Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Freedom of Choice - mainstream in Sydney

(Photo: just up the road from Newtown Police Station)

The 'non-existent whiff' of cycling danger that for so long was expressly cultivated to peddle the consumption of polystyrene hats has essentially dissipated in Sydney - most notably in the Inner West, my patch!!!

Ahhhhh! - so reaffirming to behold!!!

When Charlie Pickering of The 7PM Project fame declared to the Aussie public last August that he falls off his bicycle all the time, he let a little chink of light onto why Australian cycling was re badged into an extreme & dangerous sport all those years ago...

Basically, Aussie lads of the 90s were desperately-seeking-approval in a 'throwback-caveman-sort-of-a-way', and thus it was that it was necessary to dust off 'bravery', 'courage' & 'derring-do', and go wrestle a 'woolly mammoth' or something similar.

Only our Aussie lads of the 90s were a trifle too cosy for such 'extreme' pre-historic deeds, so they brainstormed and manufactured a 'modern-day woolly mammoth' - untamed & savage bicycles!

But there was a hitch:

♥ no-one had ever found this 'modern-day woolly mammoth' even vaguely alarming before

♥ it was universal

♥ it was cheap & easy

...and worse still...

♥ grannies and grandpas could still be found routinely pedalling everywhere, often with shopping and/or grand kids in tow!

...what to do?

$$$ How to delete this 'woolly mammoth' from the realms of the mundane and ordinary

$$$ How to re badge to dangerous and extreme?

$$$ How to manufacture a national & political consensus?...

...yawn! ho! hum! well we all know what happened next...

...but suffice to say, those of us who do continue to 'conscientiously object', are a constant reminder to our modern-day gladiators (such as The 7PM Project's anchorman) that their 'modern-day woolly mammoth' has Emperor's New Clothes status...

...and they're none-too-happy when they get that reminder - especially from a middle-aged mum!!!


  1. "People of good will frequently send one off with the injunction to "Have a safe trip!" There is no such thing as a safe trip. Safety is an illusion. It must always fail in the end. That does not mean that we should not consider safety, but never to cry "Safety first!" Safety, while something we should seek, must always be placed second to getting the job done. One who places safety first is, quite specifically, a coward. We do not go to war to be safe, neither do we climb mountains, or race cars, or hunt buffalo, to be safe. We hear commentators explain that we should not resist violent crime because we may get hurt. This is the advice of the rabbit people who live all their lives in fear and never know the joy of danger. There are people like that, and while we may feel sorry for them, we must never take their advice seriously."

    -Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper

    Meaning no particular offense (but not being particularly shy about giving it where it is due), I feel obliged to note that your rough and tumble boys of the 90's, first in attempting to cast one of the safer sporting activities as dangerous, and second doing so by adopting unwarranted safety measures, were, in fact, being double plus wussies. Rabbit people extraordinaire.

    Here I am supposed to feel obliged to note that this is merely my own humble opinion; but it isn't, so I won't stoop to anything of the kind.

    What I suspect irks them the most is the cognitive dissonance engendered by the fact that in not wearing a helmet you do not merely reveal them as cowardly for wearing safety equipment to engage in an inherently low risk activity, but that buy their own standards of perceived danger you reveal them as more timid than yourself. That you have guts and they do not.

    You do certainly reveal yourself as having more guts than they do, but it is demonstrated in your refusal to go along with the colony and to accept the consensus meekly.

    Your willingness to stand up, stand out and resist.

    The rabbit people fear that more than anything.

  2. To them, their smashed helmets are a trophy, symbolising their bravery.

    We know it means they don't have very good riding skills.

  3. This is the first and last blog I will ever read. As I suspected, people ranting about nothing and and somehow trying to prove themselves to others. Reading this and the comments made me feel a little sad and sorry. I thought there might be some sensible debate on the issue of bike helmets bad sadly, no, just fluff and BS !

  4. Anonymous,

    I hope you stick around for replies. There is often intelligent debate here. Just make a point and wait for the intelligent replies to come.

    They will.

  5. "I thought there might be some sensible debate on the issue of bike helmets"

    You seem to have missed the point that this blog is not about bike helmets.

    I might also point out that the sensible debate was over decades ago, but as with all such debates where a "personal relationship with (insert your favorite superstition here)" is the issue it is not prone to be resolved by sensible debate as sense has never been at issue. See above.

    For some sensible commentary you could go here:

    You can read it if you want, it's not a blog.

  6. Dear Anon,

    Should curiosity get the better of you and you end up paying us another visit, I have to mention that I feel ridiculously honoured that mine was the first & last blog you've ever read.

    Furthermore if you're still here at this sentence, I heartily urge you to pay careful regard to the sound advice supplied by Edward and kfg.

    We welcome debate & discussion, and you will find that for the most part our egos & opinions remain quite separate.

    Kind regards,

  7. Sue, I think you've hit a nerve.

    This notion, that by riding sans helmet, you've undermined their masculinity and bravery - when riding a bicycle requires neither - is apt. Why does everything need to be turned into an extreme sport with all the associated paraphernalia?

    Never have I had a woman yell at me for not wearing a helmet. Only the young-to-middle-aged males, in racing gear seem to feel that they need to verbally assault me when I'm minding my own business.