Two v four battle goes on
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