This is not your typical rant of a cyclist against senseless, inconsiderate drivers or a driver against arrogant, lycra-clad cyclists. But don’t worry, you’ll get your chance to rant at the end.
I find myself in a unique position. I cycled a lot – for many years while I was an Olympic rower then a few as a competitive cyclist. I ended up winning the 2009 Tour of New Zealand, then I became the National Time Trial Champion a year later.
But due to a head injury I sustained through a fall at a cycling race at last year’s Tour Down Under, I no longer cycle. And I had to surrender my car licence. I’ve recently been through the medical and practical driving test and have got it back after nine months of not driving.
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I’m cycling on a side street crossing a major suburban arterial road in Adelaide.
At the intersection, I scan left and the traffic is banked up from traffic lights 300 metres away. To my right is a sizeable gap. Off I go.
A shiny 4WD accelerates towards me, closing the gap faster than I thought possible, but nowhere near fast enough for panic.
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ANYONE who has spent any time in NSW would be familiar with the provocative “small-penis” advertisement aimed at combating hoon driving.
The ad, filmed in slow motion with a classical music soundtrack, features a pimply-faced youth, still on his P-plates, who almost loses control of his crappy old Toyota Corolla while trying to do a burn-out.
His mates in the back seat look at each other, raise an eyebrow and smirk, then make a wiggly gesture with their little finger as if to say their driver friend must be so poorly equipped tackle-wise that he has to compensate by being a big man with the car.
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“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” - Abraham Maslow
I was driving through Sydney on Friday around midnight and found myself surrounded by cars filled with youngsters. I’ve never felt so conscious of my own space.
The drivers were like roosters standing over their nests: music pounding, windows down, making their presence felt. I glanced over at one or two of the drivers, their glares were nothing short of threatening. It was a distasteful blend of “I’m out on the town with the boys” and “If you stare at me again I’ll have you.”
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