Tag Archives: helmet

BRISBANE – riding after the storm

New Farm Park

New Farm Park. Oswald was here.

It could have been worse. It has been worse. But with at least four people dead and thousands of homes flooded it’s been quite bad enough.

One way or another, I didn’t choose the best day to arrive in Brisbane, along with ex-tropical cyclone Oswald. Continue reading

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Filed under Travel-Australia

MIND THE GAP (and watch your head)

Anecdotal evidence: If I hadn’t been wearing my helmet, my hair may have been messed up too.

The most divisive topic in Australian cycling circles is no longer ‘Did Lance dope?’ Now that one’s been so sadly settled we can get back to our favourite controversy – ‘Should helmets be compulsory?

Here I go, head first over the handlebars into the hornets’ nest…

If you wear a helmet in Holland you’re a show-off. If you don’t wear one in Australia you’re a bloody idiot – possibly literally. Continue reading


Filed under Cycling


This isn't me. It's the lady on the website who seems to be very happy with the system.

I had a day in Melbourne and a few things I wanted to do around town, so I tried out their much-maligned city Bike Share system.

I’d heard all the complaints and the reasons it would never work. ‘The bikes are too heavy.’ ‘If you want to ride you’ll have your own bike.’ ‘Visitors won’t know how to work the system’. And the perennial biggie: ‘It will never take off while helmets are compulsory.’ Well, we’ll see… Continue reading


Filed under Cycling, Travel-Australia


While out on my morning ride today, I was swooped by a magpie. A sudden flutter of wings around my ears, a slap on the helmet and two squawks – one from the bird, the other from me. Australian cyclists know the problem only too well.

It’s that time of year; magpies defend their territory during the nesting season. These handsome black and white birds have a pleasant, musical call, strong necks, sharp beaks and a nasty nature. They are carnivores, direct descendants of velociraptors, it would appear.

They are also cowards, according to the old wives’ tale. They know they’re a protected species in Australia (though a noxious pest in New Zealand). They won’t attack if they know you’re watching them. Sneaky assaults from behind are their modus operandi, and they’re particularly vicious if you’re a dog, a toddler or a shaky cyclist who needs to steer with both hands.

Melbourne's Magpie Map

Melbourne has produced a useful magpie swooping map to warn people about black (and white) spots, where the birds are at their most deadly. Melbourne looks like a dangerous place. Alfred Hitchcock could have used it as the location for his film The Birds. It’s rumoured that Melbourne cyclists are leaving the city in droves and heading north, hoping we’re not quite as badly affected up here in Sydney.

Various solutions to the magpie problem have been suggested – carrying a golf umbrella, painting eyes on the back of a bike helmet, painting eyes on the back of a golf umbrella, attaching bird-repelling spikes, attaching bird-repelling spikes to eyes on a golf umbrella…

But we should all be grateful to a few courageous people who are prepared to put their heads on the line in the interests of scientific research and getting a laugh on YouTube:


Filed under Birds, Cycle touring, Cycling, Travel-Australia

BIKE HELMETS – an on again off again argument

Before the 'incident' - this man is invulnerable

After - not so confident, but note that hair remains undamaged. Helmet at work?

I’ve heard the most contentious issues on the internet at the moment are burka bans, gun control, gay adoption…and mandatory bike helmet laws.

I’ve decided to bite the bullet, grit my teeth and step up to the plate and into the minefield… Continue reading


Filed under Cycling, Sport