Myth Busters

Sites that provide a huge amount of useful info for dispelling the usual anti-bike/public transport pro-car lobby.

ptua.org.au/myths/  AND  cyclingfallacies.com/en/

COMMON URBAN MYTHS ABOUT PUSHBIKES AND TRANSPORT

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 ain’t riding correctly, or safely.  Compiled by James Davies and Daniel Endicott.

1. DANGER (feeling of being vulnerable without a metal cage surrounding you).
Build up your confidence on quiet back streets where cars are not as intimidating. Learn road/traffic skills and you will soon be confident on more busy roads. Austcycle.com.au :AustCycle is the national leader in providing cycle training to people of all ages and skill levels throughout the Australian community. Whether for fitness, fun or transport, AustCycle can give you the skills and confidence to get on your bike and ride more.

2. DANGER (myths of more deaths cycling compared to walking or driving).
Only motorbikes are the deadly form of transport from NSW death stats. Walking, driving, cycling have almost identical death rates for time spent travelling. Federal Office of Road Safety : Fatality per million hours :
Pushbike : 0.4 Pedestrian : 0.8 Motorist 0.5
ALSO more deaths are caused by cars and their toxic exhaust emissions. So think about your ethical contribution to air pollution killing people.    
Here is a review of a recent paper showing that the health benefits of cycling outweigh the injury risk and the air pollution risk.
http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/Professional_Information/Lifestyle_Risk/Physical_Activity/AusPAnet/ausPAnet_Article_Commentary_6/Pages/default.aspx
The benefits are 7 times greater than risks for those under 40, and 10 times greater for those over 40 years.

3. TIME (Pushbikes are too slow).
But most (over 50%) city trips are under 5km. When parking is taking into account and not having to squeeze exercise into your busy day, cycling is usually quicker. Also the time you waste at work paying for your car and petrol can mean if you ditch the car for a sustainable bike lifestyle you can retire 25 years early. Travel times for bikes are grossly unknown to most people. With a correct bike setup or faster bike you will be surprised how faster you can be compared to distant memories of highschool cycling on a bike too slow and too small for you. Also top speed means little when comparing trip times in the city. So 60km/hr car will not always beat a 25km/hr bike. You will be suprised how easy riding a bike for half an hour is. And you will probably go 5 or 10km in half an hour.

4. WEATHER (Too hot, cold, wet, windy, etc)
Wearing correct layers of clothes and rain proof jackets, easily removed or added solves most problems. For heat remember to drink lots of water. After
your ride the cool breeze is gone so you will heat up after finishing your bike ride. Then you will cool down again which means later you will think it is cooler relative to after just hopping off the bike. Thinking it is cooler on a hot day is a good thing.

5. LOOKING GOOD (HELMET HAIR & SWEAT (when weather is too hot)
Prevent the sweat by buying electric assist push-bike. Or have a wash or wipe down after your ride. Set the social scene! thewheeler.com.au :The Wheeler, a quarterly, seasonal publication embracing the increasingly vibrant cycling scene
Fashion your hair for a helmet or take a brush with you. If your not riding because you don’t want to look stupid wearing a helmet then think about this – Cars are every day blocking or slowing down emergency vehicles causing them to reach their destination too late sometimes which could mean someone dies that would of been saved. If you drive a car you are partly responsible for this. Hollywood culture of perfect hair is also a part of consumeristic culture which brings unhappiness and destruction to the world. Check out freedomcyclist.blogspot.com. Freedom Cyclist v Helmet Laws (‘ad-free’ advocacy)

6. BIKE BROKEN or NEED a bike or POOR
Your local community bike help place can help you get a safe bike. Set one up in your suburb and become the star of your community. Otherwise go to local bike shop. Avoid getting very cheap bikes with gears and steel painted wheels from department stores. The brakes wear out very quickly on these low quality bikes and if you went on a long ride you could easily have little brakes left at the end of the ride, for this reason these lowest quality unsafe bikes should be banned!

 

7. HILLS or HEAVY LOAD
Use your gears better, see item 10. Or get electric assist. Or combine public transport with walking or cycling. Get bike trailers.
8. SOCIAL PEER PRESSURE
Just because the majority of adults in Newcastle may drive a car doesn’t make it right to do so. Remember the majority used to be in favour of slavery, and they don’t get it right all the time.  But you don’t have to drive a car everywhere. Try a bike for some trips. Try walking to close by places. Try some public transport sometimes. Just because you always drive a car does not give you the right to block or slow down emergency vehicles, or create road rage, or emit toxic exhaust emissions, contributing to killing people.
9. BIKE WILL GET STOLEN
Get a lock and or insurance for your bike. Or get a cheap second hand bike that you will not mind as much if it gets stolen. Keep your bike inside overnight to stop thieves stealing your bike on noisy, windy nights.
10. I AM NOT FIT ENOUGH TO RIDE A BIKE
What a load of nonsense, it is less exerting than walking. Except for a very few morbid obese people or people with specific difficulties you are fit enough. You do not have to be super fit with a fast bike wearing lycra and going as fast as you can. Wear what you are comfortable with and take a steady pace. You will be surprised how easy riding a bike for half an hour is. And you will probably go 5 or 10km in half an hour.

Most people pedal too slowly, and don’t have correct seat height.
Once your balance is good on a bike (and you can hop on and off easily), you should aim for the following:
1. While riding leg extension to pedals is almost straight with only a slight bend in the knee. If you have a big bend in the knee at the maximum extension point, then you are damaging your knees, you tire easily, etc. Most people when stopped can touch the ground with tipee-toes when seated. I, myself prefer to not to be able to touch the ground, to achieve maximum pedalling power (so I have to hop off the bike every time I stop). So have the seat as high as you can comfortably able to stop the bike without falling off it. But you should learn better bike skills of stopping and hopping off the bike aswell. When you overextend the seat height you will rock side to side while riding to reach each pedal, this is too high, so lower it.
2. Leg rotation speed should be 80-100 times a minute. This mainly has to do with gear selection. If you are in too high a gear you are pedalling slowly and if you exert too much force you will again do damage to your body. A faster pedalling gear is easy to pedal and will not make you wear out as fast. Pedalling too slowly can also damage your bike.
But you can ride slowly, slow leg rotation, as long as you aren’t exerting too much force on your legs. If your body doesn’t ache, and your bike is working correctly, well done!

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