Explored some areas around the face of the hills that I’d not been to before. Short ride, but quite steep, and some great views on the way back down.
Today is the last stage of the 2012 Tour Down Under, it’s about to start shortly.
Yesterday’s penultimate stage saw the hilltop finish at Willunga Hill for the first time (previously they always rode back down for a flat finish). I went down there to watch it and had a great day. It might seem like a weird spectator sport since you actually see very little of the race, but as you can see when you watch road races on TV there are always plenty of people who want to get out there. The key is that it isn’t really about following the race, from the position I was in, about 300m from the top of the Willunga Hill climb, we saw the riders pass twice, the second time being the end of the stage. There was commentary played through loudspeakers so we could follow the progress of what was going on in the race (but of course you could do that anywhere with ABC radio), but the real appeal is be close up as the riders pass, cheering them on and to take part in the overall festive atmosphere created by the massed spectators. For us cyclists there is the added attraction of climbing the hill before the race comes through, I’ve been up there quite a few times, but riding through the town with the course marked out and lots of spectators already out as you climbed the hill really makes you feel part of the event and gives you an idea of what the race riders experience.
For today, with the result very close, the weather warming up a bit, and recovering after the 100km+ ride yesterday I’ll opt for the TV viewing option. The top riders are neck and neck and while the atmosphere at the finish line is great, I’ll be happy to watch from home and see every move in the battle for the overall victory.
A recent incident involving Shane Warne has resulted in a bunch of people calling for registration for cyclists.
I’d like to highlight a couple of points.
- Claims that cyclists have no right to be on the road because they don’t pay rego are just flat out wrong. As many point out, lots of cyclists do also have cars and are paying rego, but even for those such as myself who don’t own a car it is a false argument. Roads are not paid for by vehicle registration. They are payed for by everyone through taxes. Rego may help with upkeep, but since cyclists do virtually no damage to the roads then it’s hardly the case that they are getting a free ride.
- When was the last time you dobbed in a driver for talking on a mobile, not having a seatbelt, running a red light, illegal U-turn, cutting you off … or whatever, by noting their license plate and reporting it to the police? What are the police to do about unsubstantiated accusations of this sort anyway?
- This sort of thing always stirs up a lot of plain old bigotry. There are people that just hate cyclists for being cyclists, they try to rationalise it with an anecdote of that time they saw a cyclist do something wrong (which almost never did them any harm anyway) but it seems to mostly just be because they’re intolerant people who see cyclists as different from themselves. They do things like yell abuse, try to run you off the road, throw projectiles at you (sometimes with lights off so you can’t read the license plate so rego didn’t help there!), sabotage a world class cycling event, complain incessantly about lycra. They seem to mostly be offended that there are people not conforming to the societal requirement that you must love cars and use them to get everywhere (usually evidenced by the popular call “get a car” sometimes augmented by “homo”, showing evidence of a generally bigoted nature). What all cyclists have in common as a group is that they ride bikes. Some of them happen to be inconsiderate jerks with too little respect for other people – just like some motorists, pedestrians, public transport users …
- Pure Poison look at a typical anti-cyclist rant.
- This whole thing reminds me that I got knocked off my bike by a well-known sportsman once (no, I won’t say who) and it all ended very amicably. While he was in the wrong, his behaviour in acting responsibly in making sure myself and my bike were OK meant that I was happy to not make a fuss about it since clearly he’d made an honest error. I was also grateful to the other motorist who stopped to offer to be a witness if necessary. This one instance doesn’t say anything much in general but it’s interesting for me to reflect on how that could have turned into a big incident like the one in the papers at the moment if some of those involved had behaved differently.
- Update: Amber Halliday has some sensible advice at The Punch.
This was today. A little shorter than last year since I’m living a bit closer.
Up to Marble Hill via Montacute, then down to Basket Range and back up again via Pound Road. Some of the nicest areas in the hills that are still pretty close to town.
Started out heading for Fox Creek Rd, but realised that I probably didn’t have time to go that far (especially after a delayed start due to a puncture), so I decided to take the Paracombe turnoff from Gorge Rd which I’ve been meaning to check out for a while. I hadn’t been around the Paracombe/Ansteys Hill region before so it was good to check out a different area. There are great views as you come down, it’s well worth checking out.
Yes, it’s not official until Paris around this time tomorrow …. but he’s got it. Incredible time trial tonight after a great all round tour, in particular the tough chases he put in to keep in touch with the Schlecks in the alps. Watch on SBS tomorrow night to see him ride into Paris in the yellow jersey.