Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The high cost of free parking

I just heard about this film from the wonderful collection of films at Streetfilms. Dr Donald Shoup has written a book called The High Cost of Free Parking and it seem to be getting some tread. For too long, the consequences of on and off street parking has been ignored by planners and urban policy makers. This film suggests that a pricing approach to parking not only makes it easy to park, it also reduces congestion and has the potential to make far more friendly urban environments.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fuji Touring

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oulipo One

Come all ye crazy...

Sat 22 Nov, 10am-2pm | Meet Newtown Square, outside the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre

The French Oulipo are a colborating group of writers and mathematicians who use mathematical constraints to produce experimental writing. The results are often unusual and surprisingly beautiful. In homage to the Oulipo, we will be guided by a logarithmic spiral as we explore the city by bike. Bring your video or still camera or collect findings as you go. There will be an opportunity to publish and share our experiences of the ride online. We'll ride to the nearest train station when we finish at 2pm.

Ride type: experimental - roads, paths, laneways, alleyways, underpasses - whatever
Distance: no idea
Speed: leisurely with lots of stops - this ride is really about the journey
Oddness factor: high
Weather prediction: BOM predicts chance of showers and wind - we'll ride unless it buckets
Bring: your lunch or some money for a feed/coffee along the way, your camera, zip lock bags to collect stuff, a sense of curiosity

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sydney Bike Film Festival in pictures

Its been a busy and wonderful few weeks for all things cycling. Here's just a few pics from some the events that have been happening round town:

Gilbert Grace's solo exhibition Road:Works at Regard Gallery, Wilson St.

Courier Fashion parade at the opening night party in May's Lane.

Praise be to gentrification. Art work from Rode exhibition At The Vanishing Point

E.T. inspired art from the Rode exhibition At The Vanishing Point

Cheeky Monkey Rock n' Roll Bike Parade

Full house at the Sydney Bike Film Festival, Dendy Newtown

The wonderful BikeSydney/BFF Sydney organising committee.

Luis (sometimes know as Lu-Gu) at the Deus ex Machina BikeSwap meet.

BikeSaint serves the best tofu burgers in town at the Cheeky Transport (very early) Christmas Picnic - more photos here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Escape Artist

Cycling became my new home. The small society of racing cyclists offered another noble cause to fill that vacuum, without the ideological baggage. In cycling I found a way to recreate the sense of direction that had abandoned me when the Party softly imploded. But where the communist cause had been about constant refining of means towards endlessly postponed utopian ends, cycling, with its satisfying circularities, presented itself as an ideal project: one in which the means and ends were identical. (Matt Seaton, The Escape Artist, p136)
I've just read Matt Seaton's novel The Escape Artist. More than anything else, the book highlights the strange obsessiveness that comes with cycling and ‘the decision’ to be come a racing cyclist. For the outsider, cycling is a very strange obsession involving massive sacrifices in time and energy knocking up countless kilometres while others are out having fun, gaining valuable sleep, or attending to more serious responsibilities. What outsiders don’t see is the narcotic dimension of pushing oneself to the limits in the quest to become stronger and faster. The paradox of this obsession is its incompatibility with any other kind of life. To become a good cyclist, one has to get the kilometres in the legs that leaves little time for much else. Cycling simply becomes life. For the competitive cyclist, time off the bike it marked with a sense of guilt as one watches one’s precious fitness disintegrate while others improve. To be a racing cyclist, one has to be a monomaniac:
But cycling does nothing if not make one single-minded and dogged (or perhaps the doggedness and monomania are already embronically within those that choose cycling). (p176)
The Escape Artist is essentially a story of coming to terms with a cycling addiction and slowly withdrawing from it. Its a novel that I'd recommend to any amateur cyclist. In real life, Seaton went on to become the first cycling columnist of The Guardian newspaper.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

The consequences of street design

Just saw this great little video clip via: How We Drive

For an alternative look at how one can design roads differently, check out David Hembrow's recent post on the Woonerf sign in the Netherlands.

The blue sign shown here is that which you find in a woonerf, or in English "living street". This is the modern equivalent of a play street, and the sign shows kids playing as being larger, and more important, than cars.

David points out that similar signs were once common in England but disappeared over time. I would love to know if they ever existed here in Australia.


On Saturday, I went out to Peter Bundy cycles in Riverwood to pick up some steel track bars for my track bike. I've also upgraded the bike with a very comfy fizek saddle and some Conti supersonic tyres that are rated to 145psi. Its amazing how little you have to do to turn a bike from feeling ordinary to just amazing.

Later in the day I raced at Tempe as part of Dulwich Hill's Omunium series. It was not the best turn out with many people put off by the threat of rain, but we still had a great time. I discovered that my best event is the 3000m time trial in which I was second fastest in a time off (I think) 4mins 28secs (not that anyone was going to beat Simon). I hope to put more energy in to track racing in the future. Racing at Dunc Gray through winter has been great fun although the food at the Handle Bar Tavern leaves something to be desired. I find road riding a bit boring. Its very expensive when you consider the money and time costs that go into it. Most Opens are way out of Sydney taking up the entire weekend and I do like to have time for other things. At the opens, many of the Pro crews turn up in there big buses and don't really engage the commoner/club racer. However, the track has a much more convivial spirit. You race, have some fun, race again, watch the elite riders do their thing, then head out for food and drinks. Its not like you need a bus load of bikes and a support crew to be a trackie.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Road exhibition

The Bicycle Film Festival's Road Exhibition officially kicked off on Saturday night with a cheeky fashion show in May's Lane St Peters. Check out Sydney Body Art Ride for a full review of the evening including some interesting dealings with the police. There is also some youtube film floating around from the night.

There are three more bike art events kicking off this week, including the Mystery Tour exhibition which I attempted to get in (but failed!). The details are below:

Tuesday 4 Nov 4:30-7pm | Road: Works
Regard Gallery | 372 Wilson Street, Darlington
Oil paintings, prints and sketches by Gilbert Grace inspired by the Sydney
Green Ring. Sneak a preview at

Wednesday 5 Nov 5:30-8pm | Road: Mystery Tour
Cheeky Transport | 3a Georgina Street, Newtown.
Bike touring photographs with a twist.

Thursday 6 Nov 6-9pm | Road: Rode
At the Vanishing Point | 565 King Street, Newtown
Over 30 participating artists. Diverse mediums including painting,
sculpture, jewellery, installation, video, photography and interactive new
media. Spread the bicycle love around.