February 27th, 2011

One third of all signs should be for cyclists

Ever since Venturi et. al. came out with their book Learning From Las Vegas, architects have been well up on signage. Signage became something we do. We stopped thinking buildings themselves had to be signs, and realised they could have signs attached. An in case you don't know, Learning From Las Vegas, is a shameless ripoff of Tom Wolfe's The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, and I'm that someone with a big nose who knows, to quote Morrissey, who knows Tom Wolfe is perhaps the greatest ever architectural writer.
I know though you came not for 80s pop references, but to read my latest grand revelation, and here it is: one third of all directional signs should speak to cyclists. Currently, virtually none do. Signs telling driving where to go block out the sky in some places, yet cyclists are expected to know where there are cyclepaths. In an age when planners are dreaming of one third of all trips being by bike, it strikes me as absurd that as many signs—if you add them all up—tell us where not to cycle, as where we can safely. Right now, signs could go up everywhere, at minimal cost, either to the coffers, or politicians fawning to drivers.

Cycle Specific Designer Clothing on Pitt Street

Sable and Argent
is a really cool bike shop in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, that I guess have done quite well thank you very much, since the Burke Street Cycleway was laid at their doorstep. So well, in fact, they have taken over one of Sydney's most prominent retail locations, in the Strand Arcade, right on Pitt Street Mall. What better way to show thousands of passersby that cycling is suave, than to put a Rapha sports coat in such a prominent window! Sable and Argent: doing more for cycling in Sydney than council.

Birth of the World Linen Run Movement

The World Linen Run Movement stands for sartorial social rides in warmer climes. Though it is not a race, a brisk enough speed is set to enjoy the sensation of breeze through unbuttoned linen, and the delicious pleasure of leaving behind greenies who never actually ride, but thought they should "lend their support" by coming along—as though any time anyone pedals it is some kind of anti oil protest. We began our ride two weekends ago by hammering forward up a long hill, until our greenie friends (thanks guys for coming along and lending support), were well out of sight, so we could stop to take a group photo, without their day-glow and naked painted bodies spoiling our photos.
You will note from these photos that cream tires are very much in vogue this season among the Linen Run set. Upright positions too, seem all the vogue. Not that Linen Run aficionados are exclusive or snobby. We simply layer our cycling in thousands of shifting cultural clues, to exclude newcomers whose thoughts about everything don't precisely match ours. It makes for fewer arguments.
Speaking of arguments though, The Hon. Hamish—god bless—took the opportunity to share points of view from Quadrant and The Spectator, plus his many years of faithful service to Australians for Constitutional Monarchy. Smashing good fun. Coordinator of the Hunter Region Bicycle Planning Group, Bernard Hockings MVO, remained blissfully unaware, cocooned in the protective bubble of memories from his last trip to Europe.  

The Fernleigh Track in Newcastle is one of the world's great rail trails, almost linked now to another 90km length of path being completed around Lake Macquarie. It is attracting cyclists the way macadam roads attracted pioneers of this pass time in the late eighteen hundreds. The Linen Run franchise, meanwhile, is fast making me, Dr. Behooving, stinkingly rich, with MOUs already penned with suave cycling brethren in Singapore, Honduras, and Jining Northern China. Perhaps you too would like to organize a Linen Run for your stinking hot town? Just drop me a line, and we shall talk turkey.   

Thanks also to Treadlie Magazine for getting so many along, with their powerful promotional entry on The World's First Linen Run. It's worth a quick read. Bunny indeed!