Cycling in Sydney Australia
Did you get hooked into watching the Veledrome race coverage? I watched more than I planned. It occurred to me that it's high time SBS, which calls itself, Bike Central, devoted some substantial coverage to utility cycling.
Racing is all well and good, but its not going change our world for the better as we know that using bikes as transport, surely can. I don't have to list the ways. You know them already.
My specific challenge to SBS, which I spell out on my blog, http://situp-cycle.com, is to do an in-depth look as the public bikes of London, in the lead up to the Olympics
. Find out why there are working better than expected. Delve their ability to bring non riders to the idea of bikes as transport.Ask the key question, why cant we have the same?
Think this is a fair challenge? Then support it, please. Add your own variant on the utility bike story that you'd like SBS to get their teeth into .
To prime the pump further, I add this cut down version of one of my films, now called. The Return of the Speedwells.
But not after serious consideration :-)
You'd be surprised (unless you are thoroughly jaded like myself).
Sean, I've been making docos all my life and won a raft of prizes. I've tried making concrete proposals to both the ABC and SBS without success. I'm hoping others will have more luck.
I do think we have a strange sport and leisure dominated cycle culture here which is fine for those who ride that way. But it's not as yet an everyday bikes-as-transport culture which is what interests me.
The too can happily co exist of the latter is given a chance to flourish. A neigbour who has taught high school at Woy Woy for many years, told me, and I've never forgotten this, that pre the comp. helmet law, Woy Woy used to look like Amsterdam in terms of bike traffic.
I'm sure he's exaggerating but I find it interesting that now one sees so few bikes there today even though the area is still flat of course, and not that well off..
It was this which led me to suggest that our comp. helmet laws worked as a selective herbicide. They favored those who already used and liked helmets, whilst killing off those riders who'd felt quite safe, didn't feel the need, thought helmets dorky, etc.
My informant said it was dramatic. Within a short time kids stopped riding to his school and the large bike sheds were pulled down. I have a short clip with this guy in my film; Sue Abbott fights Helmets
My conclusion is that we need to think how our cities could come to look more like Europe in terms of bike traffic, I think that this would be great in every way, not to mention very attractive to both locals and visitors.
There has been a growth in number, it's true, but let's not hide the fact that there are systemic blockages to the really big numbers, those that would generate the forests of parked bikes that you see all over Europe.
For me the steps to those urban bike forests, both private and public bikes, are as follows.
1. A helmet exemption for public bikes to specifically toss that albatross. Mexico city and Tel Aviv have done this. I suspect Vancouver is close.
This will allow public bikes to thrive which, in turn, 2. will entice non riders to try and use bikes for short trip transport bringing on who new ridership
3. It will also uncouple bikes in the public mind from the sports work out mode which now dominates the image. Change need not damage that activity, but rather add a whole new cycling public .
4. This will in turn vastly improve relations between other traffic and bikes, as has happened overseas (see my film Message to Melbourne from Dublin Bikes)
5. With public bikes renting in large numbers a day, (Bicings in Barcelona do 35000 rentals a day. See the Bicing Story.) the separated bike paths, much loved by this type of utility cyclist, will get a powerful new supporter group and, in turn, more money will be spent on them
.6. Threats by know nothings like Alan Jones, the Daily Tele and Premier O'Farrell will be history, and we will join the rest of the word with a balanced cycle culture.
I have suggested to the networks, (and to Dick Smith) a film on these lines. I see putting this thesis to the test in what could be a very dramatic and controversial issue driven program, perhaps along the lines of what the ABC will do tonight with the climate change question
Mike maybe have a look at this. We are not Robinson Crusoe in doing things different to Europe.
you, you... splitter!
Thanks to the great link to the checklist site, Bob. I've written to them. Mike
Mike thanks for your detailed reply! This makes much more sense (to me at least) than the sport vs utility cyclists angle.
Si, I am indeed thoroughly jaded. To tell the truth I find the cyclists vs drivers debate fairly depressing, it doesn't seem to be getting us anywhere, no matter how much in the right we are.
The idea of adding a sports vs utility cyclists debate (ie why do sports cyclists get all the attention, they're putting normal people off) is utterly depressing. Although thanks to Mike's detailed reply I now know that's not his angle.
Sean, I didn't take the OP to be suggesting the SBS cover the utility angle instead of sport cycling, but rather in addition to it.
Has anyone read this? http://www.sydneycyclist.com/forum/topics/100th-anniversary-of-adel...
SBS look like showing this piece of advocacy according to Omar's post. Stop whining and get behind this effort.
Great idea Mike but I'm not sure if SBS are sending crews to the Olympics given that Foxtel, Nine and Macquarie Radio have secured the rights to London and Vancouver.
To send people to London outside of that advertising boon, costs $$. So if you were suggesting to them to send a crew to London for example you're talking plane fares for a crew of say three (producer, camera, sound), plus whatever wages and equipment costs are relevant. Comes into the thousands.
I don't know how SBS crews internationally, but I assume their news comes from sources around the globe rather than their own crews.
I've done some mixing for SBS on a design people show. The same guy does another show for SBS - both done on a shoestring, and I'm not sure if it's SBS money. He may find funding then sell to SBS (I'll see if I can find out). So these boutique shows may not be originating in SBS. Far better to sell them your documentary - or offer to shoot one in return for a guaranteed sale. (Which is a fun idea if you can find the $$).
I dont watch the cycling shows on SBS, but are they local or international? Is the footage from overseas shooting that they've bought and linked together locally?
As always it's the old $$ that drives TV content. I think it's all a great idea and wonder if pitching it to Foxtel might be a better idea ..
I'm growing on the idea of a cycle show that covers all aspects of cycling, there are so many, just listen to the cycling 360 podcasts.
If you had a similar formula of 3, Moe, Larry and Curly as they do in Top Gear it could work well.
A know it all leader (Moe[BikeSnobNYC]), someone eager to do well (Larry[pick a blogger you know doing it all and lovin it] ) and an upright bike riding bike guy, (Curly [sorta Grant Petersonish]). The formula works with the correct combo of riders.
The subjects are quite endless, showing people selections of bikes for different tasks, a three way challenge to use a specific type of bike to do a specific task. Which is the best allrounder.