Ride of Silence – Milawa, VIC

I am a bit late posting this, but I did participate in the Ride of Silence on the southern hemisphere date of 23 May. I had planned to take flowers to the site but didn’t plan ahead enough to make it happen. The local florist is still only doing phone orders and deliveries, so I was unable to source flowers on the day at the shop. My early foray into town also meant the grocery store did not have its flowers out yet. So no flowers, but I stopped and paid my respects before continuing on. No worries about silence. I can do 100 km rides in silence where I live!

I actually think about this cyclist, Jim Chant, and the injustice of his death often. I ride past this site many days each week on various rides. What makes it infuriating is that the cyclist was killed in good weather on a straight stretch of road with kilometre-long sight lines. There really was no excuse for the driver, other than inattention. However, the police blamed the victim because he was on the road instead of the adjoining bike path (there is no law that states you must ride the path). The driver was never charged. The cyclist was on a recumbent with skinny tyres participating in an Audax timed event. The bike path is quite bumpy from tree roots and not suitable for road bikes, plus you must give way at numerous roads and driveways. So that is why he would have been on the road. (If there was a road shoulder, I would ride the road, too, instead of the path because of its many heaved sections). There is a bit more about this in the link below.

The past two weekends we did get out for some day rides of varying lengths and found a field of dandelions for Suzanne in the grounds of the old primary school at East Lima.

They might not look like your dandelions, but those are dandelions – there are around 25 different kinds of dandelions I think.

You can read about the rides of the past couple weekends here: https://rambleoutyonder.org/2020/05/21/shifting-may-ride-2-remembering-jim/ and here: https://rambleoutyonder.org/2020/05/25/shifting-may-ride-3-gone-gravel/

This weekend I spent a beautiful Saturday cleaning up the front garden and pruning back the crepe myrtle and other bushes. Today and tomorrow will be consumed with coursework so that I may finally finish the unit that was due in April. Other than the OH&S unit, this unit on budgets and finance bores me the most. I shouldn’t struggle through the others quite so badly!

Beginning tomorrow, we can start going places overnight again. If weather allows an overnight ride at any point, I’ll jump on it, but nights below freezing are common this time of year. Combine that with a cold, wet ground this time of year, and I don’t do many overnights in June or July. All the Melbourne people who have been stuck in the city have booked out accommodation in the area, too, so I expect the roads to be super-busy for a while. (I also worry about all those city folks bringing the virus with them since we only had 2 cases up here, and that was back in early April. So I will continue to stay out of public places).

The good news this week is that I finally got an email from Air New Zealand giving me a credit for my flight to America in late August. They had been very quiet and making me nervous. I’ve heard lots of horror stories from other Aussies about getting money back on cancelled travel. Air New Zealand knew, I knew, everybody knew since at least late March that no Aussies or Kiwis would be flying to America in August… or probably any time in 2020.

Australians are currently banned from leaving the country under DO NOT TRAVEL orders, and it looks like international travel is probably out for the rest of the year (with the exception of a trans-Tasman travel bubble). None of the state borders have even reopened yet! Luckily NSW and VIC never closed that border, but all of the others are still closed.

So thank you Air New Zealand. I would have preferred a refund, but the credit means I just have to book by the end of June 2021 and fly within 12 months after that. Surely, America will stop being a basket case by then?! I can certainly say that I have no desire to sit in a tiny, enclosed space with 285 other people for 15 hours straight right now, particularly if that plane had come from the worst affected country before it arrived for my flight! I miss my parents tremendously, but I have no desire to fly anywhere for some time to come, particularly America.

Nerdy chick in Australia who loves to ride and is accompanied by the crew: 'The Commander' Verne and the 'Mental Health Specialist' Kermit.

6 response to "Ride of Silence – Milawa, VIC"

  1. By: Suzanne Posted: May 31, 2020

    Lots of good news! I quite agree with you about flying! Who would want to sit in an airplane these days?! Glad you got credit for a future flight.
    You mention coursework – what degree or qualification are you working for?
    Thanks for remembering the Ride of Silence.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: June 2, 2020

      I’m doing a Double Diploma of Project Management/Leadership and Management. The course is all online except for the oral exam at the end of each unit. It will give me an international Project Management certification at the end. The course was half-price with last year’s EOFY sale, so it was cheaper to do the course than sit the certification exam (and I didn’t have the knowledge to do that anyway). I was still really unwell last July when I signed up, and didn’t get enough energy back to start working on it until December. So I got way behind. Got caught up in Feb, but the weather in March and April was the nicest in 15 years, so I rode instead and got way behind again. Hopefully I can catch back up again over winter!

  2. By: gregblood Posted: May 31, 2020

    I had just finished reading Alchemy Guy’s post when I moved on to yours. Just think how less likely Jim Chant’s death would have been with laws like the Netherland’s, where the auto driver is almost always the one at fault in car/bike collisions — and even when the cyclist was at fault, the driver still is partially responsible for not looking out for bicyclists. There may be some rare occasions where that might not be fair, but overall, I like it.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: June 2, 2020

      Yes, that law would be a good start. I understand that we would never have that sort of infrastructure since we don’t have the population density, and building that culture takes several generations, but certainly more could be done now. When the cops came to my place to take my statement after the dog attack, I had to bite my tongue a couple times when they said some things that indicated they had the attitude that cyclists take their lives in their own hands and it is their responsibility alone if they are in an accident. (They were sympathetic about the dog attack, but if I’d been smooshed by a car, probably not so much.) When they looked at all the roads I’ve ridden that avoid traffic, I then got a patronising comment related to ‘woman riding alone in remote places’. There’s a long way to go!

  3. By: Tony Cullimore Posted: May 31, 2020

    I don’t camp in winter either. Soggy ground, cool air and many, many worm casts to muddy everything up. Good to hear you have something from Air New Zealand. Even if only a credit. Maybe if the actually paid everyone back they would go under too.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: June 2, 2020

      It was a bit curious with Air New Zealand which flights they refunded and which they credited. It’s okay, but I would rather that $1000 bucks be earning some interest for me than just sitting somewhere. But I understand the whole thing and am just so glad I didn’t book with Virgin this year (which used to be my first choice). I was going to wait Air NZ out – I think they may have delayed cancelling flights hoping the customers would cancel first, so they could at least pocket the cancellation fee.

      Last year when I flew Virgin to LAX, I had an inkling they were getting into deeper trouble. The meals were awful both directions and very little food. Usually, I don’t even eat the second meal. That time I was still hungry after the first. They had really cut down the number of times they came through the cabin with drinks and snacks. They didn’t seem to clean the toilets as often. And they no longer handed out eye masks, water bottle and pens for customs forms as they’d done in the past. I’m not surprised the virus did them in.

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