Codes of conduct, who needs ’em! Not cyclists. Or Bike Hour.

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A bemusing moment at every Olympics is when an umpire disqualifies a walker, for not walking. Most find it laughable, but as someone who did little athletics as a child, I wish we had had those umpires at our school carnivals. What ignoramuses I had for teachers! Allowing my unwashed classmates to trot! There are rules around competitive walking, like always keeping one foot in touch with the ground.

147399_f520But what if walk racing umpires overstepped their jurisdiction and started telling people they were disqualified for the way they walked to the bus? Imagine if they had whistles and blew them whenever they saw a brisk walk turn into a canter. Next they would be chastising jaywalkers, and people walking at night in dark clothes. They would be making press statements in walk-racing’s defence whenever someone walked into a bank with a gun. Before long, serious hikers, pilgrims on the Way of Saint James, and Walk Against Want, would be vying for governance of every small step of mankind. An absurd proposition.

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But put pedals under our feet, and suddenly every commissaire or member of a day-glow social riding brigade wants to start waving their finger at us. They’ll say “Why aren’t you wearing a helmet?” or “Why are you wearing helmet?” They’ll chip us for not wearing lime green, or for wearing lime green, for not having a mirror, or for having a mirror, or for having the wrong tires for the surface we’re riding on. Give them a chance, and they would have us all wearing armbands, of their design.

We can laugh, but these are dangerous people—and I don’t just mean Bikes for Bibles, pictured above with those grins to remind us we’re going to hell. I mean any hyper vigilant rule maker using the bike as their vehicle for bossing others around. These folk are how they are, because they have undiagnosed borderline personality disorders. They also have time on their hands to get involved with the community, meet politicians, write letters to newspapers, and be the meddlesome loonies they are hardwired to be. And they absolutely laaarv codes of conduct.

They have gotten up my nose this week, with a letter from Cycling Australia, telling me it is a condition of membership (which is a condition of racing) that I adhere to their code of conduct whenever I ride. Specifically, their letter implies that riding my bakfiets home from the market, if that can be determined to be making me fitter—or in their words, giving me “training”—is an act for which I must wear a helmet, not the sun hat I sometimes prefer on hot summer days when I know I will be riding slowly. I could tell a judge I was avoiding skin cancer and be let off the hook. But the court of Cycling Australia have their own stick: they could ban me from racing.

Not that racing makes me smile anyway!

Not that racing makes me smile anyway!

So how to deal with these pillocks? I say, get them on board and give them the shit jobs. Keep them too busy to cause too much mischief. And recognise that whether as Suffragettes, hippies, or crusaders against plastic shopping bags, it has been this kind of annoying do gooder volunteering 20 hours each day handing out leaflets, etc., who has made the world great. I wish I knew a few pillocks right now, with Bike Hour just one week away. I still haven’t posted any flyers near the bike racks at work, as I had planned to do weeks before now.

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I came up with Bike Hour because I don’t like other people’s organised rides, and because I don’t like organising rides either. But Bike Hour needs pillocks to get the word out there. What a shame pillocks aren’t enticed by an event that denies them the right to be bossy. This explains why Bike Hour has gone from being a media sensation twelve months ago, to a series of wry winks between lazy revolutionaries, such as myself. We just do the ride and post banal photos, as though our Bike Hour observance is some kind of joke. We’re not joking though. We are serious. But most of us accept Bike Hour needs a miracle, or perhaps a few pillocks, if it is every going to catch on. Perhaps you are the one who can write the code of conduct for Bike Hour?

7 Comments

  1. Codes of conduct indeed. Seriously, I don’t think there’s a more self-flagellating group of people on the planet than cyclists. (Well, cyclists in English-speaking countries perhaps.) This preoccupation with concentrating their moralistic venom on non-conformists (otherwise known as people who simply use a bike without obsessing over preparation or special attire) is so utterly draining and self-defeating that I wonder if these people enjoy any happiness in their lives whatsoever. It’s time to rise up against these freaks!

  2. Steven says:

    rise up indeed! Tell local governments that no one speaks on behalf of bike users, and they’ll have to spend some money and randomly phone poll their constituents for feedback on bicycling infrastructure.

  3. Luke says:

    You want a meaningless, vague, unenforceable, logically inconsistent code of conduct for Bike Hour Rides? Anything the UCI can do…

    Rule 1. Bike Hour Rides shall take place on 20 March and whenever the equinox is in September. They shall start at roughly 6.pm and finish at roughly 7pm having taken roughly one hour. The words “roughly” “start” “finish” and “hour” shall be defined (a) roughly and (b) by the individual who considers (rightly or wrongly) that they are doing a Bike Hour Ride.

    Rule 2. Bike Hour Rides will be (a) in a group or (b) not in a group or (c) in a group some of the time or (d) some combination of the above or (e) none of the above.

    Rule 3. Bike Hour Riders shall wear (a) their ordinary clothes or (b) cycling specific clothes or (c) some other clothes or (d) no clothes or (e) some combination of the above or (f) none of the above.

    Rule 4. Bike Hour rides shall be (a) on a planned route or (b) not on a planned route or (c) both of the above or (d) none of the above.

    Rule 5. Bike Hour RIdes will be (a) continuous or (b) not continuous. Whatever.

    Rule 6. There shall be no rule 6. Alert readers who have spotted that this is itself a rule are permitted (but not obliged) to have a biscuit. Those who have spotted that there is no definition of “Bike” or “Ride” are advised (but not obliged) to loosen up a little.

    • Steven says:

      Can we make it that you have to a wear a T-shirt with those rules on the back? The old T-shirt is a little tired now: http://cycle-space.com/?p=8952 Since that has the tone of legal advice, Luke, I will respect your professional anonymity as I go forward now and repost these Rules. I’ll also be calling for volunteers to stop anyone riding during Bike Hour and check they have signed and lodged a copy of this agreement.

  4. Luke says:

    Steven, I hereby renounce any copyright in the “Code of Conduct for Bike Hour.” Anyone stricken with the strange desire to put it on a T shirt is (a) odd (b) welcome to do so.

  5. Graham says:

    Why attack Bikes for Bibles? They are a great bunch of people having fun on their bikes for a good cause. Heck, if I’m riding along I hope that chip on your shoulder doesn’t fall on me. Be nice, and nice things will come back to you.

    • Steven says:

      No. Matthew 5:11 says “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” So I’m the good guy in this, giving out blessings!

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