Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I've ridden along this street for the last 3 months and somehow not noticed this sign above Scooterworld.

"Life's Better On A Bug"... Now where have I heard that before?

Is David Byrne the Mao Zedong of bike culture?

In a previous post, I flagged the idea that Talking Heads lead man – David Byrne – might provide something of a musical accompaniment to a post-automobile society. Little did I know that David Byrne is actually something of a cyclist and bicycle advocate (thanks to Michelle for tipping me off). In fact I’m now wondering if DB is actually the artistic mastermind behind the international development of bike culture. Reading his online diary, you can see that Bynre has become the doyen of bike culture as well offering his own artistic skills to designing New York's bicycle racks. In fact, all he seems to do in is life is to ride his bike, travel and go to gallery openings.

On Youtube, Byrne can also be found narrating his own journey as a NY cyclist.

While in a Streetsfilms video clip, he can be seen hanging out with cool NY cyclists as well as 'Subcomandante' Enrique PeƱalosa, the Mayor of Bogota. A coincidence that these two men are together? I think not.

Could Byrne be the secret force spreading the velorution?
In the words of one fallen comrade, El socialismo purde llegar solo en biciceta

Sunday, April 27, 2008

ANZAC Day Long Weekend Tour

Day One: Campbelltown to Moss Vale

Day Two: Moss Vale to Kiama via Fitzroy Falls

Day Three: Kiama to Wollongong

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

For the love of cars

Just saw this report in SBS news.

China is the world’s greatest cycling nation where most people are too poor own a car, but not for much longer it seems. Sure, its progress, right? Why let a hypocritical and privileged western mindset judge who can have what and what’s right and wrong in this new economy? Its communist-capitalism and equality by market forces. Then I wonder, what rights will Chinese cyclists have amongst this burgeoning car culture? Clearly I need to be better informed and not just imagine that they are in the process of being seriously screwed. Maybe it isn’t as bad as it is here. It’s probably a lot better, if were talking about a numbers game. I'm sure no cyclists in China gets accused of not paying rego! However, this report seems to reveal a certain truth about car culture. That is, it's not about mobility or getting from A to B. For many it’s about status, its a metallic peacock parade of sorts. Automotive frisson, the need for speed. Faster... faster. This is freedom, equality and liberty.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


After 5 years in the wilderness, I've decided to reconnect with the planning profession. Here is an abstract I've written for an upcoming planning conference (talkfest).

‘I want to ride my bicycle’: urban cycling and planning praxis.

Cycling for transport has widely been celebrated by planning professionals as a key policy objective in creating ‘healthy’ and ‘sustainable’ cities. However, despite much enthusiasm, cycling remains a very marginal mode of transportation, particularly within Sydney, which is regarded as Australia’s most ‘unfriendly’ cycling city. This paper argues that in order to advance the profile of urban cycling, planners need to recognise that cycling is a complex cultural and psychological issue, one that cannot be fixed by simply building more bicycle lanes. Firstly, it is argued that planners need to develop a far more collaborative approach to cycling policy and infrastructure, one that includes a more diverse understanding of different road users and mobility needs. Secondly, it is argued that cycling policies needs to promote a more ‘embodied’ understanding of cycling skills and competencies to engender a cycling ‘habitus’ within communities. Finally, it is argued that to successfully promote cycling for transport, planning students and educators need to be directly engaged in the experiential learning process of riding within urban environments. Effective policy-making can only be achieved with an intimate knowledge of cycling as a practice. Such learning can also facilitate critical perspectives on automobility as a far more malleable cultural norm.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Signs and wonders

I was quite amazed to come across this sign on Regent Street yesterday... amazed that cycling should be promoted in a prominent position in public space.
Sure, its nothing compared to the assault of automotive advertising that surrounds us in newspapers and on the television, but its a good start.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Happy Birthday Dulwich Hill Bicycle Club!

I am very proud to be a member of Dulwich Hill Bicycle Club, which celebrated its 100th birthday on monday night. DHBC is the oldest continually running bicycle club within Sydney. Many people find competitive cycling to be a hot house of egos and yuppie cycling bling, but I think our club enjoys a spirit of cycling that encompasses the virtues of encouragement, sharing, competition, fun and community. But of course, I'm blindly patriotic and biased in my opinion of the club.

In today's edition of The Glebe, there is a little story on the amazing history of the club.

FROM penny-farthings to carbon frames, the Dulwich Hill Bicycle Club has experienced a centenary of bike history.

The club was founded on April 8, 1908, and in the early days was one of Australia's strongest clubs.

The past five years has seen a surge in membership and it now has 80 members. Its focus now is to boost its ranks of women and junior members.

Along with the Marrickville Bicycle Club, Dulwich Hill designed and operated a velodrome at Henson Park from 1937 to the late 1970s.

This was used to host the cycling events for the Empire Games in 1938.

In the second half of the last century, interest in cycling started to decline resulting in two clubs, Marrickville and Petersham, joining with Dulwich Hill.

Lionel Cox, originally from the Marrickville club, is still a member and helps run weekly training sessions.

Cox won a gold medal at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki in the tandem track event and a silver medal in the 1000m sprint scratch race.

In the late 1970s the Henson Park velodrome closed to make way for light towers so the Newtown Jets matches could be broadcast on television.

A velodrome was built in Camperdown, in what is now O'Dea Reserve, which operated until 1998.

The club now trains at the Canterbury Velodrome in Undercliffe.

Its link to the past is maintained through the work of Alan Sumner who builds penny-farthings and sells them throughout the country.

The club enters the National Penny Farthing Championships in Tasmania each year and the most recent title was won by Dulwich Hill rider Huw Morgan.