April 27th, 2010

Help give shape to Australia's NATIONAL BIKE

It doesn't exist yet, but when it does, you will know I had the idea. The Federal Government is to sponsor the development of a national bicycle for Australia. I'm seeing Mao's Flying Pigeon for the twenty-first century, with 20 speed internal hub gears, hub brakes, titanium frames and mudguards, LED lights powered from hub generators, RM Williams leather saddles and grips and anything else we can think of that would behoove Australians who cycle. And that's just for the commuter version! Because people value individual expression, there will be fixies, road bikes, mountain bikes—whatever Australian desire. They will all cost the same though, making the commuter version far better value.

Government subsidies will get the national bike to Australians for $1000 each, not the $6000 you would expect to pay for such a bike in the shops. The bikes will be 100% Aussie made, beyond maintenance, and will create instant havoc in any city not prepared for thousands more people commuting by bike—the rush will be on to give car lanes to bikes, and build end-of-trip parking and shower facilities.

Whatever Rudd gave Toyota to develop a hybrid car for Australia, is to be doubled for this scheme. Where the hybrid car funds were to reduce greenhouse output, the national bike scheme will have these added advantages: reduce morbidity and associated health care costs; help those on low incomes; reduce traffic congestion; and help facilitate urban consolidation.

If I become your military dictator, I will roll this out straight away. Assuming I will just be your democratically elected prime minister, I should ask for your comments. So please tell, what would you hope for from a "bike for the nation"?    

Car taxes don't buy you the road.

I don't listen to talk-back radio, so could not have known that many of the old geezas who love to call in, believe their road taxes buy them the right to the road, over cyclists, and I guess even pedestrians. It's exasperating really, to think this country has been sold for a song to out and out cretins (no offense meant to Greeks from that island, who gave us corbelling and rhytons and so many fine legends).

Constantine's Arch, Rome                                  Traffic control in Pompeii         Hunter Street before grand theft auto         A video making my point exactly

Road taxes pay for the bitumen, not the stolen land that bitumen is laid on. Building alignments in cities predate the invention of cars (der!) and horse drawn carriages went at bicycle pace, not 50-110km/h. The suggestion that road taxes have bought drivers the right to burl their way over all but the footpath, at such deadly speed, in half tonne piles of steel, is reprehensible actually. The Romans would not have stood by and allowed this happen. They would have built triumphal arches like those designed to slow chariots entering the city, or set protruding stones in the road, like those found in Pompeii. Thoughts about civic decorum that arose during The Renaissance would likewise have spared Florence. Imperial order would have spared China. In fact I can't think of a city in all of history that would have given Toad the free reign he has enjoyed in the past 70 years.

I would like to calculate the real cost that should be apportioned to car owners, if the cost of taking land from the people for their special high speed pursuit was paid for in rent, but I think my point is made better by the guy in this video. Generous soul that I am, I would go so far as to say cars could use the road free, if they kept to the speed of a bike.