Issue 136, April–May 2000

BISA’s mission: To promote cycling for transport and to represent all cyclists at the local, state, and national levels by working collaboratively with other interest groups and governments.

Margaret Minney

No ordinary race: Margaret Minney rides in the Velocity Penny Farthing Challenge in Gawler. Read about it below.


Pedal Update

Peter Carter, Editor

Nearly AGM time again: it’s on Thursday 27 April, 7pm at the Box Factory. Guest speaker is Dr Phil Harding, President of the State Cycling Council, and the display will be of electrically assisted bicycles.

It’s also time for subscription renewals, so be ready with form and money.

BISA’s monthly business meetings are moving, to the third Wednesday of the month. The May meeting will be the first on the new day, Wednesday 17.

This issue has a couple of articles that are not so much advocacy articles as items about riding and enjoying cycling. One comes from our Treasurer, Wendy Marchment, who outlines her experience of cycling over the years, while Margaret Minney shares her recent experience of riding an ordinary, inspired by an article in our previous issue.

The issue of relationships with Bicycle SA and a possible amalgamation will occupy our thoughts for some time. It is something that cannot be resolved quickly and will take long discussion. In this issue we have the first of the letters on the subject. Please let us have your ideas in future editions.

There have been several recent events worthy of note. The ‘Reclaim the Streets’ held its first event, diverting some traffic and offering numerous diversions on the reclaimed pavement. Less dramatic was Smogbusters Day, reported on the next page.

Adolf Pergler has sent a number of photographs of problem situations. I’ve put two in this edition, and have some more for later. No doubt you have situations you could publicise this way.


Exploring the Future

Peter Lumb
Outgoing BISA President

After two years as Vice-President and three as President of BISA I have reluctantly decided that I will not renominate for President.

The responsibilities are significant and the workload could easily be full-time‹such are the opportunities to represent the interests of cycling in South Australia. A person with a fresh burst of energy is required and a person with new visions.

Bicycle SA and BISA

Five years ago relationships with Bicycle SA were suspicious and unhappy. I feel pleased that with the involvement of Lindsay Holmes, and the State Cycling Strategy, time and energy was set aside to bring Bicycle SA and BISA closer. Many Bicycle SA and BISA members have contributed goodwill and as a result we now have considerable mutual respect and understanding. Both organisations positively acknowledge and actively support the work done by the other. I have enjoyed being present at a number of Bicycle SA events and regret missing the AGM recently. My apologies!

As President, numbers of people form either organisation and in both have lobbied me suggesting a move towards closer relationships, or have emphasised the importance of maintaining positive connections but remaining separate. Plausible arguments have been put by ‘the seperatists’ and by ‘the partnership’ lobbies. The issues have continued to bubble. They will not go away. Life members John Mellor and Hans Penning tell me that the issues have been alive since the formation of Bicycle SA. Having a quick and knock down argument is not the way to go in my view. I think we need a thorough exploration which at its end allows us to say ³Well that is that. For these reasons we have decided. Let’s get on with advocacy and rides, through whatever organisation (or organisations) is/are agreed to.

Now there is probably no-one as creative in ideas aimed to set others to work as an outgoing President, so take these suggestions with an eye to your own energy levels.

I suggest that 2000 ought to be the year of discussions between BISA and Bicycle SA. Both organisations have new leaders. I would like to see open and friendly discussion and no closure on a decision until the following issues have been worked through.

We need to talk these ideas through to the end. Having looked into the organisations for much of the year, I hope we will all then work for and enjoy cycling with a new sense of vigour. Cycling has so many answers to social, health and environmental issues!

On what side do I fall? I fall on the side of a well worked out conclusion to considerable onging lobbying that has been running for many years!

Recent events

I was delighted to see reports of the ‘Reclaim the Streets’ activists on Saturday 25 March. A courageous bunch briefly claimed Hindley Street from motor vehicles. I am convinced that we need to lift the level of debate about private motor vehicle use in Australia, and people reclaiming streets give us that opportunity. More power to them! As one obvious and practical beginning it is time to close Rundle Street and Hindley Street on many afternoons and nights during the Festival and Fringe. Drivers cruising Rundle Street are simply an impediment to the pleasure of masses of people who spill over the street. Closure makes sense well as during events like the Clipsal 500 and the Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under.

King William Road traders in Unley did big business when cars gave way to people during Jacobs Creek Tour. Closing much of Jetty Road to private motor cars during summer is another obvious way to create a buzz and boost the local economy. It is time for people to displace private cars. The numbers are with the people, not the boys!

And finally!

Thanks to an excellent working relationship developed between some BISA activists and good people within the Transport Board there is now an excellent and secure cycle parking facility at Adelaide Railway Station. In addition cycle lockers are refurbished and relocated and they are being used. Look out for them and secure one if you want to do the right thing and use both cycles and public transport. We hope that there are more to come yet. Thanks especially to Hans Penning and Peter Good.


Smogbusters Day 2000

Sheila Brown
Smogbusters Project Officer

Ten schools in urban Adelaide addressed a number one environmental concern and marked Smogbusters Day on Wednesday 22 March by conscientiously cutting unnecessary car trips. The national promotion was celebrated across Australia.

In the lead up to Smogbusters Day, teachers organised classes on transport and air quality and encouraged students to commute to school by walking, cycling and public transport. The 1500 participating students calculated how much car travel they save through their Smogbusters Day effort, translating this into car emissions reduced. The results to date indicate that at three schools students reduced their car travel by at least 600 km equating to at least 120 kg of carbon dioxide, 558 grams of hydrocarbons, over 5.5 kg of carbon monoxide and 1158 grams of oxides of nitrogen that did not go into the atmosphere. The schools were presented with a certificate from Senator Hill, Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, for their commitment to improving urban air quality through participation in the Smogbusters Way to School project.

In the way that many people now recycle without thinking about it, we look forward to a day when everyone will do their best to reduce unnecessary car trips. Everyone can be part of the pollution solution.

Smogbusters is a joint initiative of the South Australian Conservation Council and the Federal Government through the Natural Heritage Trust.


The amalgamation question...


Ian Gilfillan MLC

Dear Editor,

As a longtime member and supporter of BISA and currently a member of Bicycle SA and a fervent supporter of cycling in all its facets, I am delighted at the proposal by Terry Leach for amalgamation of both organisations (Pedal Update No 135).

There is so much to be gained by pooling the talent and energy of BISA and Bicycle SA, both in relentless pursuit of cyclists rights and facilities, and in the provision of top class recreational cycling experiences.

Let’s get to it and plan the optimum structure and a proposed timetable, put it to the respective memberships. I believe cycling in SA would have a wonderful and enduring boost!

Yours sincerely...


David and Mary Wilson

Dear Sir

As former members of Bicycle SA we wish to oppose the proposed amalgamation as we believe that the two groups do not focus on the same aims. If the amalgamation went ahead we feel that BISA would lose its identity and its aims would soon be swallowed up in the interest of making a profit. When we first joined SATCA, as Bike SA was then known, we liked the idea that one of its aims was to promote cycling but as the association grew and started to employ people the need to make money soon began to take preference. We made the decision not to renew our membership and joined BISA instead. Admittedly both clubs offer many of the same services but BISA plays a bigger role in seeking recognition of the rights of cyclists as well as promoting cycling as such. Volunteers are the core of the club (we deliver the magazine in our area) and although, as in most organisations, it is often difficult to get people prepared to hold office we think it is important to stay independent and therefore more able to fulfil the role that this club aims for. We did not leave Bicycle SA with any animosity but just felt that its direction was not to our liking and really have no wish to be associated with it again through an amalgamation.

We remain
yours sincerely...

Jim Goodale

Dear Sir,

I am a member of both BISA and Bicycle SA and I would like to record my concern at the suggestions of combining the associations.

I have read and been told of reasons why the ‘merger’ should take place, but there must be an equal amount of reasons why the ‘clubs’ should remain independent.

Both clubs should be proud of what they have achieved, BISA in their advocacy role, Bicycle SA in organising riding programmes and riding education. BISA is a voluntary body. Bicycle SA is a fund raising club run by paid employees. I fear BISA expertise and vast experience may be lost in the vent of a merger. Both clubs ‘walk’ down completely different roads.

It seems BISA Executive committee is to be led by a new President and other officials. This may be a blessing with new ideas and starting afresh in what is going to be a very important period. Please hasten slowly. It’s going to be an iteresting AGM.



Treasurer’s Profile

Wendy Marchment

Greetings fellow cyclists. My name is Wendy Marchment and I’ve been the Treasurer of BISA since the 1999 AGM, which I attended with a very young baby boy. Taking on the Treasurer’s role was a means for me to become more actively involved in BISA and also to keep my brain in gear whilst on a year’s maternity leave. I’ve achieved both those aims plus bought my somewhat rusty bookkeeping skills up to scratch again, learnt a bit about the GST along the way, met new people and gained a better appreciation of the BISA workers behind the scenes!

My interest in cycling has evolved over the years after receiving my first bike when I was 10 years old. In primary school I used to cycle to school, music lessons and to friends’ places. Later in high school (after moving towns so I no longer needed to catch a bus) I cycled to school, sporting activities and friends’ places. Admittedly I lived in NSW country towns, but I can’t help but find it disappointing that so few children use their bikes these days for similar purposes. Hopefully I will be able to encourage and assist my children to do so.

University years in Armidale NSW saw me with no bike but doing plenty of walking around campus where I lived in one of the residential colleges. Being a typically ‘poor’ Uni student in those days, having a car was the farthest thought from my mind. Any spare cash would be saved so I could afford to go away to Intervarsity each year, and to escape college food every now and again by eating out. It always felt like a bit of a treat back then if we could get a lift in a car.

At Flinders University, where I now work, it amazes me that parking is at a premium during semester time as many students now have cars. Even more amazing are the complaints from students re the cost of parking ($75 per year), small change compared to the cost of running a car. Many students are also unhappy that they are usually unable to park close to their specific lecture theatre and actually have to walk some distance! How times have changed...

For my first job in Sydney, I worked near Circular Quay, and the ferry literally left from near the front door where I shared a flat with two others. I purchased a bike and used it on weekends for recreation. This was the time before Sunday trading so the city would virtually be deserted on a Sunday when I often took the bike across to the CBD on the ferry. Sydney is certainly different nowadays and I would find it rather daunting to cycle there now. We certainly do have some good cycling facilities here in Adelaide.

Moving to Alice Springs, a bike was once again my only means of transport, and the winter climate was perfect for it—sunny days in the 20s. Even though I lived in ‘The Alice’ for only three months, I saw the Todd River flowing twice in that time. They say if you see it flowing three times, you’ll never leave!

On to Darwin where I was introduced to road bikes and ended up competing in triathlons. I also bought another ‘clunker’ for commuting to work since any decent sort of bike unfortunately ended up being stolen.

Another job led me to Adelaide where I’ve been for nearly eight years now. Early on, a Bicycle Victoria organised ride from Wilpena Pound to Adelaide appealed to me, so I convinced a friend from Darwin to join me on it in 1993. I was very impressed by the organisation on the ride. Even better were all the interesting cyclists to chat with along the way.

Adelaide was where I met my husband, Lee, who had done quite a bit of independent cycle touring and so yet another aspect of cycling was revealed to me. We did manage some independent cycle tours around Wilsons Promontory and Gippsland in Victoria, Quebec in Canada, Austria and Hungary, before children appeared. Children have definitely curtailed my cycling somewhat whilst they’ve been very young. My daughter Alex has just turned three and Evan turns one in March.

About last September when Evan was six months old I took up cycling again, starting with a Bicycle SA ‘Dawdlers Rides’ and building up to the ‘Saturday Express’. Not only has my fitness improved but once again I’ve met some like-minded interesting and friendly cyclists during my special ‘time out’ from the children.

Now having recently returned to work the bike trailer hasn’t seen any use as yet for commuting as I am still adjusting to organising myself for work, lunches and two young children out the door three mornings a week! The Burley trailer certainly attracts plenty of stares and smiles whenever we are out cycling with it and the children in tow.

Anyway, this was written as a bit of diversion for you from the usual advocacy articles, and to hopefully encourage others to become more actively involved with BISA. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

So if you see someone cycling around Adelaide on a purple Bike Friday with or without a Burley Trailer in tow, it’s most likely me. Now you have a bit of background to know who you’re waving to! Cheers and safe cycling.


Penny Farthings to ride

Margaret Minney

Soporific holiday readers of the last PU will have noticed a call by Phillip Levi, proprietor of the Edlee Antique Bicycle Co, to join in a demonstration penny farthing race at Gawler as part of the Tour Down Under entertainment. This event was the ‘Velocity Penny Farthing Challenge’, sponsored by Velocity of Queensland.

Phillip Levi (‘Mr. Edlee’ as some call him) has been manufacturing new penny farthings from his workshop at Dover Gardens for five years, and sells them like wildfire to the Americans, whose pragmatism has always been tinged with romance. Phillip keeps a selection of his wares on hand, from ultra-light tall racers, to tourers with pannier brazings, to lower machines for smaller riders. Phillip is ever ready to teach the curious and the bold.

And so it was, that I dressed in heavy drill from neck to ankle, and drove to Dover Gardens for a try. It was Sunday afternoon, 2 January, and the weather had not yet turned its burning furnace into summer. Just like any bike-riding teacher, and mine was umpteen years ago, Phillip nurtured me and protected me, on a broad expanse of bitumen near the almond trees where he lives, and when I was concentrating at my hardest, he left me suddenly to appear in front, and the dawning dropped like a stone, but from the heights of a penny farthing there is no getting off, not for someone quite this new.

With Phillip’s three techniques for dismounting in my head, including the emergency one, and the words of Paul Simon’s song ‘There must be fifty ways to leave a lover’ revolving in my brain, I rode round and round the yard. ‘Just slip out the back, Jack, make a new plan, Stan’, a single almond terrifying me underfoot, and the prospect of going near the drain keeping me in tight circles, my knees and ankles struggled against the physics of the fixed wheel. Phillip pronounced me fit to return the next week to try the road, which would, he said without invitation to protest, be easier. At this stage I dared not release my furious grip for any reason, and could not turn my head either side of strictly forward. Phillip on the other hand, can put his legs over the handlebars. That means that you fall on your feet if the bike tips downhill!

With the public road less than mastered, Phillip then sent his pretty little penny farthing called ‘Agatha’ home with me, to ride every day in preparation for the demonstration race at Gawler, by this time eleven days away. Agatha has a dark green frame with gilt decorations, and with her instrinsically harmonious design, she was a charmer. Nothing much had ever got me into physical training for anything before, but each day, each hot, north-wind-in-the-face and horrible dawn, we went out in the streets. Our suburb has little hills, that ease the terrain down to the reaches of the River Torrens. Summonsing courage from the puff of a pretend genie, I eventually took to the hills, down first, then up against my own strength. I steered round trolley bays in the supermarket car park until I thought I could turn like a mounted trooper. I sped up and down the car park of a temple construction nearby, and leaned loftily into turns. Each day my husband John supported me, riding his ordinary bike, preceding me to check for traffic, sometimes stopping to talk to an early bird walking a dog instead of checking when I needed him most. Agatha is a touring model which is the Edlee ‘Classic’ and she is unusual in that she has a brake, about six centimetres of tiny mudguard known as a brake spoon, pushing on the solid rubber tyre—but then, who wants to stop too fast on that weight to height ratio? After a few days, I felt good.

The family came to Gawler too. What a lovely old town it is, its old gums and kookaburras and cool stone houses basking on a fresh summer day. The Scout Groups and Country Women’s Association and Rotary chaps with sleeves rolled up, worked early on produce and drink stalls for the thousands of spectators who would soon turn up in the town. Grandma and my new Italian son-in-law soon settled into a cafe for muffins and short blacks. I was given a cloth number to wear. It was just like dressing up for me, an un-athletic person. The others had on bike knicks, those tight short pants with chamois and other secrets, or else they had on antique clothing to match the penny farthings. I had on jeans, dark ones so as not to show the dirt, and the neat, close, rubber-soled court shoes I’d trained in all along, with no trim or laces to get caught in the lanky loose penny farthing spokes that span so close to the pedals. The world champion woman was in the race, and the Australian champion man. My aim was to finish, and the main road in Gawler has a gentle hill, long and fast down into the first turn. The straight lap back up the hill beckoned me to speed on this magnificently crafted machine beneath my feet, most of the riders well behind my given handicap. But the pedals spun faster than my feet, and caught a shoe. It dangled from my toes. This was think-fast time. ‘Just drop off the key, Lee, and get yourself free.’ No, a shoe on the track was not the right thing to drop. I dismounted and gathered it back, remounting with the one aim in mind, that is, to finish. Nearly the entire field bunched around me and the orange marker hat, like riders in a slalom on that tight uphill turn. At the finish line, a kindly older rider appeared with me, and we went over more or less together, me last.

Nicki Armstrong, the world champion woman won. It was thanks, really, to me she said. I got a participation medal, engraved with the event particulars, and hanging on a Petersham ribbon striped in the State colours.

I rode Agatha down our street to post the letters, the evening she was going home. An elderly friend of mine stopped her car and expressed gladness that I was giving up this dangerous new interest. My insurance is all in order and I’m not giving it up at all, as I discovered it is not difficult to ride a penny farthing, just different. I came off Agatha only twice, once on that first day and I can’t think why. The other time was the first morning at home, when the rise in our street and the head wind lost me my momentum and intelligence quotient both at once, and I decided to put my right foot on the ground. Fancy giving up the first thing that ever coaxed me to train, that offers freedom to the wind, where the people are lovely, that the family enjoys! It is a bit of a treasure to help to bring history into the future, and with Edlee Antique Bicycle Co. anyone can. Give Phillip a call (0419 913911 or and arrange to have a go yourself. If you are like me, I vow you won’t regret it!

Phillip Levi and my husband together designed and built an adaption to our standard bike rack for the car, to carry Agatha. They say that penny farthings are virtually thief proof, but this design makes sure of it.


Hazards we know...

Adolf Pergler


Keep left?

Cyclists must keep to the left of the road. OK, but who can? If the edges look like this?

Highways are never swept or cleaned! Well, maybe once a year by students. People who leave trash after accidents should be fined.


Saltfleet Street Bridge

Total nightmare. Nobody watches for bicycles, or takes any notice of the sign. Normally, three or four cars pass me, every time I use it, which is twice every day.

No footpath on eastern side (and no ramp on the path on the other side), no bike lane either side, and road so narrow it is completely taken by cars.