10,000 km of turning wheels

Six and a half years ago I started cycling to work. From the very beginning, to keep myself motivated, I set a target of a certain percentage of work days that I wanted to cycle to work. In the first year I set a fairly modest target of 20%, which I blitzed, and in subsequent years I raised the target, which is now at 80%.

Today I reached a significant milestone (or perhaps kilometrestone) in that I have now clocked up 10,000km riding to and from work.

cycle10k cyclegraph

Drain Plane

Each day I cycle to work I ride beside a fair section of the stormwater drain running through New Lambton, Broadmeadow and Hamilton North. There’s some strange things down the drain sometimes – earlier this year I saw someone’s shiny 4WD down in the drain beside New Lambton Park, obviously a result of forgetting to put the handbrake on. But that’s nothing compared to what the residents of Broadmeadow saw on 10th August 1944.



Photo from Candice Campbell’s collection on Flickr.


IMG_2806At first I wasn’t sure that this photo I took today was the same spot, as the bridge here only has 2 supports, where the bridge in the old photo has 3. A quick check of the plaque on the bridge however shows that the bridge was rebuilt in 1957. What confirms this as the location is that in both the old and modern photo you can clearly see the distinctive outline of St Laurence O’Toole church on Broadmeadow Rd.


The star on this old map marks the approximate location of the plane crash.

The star on this old map marks the approximate location of the plane crash.

Newspaper articles

Article Date Event DateNotes
11 Aug 1944
10 Aug 1944
A D.C. 47 Army transport plane, with 25 men on board, skidded 200 yards on a wet runway, hurtled through a fence and then crashed into a stormwater channel at Broadmeadow aerodrome.
12 Aug 1944
10 Aug 1944
Photo. The Douglas C47 transport plane in the stormwater channel at District Park aerodrome, Broadmeadow, where it landed in bad weather on Thursday.

Ride 2 Work 2014

IMG_2361It was Ride 2 Work day today, and after 6 years of riding to work I actually managed to ride to work on Ride 2 Work day. In previous years I’ve always missed the day as it was scheduled earlier in October when I’ve been on spring holidays. With it being later in October I was hopeful of making it this year, but a dire weather forecast for this morning made it doubtful. But praise God, that while the rain and storms were all around in every direction, there was lovely clear patch directly over Newcastle!

Bicycle parking at John Hunter Hospital

I recently had cause to ride my bicycle to John Hunter Hospital, and beforehand tried to find out on the web where, if anywhere, there was bicycle parking at the hospital. I failed to find any information on the web, but on arriving at the hospital did eventually locate a bike parking area. So for the benefit of other cyclists …

A bicycle parking area is located outside the ticket booth at the exit of the main carpark. It is undercover and has the added security benefit that for most of the day there’s someone in the ticket booth, which makes theft of the bike less likely.


Cycling safety

As I’ve been cycling to work over the last 5 years, I’ve noticed that quite often if a cyclist engages in one kind of unsafe behavior, they are also likely to engage in other unsafe behaviours. So for example, a cyclist that crosses a busy highway against the lights, is very likely to also not be wearing a helmet.

Today I witnessed an example of a high degree of correlated unsafety when I observed a chap riding along

  • using only one hand to steer,
  • that hand also grasping a beer can,
  • while a cigarette hung from the mouth,
  • and the other hand was texting on a mobile phone.

To his credit, he was wearing a helmet. He’ll probably need it.

Another curious observation I’ve made a number of times is cyclists riding along with a helmet draped over their handlebars, thus incurring all the disadvantages of having a helmet without gaining any of the advantages of actually wearing it.

Too much information

Following on from my recent post on my ‘mid year report‘ on my bike riding to work, I now calculate a number, that perhaps ought not to be calculated, but I’m going to since I have the following information:

  • In the last 4 and half years I’ve ridden my bike to work 578 times
  • When I first started riding to work, I bought a 4 pack of soap to use in the shower at work
  • Each cake of soap is 95g
  • With rare exceptions I’m the only person to use the shower at work
  • I’ve just used up the 2nd cake of soap

Which gives me enough information to calculate …

Average amount of soap used per shower = 0.33 grams.

Hmmm… perhaps too much information?

Now 0.33g sounds like a ridiculously small number, but bear in mind that I’m washing off the sweat from a 20 minute bike ride, not the grime from an 8 hour shift down a coal mine, and the soap I’m using isn’t some dainty melt in your hand luxury product, but more of an el-cheapo industrial grade soap mixing it with the high flyers on Mohs scale of hardness.


June Report Card

Its mid year, and the kids half year reports have come home. I thought I’d share my own half year report on how I’m doing riding to work.  I’ve been riding to work for 4 and half years now, and each year I set myself a target of a percentage of work days that I aim to ride to work, and each year I’ve increased the target. This year my target is 75% and, it looks like I’ve set the bar way too low.