Monthly Archives: March 2012

THE ROAD AHEAD – spring adventures

Holland isn't all about tulips, but this year we'll be there in time to see them anyway.

It’s that panic time of year again. Mevrouw T and I are packing the bags, rechecking the itinerary and cleaning Casa Tulloch, Sydney, ready for the tenants to move in. Where the bloody hell are my passport/Dutch simcard/travel insurance number/noise-cancelling headphones…

We’ll be on the road for the next four months and adventures lie ahead, including, but by no means limited to… Continue reading

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SMART TRAVEL FOR DUMMIES – by iPhone app

A beacon in the backpack.

I’ve recently acquired a smart phone. It’s smarter than I am anyway. It can remember my appointments, tell me if it’s raining and whip me at chess.

There are these things called ‘apps’ for smart phones. Maybe you knew that. I googled ‘How many apps are there?’ and the answer was 500,000. Approximately. Whatever you’re into, there’s an app. I’m into travel, so I googled ‘How many travel apps are there?’ on my ancient (2010 model) computer. A year ago there were 17,000 – ah, the field narrows!

I googled on. ‘Best travel apps’. 111,000,000 entries. Nobody seems to agree here, though a few apps turned up on several reviews. I ‘bought’ some – all free, naturally. I’m h(app)y with the ones I found… Continue reading

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Filed under Budget travel, Cycling, Hiking

McGREETINGS FROM AMERICA – have an easy breezy day!

I enjoy language, and admire those who use it in original ways.

I’ve been online, booking accommodation for an upcoming trip to the USA, and have been much entertained by the inventive alternatives to ‘enjoy!’ and ‘have a nice day’ that pepper the correspondence.

A hotel ‘Front Desk Talent member’ wins the prize for exhorting me to ‘have an easy breezy day’, but there were other worthy contributions… Continue reading

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WOULD YOU STOP A BIKE THIEF? – a New York story

Casey gets down to work.

Filmmaker Casey Neistat did an experiment. He’d look suspicious and steal a bike, over and over again, in increasingly desperate attempts to get noticed, challenged and apprehended. The New York Times ran his story this week.

Mevrouw T and I have run the experiment in Amsterdam too.

When I lost my bike keys, my wife asked the local hardware man to come and cut the lock with his angle grinder. It took him less than two minutes. He didn’t question the ownership of the bike – Mevrouw T looks a model of honesty and people, including me, generally follow her instructions to the letter. She’d make an excellent bike thief.

To see the entertaining video of how Mr Neistat fared in New York…Click here.

Thanks to Mevrouw T and the Dutch media for bringing it to my attention.

Would you challenge a bike thief? Would the response of bystanders and police be the same anywhere in the world?

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Filed under Cycling

WINDMILLS – blots on the landscape?

Does new=ugly, old=charming?

There was an interesting discussion about wind farms on Sydney radio this morning, sparked by the release of a CSIRO report showing atmospheric CO2 levels are their highest for 800,000 years.

That makes sense. I can’t remember them being any worse, and I’m getting pretty old. It’s been a cool, wet summer in Sydney, but the last decade was Australia’s warmest on record.

Those calling for fast-tracking of renewable energy development quickly run into opposition not only from the fossil fuel industry and shock-jocks, but also from environmental groups who contend that windmills spoil the scenery, disturb the peace and endanger low-flying orange-bellied parrots. Continue reading

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Filed under Holland, Travel-Australia

THE BICYCLE AND THE BUSH – and a puzzle…

After my post on Donald Mackay’s record-breaking ride around Australia, my correspondent John referred me to this book.

Jim Fitzpatrick surely must know more about the history of cycling in Australia than anyone on the planet. There are plenty of stories to tell, and he tells them well.

What stood out for me was the sheer impact that the bike must have had on forming our nation. Between the early 1890s when the safety bike was invented (‘ordinary’ bikes were what we now call ‘penny farthings’) and the rise of the motor car, the bike was the fastest, most efficient and most effective way to get around. Continue reading

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Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling