Now, from time to time I get emails from people in Australia. Usually, it's safe to ignore them, since they're generally just unsolicited outbursts of Australian jingoism along the lines of "I love kangaroos and Paul Hogan;" "The guy from the Fyxomatussin website took another picture of a bike;" or "Cadel Evans has won the Tour de France." (Seriously, Cadel Evans winning the Tour de France?!? Not in this lifetime!) However, once in awhile more than one Australian will email me on the same subject, and that's when I know I should actually pay attention. That's what happened this morning (or three days from now if you're in Australia) when a number of people (two, I think) alerted me to this morning show segment that was broadcast on ABC:
ABC is apparently the Australian national broadcaster, though judging from this segment it's what would happen if the BBC and Rupert Murdoch were to get drunk and conceive a child out of wedlock. The story is about a campaign to increase the fines on motorists who "door" cyclists in Melbourne, and in it a reporter interviews Gary Brennan of the Bicycle Network Victoria;
At one point during the interview, the reporter asks:
"Are you worried that by increasing penalties that might be sending a message that it's always the motorist's fault?"
To which Mr. Brennan replies:
"Well it is always the motorist's fault. The law makes no allowances for drivers in this case. If you open a door into the path of a rider it's always your fault."
Simple enough. You fling a car door open without looking and somebody hits it, it's your fault. Sounds right to me. However, shortly after that they cut back to the studio, and that's when these idiots once again prove that the movie "Anchorman" was indeed a documentary and that TV talking heads are vapid numbskulls who should never, ever be allowed to say anything that isn't written down for them beforehand:
"Just to even the ledger up a tiny, weensy bit," says the Bruce on the left while making a crushing-your-head motion, "Did I hear him say it's always the motorist's fault or is my hearing failing?"
"It's not the case," declares Bruce on the left.
"I would say that you probably need to take that comment with a little bit of caution," ejaculates the Bruce on the right moronically.
"A sackload of salt, not just a grain," quips left Bruce, and then goes on about how "...we've all seen our fair share of reckless cyclists as well so I think it's very unfair to purely blame motorists 100% of the time."
"More education and more awareness on both sides is what's needed," quips the Bruce on the right, making it clear that she has no firsthand experience with either.
Right, we've all seen our fair share of reckless cyclists who ride into opening car doors on purpose. If anything, it's probably the reckless cyclists who don't get doored, since when you're salmoning the door angle works in your favor. Actually, as a cyclist and as a driver, it's very difficult for me to envision a situation in which a cyclist could possibly be at fault in the event of a dooring. I suppose if a cyclist were actually riding in your private driveway you might have a case, but other than that it's on you.
Of course, because some cyclists are too stupid to fasten a quick release skewer properly, the law punishes the rest of us by requiring our fork dropouts to have safety tabs. Given this, and given the fact that so many motorists are obviously too stupid to open their car doors properly, shouldn't there at least be some sort of "door safety tab" that requires a step beyond simply pulling the door handle? Like, maybe you could pull the handle, the door would only open an inch, and then you'd have to pull it again. Or, maybe all cars need to be outfitted with sliding minivan-style doors. Sure, people would still exit their cars without looking, but in that case at least we'd hit them instead. Not only are people softer than doors, but also maybe that way they'd finally start getting the message.
Sadly, I don't see any of this happening any time soon, and in Australia and elsewhere I'm sure moronic motorists will keep flinging their doors open heedlessly and treating doorings as an irritating natural inevitability, like "bird strikes" on airplanes. They'll also maintain that the real problem is that cyclists are reckless, and that the solution to all cycling-related problems is to make cyclists wear helmets.
Speaking of helmets, a reader recently forwarded me the following apology published by Bicycle Indiana:
We apologize for our error
Please accept our apology for the picture displayed at the close of the May 2012 E-News. This image was a stock photo of a family bicycling. The use of this image in Bicycle Indiana's e-news was the wrong choice because none of the riders are wearing bicycle helmets. We understand that our members expect Bicycle Indiana to lead by example. Bicycle Indiana recommends and encourages helmet use for all bicyclists and the image displayed provided the incorrect perception that we endorse riding a bicycle without a helmet. We will be more judicious in our choices in the future.
Oh no! A family enjoying their bicycles while not wearing helmets?!? They're all going to die!!!
Fortunately though, Bicycle Indiana addressed the problem via the judicious application of Photoshop:
In the smug world of bike advocacy, a helmetless rider is the equivalent of a "nip slip" on the Disney Channel. Yet in the world of triathlon, it's perfectly acceptable to ride around while steeping in your own urine, as in this "how to" that was forwarded to me by another reader:
Here's why, if you're a triathlete, you'e supposed to go pee-pee all over yourself while riding:
He always made a point that this “natural process” is as important as quick transitions in a race, since if you have to go and CAN’T, you are either going to be miserable, or have to stop. If you stop, you’ll want to stop at an approved place as you may be penalized and have minutes added to your time if you don’t. I don’t care if you are FOP, MOP or BOP – minutes are minutes, and minutes are the enemy!
The first problem with this is that, if you're participating in a triathlon, you're going to be miserable anyway, so really, what's the difference? Also, if triathletes urinate as smoothly as they transition then it must be a staccato affair indeed:
Really, the urinary equivalent of a triathlon transition would be this.
Anyway, if you're a triathlete looking to shave a handful of seconds off of the five minutes you lost trying to figure out how your clipless pedals work, here's how you do it:
The key to letting it all go is a downhill slope, relaxation, and a carefree attitude.
Unfortunately, if you're a triathlete, there's no way you could possibly have a relaxed and carefree attitude, so you may have to hold it in after all. Also, triathletes apparently urinate in packs just like they ride in packs--heedlessly, unpredictably, and inconsiderately:
Also, don’t worry about other people behind you. Once they realize what is happening, they will get out of the way very quickly.
Then, afterwards, they start bragging about their "personal bests:"
Let me also say that after doing it once, it becomes so much easier to do it again. At Wildflower, I peed at miles 40 and 45! At IMLP, I simply lost count.
Of course, by this point you may be wondering why they just don't pee in the water during the swimming part, but applying logic to an event as absurd as a triathlon is like trying to apply a sticker to an oily surface.
Lastly, speaking of maximizing performance, you may recall Tyler Hamilton's allegations regarding "lunch bags" and the US Postal Service cycling team:
The best cyclists received white lunch bags filled with the blood-booster EPO, human growth hormone and testosterone from team doctors who handed them out casually, as if those bags contained sandwiches and juice boxes.
Well, regardless of what you think of Hamilton's claims it's clear that the Postal Services recognizes the demand for easy substance "portaging," because now you can purchase this smart insulated lunch cooler instead:
Forget those boring, brown paper bags. Take your lunch to go in a new, reusable postal lunch cooler. Simply add an ice pack to prevent spoilage. This lunch bag protects against leaks with a 100% waterproof lining. These reusable coolers also feature a zipper closure and a Royal blue design with a horizontal white Postal logo. Ships USPS.
Just be sure to ask for the "soigneur's discount."