest rates of
cycling and walking almost always have the lowest levels of obesity,
high blood pressure, and diabetes."

Knaup also noted that the data contained within the report can be very
useful for advocates working at local and regional levels. "If you've
ever stuttered when an official demanded data to back up your claims, or
wished for state-by-state data at your fingertips, the Benchmarking
Report delivers," she said.

The report provides detailed data and illustrations on bicycling and
walking in 50 states and the 50 most-populous cities. Measurements
include bicycle and pedestrian staffing, funding, written policies, and
bike-transit integration, among others.

Thunderhead has released the biennial Benchmarking Report along with a
template press release that can be modified for use at the local level.
To download the report visit:

For more information about Bicycling and Walking in the U.S., contact:
, or call 415-513-5281.

[from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the U.S. National Center for
Bicycling & Walking]

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Richard Dawkins - The Big Question: Why are we here?

Why are we here?...

according to the Dalai Lama our purpose is to be "Happy", I'm all for that, the underlying question of "why" has eluded theorists and philosophers for eons...but I say, what does it matter!!!. This is not a question it is a doesnt matter, because we ARE here!...
We are here , NOW, this is our time, just as when you were a child and you had a puppy and as you got older it aged and then it died, it was part of your life, you learnt from it about some of life's truths and maybe became a better person able to deal with your way of life and plan your future...that is it, we are here because?, we are...your dog was here because it was... and we will move on, then after us will come more of us or maybe fewer if we continue to either pollute this planet or some other change in the universe causes our planet to change such that our lifeforms cannot continue and humans become extinct ( if we dont relocate down a worm hole in time and space etc)... so we are here, "while we are here" is the better "expression" while we are here, we love, eat, laugh, think, cry, and propagate, sure some of us do more or less of these things, some do a lot more... but while we are here we can !

so all I say is let us all "can" away and enjoy our time, do what is good for you and us and our planet and ponder how important it is to have in our thoughts now, the future of our progeny and their progeny... the future of our human race and our world on this rock in time and space...

we are here becaue we are... face it... there is no other driving force, no other higher being that is responsible for it, but we can think...that is one truly amazing attribute of life that is amazing. In the words of the Moody Blues, "I think therefore I am...I think!"

woohoo, gotta love that.... we are here...lets love it some more and love one another a bit our planet a bit better, love our fact of existence and love that we can ride bikes and breathe and eat,love and enjoy our lives...ahhh!, yes love that we can be HAPPY... the Dalai Lama got it right...

oh and if your arnt sure why we are here... check this clip out ... it might help you understand this may not...but its part of the journey..ride on!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Technique: How to ride safer in the city

(a great piece from Bike Radar, with warmer weather coming downunder, its timely to repeat this for commuters and utility bicyclists - especially those in crowded Sydney... Stay Alert...Be Visible, Predictable and Legal)

How to ride safer in the city
By Richard Peace

City Riding (Robert Smith)
Heavy urban traffic can seem like the most forbidding of environments for cyclists. But a few simple rules help make it safer: Stay alert, follow the traffic rules, stay alert, look out for HGVs and stay alert.
There's simply so much to look out for and quick decisions need to be made all the time as you fight your way through traffic. However, being aware and acting correctly in the circumstances you find yourself in will make light of most potential problems, from parked HGVs blocking your lane to pedestrians dashing into your path.
In fact, the traffic-clogged city can be where you most appreciate a bike, coasting past the rush hour traffic and dotting around town without having to worry about car parking fees and traffic wardens. To enjoy it you just need to Ride Right in the city...(read the rest

Thursday, September 13, 2007

[USA]Bicycle Intersection Safety Index research

(Pics added by me as I like them)

Excellent summary by Forester on the US's the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) research, and its questionable suggestions and methodologies here.

I've reproduced it in its entirety, as it has its application in what not to do in other places where such research has yet to be undertaken or is currently under way, such as in Australia... take heed folks, the roadway is a dangerous place but it needn't be and it needn't be made more dangerous by beaurocratic incompetence.

Posted by: "John Forester"
Wed Sep 12, 2007 5:52 pm (PST)
The FHWA has just released papers describing the research concerning the development of a method of estimating, or rating, the safety of an intersection for bicycle travel (and another for pedestrian travel also, bureaucratically lumping the two modes into the same classification).

These can be downloaded from the URLs listed:Final Report - <> User Guide - <> - <>
I have just read the bicycle sections of both the report of the research methods and the application manual.

My first reactions are as follows:
Research method
The authors propose to use the frequency of avoidance actions taken as a stand-in for the much less frequent collisions (collisions are a specific type of crash, the only type of crash being considered here), on the basis of observational practicality.
However, they do not, apparently, consider whose fault produced the need for the avoidance action.
Suppose we observe a cyclist running a stop sign and then weaving frantically to stay out of the way of the through traffic. There certainly was avoidance action by the cyclist. And, quite possibly, none by the motorists, who had insufficient time to take much avoidance action.
Such was the sequence of events when I attempted a left turn from a Palo Alto sidewalk bike path, miscalled a bike lane. Does the presence of avoidance action, in a typical stop signed intersection, taken by the cyclist indicate that the intersection is particularly dangerous? Or does it simply indicate incompetent behavior by the cyclist? So far as I can see, the research takes no notice of this issue.
The authors attempt to validate the connection between the frequency of observed avoidance actions and the subjective evaluations of many people viewing short sequences taken from the observational record, including bicycle activists, planners, engineers, and others.
Frankly, I question the competence of many of these people to make such an evaluation.
There was no indication of any standard of operation to be applied, and in the absence of such a standard the evaluation was purely subjective according to the biases of each evaluator, and we are familiar with many such biases.

Resulting Application Manual
The relevant pages are 11 - 18 of the Manual, in particular pg 11, which contains the Bike ISI models (through, right, left), with definitions of the variables.

The subsequent pages illustrate some of the variables.

Low score, 1, means safe; high score, 6, means dangerous.

Through travel ISI = 1.13 + 0.019 MAINADT + 0.815MAINHISPD + 0.650TURNVEH + 470(RTLANES*BL) + 0.023(CROSSADT*NOBL) + 0.428(SIGNAL*NOBL) + 0.200PARKING

Right turnISI = 1.02 + 0.027MAINADT + 0.519RTCROSS + 0.151CROSSLNS + 0.200PARKING

Left turnISI = 1.100 + 0.025MAINADT + 0.836BL + 0.484SIGNAL + 0.736(MAINHISPD*BL) + 0.380(LTCROSS*NOBL) + 0.200PARKING

Note specially, that TURNVEH refers only to vehicles that might make a right hook collision; RTCROSS applies only for a right turn from a left-side bikelane; others are almost self-explanatory.

Look at the peculiarities of these models.

For straight travel, signals have no effect on safety, except that if there is no bike lane they increase danger.

Crossing traffic volume has an effect, which one would expect, except its effect occurs only when there is no bike lane, and is not cancelled by the presence of a traffic signal.

The presence of right-turn-only lanes increases the danger if there is a bike lane, but not in the absence of a bike lane.

When crossing an intersection without assigned priority, it is important to be able to view the crossing traffic, and that view is affected by the presence of parking on the cross street, yet PARKING fails to consider that.

We know that the most frequent motorist-caused car-bike collision is the motorist left turn, yet there is no variable for left-turning vehicles.

For right turn, the relevant variables are MAINADT, CROSSLNS, and PARKING. MAINADT is given 40% more weight than for through travel, which seems peculiar.

The number of through lanes on the cross street is given the high weight of 0.519, which seems counter to knowledge.

The right-turning cyclist is concerned not with the number of lanes, but with the traffic in the outside lane and its ability to move over to the next lane to its left.

If the number of lanes has any meaning, one would expect more lanes to decrease danger rather than decreasing it.

Furthermore, the right-turn ISI fails to consider the volume and speed of the traffic on the cross street, surely a valid variable.

For left turn, more peculiarities. Same direction motor traffic volume has an effect, and is noted. But the presence of a bike lane is given very high weight, 0.836, but the effect of a bike lane pertains only before any movements are made in preparation for the left turn.

Furthermore, the number of lanes to cross in preparation for the left turn is significant in the model only if there is no bike lane, whereas once the preparation has been started the bike lane is left behind and only the number of lanes to cross is significant.
Furthermore, the presence of a signal makes the left turn operation more dangerous.
And there is no allowance for the known safety feature when making a left turn of the presence of a protected left-turn signal phase.Given both the research methods and the results, I assign no credibility at all to this work.
That's not quite correct.
I assign negative credibility to this work, on the basis that it appears to be based on the actions and opinions of incompetent cyclists, further establishing that our highways should be designed for incompetent operation by cyclists.

John Forester, MS,
PEBicycle Transportation Engineer
7585 Church St.Lemon Grove, CA 91945-2306619-644-5481 [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Internet People! - The Meth Minute 39

neat, they are all here and they keep coming... is the power in the internet?, or the people using it, or the use itself? thing that is interestingly more obvious, when you want fact,truth or verification and less crud, you just may have to pay for it...otherwise, with the free stuff out there from all sources its more likely opinionated spin from overt and covert agenda's...and of little value to you in the end. Discernment is key... but if you seek some daily truths in your life ride a bike, that noble machine packs more truth about life for you than any news bulletin.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

How do you protest?

The rantings by substandard journalists at the Herald Sun recently have renewed the consistent feeling amongst utility bicyclists that the print media has a distinct anti cyclist bias and has a fixed long term agenda that runs counter to the ocasional motherhood style article they drop in to suggest that cycling is good for you, the environment, the economy and the world.

They want two bob each way obviously, but repeatedly trot out absurd contributions and rehash old news tainted with bias and rhetorical embellishment.

On the interweb forums there is comment on the need for a protest ride to urge the Herald Sun and its ilk to see the folly of its Bicyclist bashing ways.

For this to have any measure of success it would require a substantive movement to appear united.
I am not being negative, on the contrary the sentiment is correct, I firmly believe the print media repeatedly offers absurdly anti cyclist pieces, but let no one be under the impression that the bulk of society will support a protest either .
Why?, because too many of the general populace and those within the subordinate positions in industry , commerce and the media are too afraid of the power of others.

It is a rare household that doesnt have a bike, yes, and some even get ridden, some households use them as their primary means of utility transport, and as we are seeing , every year, more bikes are sold each year than cars.
OK, all that is clear, we, the riders know the benefits of cycling, we extoll them, we also know that governments all , state, federal, local also extoll the benefits of cycling, however, why is it that nothing concrete gets done to ensure the roads are safe for cycling and that the media isnt consistently supportive of those who ride beyond giving them an opportunity to bash, denigrate and incite against?.

Each year we have bicycle protests in the form of mass rides, monthly across the world there are various CM rides with differing results (eg: NYC Police see them as a political threat and control with a jack boot- Athens Georgia see it as a community festival of spirit and commensense transport alternatives, ( but theirs is also know as Courteous Mass) as opposed to the regular CM ride) most others fall somewhere in between depending on local polictics).

Annually, worldwide, is the Ride of Silence (, and these garner support from riders and sentiment from the media ( as it involves deaths in memoriam as its main theme ).
The Amy Gillett rides have strong support, again as these involve deaths and the riders supporting the notion of safer roads and that safer outcomes are possible from co-operation). Yet still the media trot out their regular anti cyclist stereotypical rhetoric.
Advocacy organisations like Wheels of Justice, ( this , keeping riders abreast of current issues and worldwide utility cycling intiatives and news, positive and negative and give riders a forum and opportunity to comment, protest and garner support for lobbying and access to resources when individual rights are aggrieved, plus resources to write the letters to those who can carry influence or form policy.
Bicycle Victoria is usually silent as is observed by its own forum readers and only succombs to agreement on the "naughty cyclist" statement and "tut tut"... it does little positive to bring the media into line, because it cannot. It has a need for the media in supporting promotion for its sponsors, it's public events and thus is compromised by its own policy and needs to survive.

Forums like this blog and those Webbased and Usenet forums such as aus.bicycle etc allow the converted to vent their spleen , and as we have seen recently, the media to "spy"and grab quote for out of context senasationalising in their own poorly crafted offerings. So what is the answer? 7 out of 9 want to form a protest ride... this needs to 7, 000 or better, 70, 000 to to have an impact beyond making us feel better.

BV claimed it had 40, 000 members (dubious claim and probably more likely the number of members ever in its whole history) it now publicly claims it has 20, 000 members, ( but even if it does, like the general population it will be hard pressed to get them motivated to form a protest ride, just like it is hard pressed to get a decent sample of members to vote at its board elections.)
Prove me wrong, let's do a ride, sure...but we need massive numbers to get the press to see the error of their ways, but you know something tells me it wont make a difference... !!
They ( The print Media) will still trot out their nonsensical inciting, their rants of journalistic gutter raking and lazy research, because they appeal to a readership that will not change its rednecked view easily and will also find comfort in their ignorance of matters commonsense, because they know no better, they and their readers don't want to make any change to that comfort zone of rednecked spin-out selfish "I'm all right jack bugger you" and "get out of my way" attitude. That is the spin that typifies the pitch of the Hun and The Terrorgraf and their ilk. I dont buy newpapers anymore, I make my protest by ignoring their daily paper consuming output of tree consumption. It isnt a green thing, its their content, it is biased, plain fact is hard to find amongst the spin and the opinionated twisted story line. If it is earth shattering and important it isnt going to come out in the print media first. Seriously do we really need to read in newspapers about the summation of every nuance of AFL, the ads for rip-off car sales or job ads that are non descript nonsense, maybe expensive real estate adds that promote agents first and vendors last?, because when you remove the opinionated story lines there is nothing else. Print media is a dinosaur, if believe we will see very little of it on our streets withing 5 years, on the contrary we will see many more bicycles on all our streets much sooner than that. The protest began when more than three centuries ago the French mathemetician Jacques Ozanam described the theoretical advantages of a "human powered carriage" in which on can drive one self wherever one pleases without horses, that ran on the will power of the operator and provided healthy excercise to boot. ( cf: "Récréations mathématiques et physiques" 1696 ).
This freedom is the very thing we see as the zest of cycling, however those who are ignorant of that zest's benefits see the obverse, they see it as the very threat to their agendas, their commercial influences and their power over your mind and your body. A little deep?, not really, think about it and you will see why the bicycle can be the dominant means of personal transport, physical excercise, healthy activity and mental therapy...all aspects others want to control for profit...with the bicycle they miss out... need we say more! Ride, be visible predictable and legal... and ride proudly, together the bicycle will always be there for you when the others have fallen by the wayside. In the meantime, sure let us have a ride, even many of them, but also let us all ride every day, everywhere we possibly can.

That is the protest that will carry more weight than a one off protest ride. Stop buying newspapers, write to them and tell them that, and spread the word to all your friends and within your networks, stop feeding this cancer on the butt of sensible tranport choices and commonsense human dignity.
There is no more noble invention than the bicycle, there can be more noble a persuit with it, than we ride it, more often with more friends and family and workmates. ... that is the purest protest

Friday, September 07, 2007

Getting Fixed

from videos, getting the low down and the hi fives on Fixed gear Bikes, its not just a messenger thing, it's pure cycling, but you have to have the skill set and its a steep learning curve, if you are a trackie, you have a head start, but riding fixed onroad needs smarts & alerts !!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Tour De France 2007 - Round Up

A brief and succinct summary of this years Tour de France, relive it anytime. Cadel is King in my book... an awesome ride when no one wants anything of you other than to beat you!.