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Alex Simmons

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Alex Simmons last won the day on March 16

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About Alex Simmons

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    Transitions Legend!

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    Bellingen, NSW

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  • Year of first Tri race?

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  1. Alex Simmons

    There are some sick people out there:

    What concerns me about many of the comments here is the solution proposed is to not ride at all on the roads. Yet the #1 factor in making cycling safer is increasing the number and frequency of cyclists drivers encounter on the roads. Safety in numbers is what leads to greater awareness of and familiarity by other road users and results in better driver behaviour. 30 years ago when driving you would expect to see children on bikes in the 'burbs. Now people are not tuned into the possibility as much, so the best way forward is to have more people on bikes out there. e-bikes will play a role in this. This is the exact experience in forward thinking cities which are now heavily promoting cycling - the rest of the community is getting used to it and familiarity has improved their overall attitudes and driving behaviours. To do just the opposite (i.e. promote getting off the roads) simply reinforces the car centricity of our society. To hear it from others who cycle just tells me how far we have fallen in our attitudes. No one is suggesting cyclists ride on inappropriate roads or at times of day when it causes more hassle. But to simply say get off the roads altogether, well we may as well kill ourselves now because what's the point?
  2. Alex Simmons

    There are some sick people out there:

    The speed advisory sign for that corner is 45km/h. The group was doing 42.
  3. Alex Simmons

    There are some sick people out there:

    Thanks for the comments. As to the pass - when you go single file, the line of riders become at least twice the length, usually much more as there are now double the number of gaps between wheels as well. This means the driver has to now wonder if they can get around a long line or riders, rather than passing something like a tractor. When on a road with double lines, sometimes there is still enough vision ahead for them to safely pass (and it's legal to do so). But make the passing distance a lot longer and well now what might have been a safe passing opportunity is no longer, or worse they think they can and now go hard left and take out the riders at the front end of the longer line. So you can see that in some situations, remaining as a double file group is both safer and more convenient for all road users. And sometimes going single file is better. Sometimes it doesn't matter as the road is wide, multilane, huge rideable shoulder etc. And sometimes drivers of vehicles just need to wait, like this guy did. Then there is time of day and day of week considerations. This can change whether a route is suitable or not. In this case it's early morning based on the direction and length of shadows. The mountains off to the right in the distance are south west of that point. Context matters - and if you are only going to go by a still frame or a few seconds of video without detailed knowledge of the road in question, time of day, traffic counts etc, then landing one side or another and proclaiming who should/should not be on that road is jumping to some big conclusions. The specific road the group has just come around the corner off the dam crossing and it's not a spot you'll be driving all that quickly anyway (it's designed that way, see the armco). The speedo on the truck (you can see it at the end of the video) was 42km/h. Likewise I accept that I don't know what the group did before this, maybe they were making life hard for kilometers beforehand (although that's hard to believe as there are opportunities before there to pass, e.g. just on the other side of the dam there is a second lane for a vehicle to get round quite easily). Another few hundred meters before that the road is multilane at the traffic lights. As to rear flashing lights yeah I definitely agree, having lights is a good idea even in bright light. So in consideration of the video, knowing the specific road conditions and time of day, the speed they were moving, I'd say the chance the truck driver is just being a whiner is 99.8%.
  4. Alex Simmons

    There are some sick people out there:

    Yes it's certainly the case that going single file often increases risk compared with riding as a group. But there are scenarios where single file does make sense - but only in locations where doing so enables passing to occur that may not otherwise be possible AND doesn't create a greater risk. An example might be on road with some shoulder room, enough such that riders can go single file and a vehicle can get safely by with plenty of room for error and without need to cross over to the other lane. But when that is not possible, it is generally far safer to hold the lane as a group until the road conditions change and passing is again safely possible. In many cases that is not far ahead. If such difficult passing conditions exist for long sections and traffic counts are high with high posted speed limits, then I definitely agree the road is not so suitable for cycling without additional strategies in place. The fatalities of cyclists (all road users really) are all terrible but I would note: - the large majority of cyclist fatalities involving vehicles are the fault of the motor vehicle driver - the very large majority of fatalities were not riders in a group
  5. Alex Simmons

    There are some sick people out there:

    The road is very good and suitable for a group, with just a short section of the road like that due to coming off the dam and the car park entrance on the right. Pretty much just that 100-150m or so bit from the video. Had the video gone on for a just a few more seconds you would have seen the very open straight section was just around the bend - which was the image I posted. It might be a dickhead driver, but please note that because of the way the group was riding, the driver of the car in front nor the truck driver attempted an unsafe pass. I bet you that a few seconds later though when the road straightened and there was plenty of room and good sight lines, they got past without delay or difficulty and quite safely. Had the riders gone single file, it can invite a pass in a dangerous location when a few more seconds later it will be no problem for anyone. I don't expect to convince you, but I am giving my professional opinion on a matter of cycling safety - something I do as part of my professional and volunteer work.
  6. Alex Simmons

    There are some sick people out there:

    Indeed, just on the other side of the dam is the park-and-pedal car parking facility for cyclists. It's specifically set up for cyclists to meet up for rides, or to park and use the cycleway network. It's just off that very road. That cyclists are using the government provided facility and cycling on the very road connecting to it should be no surprise to local motor vehicle drivers.
  7. Alex Simmons

    There are some sick people out there:

    It's Lady Denman Drive Canberra. At that spot it's not an overly busy road (the main multilane roads are either side), and indeed right at that spot is a meeting point for many a group ride because it's actually a good spot to meet up, the traffic is usually pretty light and it also has access to bike paths converging from 4 different directions (OK for 1 or 2 riders, not groups). It's actually a location that encourages cyclists. It's the truck driver who is the impatient dickhead.
  8. Alex Simmons

    There are some sick people out there:

    In my professional opinion, in that location it is much better for everyone to remain as a group. Going single file is an appropriate strategy at times but it can also be a poor and dangerous strategy in certain situations. Sometimes it is far better to take the lane. This is exactly one location where a group should take the lane.
  9. Alex Simmons

    There are some sick people out there:

    This the road just around that bend:
  10. Alex Simmons

    There are some sick people out there:

    Have a look at the road. Double centre lines, no shoulder, an intersection on the right and you are blinded to what's on the road ahead due to the curve (hence the double lines). Encouraging a close pass by going single file is the worst thing the group could do at that spot. Just around that bend the road straightens out with plenty of room to pass, which given they are riding as a group will be far easier and take much less time to do than if they go into a long single file. That's the Yarralumla side of Scrivener Dam on Lady Denman Drive.
  11. Alex Simmons

    Microsoft Excel help

    Use an scatter chart instead of a column or line chart. You can then use linear or logarithmic scales on both axes.
  12. Alex Simmons

    Solar power, cost, installation etc etc

    Ha! Seriously though, keep in mind the upfront capital investment has to be recovered and financial benefits need to exceed that for alternatives uses of the money*. Which is why my assessment used an IRR approach which factored in the lost opportunity of an investment return for an alternative use of the funds (or in the case for some people, the cost of borrowing money to pay for it). Obviously I need a full year to have a much more solid assessment of the returns. For long term projections I also considered long term factors, such as the very gradual decline in performance of the system, the prospects for grid energy prices and so on. Some are relatively easy to predict, others less so. If anyone is considering a system, I'd be happy to work through some numbers. Of the 3 companies that I had quote for our system, only one provided an assessment of financial benefits. But I considered their model to use some rather optimistic assumptions. So I built my own. * of course some may wish to spend the money because of the less tangible environmental benefits, mostly the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. I'm assessing from a purely $ perspective since when push comes to shove, this is what will drive most households.
  13. Alex Simmons

    Solar power, cost, installation etc etc

    Having a system that tracks all the data makes it pretty cool. I've worked out all the factors (daily connection fee, grid power charges, off peak hot water circuit, feed in tariff, GST, applicable discounts) to do a like for like comparison. Bottom line: so far my power bill for the opening 4 days would have been $44.96, but will now be $4.80. That's one sunny day, two overcast days and one rainy day. We have a few warm to hot sunny days coming up so will report back after a full week.
  14. Alex Simmons

    Solar power, cost, installation etc etc

    I did my financial projections with an assumption of an average of 60% of our power being supplied by our solar array, which given we are at home during the day I think is reasonably attainable but I won't really know until I have collected data over a longer period. The higher that number is, the shorter the payback period and the greater the internal rate of return. At 60% it is an excellent investment, certainly way way better than any regular financial instrument can return. Time (and future bills) will tell.
  15. Alex Simmons

    Solar power, cost, installation etc etc

    The 9kW was just what I happened to notice at one moment when I was standing next to the inverter. How much it producing at any given moment depends on time of day and cloud cover. Looking at yesterday's data, power output peaked at 9.35kW and total production for the day was 56.6kWh. I wasn't home so not sure about cloud - there must have been some about as the production trace was bouncing up and down a bit. I have 3/4 of the array facing NNE, with 1/4 facing WNW, so it's unlikely to reach a theoretical 11kW peak all that often. But it does mean the power generation curve over the day is slightly wider rather than higher. I've already adjusted the timing of pool pumps a couple of times, indeed that will be a seasonal adjustment to fire them up earlier in summer and later in winter. We live and work from home. I have 2 large buildings and 3 air con compressors, one a ducted system. Not usually all on at once, but when it's hot or cold two can be running. That and an older home which while it has roof insulation many elements of the design are 1970s standard when it comes to energy efficiency. Main living areas are cathedral ceilings and large single pane skylights with no way at present to shade them. Two pool pumps. It's also likely I'll have a new 3rd building on the property before long.