Never let facts or balance get in the way of a good letter

It’s quite incredible the hatred and prejudicial emotions that are aroused by the mere idea that cyclists may actually get some return on the rates they pay. Here’s Heather Bevan spouting out more than a few untruths and inaccuracies.

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And let’s not get started on this guy who says in a blog post:

Something needs to be done about the antisocial behaviour of the majority of cyclists on Wellington’s roads, footpaths, trails and walkways.

“The majority of cyclists” he says. Utter unfounded tosh. Oh no, wait, he used to ride a bike when he was younger, so it’s perfectly alright to group all cyclists into one handy stereotype.

Peck off!

peckWell Councillor Peck sure has one thing right – cycling related controversy attracts a tonne of comments and clicks. As I’ve pointed out recently, I’m pretty sure Stuff.co.nz’s perpetual articles on car versus bike topics reflect an editorial policy that’s purely out to increase their stats without offering any useful insight. When was the last time an article appeared about how road funding actually works, or the pros and cons of bicycle registration? Never, that’s when. Instead we get endless tripe about how one road user group is annoying to the other one.

Advance Stop Lines – not everyone gets them yet

WP_20140514_001It’s great to see Advance Stop Lines (ASLs) appearing all over Wellington – they really help justifying moving to the front of lines of traffic when you’re on your bike, and make it much easier to get away from the lights quickly.

Not everyone is able to decipher what the bright green paint boxes and massive bicycle signs mean yet though. Super driving Combined Taxis!*

*Sarcasm.

Bonkers letter writer, Jack Ruben

At the risk of becoming a blog solely concerned with bonkers letter writers to the local rag, here’s a bonkers letter to the local rag from some chump called Jack Ruben:

Your story Heedless pedestrians push up crash stats (April 21) omits one vital reason for the increasing crash statistics – cyclists.

I suggest they are the cause of many accidents which go unreported because they wear no form of identification, and, having caused an accident, simply ride off at high speed, leaving the driver and pedestrian to sort it out.

I state this from personal experience. How can the public report such an incident? And who would take action and how?

I try not to be anti-cyclist, but they are their own worst enemies. They speed on pavements, putting pedestrians in danger, ignore traffic signals and road signs, ride up one-way streets the wrong way, and weave among traffic, causing damage to cars and simply ride off. I suggest you place a reporter and photographer in the CBD for just one day and then report.

Let’s not always blame only the pedestrians and drivers. Some of my best friends are cyclists, flashy lycra and all.

JACK RUBEN

Karori

I’m not going to waste time addressing the claims in this other than to say that Jack makes completely unsubstantiated claims with zero data to back them up. Lack of facts doesn’t stop it getting published in the Dom though.

Incidentally, our mate Jack is a former Wellington councillor who thinks squeezing more cars into the CBD is a brilliant idea and who seems to spend most of his time throwing his opinion around by writing letters to newspapers and commenting on articles. Sounds like he could really do with some fresh air – perhaps he could join “some of his (cycling) friends” on a bike ride?

Another stuff.co.nz up

Took issue with Stuff.co.nz (yet again) this week after they published a report on the horrible death of a cyclist in Christchurch and opened up the comments section. For once the commenters on the whole were largely restrained, but the problem I have is that they don’t open up comments for poor driving or car crash articles. Here are a few recent examples:

Motorist drove 200km after all-day ‘bender’
Fatal car accident in Waikato
Fatal car crash on Wellington’s Haywards Hill

Why the difference in policy? I extracted one tweet out of Stuff which said that the first one was a court report for which reports are never opened. That doesn’t explain the rest of the articles though or why comments were opened up on a piece about an inquest into a Chinese driver who knocked over a group of motorcyclists.

Imagine a report on a fatality and a bunch of cyclists commenting on how all car drivers are law-breaking maniacs anyway so this sort of thing was bound to happen? Yes, it would be wrong, so why’s it OK to allow ignorant anti-cyclists to rant at the end of an article when it’s the other way round?

New Wellington record for cycling’s iconic hour

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Miramar’s Nick Warren established a new Wellington Velodrome record for ‘The Hour’, one of the iconic benchmarks in cycling, riding 41.135km in the allotted 60 minutes. The 37-year-old Port Nicholson Poneke Cycling Club (PNP) member rode consistently, recording lap splits of between 28 and 30 seconds throughout to complete 123 laps and a further 135m on 11 March 2014.

The world hour record was first set in 1893 and has been attempted by many of the sport’s greats such as Eddy Merckx, Chris Boardman and Miguel Indurain. Former world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara has announced his intention to go for the world record later this year.

Warren used aerodynamic tri bars and his ride is the first known effort in the discipline for Wellington’s velodrome.

“I’m very happy with that distance,” said Warren. “I was aiming for 40km so to add another kilometre and a bit to that is fantastic.”

“It was a very intense ride. There are no distractions or changes of scene on the track compared to say, riding a 40km time trial on the road. I had two or three things I kept focussing on to keep pace and block out the pain.”

Peter Moore, PNP’s Track Convener said Warren’s record was remarkable. “Most hour records are set on smooth wooden indoor tracks, sometimes at altitude, so riding over 41km is a great achievement on Wellington velodrome’s concrete surface, in open air and at sea level,” said Moore. “It’s the first known hour record for Wellington but it’s not a soft target.”

Warren is an accomplished track cyclist, winning the local track cycling series, the Burkes Cycles Speed League in 2013, and the 8km Masters’ Stayers Cup race last December. He also holds the fastest time on the track for the 3000m pursuit, but says the hour record is there to be beaten.

“There are some very strong riders in Wellington who I’d love to see having a go at this.”

Image ©Joseph Kelly (www.josephkelly.com).