It seems that summer has taken hold with gusto this year making jumpers and jackets a distant memory and raging fires the new reality. But according to the fearless and visionary leaders of our nation, there’s no need for concern. The situation is well in hand as evidenced by their attendance of sporting events and proclamations that “it’s going to be a great summer of cricket“…except that houses, farms and forests are burning everywhere and things are very far from OK.
Stuff me into a giant slingshot and shoot me into the ocean.
At least on a more local level, some good things seem to be happening. One was the International Cycling Safety Conference held at the Queensland University of Technology which was attended by academics and other genuinely important people from various organisations. I went along to the people’s night at the QUT Cube and immersed myself in the display of millions of dollars of valuable research into improvements we should be making to our infrastructure to stimulate the growth of cycling for transport in Australia.
It heartens me greatly to see events like this because while the general consensus is that the state of Australia’s attitude to cycling and cyclists is a laughing stock at best compared to other countries, this shows that we are making at least some effort to move forward to include bicycles as a serious component of the transport mode mix.
And I saw tangible evidence of improvement when I left the conference as I rode along a newly opened section of the bicentennial bikeway with it’s fantastic separated pedestrian and bicycle lanes. There’s more infrastructure goodness still being built with piles being driven into the riverbed and workers in fluro clothing everywhere so this section should really become a cycling highlight around the CBD.
The heat may be on but riding bikes can still be a thing with the right equipment. One such piece of equipment that I’ve been lucky enough to get my mitts on is the DaBrim helmet brim which is a really clever wide hat brim that attaches to your helmet and provides ample shade for your face, ears and neck while gripping to the helmet like a drunken patron to a door jamb at three am with a bouncer trying to pull them outside (ok, I probably need to work on my analogies a bit but you get the idea).
Anyway, I recently put the DaBrim (I recommend the Sporty model) through it’s paces on a round trip through town aboard the Yuba Boda Boda. The first thing you may be asking about the DaBrim is why I didn’t simply buy a cheap hat, cut the middle out of it and somehow stick it my helmet. And the answer is: because I, like many of you, would stuff it up and end up with glue or zip ties all over my helmet and probably lose the brim anyway. Someone has put a great deal of thought into designing DaBrim and they cost as much as they do because they actually work. You can quickly switch DaBrim between helmets, it doesn’t fold over your face in a headwind and, with my testing so far in a fair breeze, it didn’t even hint that it might come off the helmet while in use.
The other thing you may be thinking with regard to the DaBrim is that it probably makes me look like Smokey the Bear (Lob knows we need that guy here right now) or some kind of canvasser of religious services/awarenesses/collections and you’d be right. But here’s the thing: I don’t give a shit. See, here in the veritable intellectual vacuum that is Australia right now, amongst the many dehumanising and downright daft pieces of legislation that we have in place is the Mandatory Helmet Law (MHL) which dictates that I will wear a foam hat at all times whilst riding a bicycle even if I’m just doing 10km/h down the bikeway in a pair of thongs to fetch some bread. Given that and the fact that Queensland has some of the highest skin cancer rates in the world, the best piece of safety equipment you can be wearing while riding a bike is a hat which is not easily possible while wearing a helmet making DaBrim a particularly great piece of equipment. Sure, it might not be for a fast road ride and there is some limit on how much wind it will handle before problems arise but I’m gonna be trying to squeeze into as many rides as I can.
So, back to my ride. Firstly, I needed to swing past Westfield at Chermside to pick up some festive season type gifts and then headed onward to the Gallery Of Modern Art to an exhibition that I’ve been wanting to see for quite some time (while I still can) so, given that I needed to carry stuff and that it was really hot and that I was going to a place where it would be better that I didn’t arrive looking and smelling like a greasy chip, I decided that the Yuba Boda Boda e-cargo bike was the best option.
And while the problem of clueless and inconsiderate twats smoking at the bike racks at Westfield Chermside persists, all up it was a great little jaunt with the Perceptions of Time exhibition being an uplifting display of mainly digital works to rejuvenate my imagination and rekindle at least some of my faith in humanity. I didn’t take any photos of the exhibition because I was too deeply immersed to think of it which is to say that I was too lazy and apathetic to do so. And so it goes.
Finally, because I need money, I need to work. And because I need to work, I need to commute. And while the lion’s share of my commuting requirements are covered by my Brompton and a few more recently by the Yuba Boda Boda, there’s nothing quite like grabbing a bike that’s technologically quite bland and hitting the road on that instead.
Hence, I grabbed my now-retired-from-cargo-duty Cannondale F4, packed the pannier bags with the day’s requirements for sitting in an office and surfing the Internet and pointed my nose down the Kedron Brook Bikeway. And what an enjoyable bit of riding it turned out to be.
It’s amazing what coming back to a really simple bike can do to remind you of the awesome simplicity of cycling.
That’s all I have for today. Next time I hope to have done a short bikepacking jaunt which I actually had planned a couple of days ago but was forced to postpone because of the oppressive heat. I literally had everything packed but alas it was not meant to be. Hopefully more on that soon.
Until next time, ride while you still can, smile while you still have teeth and see you out there sometime.