Category Archives: Commuting

Ride a bike and save the planet. You can reduce your carbon footprint.

Oh no, oh no, oh no….my Zonda rims are cracked

Dear Rouleurs,

MMT had a dreadful trip to his friendly neighbourhood bike shop, Good Bikes’ last week.  MMT’s venerable Wilier was making a few awful noises from the vicinity of the bottom bracket.  May be it needed replacing as it had been ridden on for nearly six years.  Similarly the left pedal was behaving very weirdly under power.  All in all, it seemed high time for a service.

So MMT rode his Wilier to work and dropped the bike off.  A few minutes of explanation ensured.  The mechanic, Nathan, was advised to ring me if the price of repairs was exceeding $300.  Nathan called MMT a few hours later and his news left MMT aghast.  Apparently the rear rim was showing signs of cracking and needed replacing…..crap….Keep in mind that these were the $800 Campagnolo Zondas, bought just over 2 and half years ago.

Fortunately, MMT had kept the original Fulcrum rims.  MMT had spent a frustrating Saturday afternoon, a few weeks ago, fitting spoke reflectors and had intended to use these as his winter wheels.  So the Wilier stayed at the shop, until the old rims were retrieved and fitted. Nathan showed MMT the cracks and MMT was horrified at what he saw.

MMT reckons he’s done about 15,000km on these rims and can’t believe how these stress fractures have occurred. For starters, they are all on non-cassette side of the rim. One of them has cracked clean through, with clear daylight visible. MMT can only shudder at the thought of what may have happened had the spokes given way entirely.

MMT is not a happy camper…

Until next time, ride safe.

MMT

Death of an OBike…Apologies to Arthur Miller

Dear Rouleurs,

MMT has devoted a number of blogs to sad fate of dockless hire bikes here in Melbourne.  MMT is still seeing greatly abused bikes either mangled or with various pieces missing.   Although there have been some pretty creative uses of OBikes most notably:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-24/obike-rainbow-sculpture-to-be-removed-from-melbourne-street/9080394

and, this homage to ET

The vast majority of locals aren’t too impressed by them.  In last Thursday’s age MMT reckons Peter Wells absolutely nailed the average Melburnian’s…hmm… ambivalence to the OBike Scheme.

MMT wonders how long these will continue to be allowed on the streets of Melbourne.  In some ways its a bit sad, that OBike can’t figure out how position these bikes in better locations and that Melburnians can’t show the bikes a little more respect.

Until next time, ride safe

Marv

The sad tale of Obikes in Melbourne

Dear Rouleurs,

What is it about OBikes that has Melbournians so worked up?? MMT rides past many of the bikes in his travels and has been amazed by the amount of vandalism that bikes have experienced. In fact MMT wonders how the operators of the scheme actually make a profit given the trail of carnage he’s seen. The plastic mud guards seem easy to break off. The wheels are frequently bent and doubled over. The latest form of vandalism involves stealing the entire seat post with saddle, rendering the bike useless. MMT really started to notice how much abuse the scheme was experiencing, when took this not-so happy snap taken in October this year.

MMT feels a bit a sympathy for this lost Obike. There have been regular newspaper articles about the large number of OBikes being fished out of the Yarra . One article really caught MMT’s eye. Back on the 19th November, the Herald Sun reported a brawl that occurred on the Metro, where some nut job took a swing at a guy who took his OBike on the train. In the interests of public safety, this is what the nut job looks like.  If you are out riding and see this guy behind the steering wheel of a ute, 4WD or van, get off the road immediately.

Whilst that’s an extreme case, MMT gets the frustration that some Melbournians are feeling about this visual clutter. MMT is amazed to see these bikes being left in the back streets of Port Melbourne. That’s pretty much asking for trouble in MMT’s opinion. It seems that OBikes have become the new shopping trolley, where customers can use and dump without, it appears any significant penalty.

On face value the business case of OBike doesn’t really make much sense. You can hire a bike for about $2 for 30 minutes on a deposit of $69. If each bike is used, 10 times a day, that’s $20 a bike. So the average daily usage will be critical generating cash flow. If the deposit is representative of how much else bike costs, then I guess each bike has a break even point of about 35 rides. So how on earth does this scheme make money?? The answer seems to be in the geo-location technology used to track the bikes.

To use the scheme, a wanna-be customer downloads the app. The app shows the locations of nearby bikes. So here’s the pay off. By data mining your personal information and linking it to your trip behaviour, Obike is on-selling this information to other punters eg marketing and consumer behaviour companies (oh great people are going to sell me more stuff;-). That all sounds very big brother/Google-ish, consequently I’ll be giving the scheme a big miss.

Until next time ride safe

Marv

TAC and the unlucky cyclist

Dear Rouleurs,

I’ve been offline for a while, in fact its been pretty close to 6 weeks.  Life and work just get in the way of blogging about cycling.  The good news is that after a crappy illness stricken April, I’m on track for a great May.  However, a couple of need misses on the bike this morning prompted this blog and its direct plagiarism of yesterday’s Age.  The article was written by the CEO Craig Richards Bicycle Network and identified a pretty bad loop hole in TAC’s coverage of potential bicycle accidents.  You can find the article here online

I’ve included a hastily taken phone camera photo for those of you that are digitally challenged.

This certainly went through my mind as I was nearly clipped by garbage truck on Beach Road this morning.

Until next time, ride safe

PS.  I’m really pissed off that SBS isn’t broadcasting the Giro.  I gather the price was too steep this time.

Marv