Tag Archives: hazards

OMG….its time to name and shame, the driver of OUF 213

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Dear Rouleurs,

My morning commute to work traverses some very busy roads around Docklands, South Melbourne and Port Melbourne area.  I’m pretty damn careful.  However the one place that I’m utterly paranoid is the pedestrian crossing on Williamstown Road in Port Melbourne.  The red star marks the spot.

Yes the driver of a white ute, registration OUF213 tried to kill me here today.

Yes, the driver of a white ute, registration OUF213 tried to kill me here today.

Once again that paranoia acted as a survival instinct, as the driver of a white f#@king ute, Victorian registration, OUF 213, drove straight through the crossing, despite that the fact that the car travelling in the opposite direction had stopped. This flagrant breach of the law occurred at approximately 9.00 am.  The ute looked like a late model Ford and it’s load was tied down with a tarpaulin.  The driver looked to be in his fourties, wore glasses and had blonde hair.

If by some co-incidence, you come across this driver, feel free to punch him in the head and then direct him to this blog.  May be that will get his attention.  God knows being dressed in bright orange and seated on bike with no less than 4 bright flashing lights, didn’t.  Seriously, driver a pox on you and your house for some truly idiotic driving.

Until next time, ride safe

Marv

Cycle Path Etiquette, Road Rage and Bogans in Utes

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Dear Rouleurs,

I’m a bit fired up at the moment. Let me explain.  Last Sunday evening I’m out for an early evening ride.  The weather was atrocious in the morning and sleeping in with my 7 month pregnant wife seemed like a much better idea.  Usually I ride in early in the morning, in the hope of missing traffic and pedestrians who like to use traffic lights.  I’ll have to write about that pet peeve in different blog.

Sunday is different, the weather is still and humid, actually quite good conditions ignoring the surface water still on the road.  I zip out about 4.30pm-ish.  I’ve had one too many caffeinated drinks and I can feel a headache coming on.  I won’t sleep unless I metabolize the caffeine.  So I do short ride down to the Brighton Seabaths.  There’s a bit more traffic round than I would like but I’m careful.

I’m almost home when I have to start slowing down.  The segment of the bike path that starts opposite The Pier Hotel and ends near the Beacon Cove tram stop is always populated by less than attentive pedestrians who just wander aimlessly oblivious to the speeding cyclists who should have right of way on a dedicated path. This evening is no different.

A family of 2 adults and 2 little kids are about to cross the path.  They haven’t seen me.  I don’t know why, I have 2 Moon 300 lumen flashing lights on my bike.  I slow right down.  They eventually notice me, stop and let me through on the path.  Sadly this kind of courtesy on the path is not the norm. I say ‘thanks’ to guy and I receive a friendly nod in return.

About 30 seconds later I experience the more common treatment that cyclists receive.  I’m moving on the road and trying to get around this enormous oil truck queuing for the Spirit of Tasmania.  I then hear ‘Mate, get off the f%#king middle of road’.  I move round the truck, head towards the pedestrian crossing.  I turn around and see a blue Ford ute with a dog house and mattress strapped down on the back.  Another stream of abuse comes from the ute.

I’ve red misted and flipped these bogans the bird.  Unsurprisingly its returned, by male bogan passenger, presumably the original loudmouth and a bottle blonde female bogan. I’m seriously tempted to follow them and give them a real blast. Then the red mist clears and I realise that I’m better than that. I ride home wanting to punch someone or something.

A few days later, I’m still pretty angry, hence this blog.  That was just plain unnecessary considering its a 20 Km/h zone and all these idiots were doing was queuing to get on the Spirit of Tasmania.   Which brings me to my therapy.  To the loud mouth dickhead in the ute – ‘Mate, was dog house for you or the blonde rottweiler driving the ute?’

Given that the Giro is on and that there is no chance that you understand Italian ‘Vaffanculo!!!’ with appropriate hand gesture.

Until next time, ride safe and avoid ute-driving bogans

Marv

Not a great way to start the day….

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Dear Rouleurs,

I have to say I’m a bit perturbed and wondering whether riding on the road in Melbourne between 7am and 8am in the morning is such a clever idea.  Let me explain………

Last week, I’m riding back from Sandringham and I’ve managed to latch on a peloton that’s travelling about 30Km/h.  I’m at the back and enjoying the slipstream on what has become a bright sunny day.  The bunch turns the corner from St Kilda Rd into Marine Drive and speeds through Elwood.  Suddenly, the bunch is breaking and zig-zaging.  A few rude words go through my head, but I stay upright and moving.  Thank God…

A few of bunch stop.  I see the reason why.  There’s rider down and he’s in bad way.  He’s lost a lot of skin, he can’t move and he doesn’t know where he is.  I pull over.  Another rider and I move him off the road and lay him flat on the path.  Someone’s taken bike off the side of the road and more riders are stopping. Traffic is breaking and moving out the lane.

I take a look at the rider, he’s bespectacled, in his 20’s and has gravel pock marks on his face that are bleeding.  He’s in a lot of pain and going into shock.  His mates turn up and are shocked by his condition.  The rider’s name is Raf and the remains of his shredded jersey and bib shorts identifies him as a member of the St Kilda Cycling Club. I pull out my phone and call triple ‘000’.  This poor guy needs an ambulance, quickly.  I realise I  haven’t called ‘000’ in a very long time. It feels surreal.

My call hits an IVR, I request ambulance and about 15 seconds later I’m talking to a human female operator.  Good, I hate talking to phone robots with dysfunctional language recognition. By this time, Raf’s mates have twigged that medical help is needed and start pull out their phones.  They are in shock but have regained their composure to act.  One of Raf’s mates tells them not to call I’m already on the phone.  One of them takes off their jacket and places it on Raf to keep him warm.  Somehow, another of Raf’s mates has his Mother’s mobile phone number.  She’s on her way to meet us.

The operator asks me some screening questions about Raf.  This were I find out that Raf has somehow come off his bike at 45 km/h, detached, hit then bounced over the curb.  He’s slid 6m on the gravel between the curb and footpath and collided with a No Standing sign.  That must of really hurt. This were it becomes tricky.  The operator wants to know our location.  I haven’t got my glasses on.  I ask one of the riders what the nearest cross streets.  It’s Kingsley St, but the operator can’t find it.  Some of the riders use their mobile phones to access Google Maps.  The name of this road is confusing, it could be Marine Drive or Ormond Esplanade.

I’m really worried and becoming frustrated by how long this is taking.  Finally, one of the riders identifies our location as 135 Marine Drive Elwood.  This still doesn’t seem to help the operator.  The same rider identifies St Kilda Road Brighton as the next major intersection.  This seems gel with the operator and an ambulance is dispatched.  Now we wait.  I talk to two riders that seem to know him.  Some of the other riders talk to Raf.  He’s conscious and can speak.  I hope these are good signs. I ring my wife and explain that I won’t be meeting her for coffee.

The Ambulance seems to take an eternity and worse still its headed up St Kilda Road.  Riders wave trying to get the driver’s attention.  Shit…the ambulance going the wrong way .  I reach for my phone.  Fortunately, it swings around comes towards us.  Other riders start to leave.  The show’s over.  Raf’s mates speak to the two impossibly young paramedics who arrive on the scene.  Dear God…they look like kids, there’s a Asian looking guy with goatee and strawberry blonde gal with her hair in a pony tail.  They swing into action.  The trolley is pulled out from the back of ambulance, along with a back board.  They ask questions of riders who witnessed the accident.  Apparently he’s jack-knifed his bike and gone over the handle bars.

Paramedics check Raf’s pulse and his blood pressure.  He’s able to explain that his back and wrist are very painful.  They wipe the blood from his face. Shit…he’s got gravel still embedded in skin of his face. I look at this helment.  Its also pock marked with gravel, however it is still in one piece.  I draw some comfort from this.  He hasn’t landed on or hit the curb with his head.  This explains why he’s conscious.

The Paramedics ask for assistance in rolling Raf onto the backboard and lifting him on to the trolley.  I can’t help, I’ve got dodgy discs in my back.  Raf’s mates help out. He’s being loaded into the ambulance.  I say goodbye the riders I’ve been speaking to and collect my bike. They are figuring where they are going next.  At this point, two people arrive. Judging by their age and gender, its Raf’s mother and sister. Their timing is impeccable as the ambulance is about to leave.

I place my bike on the road, mount the saddle and clip into the pedals.  I ride along the road as it changes from Ormond Esplanade, to Marine Drive, to Jacka Boulevard and finally to Beaconsfield Parade. I wonder why it isn’t just called one bloody name.  I’m soft pedalling and doing about 27 km/h.  I’m really twitchy about the traffic and divert to the bike path as soon as I can.  This morning has left me a little shaken and wondering how fine a line it is between cycling home to my wife and being in the back of an ambulance like Raf.

Until next time, ride safely,

Marv

Marv’s Law of Bicycle Punctures….Revisited

20150602-RearTyrePuncture-banner

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Dear Roulers,

I had intended to write a wrap up of the Giro 2015 and list of where all the surviving Australians placed.  I will digress briefly to contgratulate Luke Durbridge for his second place in Stage 21.  However, this blog is about the new clause I’m adding to my eponymous law of bicycle punctures.  For the record this is second one in 3 weeks.  Its winter, its wet and there is all sorts of crap on the roads at the moment, so therefore its not unexpected.

So this morning I’m keen to do a medium paced, for me at least, 30km. The conditions are cold, wet and windless, in other words perfect for an early morning ride. I set off slowly, I’m still getting used to the SPD-SL clip in-action.  They are super-slippery in wet conditions.  I arrive at the second most irritating traffic lights in Port Melbourne, on the corner of Beaconsfield Parade and Pickles St, when I notice that horrible ride feeling of quickly deflated rear tyre…..sigh.

I’m still a bit sleepy and still warming up.  Consequently I’m mildly annoyed, however as I said before, its not unexpected. After a fit of the fumbles I managed to swap the inner tube over.  I start pumping air into the tyre when I realise …horror… nothing is happening.  I recheck the pump and its seal on the valve.  Then I realise that my new replacement tube has a faulty valve and that I do not have another spare or a repair kit.  Now I’m cold and really irritated.  I trudge back 1.5km back to my house, no doubt mangling the SPD-SL cleats.  I have no choice.  Its this or bare foot which on a wet, cold morning was unthinkable.

So lets go back to the law:

Clause (i) If you are going to get a puncture, it will be at most inconvenient time – Tick -> early morning was very irritating.

Clause (ii) It is inevitable that you will have more punctures on your back wheel – Tick -> back wheel it was.

Clause (iii) It more likely that you will have rear puncture when you haven’t cleaned your rear running gear and/or are wearing new clothing – Cross -> I had just cleaned by gears and I didn’t have new clothing on.

Clause (iv) It is more likely that you will get a puncture when it rains – Tick -> Yep it had rained heavily overnight.

Clause (v) It is more likely that you will get a puncture and then have the weather turn bad with heavy showers making your machine’s parts that much harder to handle. Tick -> It was wet and cold.

Clause (vi) It is more likely that you will get a puncture when you are riding alone when there is no one to help you. Tick -> Yep, I was alone.

Clause (vii) It is more likely that you will get a puncture, if you are stupid enough to boast about never getting one.  Cross -> Nope, I never thought this or said it out loud.

Not bad validation so far, now for another clause,

Clause (viii) It is more likely that you will get a puncture when you have a dud spare, for example one with a faulty valve and no other way of fixing the puncture. Tick -> Yep, this was very F%&#king irritating.

Until next time,

Marv