The New Kid

cadent_1_small.jpgEver felt like the new kid at school? I did on Saturday morning.

I have to admit that I was fortunate enough to grow up in the one home for the first 16 years of my life. That meant that I went to only one primary school and only one high school. I never had to be the new kid at school. Obviously starting school as a 5 year old and then moving on to high school at the age of 14 were both monumental moments but I was never the kid who turned up in the middle of the school year having to get to know a whole new bunch of kids and a whole new system.

On Saturday I had to find a new group of cyclists to join for a Saturday morning ride. There was all the apprehension of, “What if I can’t ride at the same pace? What if I don’t fit in?” I was the new kid but I need not have worried.

I turned up and stopped near a friendly looking guy. We got chatting, exchanged first names and then he asked me where I work. I told him that I work in radio at Sonshine FM and he said, “So you’re Rodney Olsen. I thought I recognised your voice.” We talked a little more about the impending ride and then it was time to form into a group.

The riders usually split into three groups but with the rainy conditions they were down on numbers so we stayed as one group. Given the choice I would have joined the ‘B’ group and they said that we were going to ride at a ‘B’ group pace. Suited me.

I found the ride a little bit of a stretch in a couple of places, which I liked, but most of the time I was quite comfortable. By the time we got back to the shop I felt great but a few of the other riders were feeling a bit smashed. Apparently they felt that the group was riding more at the ‘A’ pace than ‘B’.

One of the main things I miss about our old home is the group of guys that I used to cycle with each Saturday morning. Some of us have been riding together for many years so it was tough to say goodbye and know that I won’t get that regular Saturday morning company again. While the new group isn’t quite the same I’m sure I’ll form some new friendships. I’m already looking forward to the next ride.

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Ride for Youth 2009

YouthFocus.gifYouth suicide, depression and self harm are very real problems in our society but we don’t often hear the shocking statistics. Thankfully, Youth Focus is committed to helping young people and their families

Youth Focus is a Western Australian, non-profit organisation with expertise in providing practical and effective support for young people, 12-18 years of age who are showing early signs associated with suicide, depression and deliberate self-harm as well as providing support for their families.

Youth Focus has been established for well over a decade and operates within both metropolitan and regional areas, servicing more than 600 young people each year and supporting some 160 families. In the last two years there has been a significant increase in demand for these services. As a consequence, Youth Focus has been unable to offer assistance to an additional 240 young people each year who seek their help. It is believed that this number will continue to grow.

This Monday a group of men and women will set out on a five-day bike ride from Albany to Perth to raise funds for Youth Focus in the prevention of youth suicide, depression and deliberate self-harm. One of those cyclists, Stephen Carmody, joined me in the studio today to talk about what the ride will achieve.

Stephen says he got involved several years ago after a close experience with suicide.

Witnessing the tragedy, despair and impact from the suicide of son’s good friend five years ago lead me to want to do something to prevent any avoidable loss of our young people.

The value of services such as Youth Focus cannot be underestimated. The training, teamwork and demands of the fundraising and the ride have been so personally enriching – I’m getting older but feeling younger.

You can hear my conversation with Stephen about Youth Focus and the Ride for Youth by clicking the play button on the Audio Player at the bottom of this post.


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Bicycles continue to outsell cars

cadent_1_small.jpgIt seems that more Aussies are taking to the roads on two wheels. For the ninth consecutive year Australians have bought more bicycles than cars. I take pride in that statistic, especially seeing that I was one of those who bought a new bike in 2008. (Mine’s just like the Avanti Cadent 1.0 in the picture.)

While fuel prices have taken a temporary tumble, they’re sure to rise again and by the time you factor in all the associated costs, driving is still an expensive habit.

We’ve been a one car family for many years now and we save a huge amount of money due to the fact that I commute by bicycle. I’ve especially enjoyed the past couple of months since the radio station moved to new premises. My new cycle commute has me pedalling three times the daily distance and I’m loving it. I’m feeling healthier by the day.

In a titled Bicycle sales rise in Australia, we’re told that Australia is still experiencing a boom in bicycle sales.

Data released yesterday revealed that – for the ninth consecutive year – consumers bought more bicycles than cars.

Bike sales last calendar year reached 1.4 million, just 2 per cent down on the record 1.42 million sold in 2007.

That far outstripped the 1 million auto sales over the same period.

Climate change and a bigger focus on health are just a couple of great reasons to get out and ride. It’s time to rediscover what we’ve always known; cycling is fun.

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World Carfree Day

carfree_day_logo.jpgI didn’t know until a very short while ago that today is World Carfree Day.

We’re all supposed to be ditching our cars today in favour of public transport, walking or cycling.

I guess I’ve done my bit by cycling to work as I usually do.

The organisers are very keen for people to get out of their cars not just for the day but forever. I must say that while I love cycling and truly believe that we could use our cars a lot less, I’m not convinced that abandoning all cars is the answer. I think it’s like so many things, we need to find some kind of balance.

I agree that we rely way too much on cars and that a lot of trips would be better suited to walking, cycling or public transport, but cars can make our lives easier if we use them correctly.

I was interested to read some of the information on the World Carfree Network website about the amount of time the average American male pours into his vehicle.

The typical American male devotes more than 1,600 hours a year to his car. He sits in it while it goes and while it stands idling. He parks it and searches for it. He earns the money to put down on it and to meet the monthly installments. He works to pay for petrol, tolls, insurance, taxes and tickets. He spends four of his sixteen waking hours on the road or gathering resources for it. And this figure does not take account of the time consumed by other activities dictated by transport: time spent in hospitals, traffic courts and garages: time spent watching automobile commercials or attending consumer education meetings to improve quality of the next buy. The model American puts in 1,600 hours to get 7,500 miles: less than five miles an hour.

Do you find that you’ve become a slave to your car? Do you use other methods of transport when it makes more sense or do you just jump in your car every time?

As for me, I’m happy to stay healthier, reduce pollution, save money, feel more energised and enjoy my daily commute more by staying on my bike.

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The perfect fit

cadent_1_small.jpgI’m very pleased to say that I now fit my bike perfectly.

After all the years I’ve been cycling I finally got around to getting a professional fitting. I’ve cycled thousands of kilometres and always just set up things like seat height based on what I’d read and how it felt.

I figured that I’d let the professionals help me get the right fit for my new Avanti road bike.

I dropped into Ward Cycles yesterday afternoon, put my bike on a trainer and pedaled away.

Petar from Wards videoed, entered data, checked angles, made adjustments and as it turns out not a lot had to be changed but even with the couple of changes he made I’m now feeling more comfortable on the bike.

I was almost hoping that there would be a few extra changes and that suddenly I’d be able to ride twice as fast. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Though I must admit that it’s good to know that everything’s now as it should be.

I suppose that I now need to face the fact that the improvements from here on in are down to me

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