Archive for the ‘ramblings’ Category

This afternoon I had a few jobs to do whilst Heidi was out, one of them being dropping some DVD’s back off to the DVD store in Como.  The ride is short, quite enjoyable and for the most part very safe.  The main reason for this is that it is mostly on bicycle specific paths and/or bicycle lanes on the road.

However you can imagine my surprise when I got to Thelma St on my way to the DVD store when I found countless cars parked blatantly in direct path of the bicycle track.  The reason was that there was a football game on.  Ok not enough spaces, fair enough I hear you say.  How ever it was just down to plain laziness by the most part.  There were lots of parking spaces available in the car park adjacent to the oval, but as usual people take the lazy, closer option.

The reason I decided to pop a quick post on this subject was due to a guy out riding with his 2 young children that I witnessed having to dangerously ride out into the road to get past these parked cars.  Obviously nothing happened and they made to obstacle safe.  But why should they have to.

These people who make these decisions to park dangerously, illegally and annoyingly really do deserve to be fined.  I will pass on the details of the vehicles that were causing the obstruction to the local police, I will also get in touch with the committee at the Oval on Thelma St, maybe they will also be able to have a word with the guilty parties.

So there we have another example of the cyclist, the underdog having to adjust his or her behavior to accommodate the masses, the motorists.

Advertisements

As mentioned before countless times, I have tried to offer some tips on how to save money whilst purchasing cycling specific equipment. However I have been trying to think how it might be possible to save even more money buy getting stuff that works perfectly well for cyclists, but is not cycling equipment.

Here goes, thus far I have found 2 very competent replacements, both ultra cheap and as good as if not better than the cycling specific products they have replaced.

1 Gloves.

I have always been a bit take it or leave it with gloves during the hotter months I have no blister or rubbing issues and I think they offer little or no advantage to a fall, however there is no ignoring the fact that winter riding means that gloves are a necessity. Bitterly cold morning’s are enough to make your fingers literally feel like there falling off.

I have tried many gloves over the years most recent of the cycling gloves were manufactured by Netti and similar to these. They are sold as waterproof and they do an OK job, water gets in naturally after a while but all in all there ok.  RRP is around 50 bucks and you’ll get them for 45 if you shop around.

Ok my alternative for these are also waterproof, offer far far better padding and comfort than the above Netti’s and cost just a$10 bucks.  They are anti-vibration gloves, designed for working outdoors with a jack hammer or other tools that could cause issues with prolonged use due to vibration.

They look just as good to, so there is no letting yourself down when your out riding in your crazy coloured lycra.  These can be picked up from most tool shops, Bunnings and other places like that.

2. Eye wear.

There is no need to explain the importance of a good pair of protective glass’s.  The sun beats down hard, stones and water gets spat out of a rider in front, all of these things are protected by a pair of good sunnies.

Sure cycling specific specs offer great versatility, the ability to swap out lenses as weather suits, clear lenses for the night time rides and tinted during the day, however these are the one of the most over priced  things I have ever purchased for riding.  Plus to be perfectly honest they weren’t even that good.

What do I wear now?  Well I have stuck with a good brand, Bolle in this case, but I have gone for safety glasses.  Sure 1 pair one tint, so no swapping lenses on these baby’s however at a$9 bucks each I have bought 2 pairs.  They still look cool and are very very comfy.

So there you go, 2 ways you can save money by not buying the over priced glasses you find down your local bike store.  If anyone has any other alternative products I would really like to hear about them.

Ok I love cycling, I mean really love it.  I ride lots, I ride to work, the shops and around to mates houses for beers.  You could say I am an addict.

Some of the sexiest bikes I have ever seen are singlespeed or fixies, there totally awesome.  You can imagine how pleased I was today when around 50 singlespeeds went flying past my work today, there were all different colours and sizes and some pretty funky people riding them.  Awesome.

Then the lights changed to red, I thought I might get a closer look.  However I have never seen such a bad example of road manners and illegal riding as I witnessed today.  Every single one of them, I really do mean every one of them went flying straight through, running the red.  Motorists were gobsmacked, as was I.  People were beeping, motorists had no idea what to do or were to go.

The cyclists were laughing and joking as they caused chaos on the road.

I managed to capture a bit of it on video from my phone, it’s not great quality but it gives you a small idea as to how bas this actually was.  It’s little wonder I find it difficult to justify cycling to my non cycling friends when we are witness to this behavior on an all to regular basis.

I would be interested to hear your view’s on this.  From cyclists and non cyclists alike.

For those of you who know my opinions on Local Bike Store pricing here in Australia you will be familiar with a little experiment that I started last Sept in which I was planning to spend a whole year without purchasing anything from a bike store here in Australia.  You can find the original post here.

7 Months on I am pleased to say that things are exactly as I imagined them to be.  The local pricing is still sky high, the online prices, deals and voucher’s that are available are as good as they have ever been and I find myself totally at ease with not having to pay the rip off prices that are being demanded here in Australia.

I have also started to use online stores for other sporting goods as well such as Running shoes, shorts and tops.  All available for a fraction of the price that we are being held to ransom for here in Australia.

I am also pleased to learn that many of my colleagues and friends now also utilise the benefits of online shopping, cutting out the inflated local cost that is buying from your local shopping center, sports store, dvd store etc.  I think I can safely say that the only store in this country that I now believe to be value for money is JB HIFI, I continue to get good prices and good content from them whenever I visit.

I really do hope that many retailers read this post and others like it and try to become more competitive than they currently are, after all we would all like to keep our money in Australia, but as it stands how can we?

The Travel Doctor

Posted: October 21, 2008 in ramblings, travel

Ok todays rant. The Travel Doctor, what can I say. Is it me or this place just one big Medicare con. I understand the need for good medical advice when necessary so please forgive me if this post offends in anyway. However the methods that I encountered during some recent visits/calls with the Fremantle branch of The Travel Doctor were simply astonishing.

As some of you know I am about to set off on a few months around India, Nepal, Borneo and wherever else my travels take me, thus Injections for various illnesses and problems are essential. The internet, Lonely Planet Publications and word of mouth mean that determining the correct injections really is not that hard, especially if you are aware of your previous jabs and when they took place.

I made an appointment to visit and turned up 15 minutes prior to my appointment as requested, I then explained to the receptionist that what jabs I wanted, I was then told that I HAD to see a Doctor as he was the only person that could prescribe the jabs that I required. Ok fair enough, that not how they do it in the UK but I have to respect the way it is done over here in Australia.

I then asked how much roughly the jabs would cost, I was then told it depended on the Doctor, WTF. I then asked again just in case I did not undertand what I was told correctly.

Anway I then had my consult with the GP who went through “briefly” what jabs/tablets I would require that are on prescription, no suprise that they were exactly the same as I had researched but hey thats life. During the consult I had a great feeling that I waw simply being SOLD TO. Gastro pack this, Insect repellant that, etc etc. Not a good feeling. I was after all in a Dr’s not a retail outlet.

The Nurse was awesome, the injections were handled quickly without pain or hassle, which was great as like most people I am not a huge fan of jabs. She told me as had the Dr that I would need to return in a month for the second stage of the Hep B, no problem.

I called up after the month (this week) to book my follow up appointment with the nurse simply to get the jab. I was then told by reception that I HAD to have a follow up Dr.’s appointment to “discuss” any extra things that I might need, once again up pops the gastro pack and insect repellant etc.

I mentioned that I did not really want to waste my time on this as I have everything required and what I dont have I will get through local outlets that are fare cheaper. I then was told dont worry we will bulk bill medicare of the second consult so there is no issue.

WFT. There is a huge issue with that as far as I am concerned, Medicare are being billed and unnecessary consult so that a Dr. can basically sell you stuff. Just to make sure I did ask once again what the second consult was for, was there any medical reason, was there an issue with my first injection perhaps. No it was simply to sell me these Add Ons.

Everyone is in the business of making money, this I have no issue with. Billing Medicare a consult so they can sell you more things is just outright robbery and dishonest.

Why not get the receptionist to offer these additional services perhaps. I am sure there will be people that are against what I am saying but Medicare and the economy in general should not be forced to absorb cost of this underhand method of making money.

Your thoughts

Missing my Blog

Posted: September 15, 2008 in ramblings

Well its been ages since my last post, this is due in no uncertain terms to the fact I have NO internet access. Staying with my girlfriends parents who are not into Technology what so ever (they dont have mobiles, for real) means that I am limited to little or no internet use, apart from the iPhone and the occasional trip to the library.

I have been upto lots of cool stuff as well since getting back to Perth and I really wanted to share it all with you. However I have now set up the blog to allow posts via email, so hopefully I will start getting some things through before to long.

Bank West my opinion

Posted: August 16, 2008 in bankwest, ramblings


OK I bank with Bankwest, have done for around 4 years now, always found them pretty good when I was in Perth.  Moved to Melbourne, what a nightmare.  Only 1 branch, which is in the city so if you don’t work there your pretty screwed for doing your banking over the counter.

Anyway in what I thought was a great move by Bankwest the opening of several branches in key shopping centers and locations around Victoria the plot thickens.  Are these banks or retail outlets.  I went into the Fountain Gate branch yesterday with the intention of paying into  my credit card account.  What a nightmare.  Granted they are a new branch, only been opening a few days.  However apart from the funky design and pleasing manners of the staff it was a shambles.
No one and I mean NO ONE seemed to know what they were doing.  I got asked 4 times literally if I was being looked after, which technically I was although the person that I was actually dealing with had no idea how to do the simple task that I bestowed upon him.  All I wanted was a balance so I could pay over the correct amount of money.  This seemed almost impossible for him to achieve, I politely asked him if he actually knew how to do it, mentioning that I have no issue in waiting while he finds someone who could help me.  He insisted on completing the task, of which it would have been quicker for me have called Telephone Banking and got the information I needed.
An isolated incident I ask myself, NO.  This has been a similar situation that has happened in most of the branches I have visited.  Apart from  the main City branch, which is not worth mentioning as it always has lines of people waiting for the only 2 tellers to hurry along as fast as possible whilst various other staff members simply chat away about their plans for the evening.
All up I am very disappointed in the whole role out of new stores, they seem far to focused on competing for new business with flashy gimmicks  and funky uniforms, whilst really all they need is some old fashioned customer service.  If they want to be regarded as a retail outlet thats great however would you shop for your groceries, clothes or gadgets from a store that has such more service….. I don’t think you would