Sunday, June 22, 2014

This is Jesse, he is a drifter who lives near the bridge in my area. He owns nothin but a bike, a bird and a bag of about 10 items!
Yesterday, while I was riding my bike down around the beach - which is about 5km from my house - I got a flat tyre. I had no choice but to turn around and wheel my bike the long walk home.
A few people rode past and didn't really pay me any attention and I didn't expect them too, but as I started walking, headphones in my ears, I noticed the homeless guy from under the bridge saying something to me. At first I thought he was going to ask me for something so I popped my headphones out and asked him what he wanted? He then replied "I don't want anything bra but I've got a new tube in my bag and you can have it if ya want !" Shocked at first I said no thanks but he insisted. So I walked over to his little clearing where he had his things and his pet bird sat in a busted cage.
He opened up his empty bag and gave me the tube (which was one of the very few things he had) helped me change the tyre, even pumped it up! I asked him how I could pay him back and he said to me "don't worry about it bra, this is what it's all about!"
The enormity of his situation and the fact that he went out of his way to help me was so humbling, I mean this guy was willing to give me his stuff and didn't want anything in return. To you and I, a bike tube would probably not mean much but to a guy with so little this item must hold enormous value!
I could go on and on about how selfless this guy was to give me, a total stranger, clearly in a much better position than him some of his possessions, while people like us are so selfishly attached to all our useless crap.
Anyway I just wanted to show you a pic of Jesse with his new Versace lenses, some fresh Sneakers, a full belly and a cold beer... Felt good to do something for the bloke. I also went up to woollies and got him a couple weeks worth of food and some seed for his bird lol...
Man he was ecstatic even had tears in his eyes and couldn't thank me enough, but amidst me sitting there proud of my good deed, and him singing me praises, I suddenly felt pretty bad because the truth is if he didn't go out of his way to help me, I wouldn't of done anything for him.
I ride past this guy all the time and never even think twice!
Really knocked me off my high horse!
Even tho we sit around with all our materialistic needs and pass judgment, this dude has something that none of us can buy!
I guess what I'm trying to say is thanks for the lesson in humanity champ!

Now back to your normal viewing.

Tony Biggs - Sydney

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Shopping by bicycle or car? The Netherlands versus Australia.

Light up your bike!

Put a light on it! Seriously!
A friend of mine who lives in Newtown recently posted this on her Facebook:

"ok so I'm not anti cyclist. in fact i love cycling and support it but here's what I hate about Newtown cyclists:
1. they wear black, don't have lights and it gets dark early now so I've nearly killed two of them on my way home from work, despite being super careful
2. many don't wear helmets especially the young women who want their hair to blow free as they ride their retro expensive bikes with baskets on the front. Guess what it's not the French countryside, it's f***ing King Street
3. Tired of being almost killed on King St they ride like maniacs on the footpath taking out kids and old people
I know this post isn't PC and it's the government's fault for not providing bus lanes but can I appeal to hipster riders to think safety before fashion please?
And hope my other half who has no lights on his bike gets home ok."
I have to agree with her, well mostly, I don't think helmets should be compulsory and as she lives in Newtown and works in the next suburb you have to wonder why she's driving at all. If she really wants everyone to be safe maybe she should lead by example and get herself (a well lit) bicycle. Still people should have lights. I've nearly crashed into other cyclists while riding because they didn't have lights and just appeared out of nowhere.  

In NSW it is a legal requirement to have lights on your bike if you're riding in the dark and yes you can be fined for not having them.
- A steady or flashing white light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres
- A flashing or steady red light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the rear of the bike
- A red rear reflector that is clearly visible for 50 metres when light is projected onto it by a vehicle's headlight on low beam
Lights don't have to be expensive so why wouldn't you put some on your bike? 

Maybe you think it's all a bit of a bore, being safe and obeying the law but you know you can get pretty artistic with lights. There's a whole page full of suggestions over at the Feather Brigade. It even has links as to where to buy them. 
Or if you're really cool you could go full Japanese Dekochari on it!

Anyway enough lecturing, the real reason I came on here today was to invite you to this.

The Third Annual Velo Vivid Spectacular!

Its that time of year again!  Get your tyres pumped, your bike all shiny and source your lights now to join us for this years ride to Vivid Festival 2014.  We do this ride to encourage the bicyclists of Sydney to be more VISIBLE while riding at night, the reactions from the Vivid crowds make it all the more fun.  This is our third annual Vivid ride so lets make it even more spectacular!!!

Where:  Meeting at 6pm for a 6.30pm start at the front of Fisher Library at Sydney Uni
When: Sunday - 25th May 2014
Route:  Through Glebe, along the Glebe Foreshore then past the Fish Markets along Prymont waterfront.  Crossing Prymont Bridge and heading past Bunnerong to The Rocks.  Ends at Circular Quay!
Bring:  Bike decorated with lights, helmet, lock, money for a drink or two.
This is a social slow-paced easy ride.  Upon reaching Circular Quay you are welcome to explore Vivid yourselves or join us at a local pub (yet to be decided).  Invite your friends, lovers, Grandmas, and obscure associates!

Everyone welcome!  Please come ready to ride.  This is an illuminated bike ride meaning the more ridiculous lights, high vis, and glow that your bike has the better.  Think battery-powered fairy lights, glowsticks, led lights, high vis wear, EL wire.  All cheaply available from $2 shops and Ebay.
I have included links below to help you get lights, find images from other years for inspiration. 
See you there!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wolli Creek Felafel Run

This morning I decided I really fancied a falafel roll. My favourite place to eat falafel is on the other side of the river in Arncliffe, so rather than jump in the car I decided to take my daughter for a bicycle tour of the beautiful Wolli Creek Wetlands. Not many people visit the remnants of bushland along Wolli Creek Valley but you probably should before it ends up under yet another freeway.
 We joined the Cooks River Cycleway just near where Canterbury Rd crosses the river.
 When I win Lotto I'm going to buy one of these warehouses and make it into a bicycling/artists co-operative with beautiful roof gardens overlooking the river.
 The poor river is a bit messy just now, we've had a lot of rain lately and all the rubbish from the streets ends up in there.

 Pelicans hanging out at the old boat harbour near the sugar mill.
 We crossed the river just before the golf course, lots of other cyclists were out and about.

 A beautiful curve of the river near Beaman Park

 Adora chocolate shop was doing a roaring trade as usual.

 Some of the lovely street art the local teenagers have decorated the bike path with.

After crossing Bayview Avenue we usually cross the river again and continue past Tempe Station but today we made our way around the back of the Velodrome to the mouth of Wolli Creek.

 The tsunami of apartment blocks continues to engulf the Wolli Valley.

We heard music coming from the bushes and were surprised to find a solitary saxophonist practicing by the creek. I guess his neighbours in the apartment block aren't music lovers.

 As we followed the creek South the track became more and more overgrown.

 I reckon this little rock flat would have been a popular fishing spots for the original inhabitants.
 Our patient steeds waited for us while we explored the shoreline.

 In the end the weedy jungle was higher than our heads.
 But we pushed on through, I'd recommend a long sleeve shirt if you're allergic to privet or anything.

 Junky/Hobo hideout under a huge pipeline.

 The track gets a bit rough in places, sometimes you have to carry your bike over boulders and stuff.

 Next time I think I'll bring a machete or some secateurs.
Traditional cavehouse dwelling. There were traces of campfires so people must stay here sometimes.

 Suddenly we burst out of the jungle and found six beautiful little sandstone cottages. They were built in the 1920s. Some nice women there gave us a map and told us we should join the Wolli Creek Preservation Society.

 This is the M5E tunnel ventilation stack, it pumps out unfiltered emissions from about 100,000 vehicle movements each day.
Turella Reserve is a break in the wildlife corridor along the creek but they're doing some planting with local seeds to join things up.

This weir used to provide water for the market gardens. In 2009 a fishway was built to provide fish spawning access to the upper creek.

 The fishway was a bit jammed up with sticks and leaves so we cleared it out.
 Then we headed across the creek into Bardwell Valley and at last reached our destination!

 The food at Hijazi's is delicious and very affordable. Some of the staff can seem a little unfriendly but they're very nice really.

 You can get a jug of freshly squeezed juice for $10, we chose apple and pineapple.

By the time we'd finished we were so stuffed we could hardly ride our bikes!