It doesn’t exist yet, but when it does, you will know I had the idea. The Federal Government is to sponsor the development of a national bicycle for Australia. I’m seeing Mao’s Flying Pigeon for the twenty-first century, with 20 speed internal hub gears, hub brakes, titanium frames and mudguards, LED lights powered from hub generators, RM Williams leather saddles and grips and anything else we can think of that would behoove Australians who cycle. And that’s just for the commuter version! Because people value individual expression, there will be fixies, road bikes, mountain bikes—whatever Australian desire. They will all cost the same though, making the commuter version far better value.
Government subsidies will get the national bike to Australians for $1000 each, not the $6000 you would expect to pay for such a bike in the shops. The bikes will be 100% Aussie made, beyond maintenance, and will create instant havoc in any city not prepared for thousands more people commuting by bike—the rush will be on to give car lanes to bikes, and build end-of-trip parking and shower facilities.
Whatever Rudd gave Toyota to develop a hybrid car for Australia, is to be doubled for this scheme. Where the hybrid car funds were to reduce greenhouse output, the national bike scheme will have these added advantages: reduce morbidity and associated health care costs; help those on low incomes; reduce traffic congestion; and help facilitate urban consolidation.
If I become your military dictator, I will roll this out straight away. Assuming I will just be your democratically elected prime minister, I should ask for your comments. So please tell, what would you hope for from a "bike for the nation"?