Two v four bat­tle goes on

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - TIMBLAIR blairt@dai­lytele­


THE eter­nal strug­gle is be­tween driver and cy­clist. Or, as Sir David At­ten­bor­ough might put it: ‘‘ We see him now, the alert two-wheeler, search­ing the hori­zon for red lights to run or pedes­tri­ans to clip. His shiny Ly­cra pelt makes him at­trac­tive to oth­ers of his species but also ren­ders him highly vis­i­ble to Hu­mungous Au­to­mo­bilis, the com­mon Aus­tralian driver.

‘‘ Look as the driver closes in, search­ing his mo­bile cave for a pie or can to use in com­bat. As it is on the plains of the Serengeti, so it is on these un­tamed streets. Thus the cy­cle or car of life con­tin­ues.’’

And so on. Cadel Evans’s Tour de France win last year gave a huge boost to the Aussie cy­cling cause. That was noth­ing com­pared to the cel­e­bra­tions in Bri­tain af­ter this year’s event. ‘‘ Hur­rah for Bradley Wig­gins!’’ wrote Guardian’s Jackie Ash­ley. ‘‘ Now we must make our roads safe for cy­clists. His Tour de France tri­umph will in­spire many of us to take to two wheels. It’s time to take bold ac­tion against cars.’’ That should in­clude, says Ash­ley, cars be­ing banned from many more roads and parks. Did Ash­ley or any other cy­cling su­prem­a­cists notice those four­wheeled de­vices con­tin­u­ally de­liv­er­ing re­place­ment tyres, parts and en­tire bikes to riders, even haul­ing one or two of them to hospi­tal?

Our two-wheeled pals ought to think twice be­fore hold­ing up the Tour as an ex­em­plar of cy­cling’s great­ness. Think as well of the cars that car­ried med­i­cal staff who ad­min­is­ter drug tests. If those par­tic­u­lar ve­hi­cles were banned from the course, the en­tire race would be over in about a day and a half. As I dream about con­sum­ing all of the world’s fuel re­serves by build­ing a replica of Ian ‘‘ Pete’’ Geoghe­gan’s ter­ri­fy­ing Su­per Fal­con from the early 1970s, reader Steve Gorie acts. He’s built such a de­vice, with era-per­fect Cas­trol stripes and a 5.8-litre V8 ca­pa­ble of crack­ing tec­tonic plates at idle. ‘‘ It is driven on the road like this, in­clud­ing three pipes out un­der the doors,’’ Steve emails. ‘‘ Al­though lots of peo­ple look at it (and hear it!) the cops don’t give me a sec­ond glance.

‘‘ That’s be­cause cops have re­spect. She’s only got 530 horse­power but you’ll be pleased to know it gets 25L/100km and at full noise on a track 1.45km per litre.’’

The pre-met­ric con­ver­sion for those fig­ures: 11mpg and 4.1mpg. As Steve says: ‘‘ It’s not about how much fuel you use, it’s the fun you have us­ing it.’’

By any mea­sure, Steve is hav­ing more fun per kilo­me­tre than just about any Aus­tralian driver. Beau­ti­ful work.

It takes two: And, gen­er­ally, an­other two to make the

wheels turn smoothly

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