reasons why i, a cyclist

Reasons why I, a cyclist, am on the road right now

The bike lane is full of pot holes and broken beer bottles.

There is a car parked in the bike lane.

There is a car poking out of the bike lane.

It’s a car’s fault.

There is no bike lane.

The bike lane is effectively the gutter, and that’s not safe.

A gutter made of cobblestones.

This is Sydney Road.

The bike lane is basically 100% drains.

The bike lane is full of parked/stopped cars/temporary road signs

Reasons why I, a cyclist, appear to be breaking the law right now

The bike lane just disappeared and this is a four lane road. Damn right I’m on the footpath.

It is actually legal for a bike to cycle on the road.

I can’t set these road lights off.

It’s much, much safer this way.

I’m sorry about that time I clipped your mirror while squeezing between the cars. Moving to the bike box is actually legal for me to do. Consider leaving enough space for me to do so.


stephanie in a rainbow skirt riding a bike on a road with a building in the background
bikes definitely allowed here

I locked my bike to this sign because you didn’t put in any bike parking, whilst you did decide on eleven trillion car spots.

I locked my bike to this sign because the bike parking that Council installed has been obscured by cafe seating.

I’ve been to train stations, I know how cars park when there aren’t any spots. I’m practically unobtrusive right now.

Reasons why you, a driver of a four wheeled vehicle of death and steel, are wrong

No, we shouldn’t register bikes.

There are more cyclists than cars okay.

Actually I can take up the whole lane in the roundabout; no, don’t honk at me for it.
You’re just jealous you can’t jaywalk in a car.

I also pay taxes that pay for these roads.

You should actually be happy, I pay approximately the same amount of tax as you do at a significantly lower infrastructure cost.

Really, I’m saving you money.

Not to mention, otherwise I could be driving a car, and if I was I’d be in front of you, because I’m a chirpy morning person.

(I’m mostly a chirpy morning person because I’m riding my bike, but still)

Registration doesn’t pay for roads, it pays for insurance when you hit someone, which statistically you will (our insurance scheme in Victoria is actually quite good). It’s really very hard to kill someone running into them with a bike, it’s a lot like running into them really fast with your legs. I bought insurance anyway, because I’m a responsible adult.

I know you’re in a rush, and how if you weren’t stuck in traffic you’d be there by now. Instead of getting aggressive consider riding a bike.

I’m also sorry about the time I didn’t stop in time and clipped the back of your car when you pulled out without a lot of notice. However if I’d been a car you’d cut up there would have been actual property damage.

Cycle tourists contribute five times more money to local economies than other domestic tourists in Australia because they can’t bring all their stuff and have to buy it all locally. So try not to buzz me when you’re going at 100km on a poorly serviced highway.

No, I can’t go faster; why don’t you go slower?

danni on a bike; she is at a stop at an intersection, and her bike is located in the bike lane.
no award staff writer danni on the roads (also allowed)

Reasons why I, a cyclist, just dinged my bell at you

It is dark, and you are wearing black.

There are limited street lights.

You’re in the bike lane and you’re an almost completely invisible bike/pedestrian/skateboarder/wheelchairer.

I’m passing you.

Reasons why I, a cyclist

I just am

#ride the night


In the wee hours of Sunday morning, I rode in Melbourne’s inaugural Ride the Night. It was a midnight to dawn ride through Melbourne, raising money for YSAS (Youth Support and Advocacy Service), based in St Kilda.

Midnight to dawn is a bit of a misnomer, I suppose. With 2800 riders, we were let off in waves, and my posse of Beth, Danni and myself found ourselves in the last wave, heading out closer to 0100. We zoomed for a bit, only to be stuck in a queue at the lights as we came out of Birdwood Avenue and attempted to move from Domain Avenue and onto Albert Road. Despite having 2800 riders, we didn’t attempt critical mass, and so we waited to move 2800 riders through a normally operating set of traffic lights.

Anyway, aside from the rain, that we were suffering congestion and bottlenecks is really my biggest logistical issue. And I acknowledge that the rain was no-one’s fault! I had a very excellent ride, even in the rain, and it was the longest I’ve ever done in one go. I feel like I learnt things about myself as a rider in inclement weather, and it was awesome cycling areas I’m unfamiliar with. Thank you to Bicycle Network Victoria for putting it on.

On a personal level, I can’t read inspirational maps. The RTN map was such, illustrated with some animals for the zoo and the wheel for Southbank. But I struggle to read and remember them. For someone whose greatest skill is ‘ability to navigate streets I haven’t seen in a decade, since I was 8,’ that’s a big issue.

ride the night map of no sense for stephanies
ride the night map of no sense for stephanies

Certainly it explains how I ended up doing the Western Loop, heading towards the end, with no idea how it had happened. I was redirected onto La Trobe Street from Swanston as I headed for the Northern Loop. I thought, oh, damn this map, we must go up Elizabeth or Queen. But there were no people, and no signs to indicate a turn. And always, in the distance, I could see a flash of red, a bike light.

Long story short, I ended up riding by myself through the horror movie wasteland that is Port Melbourne at night, so of course I didn’t stop my bike to check gmaps, so the best I knew of it was when I arrived at rest stop G and they yelled ‘hooray you’re at the last rest stop before the end!’ And for me, personally, what would have solved this was a proper map, with street names and landmarks and stuff. You know. Like a proper map. It could have been a mud map, that would have been fine. I know it would have been big. Maybe this could have been solved by downloading the app but I’m running out of space on my phone.

My biggest actual complaint is the detritus. Before the event, Danni and Beth were very eager to get glow sticks, until I told them why I wouldn’t be using them:

  • Due to the chemicals inside them, though they’re made of plastic they’re single use and can’t be recycled.
  • The chemicals inside them are not very nice for the Bay.
  • We live on the Bay.
  • Litter. What if we lose them?

Then I picked up our rider packs, and there were half a dozen cheap glow sticks in each of them. I know they were cheap, because between the three of us we ended up with at least two glow sticks that failed to glow. I caved to puppy eyes at this point, because since we had been given them by RTN and BNV, I conceded we could use them. We secured them with cable ties.

There was no real fear of my being lost after I lost my crew, as the entire ride was littered with the detritus of our ride. Riding so quickly, and in the rain, meant no one was really given the chance for littering other things, but the glow sticks – oh, the glow sticks. I reached a point on my ride, when the rain was heavy and we were doing Beaconsfield Parade in St Kilda, when I seriously considered stopping riding RTN in order to simply start picking up glow sticks. I was so angry, and I still am. My daily commute includes Napier Street, which was part of the ride, and even though it was over halfway through the ride, this location, this morning on my ride I still spotted several lost, lonely glow sticks lying on the road.

REMINDER: There is nothing between storm water drains and the Bay. When something goes into those drains on the road, you know the ones, that’s it. They go straight into the Bay, no filtering or whatever. So many people assume there’s filters. There’s not.

I’m really disappointed that we were encouraged to use a thing that’s so environmentally unfriendly and is so easy to litter without even noticing.

However I did have a really great time and I look forward to future Ride the Nights. And thanks so much to my donors.

My recommendations for future Ride the Nights:

  1. Different start points or scheduled start times. Especially with the rain, waiting in a queue for 45 minutes before we started cycling, and then getting stuck in traffic at 0100, made the experience unpleasant before it could even begin.
  2. A proper map.
  3. Road blocks or traffic control as an extension of this management.
  4. No glow sticks. Use that money on reflective face paint, or another light, or something less damaging and encouraging of poor habits.
  5. Clearer signage.
  6. Delicious vegan breakfast options.

Danni has also written about Ride the Night.