All the bike racing clubs along the coast North of Sydney converged yesterday upon a mountain pass near Bulahdelah, for combined races. The famous “Bulahdelah Bends”, where the trees grow tall from kids’ vomit, sees almost no traffic these days, since a fissure was blast through another part of the mountain, for a new 4 lane highway; in a country where budgets for bicycle infrastructure barely meet the cost of green paint, it is worth noting how mountains can be moved to win drivers’ votes.
I hitched a car ride to the race with my club president (a life-long friend) and one of our commissaires. Our president, who I shall call David (because that is his name), had a story of a meeting a young man with no helmet, black clothes, no lights, and how he had told Mr Time Bomb that a helmet would only cost him 10 or 12 bucks from any discount store. But the guy would rather pay fines. Perhaps he was inspired by the conscientious objector pictured below, who (to my eye) is clearly doing a good job of warning off cars with his fragility.
I heard then how our club president and commissaire rile against cyclists not wearing helmets, as vehemently as emulators of Dutch cycling rile against lycra. No two bike tribes could be further apart, or more ready for blood. Having one foot in each camp can at times make me feel like they’ll see it from my stretched apart butt cheeks.
“David,” I said, “I appreciate you have met an extremist [no lights, black clothes, see his hair, yeah], but for people using bikes for daily trips, there is a good case for conscientious objection. And for upright style riding, wearing no helmet may even be safer.” Being friends, we all saw each others positions, and I left reminded that cyclists only argue with cyclists because we are all on the bottom together. During the LA riots, African American rioters looted Korean owned stores, and Koreans shot Blacks, while the whites stayed at home saying tisk-tisk and masturbating in front of their tellies.
So 3 hours of our cycling-Saturday was spent driving to a road we could ride on, because driving has outgrown that road, and left it to cycling. How much easier would it be, simply to build for bike riding (recreational and transport) right from the outset?