Thursday, September 3, 2015

Top 5 happy cycling tips , etc, etc

Pushbikes are faster, safer and more needed than you think. For more affordable housing, more jobs and happier society, we need pushbikes for transport.

If the safety information below was important, would you already know it? Or would the roads already be made safe for you?   No, and No, the roads in Newcastle are not safe for pedestrians, motorists or cyclists.  A lot of the safety information below is not known.  So 15 minutes of reading might save your life later.  So relax on the quick scrolling down through the below text, because we have compiled information to make your Newcastle experience awesome.

Top 5 happy cycling tips

1: Never ride close to parked cars (even when bike pictures on roads confuse you).  Unseen children can open car doors and push you into traffic.  NSW Road Rules 153, 144 & 247 advise to ride the safe way (usually 1.5m away from parked cars).
2: Bicycle seats too low cause knees to hurt, slower cycling, and less enjoyment. Leg rotation too slow causes you to tire quickly.  Learn cycle skill of hopping forward off your bike seat every time you stop.  Do not set your bike seat height for when you are stopped.
3: Discover safer routes (Google maps do not always give the safest way) and extra info at
4: Lock your bike up inside after dark (never leave locked up overnight in the public (trains stations, main roads, at Uni, etc), too high a risk of it being stolen). Report thefts to 131444
5. Report bad bus driving to, they have cameras on board to prove they were dangerous.  Buses require a 4 second safety gap to the car in front of them (about 60 metres at 60km/hr).  Anything less than 4 seconds and they are tailgating.  Be happy to know that you can have good safety on pushbikes, and not tailgate like 99% of cars do.


Why Bike Love Corral?
When you get used to cycling, the car becomes less convenient.  Pushbikes are the missing link in our city for a happy, safe, fast transport mix .  We try to Corral (bring) together appropriate solutions/groups to have world's best practice involving these issues: Happiness, faster travel, better jobs, obesity epidemic, negative indirect effects, road rage (congestion), active and healthy lifestyle, affordable housing, causing less danger, urban sprawl, etc.  For less road congestion, we need to get more people on buses, trains, and pushbikes.

Pushbikes are faster, safer and more needed than you think.For more affordable housing, more jobs and happier society, we need pushbikes for transport. 
We will eventually get a safe pushbike network, but we can discover safer cycling skills to be safer than cars now (all cars dangerously tailgating – see below).  Door-to-door on a bike (and finding shortcuts in backstreets) can be faster than finding car parking/waiting for buses.  Combine transport with exercise (needed for body and mind happiness every day) you save time.
More dense cities are faster (spread out suburbs are inefficient) and cost benefit ratios for bike paths show increase in society health and increase in business/shops near them.
All excuses can be solved for why you don’t pushbike more (with all the information on the internet there is no excuse for you not to find it)
The only negative to pushbikes is the same as learning to ride for the 1st time, very frightening, but very rewarding when you gain the “1st world skill” of “learning to ride a bike”.  With robot automated cars in the future (invented to mainly save millions of lives from car crashes), the “rite of passage” of learning to “drive a car” will no longer be the modern day “you are now grown up for going out into the world”.   The next “rite of passage” will be learning to ride a pushbike skillfully and safely (seat height / stopping skills / leg rotation speed for faster more efficient riding.  Learning shortcuts, learning the actual safety of cars and lane position).  The RMS (state authority) recommends a 3 second safety gap between a car following another car, but most people leave only 1 to 2 seconds.  This is why many safety conscious people give up on the car because they cannot control the car dangerously following them.  You can gain much more safety and control on a pushbike by learning better skills and back streets.  Pushbike advocates love to help people find better backstreets, and to make submissions many government things because pushbikes are a critical part of a happy and ethical society.
Bike Love Corral links to groups: Uni bike club
Critical Mass (bike ride to celebrate cycling)
Local Peak Push Bike Advocacy group:
Cycle Safe Network for NCC & LMCC proposal
Newcastle Bike Ecology Centre (radical advocacy group)
World Naykd Bike Ride  (Misunderstood World Protest Bike Ride)


Monday, March 17, 2014

Critical Mass bike ride

*** Critical Mass Global pushbike ride to celebrate cycling every month

 Unsponsored and unaffiliated, Critical Mass is an awesome community in motion,
One that brings life back to the car dominated streets of our fabulous city.
Critical Mass is Pollution Free Traffic, ethical, and not life threatening to pedestrians.
Party on Wheels. Ride daily; celebrate monthly! Critical Mass.

When: Ride at 6pm, 1st Friday of every Month, (Rain, shine or dark)
Place: Meet at 5:30pm Civic Park, opposite Town Hall, King St, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

What:  A social ride around town and beaches for an hour or so. Not a race or fast.
Bring: Any type of pushbike, helmet and lights (it may be dark when you are going home).
Web :

Facebook group:

Show your support for an awesome safer and faster integrated transport system for all (cars, walkers, buses/trains and pushbikes).


2013 survey by
Great scientific data concluded Over 90% of people wrongly believe they must ride on top of the bike pictures on Newcastle roads.  People were asked "By your current knowledge of the road rules, where must cyclists ride in this picture?".  Picture of Donald St., Facing West passed Beaumont St. (Parked cars, bike picture (in car door opening area) , solid edge line, traffic lane, dotted line, traffic lane).  Less than 10% of people said in traffic lanes/anywhere you want.  Over 90% said where the bike picture is.

Extra Details of us, Safety alerts, and Safe Cycling Tips you do not know about (yet........)

**********************************SAFETY ALERT***************************************
"Bargain" bikes from Department and Chain stores (and online) including An@conda, BigKW etc (not bike shops) usually need all nuts tightened or they soon go dangerously loose (bearing locknuts, handlebars, cranks, etc).  Low quality steel painted wheels using v-brakes cause the brake pads to wear out very quickly, especially when they put brake pads for alloy wheels onto these steel wheels. So if you went on a long ride you could easily have no brakes left at the end.  These don't meet AS1927 bicycle quality standard, and for these reasons these bad bikes should be banned!  (And we refuse to issue these types of bikes anymore). Recently some Uni students kept complaining and taking back their new unsafe bikes and they got a full refund.  Do this to stop them selling unsafe bikes.
**********************************SAFETY ALERT***************************************


Pro and nonPro Cycling Tips you do not know about (yet........)

There is a solution to all the common cycling complaints, and we'd love to solve each, one at a time. Safety, sweaty, hot/cold, knees hurting, etc.

Learn to solve problems so you can be happy!:

If you get annoyed with cars or car doors opening in front of you and are not enjoying your ride, then you are not riding correctly (or safely)
Don't ride too close to parked cars:
• You may collide with a car door opening OR You may swerve to avoid a car door and get hit by traffic coming up behind you.
• Always allow room to avoid an opening door. Don't bother slowing or looking for people in cars (unseen kids open doors all the time)

Use designated bike lanes unless impractical or unsafe.
• Road rules require cyclists to use signposted bike lanes when provided.
• Bike pictures painted on the road accompanied with a “bike lane” signpost are intended to designate a bike lane but poor design or bad parking may mean that it is safer, and legal, not to ride in these lanes.
• Most bike pictures painted on Newcastle roads are not signposted and Road Rules 153, 144 & 247 advise not to ride in them because they are not proper bike lanes. Bike pictures on the road positioned where a parked car door opens is a very dangerous place to ride because of crashing into opening doors. These archaic lanes have to go, and hopefully this is only a temporary Newcastle strategy.

Be predictable.
• Travel in a relatively straight line – position yourself to avoid parked cars or other obstacles well in advance so that you don't weave in and out or swerve at the last moment. Be able to glance behind you while still cycling straight (practice this safely on grass)

Maintain the safest lane position.
• If the road is wide enough, keep left to allow motor vehicles to pass you safely.
• If the road is not wide enough to allow motor vehicles to pass you safely, either stop and pull over to allow vehicles to pass or, when no vehicles are approaching from behind, signal, then occupy the centre of the lane to prevent vehicles from attempting to pass you.
• At roundabouts – keep left and give way to vehicles that want to cross in front of you to exit, or occupy the lane and negotiate the roundabout in the same way a motor vehicle would.
• Inexperienced cyclists often “hug the curb” and wonder why cars pass so close. Experienced cyclists let traffic pass when they can but occupy the lane when needed for safety. Occupying the lane by a single rider, or two riders abreast, is legal but preventing drivers from passing can cause aggravation, so be considerate and move left to let motorists pass as soon as it is safe to do so.


Maintaining your bike for safer cycling
Bikes not maintained well cause many crashes to cyclists. If you are not sure you can check your bike for safety then get the Bike Love Corral to give it a free safety check!
• Wheels and seat on tight, handlebars steering correctly and brakes work.
• When not riding keep your bike covered, inside or in a shed to stop rust.
• When riding try not to hit potholes, or drop off gutters to save denting wheels
• Keep tyres inflated hard to PSI written on side of tyre (30% lower for old tyres), check for tyre wear
• Quick release levers are levered over into the "closed" position. Just don't screw these up. This stops front wheels coming loose.
• Too much oil on the chain will attract dirt and wear out the chain too fast, use a tiny bit of vegetable oil. Oil cables with synthetic oil. Only use WD40/CRC etc  as a solvent to clean out things, then remove all the WD40/CRC from component and then relube component with the correct grease/oil. 
• Fix any wobbles in wheels, pedals, cranks, steering before they get worse
• Choose correct gears for longer lasting parts. (Eg. Match slow gears front and back, match high speed gears, etc.)
• Seat and Handlebar heights so the safety limit marks are hidden in the frame.   If your knees hurt, put your seat up higher.
• bell or horn is working.
• if riding in poor light – a clean reflector and flashing or steady red light at the rear of the bike and a flashing or steady white light at the front.
• Make sure nothing can catch in the front wheel, especially items falling out of a front basket, or being carried, such as a beach towel, or bag.
Be seen.
• Wear bright coloured clothes or a high visibility vest with reflective strips.
• Flags and wide mounted reflectors can help motorists see you.
• Rear reflectors/lights are seen first by approaching motorists. But the reflectors on pedals at night are what first tell motorists they are approaching a cyclist.
Personal protection.
• Wearing an approved helmet is required by law and may offer some protection in some accidents.
• Glasses can protect your eyes from wind, rain, dirt and bugs. Tinted glasses can protect your eyes from glare.
Heads up.
• If you don't need to ride in a racing position, consider setting up your bike so you can ride in a more upright position making it easier see the road ahead or look over your shoulder.
Manage poor road conditions.
• Watch out for grates, potholes, stones and kerbs that can stop you in your tracks.
• Ridges, grooves or cracks in the road surface can cause “tram-lining” forcing your front wheel to track along the fault in the road.
• Oil, water or sand can cause sliding.
• Painted surfaces can be exceptionally slippery.
• In wet weather conditions regularly "touch" your brakes to help keep them dry and working well when needed.
Plan your ride. The shortest route may not be the best.
• Choose a route with safe cycle paths where possible.
• Avoid roads with fast moving motor vehicles, inadequate space for bikes and poor road surfaces.
Use a hook turn to turn right at a busy intersection.
• A hook turn avoids sitting in the centre lane while waiting to turn right and avoids having to turn right in front of oncoming traffic.
• To perform a hook turn, pull over to the left when entering the intersection, joining traffic approaching from the side street. Proceed through the intersection (to the street that was to your right) when safe to do so.
Avoid blind spots.
• You may not be visible in the rear view mirrors of a motor vehicle ahead of you so be prepared for it to turn in front of you to park or turn left.
• A motor vehicle immediately behind you can probably see you. But a second vehicle immediately behind it may not be able to see you. As the first vehicle passes you the second vehicle may approach without realising you are there. Make sure you have adequate room to move left as the second vehicle approaches.
• Vehicles entering from side streets may be unable to see you because they are looking for larger vehicles or if a vehicle is passing you.
Ride defensively.
• Being in the right is little comfort if you are hit by a car.
• Assume that you are invisible until a driver's action show that they have seen you.
• Assume that a motor vehicle will not give you adequate space or recognise your right of way until the vehicle shows that it is taking action to avoid you.
• Always have a Plan B – go slow enough to stop in an emergency or make sure you leave space to steer out of trouble.
• Defensive riding becomes second nature once you practice it for a while.
Give way to pedestrians.
• Cyclists must follow the same road rules as motorists. There are a small number of exceptions and some additional rules for cyclists.
• It is illegal for cyclists to ride on footpaths unless younger than 12 or accompanying a child younger than 12.
• If you must travel along a footpath, dismount and walk your bike.
• On shared cycle paths use your bell to warn pedestrians when approaching and slow down when passing. Show pedestrians the same courtesy we would like car drivers to show cyclists. Shared path courtesy is also on-road courtesy
• Walk to the left of centre line (like cyclists do on roads)
• Cyclists overtaking people should change lanes and give 1m room (like cars should overtake cyclists on roads)
Practise emergency braking and steering.
• Take note of which brake is for the front and back wheels. In Australia the left hand should operate the rear brake.
• Learn the limits of braking. Applying the rear wheel brake too hard may cause it to lock and skid. Some fish-tailing may occur but the bike will still be controllable. Applying the front brake too hard could cause the rider to go over the handle bars. Keep your weight low and to the back to minimise this chance. Locking the front wheel can be catastrophic as steering is lost and the front wheel will often skid out from under you. The front tyre's tread pattern helps with braking and water dispersion. Look for the direction arrow on the sidewall or the tread has an arrow formation pointing forward when looking down at it when you are riding your bike.
• Careful application of both brakes, without skidding, provides greatest stopping power.
• Find a safe place to practice braking hard while steering straight, left or right.
Learn from experienced cyclists.
• Ride with a buddy or join a Critical Mass group ride – talk about and practice safe cycling techniques.

Build respect and tolerance.
• Cyclists and motor vehicles are often forced to share roads that weren't designed to be shared. Responding to an aggressive motorist with aggression is likely to make them more aggressive to all cyclists – so just let it go. Avoid conflict and save your energy for campaigning for better cycling infrastructure.

Learn to cycling for 2 yr olds to 90 yr olds.
•    Society has progressed away from training wheels!  Best way for all types of people to learn how to ride a bike is to get on grass and lower the seat so you can scoot with your feet on the ground (take the pedals off if necessary).  Learn how to stop the bike with the handbrake/s.  Start confidence of being in control and knowing you can stop with handbrakes and put feet down at any time.  Then scoot along with your feet and use your brakes.  Then lift up your feet for 2 seconds to learn balance/steering.  Then lift up feet and roll for longer times until you can balance and steer.  Then start pedalling.  This way coincides with the 2010 start of the popularity of balance bikes for 3-5 yr olds.  The pedalling is learnt last, which is the exact opposite with training wheels on bikes.  With training wheels you don't learn the balance or steering (leaning) at all.  And then the removal of training wheels needs more learning.  But there are lots of ways to learn how to ride a bike.  The method described here will cater for all types of people with the least amount of crashed/frights.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

BLC info, Uni NUBUG NUSA stuff

Bike Love Corral is not-for-profit, community volunteer based, for an ethical, safe, non-discriminating, healthy, sustainable transport network for cyclists, active transport and 3 wheeled mobility electric/assist devices, and safe cycle networks benefit wheelchair users aswell.
We take ethical responsibility for our products and accept them back to be re-used by other people. Not like other shops where they don't care how much of their product goes to landfill, to pollute the environment. 
Properly repaired & maintained bikes should ride like new ones!
If yours doesn't, then it needs fixing. No excuses for unsafe bikes!

A well maintained bike will keep working safely. Remember to fix any small
problems ASAP, otherwise they become bigger and take longer to fix.
Save money, resources, and the planet and don't buy new bikes or new parts.
If you are annoyed at your bike it might be due to the bike set-up or riding style, so ask for some info. Best way to maintain a bike is to use it each day, use the brakes and gears. Keep it out of the weather overnight. Get a black plastic cover from us if your bike has to be left outside overnight (the dew each morning rusts up cables).

Get a spare, 2nd hand, back-up bike!
This is quite important, but many people learn the hard way when their only bike breaks down, or is stolen.
Having a back-up bike puts your mind at ease, so you don't get rushed into
buying a new bike when something unfortunate happens to the bike you're riding. Or when you goto head off in the morning and you have a flat tire. Hop on your spare! Or have a not-so-good bike you can lock up somewhere and not worry (too much that it's stolen)
We have flashing red safety LED lights for $2.  We recommend sticky tape around seals of lights to stop water/rain. Or try Marte's trick of a cover over your backrack to stop mud/water going onto seat mounted rear lights or your clothes. Some commuting bikes they have mudgaurds. But don't use mudgaurds with knobly "mountain bike" tyres because the knobly bits can catch on the mudgaurd and cause damage, mudgaurd squashing and bike stopping. Especially a possible life threatening problem on front wheels.

BIKE BUS with the Bike Love Corral : some Thursdays (contact us to confirm), am at the Gateway Hotel, Maitland Road, Islington, and pick up extra riders on the way to Uni. The map is : Anyone is welcome to join the Bike Bus.

Bike Bus etiquette:
Follow all road rules. Most cyclists don’t know them all. The ride leaders will know them if you are unsure. Be safe, it’s not a race. If we get to our destination 10 minutes late it’s OK. No need to take risks to try and save time. Stay in the group and you won’t get lost. Stay behind the ride leader and in front of the tail-end ride leader. If you want to leave the group let a ride leader know.
Try and travel in a straight line so you are predictable - don't weave back into the curb every time there are no parked cars.

Because no previous written documentation existed about the NUSA, NuBUG and the Bike Love Corral relationship, NUBUG wanted to produce a written document as below (to explain their understanding of the current verbal agreements between the parties.  The relationship has existed successfully for about 10 years (part time in front of NUSA building prior to Bike Hub East building) with many verbal agreements, and mutual coperations.  NUBUG has informed NUSA of the document below but it is unknown if NUSA have formally passed any motions in any meetings about it.

FORMALISING the NUSA, NuBUG and the Bike Love Corral relationship.*(refer previous paragraph for further clarification of below)
The following was endorsed at NUBUG’s  March 2015 AGM
NUSA, NuBUG and the Bike Love Corral
1. The Bike Love Corral (BLC) is located in a room in the Bike Hub East building leased by UoN to NUSA for the purposes of bicycle related activities.
2. NUSA allows NuBUG (Newcastle University bike users group, Affiliated club of NUSA) to use and operate the bicycle workshop space.
3. NuBUG operate the bike workshop as the Bike Love Corral.
4. NuBUG elects BLC co­ordinator/s to co­ordinate BLC activities.
5. Bike Love Corral activities include: a. NuBUG meetings/events, b. use of food/sink/lunch table area, c. promoting pushbikes (through discussion, information, workshops, information handouts and websites, petitions), d. BLC volunteers provide fixing help, parts, fixing/cycling workshops, sourcing bikes.  e. NuBUG runs a Bike Library where funds are kept in NuBUG bank account for future bike returns. 
6. As an affiliate of NUSA, NUSA insurance covers all these BLC activities, so long as: a. all activities are under the NuBUG brand b. volunteers are members of NuBUG, student or staff of UON. c. all UON events with individuals riding bicycles off campus are documented to NUSA in writing.d. all UON events with individuals riding bicycles on campus are made aware of their own risk when riding a bicycle
7. Bike Love Corral permit the use of the facility to: a. all students and staff of UON b. all NuBUG members c. other local pushbike activist groups (E.g. Newcastle Cycleways Movement meetings)
8. NuBUG aims to embed the Bike Love Corral concept and use of appropriate space into University organisation policy, procedures and associated resource support.
The original BLC aims and activities for Accommodation for the BIKE LOVE CORRAL on Callaghan Campus of The University of Newcastle is below.  It was based on the 500mx500m proposal not the 3m x12m current space.  It did not include the required NUSA, NuBUG and Bike Love Corral relationship for insurance purposes.  It lists many activities, which are included in the above "5. Bike Love Corral activities include: a. NuBUG meetings/events".  

The NUBUG constitution incudes many of the below aims and activities.  So, like many descriptions of activities it is better to leave it open ended (i.e. NuBUG meetings/events), rather then limit yourself to a list of fixed activities, which you will never get 100% correct.  The above was also not done to replace the BLC Scope Of Works document.

Extract from BLC Scope Of Works June 15th 2011:
The purpose of the proposed building is to promote the aims of, and accommodate the activities of the BLC.
The aims include: To promote cycling for recreation, sport, health and commuting. To promote cycling for environmental and sustainability reasons. To promote the safety of cyclists. To improve the environment through making public spaces liveable, reduce car use thus reducing noise pollution, air pollution, CO2 equivalent emissions, paved roads, urban sprawl and car parks and reduce dangerous interactions between cars and pedestrians and bikes and reduce road rage. Being a centre of bike culture.  To promote bike culture over car culture as an ongoing aim in close cooperation with other bike and cycling groups including the Newcastle University Bike Users’ Group (NUBUG) who have hosted BLC on Callaghan Campus. Likewise cooperate with The University of Newcastle, Facilities Management, Tom Farrell Institute, NUSA Environment Collective, NUSPORT and any other university entities in areas of shared aims. To promote participation and cooperation with all the partner bike groups that endorse and support BLC. To provide cheap and environmentally sustainable transport to all people including those of limited means like students. To reuse and bring back into service unwanted bikes and bike parts so as to keep operating costs at a minimum and reduce the environmental impact
The activities include: Collecting donated bikes and parts and storing them for future reuse. Repairing, maintaining and bringing back into service bikes from visitors to the BLC and from storage. Providing a safe and healthy work environment for bike repairs and maintenance. Providing information about other bike and cycling groups. Providing instruction on bike repair and maintenance. Provide instruction on cycling safety and reducing the risk of collision with motor vehicles. Likewise reduce the risk of collision between cyclists and pedestrians. Providing a comfortable meeting place for people interested in bikes and cycling (including NUBUG) to organise, plan and publicise bike activities, promotional activities, lobbying activities, fundraising activities and administrative activities. Also for social interactions, social functions, team building and community spirit.  Provide suitable office resources to research bike topics, store information, communicate and print material.  Being an attractive, interesting, friendly place that encourages participation by users and volunteers. Providing rewards for cyclists, users and volunteers to cycle as the preferred mode of transport, to help increase the number of cyclists, users and volunteers.