25 August 2005

Hurrah for chiropractors!

(at least, for the many competent ones, same as any other trade)

  • Tuesday night: headache/nausea

  • Wednesday morning: up at 4AM, headache/nausea/vomiting

  • Wednesday lunch: visit Bob Scott at the Como Chiropractic Clinic

  • Wednesday afternoon: headache (note: no nausea/vomiting)

  • This morning: up at 4AM, feeling great, doing stuff. Ride ~30km home from Perth, discover some horrible truths about Perth’s cycleway system.

First truth: the cycleways are definitely an afterthought. In many places you get tossed onto nearby roads and left to fend for yourself for a km or two. Some of the routes are so tortuous that I kept expecting to see a big lump of cheese to announce the achivement of some incomprehensible-to-me milestone. In one place, the “cycleway” is sueezed into a bare metre (or less) between a cyclone-mesh fence and a limestone wall; in another, it's a concrete path not more than 700mm across.

Second truth: the run more-or-less up the freeway takes you past that green plastic eyesore in Stirling. Doesn’t just run past it, requires you to face it whether approaching from north or south.

Third truth: The surface on the run past Karrinyup (Careniup, have it your way) is totally scrod. Would be most reluctant to tackle those few km in the dark even with a real bike. Big blocks of cement tilted this way and that and “temporarily patched” with bitumen — or worse, low-visibility cement, at least you can see the bitumen patches to dodge them — to cover gaps and steps up to about 25cm wide or high; other bits of path have expansion cracks in the bitumen — running along the path — up to about 3cm wide.

Fourth truth: steep and narrow pedestrian bridges with low railings can be pressed into service as dual-use bridges if your town planning sucks too much to run a cycleway along one side of the freeway, and nobody actually asks, hey, what happens if someone comes off their bike and goes over a low, flat-topped concrete railing to fall six or seven metres splat onto the freeway?

Fifth truth: the signs sometimes lie. Specifically, the sequence heading north from where the low-railed pedestrian bridge dumps you in Innaloo says: Joondalup 16km, Joondalup 15km, Joondalup 17km. What?

The signs at Hutton Street do not tell you that it’s possible to cycle through Innaloo, instead they route you across the freeway, where you get run through a swamp-turned-housing-estate and left facing the ghastly green thing, then routed back across the freeway again.

Sixth truth: If you believe the signs, you get to cross the freeway five times between West Perth and points north.

Having said all of that, many other parts of this run are wide, smooth and well-marked.

Got to test my lights in darkness for the first time, and I’ll definitely be adding a second headlight. The one covers the path right in front of the wheel nicely, but identifying up-coming turns and such is a bit iffy in some places. This will mean that my el-cheapo KMart lights will end up costing six times as much as the bike, and the lock-and-cable cost about two bikes. It’s certainly been excellent value for money.

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