Category Archives: Commuting

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

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

Sometimes there are things that you can’t unsee….

Dear Rouleurs,

I was out having a really enjoyable round trip ride to Mordialloc. Clear skies, almost no wind and crisp conditions, made ideal weather for riding. MMT has finally recovering from a 3 week bout of bronchitis that ruined his Easter riding plans and resulted a couple of visits to his GP. This morning’s ride was sans RCC MEL, mainly due to MMT’s lack of conditioning. Riding solo has its advantages, you listen to music, set your own pace and just enjoy the landscape you are journeying through.

So with that in mind, MMT was feeling fairly zen like until encountering heavy traffic through Brighton and Elwood. It is always tricky threading your way through slow moving or immobile traffic. Motorists tend to become a bit edgy and less observant. The reason the congestion became apparent near the Elwood Canal. There were numerous blue flashing lights. MMT’s initial thoughts were “That’s odd place to put an RBT station. No wonder traffic is banked up”. Crawling along through the traffic, it becomes apparent that it’s not just Police it’s also Paramedics. A small bunch of cyclists is on the footpath. The Police has blocked off half of a lane. I carefully move out of the cycle lane and eyeball the driver behind me.

As I pass the Police car, I see a horrific sight. A cyclist has had a tragic accident. I think the man is covered in blood. The paramedics are administering CPR. I can’t shake the feeling I’ve just witnessed a fatality. I feel the blood drain from my face and I am nauseous. One word appears in my mind…”how?”. How did that happened? It’s a flat piece of road with good visibility. Riding conditions were perfect. I’m shocked and saddened. This man’s loved ones are going to have a terrible morning. I think of my family, my wife, my 10 month old daughter. I’m very jittery and move onto the bike path at the first opportunity. I’m glad to arrive home safe.

I ride to work very carefully. I meet one of daughter’s carer’s on the way. She’s riding a fixie. We have a short chat. I let her and the lady behind her go through first. I’m in no hurry today. I arrive at work, have a long hot shower and try to clear my head. Eventually I walk to my desk and I log on to my PC. I check my email and then decide to Google the accident. Oh no… its exactly as I feared. The Sun Herald reports that the cyclist has crashed into a parked car. He was part of a small group riding along Marine Parade. He was only a few years older than me. I feel sad for the man’s family. I hope that he didn’t suffer.

Please, please, please ride safe.

Marv

Peter Sagan vs Dog Walker or Why MMT needs to start commuting again

Dear Roulers,

Dear God where did the time go…………It is MMT’s third day back at work and he is wondering why, why, why did the summer go so quickly.  MMT has been humming Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues and generally feeling a bit lacklustre about the whole corporate warrior gig. Still, bills don’t pay themselves and paternity leave was wonderful while it lasted.

In the absence of a proper blog, MMT thought He would post this cycling infographic about the joys of commuting.  MMT is trying very, very hard to psych himself up to restart bicycle commuting again.  Unfortunately the midday summer rides have reduced MMT’s appetite for dodging abusive automobile operators and lunatic pedestrians with death wishes.

 

MMT get off your ass and commute.

Speaking of which I just had to steal…er…acquire this photo of Peter Sagan narrowly avoiding a dog and its wayward owner while competing in the individual time trial of 2017 Tirreno-Adriatico race.

Peter Sagan demonstrates a skillful swerve.

Sagan had to swerve abruptly onto the footpath to avoid a collision.  MMT recommends watching the youtube of this.  You can see Sagan pull up later and look around.  MMT guesses that the Czech equivalent of WTF was passing through his mind. Two observations: first the dog walker has correctly used a zebra crossing and second: where were the course marshals.  Given that its Italy, MMT is not sure what he is more amazed by.

MMT digresses.

Until next time, ride safe, particularly if there are thoughtless dog walkers about.

Marv