Monday, 31 October 2011

Tip 107: Pedal squares

Regular quadrilaterals got a bad name until concerned hipsters mounted a thankless campaign to rehabilitate their image: sporting square-frame spectacles; rocking checked shirts; and promoting suffocating conformity.
Newly endorsed by the cool set, your defective pedalling technique will no longer be a source of derisive glances, but of seething envy.

BONUS TIP: When everyone's buying up John Lennon glasses and tie dye, you will know it is time to research  how to "introduce power tangentially to your pedal action." Until then, just have the phrase on hand so you are ready to appear avant-garde.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Tip 106: Wimp out

Others ride, you drive. You cruise the roads with your elbow in the air, singing the Beach Boys and making those harmonies ring. Your hair is like a sculpture by Damien Hirst, your armpits are as dry as the surface of the moon, and you draw people's eye as you meander here and there in the chinos everyone will be wearing next season.
You feel electric that night and have literally the best bowl of muesli ever next morning. 

BONUS TIP: Each time everyone sits around to reminisce about the time they rode out to Upper Fieldton you will fall silent, stare into your beer stein, espresso cup or bidon. Your jaw will slacken and your posture will droop and as they laugh you will feel the pealing regret of a life half-lived.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Tip 105: Fox your bike mechanic

If you're waiting by the phone like some lovelorn 14 year old with a head full of ideas best left in songs by the Cure, and you're breathing deep sighs, and your mechanic never rings and then it's past shop closing hours and the phone rings out and you know there's a reason you couldn't fix that weird noise yourself and you are shaking with worry for your bike - that's when you know what love is.
Try to face the idea that you might lose each other. 
Cry, write some poems and draw a charcoal sketch of the wide open road to remind yourself of the good times you shared.
BONUS TIP: Then spend about six hours online considering a new bike.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Tip 104: Give the bird

Compared to consigning your enemies to years of sensory deprivation broken up only by CIA officers doing weird stuff to their junk, giving someone the bird seems pretty mild as far as 21st century retribution goes. 
But - when given with a full arm motion - it is almost as satisfying as denying someone's rights.

BONUS TIP: If anyone in the cycling community has a secret service with or without aircraft, owns land in which the status of law is unclear, or is open to holding dangerous motorists in morally dubious circumstances please leave contact details below and we'll see if we can hook something up.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Tip 103: Creative ways to entertain with Salmon!

With summer coming on, it's time to think about entertaining.  To make sure what you serve up is what everyone is talking about, take the time to do a little more with your Salmon this summer.  Here are a few tips:

Smoked Salmon: Ride a bike the wrong way up a street while under the influence of the weed.

Tinned Salmon: Ride a bike the wrong way up a street while wearing a suit of armour.

Salmon Roe: Ride the wrong way up Saville Row.   

Blini: Ride the wrong way up a street while covered in sour cream and riding a small flat bike made of buckwheat.  (Buckwheat recumbents are the latest in bamboo bike technology: likely to be hot this summer, but stale shortly thereafter).


Salmon Mousse: if you really want to make an event to remember, trap a bull moose, tame and saddle it before riding it up a one way street in Alaska.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Tip 102: Suck at running

Equating, conflating, exaggerating, whatever you want to call it, it's easy to imagine all those pedal strokes make one a cheetah-swift runner. Ballerina like in grace and rhinoceros like in power. The reality is the most ridiculous pain through feet legs back and lungs and giving up heinously close to home.

BONUS TIP: Do not be tempted by triathlon.  Would you set out to make a bloody Mary if you only had tomato juice? Make a BLT with just lettuce? Buy neapolitan ice cream that was all strawberry? Consume a breakfast cereal that just snapped?

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Tip 101: Ride on the sidewalk

You are not a criminal. You endorse taxation, smile at police officers and keep your beard neatly trimmed. You read the world news section as you patiently wait for your morning espresso. You play it straighter than a gay 18 year old home for Christmas.
But sometimes a citizen *has* to ride on the sidewalk. A bike-lane went all Houdini on you.  It's safer than salmoning. It's faster.  Whatever.
So you take a little walk on the wildside. 
Look out.
You might catch your handlebar in the apron of a waiter delivering chicken soup to pavement diners, and end up being punched by a hungry mob while wallowing in broth.
You might have a little tete-a-tete with a car exiting a driveway.
You will certainly meet the quiet assassins: cross streets. The more insignificant the street, the more likely its gutters are precipices. Unless your frame is made of composites taken from a stoner's beanbag, you're gonna feel that jolt all the way up your spine.

BONUS TIP: Worse than cross streets is cross pedestrians.  Noone knows when the foot-borne tribes got up to scratch with the law, but many are aware bicycles are vehicles under the law. They will recite statutes, lecture in shrill voices, grasp at your clothing. Nod sagely but don't dismount. You're not a criminal, remember?

Friday, 21 October 2011


100 tips.  phew.

I want to give some shout outs and let people know how the blog is going.  If you are here for lols, please continue to trawl the archives over on the right! ->


To @treadlie for tons of twitter affection
To for the props. Read his blog.
To for comments and lolsies a-plenty
To for swamping the place with traffic from one tiny obscure link in one of his posts. Love. Your. Blog.
To for my first ever RT. made me happy.

To repeat readers: (esp: cubbieberry, Ollinm, robw, lbf, snowgum, sharrowsdc, captainbadbeard, finola, blackjack shellac, ecogrrl) and to those who swing by only once !

It's not a business, just a labour of love, and you make me keep going with the way you keep showing up.  Champions all.


It began in late June, with just five views a day, and has grown to over 100 hits a day.
The busiest day so far saw over 400 page views, after a delightful rush of retweets.

Most popular post so far: Tip 5: Hang onto a tram. (200 views)
Most frequent commenter:Angelina at

Blog Demogs: 41 per cent Australia; 36 per cent USA; 9 per cent UK; 3 per cent Canada; Another 4 per cent from France, Russia, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore and Ireland. 
There have been visits from Monaco, Eqypt, Iraq and, my favourite, Peru. bonjour, salam alaikum, hola.

I've been posting six days a week.  I might dial that down to five to leave more time for riding my bike.  Any other suggestions, leave 'em below!

Deep breath. Another 100 tips coming right up!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Tip 100: Get in the inside lane

Much like smoking cured banana peels, you have no idea if this is legal, but sometimes you have to do it anyway.
When traffic in the outside lane is an MC Escher clusterfuck of blundering taxis, death-crazed pedestrians and a learner driver ruining a reverse park, you crave the clean free asphalt of the inside lane.
You headcheck and go.  It's so nice! It's so familiar! But sneakily its dangerous and different.  You're out of your element. Traffic is passing you on the wrong side. Yipes. Like Marty McFly in the Back to the Future trilogy,  you've got to get back home, and you just need the right amount of speed to get you there.
BONUS TIP: The mad professor that will arrive in the nick of time save you from being crushed by a head-check-hating, SUV-piloting mother-of-two is in this case not Doc Emmett played by Christopher Lloyd.
It is you, and the conveniently timed burst of lightning that will power you home is gonna have to come out of those legs.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Tip 99: Regret being so cool

How does it feel to be cool? You can't sit around and talk about it.
It's not something you get asked to reflect on in interviews, like being formula one champion.  Noone asks about the gruelling training regime or whether your parents supported you all the way.
You even have to deny it.
"Fucking hipsters," you might say.
Take off your Ray Bans, run your hands through your quiff and lock eyes with your interlocutor to make a searingly honest confession: "I'm a nerd, really."

BONUS TIP: Give up trying to be cool and strike out on your own.  Sell your fixie and burn your desert boots. You could take up long-boarding, for example. I hear that's popular right now.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Tip 98: Crime Spree

You're Ned Kelly, on a crime spree. 
Break one law, just makes you want to break another.
In one ride you've racked up enough demerit points to take every licensed driver off the roads, enough fines to pay back the national debt.
The police have just one problem.  They're not fast enough to catch you.

BONUS TIP: After the judge sees how many one-way streets you rolled through, you'll probably end up on death row.  Riding the bike you made out of soap round the exercise yard, waiting and waiting for that pardon to arrive, you'll stare down at your crude prison-cell cycling tattoos and your perfectly sculpted quadriceps, and yearn for the freedom to stop at a stop sign.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Tip 97: Pump up your tyres at the servo.

Too prudish for the licentious actions of the hand pump?
Get your tyre food down at the service station.
Be careful though.
Like the buffet at Sizzler, it's hard to know when to stop and you could easily pop, spraying all the other diners with dubious lasagne and high-fat soft-serve.

BONUS TIP: With the passing of peak oil will come the passing of peak smugness, as cyclists stop cheering the demise of Shell, Exxon-Mobil, et al, and wearily face a future with a lot of hand-pumping.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Tip 96: Lingo

Clothing you would previously have "worn" should now be rocked, as should gear you may once have merely "used."
Remember, the first guy in the group to refer to his bike as a whip seemed like more of a douche than the last one.  If everyone else is using language that seems way too cool, you can too.
BONUS TIP: If you want the bros to think you're tight, saddle up, hipster.  Jargon binds groups.  Don't go wondering if abandoning your integrity is "right".  Thinking like that will make you the weird one nobody feels like talking to.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Tip 95: Decide whether you are avid or keen.

On first encounters, cyclists appear like a unified front.
After a while, you will notice a distinction. Some people describe themselves as avid cyclists, others as keen cyclists. This is the secret language of a fault line that divides cycling as sharply as a Japanese knife.
Like the jets and the sharks, the crips and the bloods, or the Capulets and Montagues, these groups have stalked each other since the P-far first rolled. If it is a history rarely spoken of that is because the tales that comprise it are too bitter: families rent asunder, blood spilled, lives wasted.

BONUS TIIP: If you are under 30, or have tattoos, you may also elect to join one of two dangerous splinter groups, extreme cyclists, and hardcore cyclists. But if you do, you better watch your back. That's all.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Tip 94: Delay essential maintenance

After a while you think of that funny noise as good company, like the footfalls of a troupe of Hobbits with whom you are merrily crossing the Shire, drinking wine from flagons.

BONUS TIP:  It's procrastination.  If you only ever ride to the bar to meet hot ladies, smoke a pipe and eat goulash while throwing darts, bicycle maintenance will continue to run a distant second.
Schedule a trip to your financial adviser.
(Or - if the reason you can spend all day at the bar is that your financial affairs are in order - to your dentist).

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Tip 93: Ride to work day

It turns out you will enjoy the proliferation of bemused noobs, the silly outfits, even the bike traffic jams.
But you will have to endure your personal passion becoming the kind of fleeting obsession Justin Bieber should have been.
BONUS TIP: So how does it feel when you carved out a tiny cave and now everyone wants to visit it?
Well, there's the honey taste of vindication, mixed with bitter yearning for the space you used to have. Like a suitcase full of soup and another one of gelati, those flavours are hard to hold onto both at once.
Special Bonus Cadel's Mum picture!
Cadel's mum Helen  rides 20km to work and is a total bike hero in this town.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Tip 92: Spot a celebrity on a bike

Is that Rove Mc-freaking-Manus? Cool! Wait. What is he riding? A Huffy? I can't believe I thought he was cool.

BONUS TIP: Tell the story like this: "Guess what. I saw a poorly maintained huffy out on the street this morning.... And who was riding it? None other than Rove Mc-freaking-Manus! I know! What a dork!"

Monday, 10 October 2011

Tip 91: Fall in love with your bike path

It's got some dead leaves on it.
You love those leaves.
There's grass growing through a crack.
You love that grass, and you love the crack for giving that grass a chance.
There is some gravel on it.
You think the right amount of gravel is to the perfect bike path as the right amount of vegemite is to the perfect piece of toast.
It goes under a freeway, which is the finest rendering of the brutalist design theory you can imagine.
It has the *most* delectable series of gentle lefts and sweeping rights.
And sometimes there are birds flying around freely, as though this is a symbolic diorama made by a creator figure, and you a smiling, bicycle-riding creature made of pipe cleaners.
BONUS TIP: Treat that skinny strip of tarmac with respect and affection. Next time you are riding, take a moment. Dismount, sit down, and ask how it feels.  Then listen - really listen - to what it says.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Tip 90: Ride on holiday.

If you want to take a rapid descent from cycle-chic to cycle-freak, pick up a hire-bicycle on holiday.
Take one aluminium bicycle with components from the Shimano Cacophony range, add one jet-lagged out-of towner, throw a Lonely Planet into the front basket and immediately start going in the wrong direction.

BONUS TIP: From Ballarat to Boise, locals are in awe of how the tourist cyclist enjoys their merry japes - despite bike handling skills and route selection that would immediately mark citizens for the red squidgy death.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Tip 89: Swallow a fly

Good vegans ride round with their mouths shut, but the rest are in danger of swallowing a fly at some point. 
When it happens - gag, cough, spit - remember the green goo in the middle of a fly is 100 per cent protein. If you forgot to pack your energy bars, scooping up a juicy blowfly could power you up the next hill.

BONUS TIP: Try not to get obsessed with finding a spider to swallow next. Who knows where that might end.  

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Tip 88: Change into your easiest gear

Putting it in the granny gear on a hill is like visting a dangerous third world city and spending the day in your five-star hotel room.
It's easy! It's pleasant! So stress free! I feel like I'm wasting my life!
BONUS TIP: Many of God's lightning bolts are aimed at lower-end Shimano derailleurs, at the moment the user goes to shift back up. 
The unfortunate mortal is then stuck riding around town with their legs spinning like a Hanna-Barbera cartoon character just before they shoot off in a cloud of dust.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Tip 87: Ride with no hands

A few things your 14 year old self was proficient at adult you cannot do.
Eating whole packets of skittles is one of them, as is wagging class and having faith in the political system.
In this illustrious company is riding with no hands.
14-year old you depended on this daring display to compensate for the total absence of other ways to impress the opposite sex, as well as to facilitate eating skittles while riding.
The adult cyclist clings to the bars like their jobs, superannuation and home-owning aspirations depend on it.

BONUS TIP: No hands riding is like baking a diamond into your Christmas pudding. You might break a tooth, but you'll feel so much richer.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Tip 86: Misspell brakes

They call me
I-before E-Z
I put the rap into
Driving slow
through eBay descriptions
Spraying my Uzi
at faulty inscriptions
Fool tries to write BRAKES,
types BREAKS instead
If I'm around he'll soon be dead
Hipster, set me up
with a personal ring tone
Cause I'm calling you
on your homophone
You're about to be shown
into the twilight zone
to make you atone
for your lexicon(e).

BONUS TIP: Album dropping soon through Pedal/Peddle Records.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Tip 85: Let your significant other dictate how many bikes you own

Once there are bikes in the bedroom and the loungeroom, and the many important differences between a cyclocross bike and a fully rigid mountain bike are something you can no longer successfully explain, you may realize there is a hidden clause: Til death do us part, except if another effing bike shows up in this house.

BONUS TIP: Steal back your independence by letting loose on cycling jerseys.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Tip 84: Ride without fenders

Get a clean lean look on your ride and a back-end bespangled with mud-sequins, all in one fluid motion. 
BONUS TIP: Coincidentally, that brown stripe up your back will look a little like a fluid motion. As though you squirm through the sewers like a Ninja Turtle. That would be athletic, even daring. But is it Cycle-Chic?