Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My two cents on the cyclist vs motorist debate

This blog was inspired by one similar posted at http://james.wanless.info/2012/05/21/why-anti-cyclists-have-it-wrong/. It seems that our Canadian counterparts face the same Melbournian debate when it comes to the cyclist vs the motorist. Finding the extremities of the responses from both sides of the fence equally disturbing I thought I should attempt to sway a few votes in an attempt to make my riding and driving experiences less stressful.

James Wanless’ blog (link above) takes the cycling vs motoring debate and offers the most balanced, emotionally disconnected and unbiased view I have had the pleasure of reading. He considers the issues faced from both sides and then appeals, with strong arguments, to the “anti-cylist” to weigh up the financial, economical, environmental and health benefits that can be contributed by a more “bike friendly” society.  

I’ve found it surprising that James’ blog would receive any negative feedback, especially from cyclists. For the most part I assume it’s emotionally loaded response with a neglect for the whole point of the piece.

 "In a perfect world we wouldn’t need these dedicated bike lanes,"

What do you base that on? Separating different modes of traffic is essential to safety. Cars, bikes and people have different masses, different acceleration profiles, different reaction times. Not separating them directly contributes to accidents, and causes additional conflict between each.”

The passage of text below was my response to the above comment left by a cyclist responding to the blog.

Fair call, a concept that was documented by Le Corbusier in the 1930s (separating different modes of traffic). I'm sure someone will catch on one day! The problem I present to you is, how then do you account for variance in acceleration profile between cyclists?

Cyclist's masses are, for the best part, similar but we ride for different reasons and therefore at different speeds. I live in Melbourne, which I deem to be a bike-friendly city, and generally stick to roads to avoid the "riff-raff" of inconsistency on the bike lanes and paths. Where do you stop the segregation?

The adaptation of existing thoroughfare in built up areas to include bike lanes will aid in easing the frustration between cyclist and drivers, but for the best part we (motorists and cyclists) need to learn to share the roads together.

I agree with James. Both cyclists and drivers need to be made more accountable for their actions. Stiffer penalties and more adequate policing is by far the most economic solution to raising awareness and inspiring social cohesion.

In Melbourne recently there has been a lot of suggestion in the media and by pressure groups that cyclists sharing the roads should be registered. It's an unrealistic measure due to the cost of setting up such a system, there is also the point that as a cyclist most of us are registered drivers. The idea was met with a great degree of objection from the cycling community. As a cyclist and a motorist who prides themself on following the rules I didn't see this as being a problem. Registration certainly isn't the solution to the issue of safety but it could potentially be a measure that would break down the "them" and "us" attitude.

There is no concise response that will clearly win the debate for either side. Forcing registration of cyclists will deter people from riding but make some motorists happy. Segregating foot, pedal and motored transport will hit all of us in the hip pocket and isn't economically viable. As long as we're (cyclists) are all fighting to make the roads a safer place for everyone, the improvements made will mean more people on bikes.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Happy Van Damme Friday!

Hoping I'll have a new job to celebrate, so spend your weekend celebrating too. Now to wait for the call...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Enjoy the flavours of another Van Damme Friday!




Thursday, July 28, 2011


Sometimes you just get that craving for something in particular. If you're someone who has a love affair with a delicious plate of food at the end of each day, you'll know exactly which page I'm on.

Last night my central nervous system started communicating with my mouth and stomach on the journey home from work. Saliva started to build and my tummy started doing tumble turns as I digested the idea of a big serve of creamy mashed potato. There's something about a steaming pile of mash on a crisp winter's night that just seems right. As my bowels began an audible rally in favour of the flavour, I realised that there needed to be more substance added to my plate...


  • 800g Lean gravy beef (Diced 15mm cubes)
  • 500ml Beef/Veal Stock
  • 70ml Dry white wine
  • 50mm DIA Leek (finely chopped)
  • 1 Large brown onion (roughly diced)
  • 15-20 Button mushrooms (sliced)
  • 2 Cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 3tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Sprigs thyme (..or 2tsp dried)
  • 1 Sprig rosemary (1tsp dried)
  • 2tsp Oregano leaves (roughly chopped) 
  • 2 Bay leaves 
  • 1 1/2tsp Vegemite
  • Parsley (to taste)
  • Salt & Pepper (to season)
  • Canola/Vegetable oil
  1. Heat oil in medium sized, heavy based pot. Season beef with salt, pepper, 1/2 thyme & 1/2 rosemary and brown/caramelize quickly. Remove from heat and leave aside to rest.
  2. Reduce heat of pan. If the pan is dry, coat the base with a touch more oil. Add leek, garlic, & onions and saute until softened. Season with salt & pepper, add wine and cover to sweat for 15min.
  3. Return beef to the pot with leek mixture. Add stock, mushrooms, mustard, remaining thyme & rosemary, oregano and bay leaves. Slowly bring to a light simmer, cover and find something else to do for around 1hr.
  4. Uncover pot. If the stew is still a watery consistency increase the heat to a rapid boil for 5-10min. Once a desired consistency is reached, add Vegemite & parsley to taste. (It's important at this stage to add a little at a time and make sure you stir it through. Everyone has a different palette and I like things salty!)
  5. Allow to rest for 20min before serving.

I had this stew last night with a pile of mashed potato, fresh beans and carrots. DELICIOUS!!! Mashed potato craving conquered!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Whilst I sit and digest to the sounds of Miles Davis and John McLaughlin performing "Bitches Brew" I figured I'd take the time out to add my two cents on a muesli bar that I came by last night. It seems that the music, as prescribed by one of the jolliest fellows at the Lancefield pub on Tuesday eve, has inspired me to offer forward my thoughts to you.

Before I get into it though I must comment that there is something special about a small country town pub. Far too often great people get lost amidst the urban sprawl, becoming faceless nobodies in a crowd of disinterested individuals. Tuesday night bestowed upon me the pleasure of sharing a room with ten or so patrons from all different generations and walks of life, all with a very unique distinction and willingness to take part in conversation that captivated the entire bar. The barman, by far the youngest person in the room, even joined in the banter as we discussed all things music, cycling, art, football, cricket and parenthood with a well rounded concluding segment on the duties of a male spouse. Brilliant! It's not often I walk away from a drinking establishment with much more than an empty wallet and the need for a kebab.

Now where was I... Ah yes, bodywise muesli bars may have the heart foundation tick of approval and the packaging may feature the words "NUTRITIOUS" and "DELICIOUS", but I assure you the latter is false advertising. This particular bar also claims to provide 1/4 of your daily fibre needs and is therefore marketed featuring "DIGESTIVE BALANCE" on the label. All eating this bar has done for me is left me wanting something tasty to eat and the rumbling in my food processing machinery to disappear.

In conclusion, "Bitches Brew" is good, country pubs are better and making your own muesli bars is best!


  1. Add 5cups of a mixture your favorite nuts, rolled oats & bran to a frying pan at a moderate heat and cook until all ingredients are dehydrated and golden brown.
  2. Pour contents of the pan onto a clean tea towel and wrap them up like a stork would a baby. Then bash the hell out of the mixture to break up some of the bigger nuts.
  3. Add 125g of butter, 1/2 cup of honey and 1/3 cup of brown sugar to the pan and melt at low heat.
  4. Combine butter mixture and dry mix in a large bowl, you can add some chopped dried fruit if you dare to be adventurous also. The mixture should come together once all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly, if this is not the case then add more honey and/or butter.
  5. Line a shallow (30mm deep) tray with baking paper and add the mixture to the tray, flatten the ingredients to the extremities of the tray, cover with another sheet of baking paper and roll flat with a rolling pin or your hands.
  6. Put a weight on top of the contents of the tray and refrigerate for an hour or so. Once mixture is cooled cut it into the portion sizes you desire, store for a week in a plastic airtight container and ENJOY!