Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bicycle Media Watch


Daily Telegraph busted again!
The Australian Press Council has upheld a complaint about a report in The Daily Telegraph in which one thousand bicyclists on a Sydney protest ride, which blocked city peak hour traffic for an hour, were described as "selfish fools". The mobile phone number of the ride organiser was published in a headline so that motorists could complain to him personally.

The headline urged readers to ring or text the phone number, as a result of which the organiser received some two hundred calls, one hundred and forty of them abusive or threatening.

The bicycle ride was organised by Critical Mass, a loosely structured international cycling group whose stated aim is to improve city environments through better urban transport planning.

The Telegraph's report was unfair in that the use of such phrases as "selfish fools" in a news report did not distinguish between fact and opinion and that the publication of the organiser's phone number was a blatant breach of privacy.

The newspaper agreed that an opinion had indeed been expressed in the news story but argued that this is now done routinely. It said that the justification for publishing the organiser's phone number was that Critical Mass had no contact or head office, denying motorists the opportunity to complain to the group. The complainant told the Council that Critical Mass had a 24 hour internet info line where anyone could leave comments.

In an era of journalism where commentary increasingly trespass upon news reports, fact and opinion need to be distinguishable.

The introduction of opinion into a news report makes it essential for the report to provide all the facts necessary for readers to judge the validity of the opinion. This news article fails this test. No comment was published from government or the police who permitted the protest ride. The opinion expressed in the report is not a breach of the Council's principles in that, by its obvious bias, it distinguishes itself as that of the authors who are clearly identified by their bylines.

However, the Council's principles say that where individuals or groups are singled out for criticism, news reports must be fair and balanced. Since only the cyclists were criticised in the article, without publication of a balancing response, the Council considers the report was not balanced and upholds this part of the complaint.

Regarding the second leg of the complaint it is difficult to imagine a more grievous invasion of individual's privacy than to print their phone number in a headline and then encourage readers to call and complain. That the newspaper subsequently published five letters to the editor, all critical of the bike protest, demonstrated that there was a non-intrusive avenue for complaint: in the newspaper's own columns.
Phone: (02) 9261 1930 or 1800 025712
Fax:(02) 9267 6826
Mail: Suite 10.02, 117 York Street, Sydney 2000


Monday, February 16, 2009

Sydney Body Art Ride 2009

Well the 2009 ride will certainly go down in history. Despite a Wintery weather forecast we decided to go ahead with the ride. In spite of our concerns it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable days ever.

The morning was looking pretty cold and damp as we got set up but people started to arrive.

No one seemed too keen on stripping off to get painted at first but the children led the way and the grownups soon followed.

At about 11 we had a brief downpour that sent everyone scurrying for cover but it didn’t last long. The nicely dressed people on the Registration team discovered they had acquired quite a few extra colours on their outfits after they shared their tent with a mob of painted Pink Fun bunnies!

The weather was getting distinctly warmer and we were nearly ready to go when Roman the panoramic photographer showed up, running late, but very eager to get a shot of the riders. We formed up in our colour groups in a big circle around him with our bikes and anxiously watched the camera slowly turn as a big black cloud hove into view.

The minute the picture was taken the heavens opened and we all ran for the marquees again.

I found myself under a dripping tree using a raincoat to keep my paint on, the rain really looked like it was setting in and I was starting to feel concerned about the safety of the children out on the wet roads. I knew most of the adults would want to ride through the rain but how to tell the kids they couldn’t come?


Luckily the rain petered out again and we quickly formed up.

Bells rang, horns honked and off we went. A warm breeze blew and the children sang at the top of their voices as we rolled over the first crest. We had hoped to get at least 50 riders despite the weather and so we were all elated to see nearly one hundred out on the road. More than enough to make an impressive spectacle.

There was an amusing incident near the shops on Malabar Road. A macho man in an expensive white BMW tried to muscle his way through our parade and was quickly pulled over by the Police. As we rode by I could see him being told off by his wife on one side and the Police on the other while an endless train of painted cyclists rode by making antic gestures. Poor fellah, he looked very downcast.

Down at the beach we rode through a crowd of photographers and arrived just in time to hear the shark alarm go off. Out in the surf the lifeguards were dashing about, falling out of their boats etc. Would we have to ride home with our paint on?

No, the life guards kindly directed us to the rock pool where we could safely wash off our paint without getting gobbled up.

So once again we pulled it off against the odds. Funds are still coming in but I know we’ve raised several thousand. Stay tuned for a final figure on the first of March. If you haven’t done sponsorship yet there is still time! Click Here.

A very Big thank you and hug to everyone who came out and braved the weather to make our event a success. I think you should feel very proud to have been a part of yesterday's legendary ride. See you next year!

Paint Teams hands by Carolina

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Everything is ready

Steve, Des, Paul and I headed over to UNSW this morning and with the assistance of Sam we put up the painting enclosure. Weather was pretty warm and not raining. If we get the same weather tomorrow we should have a pretty good ride.

After we put the enclosure up we dropped into Bunnings and bought some cheap marquee's to provide a bit of shelter. Then we dropped in to visit the Guerilla Knitter who fitted Minerva with her new knitted Rainbow top bar cover so that she won't feel too chilly tomorrow. It was a lovely gift and I'm sure there is something a bit magical about it. Receiving it today was like a special blessing for our ride tomorrow. Especially blessed because Dneese is one of those people that you immediately recognise as a very wise and kind individual. A community treasure.

Des has organised all sorts of musical entertainment so you won't get bored waiting around for everyone to get painted.
As usual I had a constant stream of phone calls asking, is the ride still on? Where does it start from? What time? etc. Just in case you're thinking of calling me...
10.00 AM
Physics Lawn
We ride off at Noon to Maroubra

Don't forget your helmet!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Weather Report

Sydney Body Art Ride will go ahead on Sunday despite the weather. Hopefully we will get a gap in the rain. Paul has organised some shelters so at least we will be able to paint under cover. Be brave! Come along. It's a rainbow after all so we won't be put off by a few showers.

Sunday Wind Rain Humid Temp
Morning Passing Showers Passing Showers. Mostly Cloudy. Cool. Breezy. 28 km/h
84% 19
Afternoon Scattered Showers Scattered Showers. Mostly Cloudy. Cool. Breezy. 30 km/h
81% 21

Sunday, February 08, 2009

One week to go!

Don't forget to be on the Physics Lawn at UNSW by 10am next Sunday (15/2/9) for the fourth annual Sydney Body Art Ride. We ride off at Noon to Maroubra Beach. You can choose from the following colours:






Sky Blue

Dark Blue


There is still room for a few more Marshals if you want to be Silver. Write to if you want to be a Marshal.

Other riders register on the day, you can complete your form beforehand to save time. Download it here:

If you don't want to be painted please try to wear a colour that fits in with one of the above groups. Paint is 100% UV proof but you will need sun block after we wash off at the beach.

If you want to be in the running to win the GOFA City Bike from cheeky Transport you need to get some sponsors. The easiest way is to use the online service at:
It really is very simple to do. SBAR is lots of fun and it's an amazing spectacle but remember we are trying to raise money to help children which is a pretty serious issue.

You can help by sending this information to your friends or putting it on your blog. You can download ecards and posters in the post below this. Just double click on them, then right click and save.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Emailing the true believers

I've spent the last couple of nights emailing everyone who has done the Sydney Body Art Ride before. Man it's hard to read people's hand writing some times. A lot of the emails bounce and then I have to puzzle over them and try again. There are a lot of riders who didn't put an email address, do you think we should be ringing or writing to them?

If you got one of my emails Great! Let me know. Leave a comment or send me an email.

Hope you are organising some sponsors too, things are a bit slow in that department so please take a minute to do it.
It really is very simple to do. SBAR is lots of fun and it's an amazing spectacle but remember we are trying to raise money to help children which is a pretty serious issue.

Another great thing you can do is tell your friends, send them this postcard or print out the poster and stick it up at work.