Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Antler Luggage - more than a pretty suitcase?

Dear Team Antler,

Last year I had to update my luggage on account of my daughter reclaiming her Ripcurl holdall when she departed for Rome.

Somewhat disconsolately, I set about looking for my own baggage, and I duly selected a chocolate brown medium-sized suitcase from your range costing $245.00 AUD. Paid for by credit card on October 4, 2012, the transaction was processed on October 8, 2012.

And off I trundled to Canada and France in January 2013 as is my wont this time each year (a work thing).

Imagine my disappointment when I discovered somewhere between 'pancakes' and 'croissants' that I could no longer manoeuvre the retractable (ha! ha! ha!) handle to either go up or down on my brand new suitcase.

Completely inconvenienced by this product failure, I resolved to return the bag when I had a spare day that did not entail rain to the Sydney Luggage Centre in Mascot where I had bought it from and request either a replacement bag or repairs to fix the faulty feature.

Thus this afternoon, single-handely dodging rain clouds and semi-trailers, I set off from Newtown to Mascot with the offending suitcase strapped to my bike.

Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that Antler's customer service had finished for me when I walked out of the shop last October and was not going to be returning any time soon.

The very minute I explained my mission, I was regaled with the shop assistant's opinion that the fault was highly likely to have happened as a result of the airline's negligence and therefore was nothing to do with Antler and the Sydney Luggage Centre.

I remonstrated that irrefutable evidence pointing to such a conclusion was scant, and that it was disappointing it couldn't be repaired without me incurring the quoted repair fee of $88 AUD. As our conversation progressed, it started to dawn on me that my suitcase had probably never been fit for purpose...

"Had it been in the hold?"
"Did it travel on the carousel for any time?"

It's a suitcase, of course it went in the hold and on the carousel...after all isn't that what suitcases do? Personally I'm always anxious when they're not in the hold or on the carousel! And anyway, aren't they supposed to be capable of a long-haul trip or two without malfunctioning prematurely.

At no point did I ever entertain the notion the suitcase was intended to be a decorative feature in my home or anywhere else for that matter - the intention at purchase was always that my suitcase would travel on planes and carousels in a robust manner, in fact in a manner fit for purpose.

So dear Team Antler, just to recap, I would like my suitcase repaired without incurring the $88 fee and if that turns out not to be possible then I would like a replacement.

Thank you in anticipation of a response.

Kind regards,
Sue Abbott
Freedom Cyclist

Monday, July 29, 2013

Vive le Sydney Morning Herald

(Image: screen capture, SMH)

Update: Thursday, August 1, 2013
...rather read twitter


Update: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
...oh dear, I'm still bored, and Peter Hartcher, I can't forgive you re JG...and one more thing, you're totally wrong with 'Voters now at ease blah blah blah...' because...oh I've just remembered, I'm not a 'voter' anymore due to self imposed ban to take effect this coming election...

(sigh...not looking good for me and SMH)


Update: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
...still hate its tabloid format, and will never be able to forgive how it treated Julia Gillard - ho hum what to do - don't want SMH to fall over but in all honesty it's really boring...


After a month travelling in Europe and getting my news via various online portals, I decided that the time had come to call it quits with the Sydney Morning Herald...basically before they did with me!

Long before I'd departed for Vienna, journos interviewing journos (common on Radio National these days) had been talking up the SMH paper 'dumping me' and that this 'once-upon-a-time-unimaginable-act' would happen sooner than later... rather than wait for that dreaded day I thought I'd get in first; I'd show me I could manage without our daily connection; I'd show me I could manage to inform myself with screens and 'ceiling wax and other fancy stuff, oh Puff...' (whoops, I digress!) and that once I got back to Australia, I'd never buy the SMH again - I'd see, I could do it.

Only I couldn't.

30 years in Australia, 30 years reading the SMH...

...I just can't walk away - so if someone has to do the walking in this relationship, they're going to have to do it!

In the meantime, first thing when I wake up tomorrow...

...I'm going to rush up the street to the corner shop, choose the neatest folded one, buy it...then rush home, hold it and read it...

...only 1 more sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Honda funds helmet law research

(Image: 2008 Pedal and Motor Cycle Helmet Performance Study brochure)

Thinking back to Dr Dinh's letter in the MJA and his claim that ‘this Sydney based study was the first to place motorcyclists and pedal cyclists side by side,’ I want to know why didn’t the media ask whatever happened to the University of New South Wales School of Safety Science’s Pedal and Motor Cycle Helmet Performance Study in 2008?

Was that study ever completed or was it affected by the confusing closure of the School of Risk and Safety Science?

Has that study been re-purposed into the new one mentioned by Dr Dinh, providing a reconditioned weapon for the helmet lobby in their quest for constant PR?

And just as it was troubling back then to discover that UNSW research staff also worked for one of UNSW’s study’s funding partners

…so it is troubling now that a slick of oil can be seen behind the new combined pedal and motor cyclist helmet study. In the MJA, Dr Dinh notes that funding was provided by Institute of Injury and Trauma Management and St George Honda Trauma and Critical Care Research Programme.

Can information be objective when motor-vehicle companies are behind the research?

Could there be a conflict or a perceived conflict of interest?

Perhaps Honda could just stop making killing machines if they want to help?

Whatever, could our media please start quizzing the spin - because as I've mentioned before, that's what's doing the rounds at the moment...with their blessing.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

WTF, America...go home and take your bombs with you

(Image: screen capture from The Guardian)

Breaking news from The Guardian...

So my question to you, my democratically elected representatives in Canberra, tell me this, why do we have to play 'War Games' with the Americans?

They're big, they're bullies, and they don't give a shit about our environment - it's too too sad

Anyhoo, because you're not, I'm screaming from my rooftop:


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Bus-Driver-Parent - Sydney's full of them

(Me & my colourful Gronnigen cardigan)

Darling niece on Sydney bus travelling along Parramatta Road text me this arvo to say that bus driver had been swearing away at some pedestrian he had just missed when suddenly he said out loud to all of them on board:

"Where's her helmet?"

Darling niece looked up and burst out laughing...

"...because there you were cycling by wearing black cardigan with colourful flowers! - can't stop laughing - HA! HA! HA!"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

You, my dear Australian, still need bicycle helmet law

(Cycling in Pienza, Tuscany, Italy)

When bicycle helmets were launched onto the unsuspecting Australian public in 1991, their illusionary allure of safety was pedalled further by those who had an interest in them...aka helmet promoters - no surprise there.

But why did the Australian media just parrot the delusion in their annoying pollyanna manner which has continued to this very day?

I will never get why the Australian media didn't see that mandatory helmet laws were just a pseudo-solution to road safety, nor will I ever get why they embraced them so wholeheartedly without questioning any of the data presented whatsoever.

Brilliant PR, brilliant spin, yes...but as a result helmet promoters and their industry of manipulation have hoodwinked the Australian public without ever being properly held to account - ahem, 4th estate, where are you?

What really intrigues me is that more and more whether via travel, or blogs or other social media, we're discovering for ourselves the big world out there uses bicycles mostly without helmets yet instead of us then thinking something like...'ok maybe it's not so bad after all - why don't we try it too'...we succumb to neat little 'psy-op' manoeuvres that deftly remind us that despite fabulous overseas bike share programmes and fabulous bicycle cultures anywhere-else-but-here we Australians still need bicycle helmet laws - why do we fall for that crap?

If the ABC had someone doing a 'video news release' (VNR) from Leipzig on The Business last week, why didn't they have someone covering Velo-City 2013 in Vienna, just down the road.

Arguably one of the biggest bicycle conferences in the world with all 'Matters Bicycle' completely covered, the Australian mainstream media were sorely missing in action - pathetic, and there's no way I'm going to fall that neat little brainwashing message broadcast on The Business whispering to me that 'no matter what you see around the world, you, my dear, still need your mandatory bicycle helmet law.'


Monday, July 15, 2013

The medium is the message how the 'medium' embedded itself in these Florentine traffic 'messages,' influencing how I perceived them!!!

Long live street art and its artists

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Australian cycling - so infantile can it ever grow up?

(Image: screen capture from ABC News, The Business)

Dear Ticky,

Good to see mainstream media at last having a look (well, half a look) at why our bike share projects have been such a failure here in Australia.

But disappointing that you left the last word with Bicycle Network Victoria which seems to be a bit of an 'astro-turf' front for infrastructure, energy and resources lobby groups (aka mines and oil). I note that the recent Bicycle Network's Bicycle Futures Seminar had as their principle sponsor the Department of infrastructure, Energy and Resources (Tasmania) and that the RACV plays a major role in many of their other activities.

Anyhoo I recently attended the Velo-City 2013 bicycle conference in Vienna in a 'media' capacity as a result of my blogging (apparently 10,000-12,000 unique hits a month is quite a lot - who knew!)...and just in case you're interested, I have inserted the following links to the posts that I did in my conference media capacity...

"Velo-City 2013: I'm going cycling"
"Velo-City 2013: The pre's and so far stunning"
"Velo-City 2013: It's all happening...and it hasn't even started!"
"Velo-City 2013: Let the conference happen"
"Velo-City 2013: Mikael Colville Andersen"
"Velo-City 2013: VIPs and their thoughts"
"Velo-City 2013: Philippe Crist, International transport forum"
"Velo-City 2013: Shut-up to all the safety nannies, best Mikael"
"Velo-City 2013: Dave Horton and the helmet question"
"Arrivederci Roma" (with a Velo-City mention at end of post)

...but I have to say it was disappointing that despite Velo City being one of the world's leading bicycle conferences (1,300 particiapants) so few journalists from Australia went along to have a peep how countries other than here do cycling.

I suppose it was only to be expected given the Australian mainstream media's penchant for PR and spin, and their resulting position on bicycle helmets, but nevertheless this uninformed position continues to intrigue me, and I completed an article on this matter whilst at the Velo City conference - "Australian media and helmet promotion - a toxic romance" (also published today on Megaphone Oz).

Still with regards to your 3 minutes on Monday night, at least you actually featured something on the bike share failure alongside a very brief glimpse of an Australian person cycling in circles without a helmet - it's a start I suppose.

Kind regards,
Freedom Cyclist Blog

Monday, July 8, 2013

Arrivederci Roma

Brief cases...

...and shopping

...and wild things

...and little black dresses

...and Via del Corso traffic

...with white shirt and white pants

...and dreds

...and terracotta handbags

...and terracotta walls

...and pink bikes

...and even perfect parking

It's all in here somewhere...

...but now I've had to leave that beautiful European mix of cycling; leave Rome and Florence and Salzburg and Vienna (sigh) and come back to Australia for the usual helpings of mysogyny and nanny states and public do-gooders and helmet laws and court cases (next matter listed for September 19, 2013, Downing Centre, Sydney)...

Oh, Velo-City2013 you seem forever away and now all I have to look forward to is Adelaide next year...hehehehe!...ha ha ha!...HA! HA! HA!...MWAH! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! (hysterical)

Dream over...nightmare recommences

Friday, July 5, 2013


Roof top view of Firenze

...and BN3's X-box 360 race view of Florence!


...and baskets...

...and mobiles


...and children

Gold and more gold!



Friends out shopping

Dreamy tourists...

...and happy tourists


...and more sunnies

Pork pie...



...and statues

Passengers, here...

...and here

...and here

"I bike Florence"... we did...

...with Team leader Jess and other 'I bike Florence-ers'

As with all towns, always a need for good locks...

...and probably street troughs too.

Australia, how about it?