Car forces bike off the road in Holden ad

August 14, 2013 at 20:32 | Posted in bicycles | 6 Comments
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If you don’t ride a bike, you’ll think I have my knickers in a twist about this. If you regularly ride a bike in Australia, this will make your blood boil. It’s the latest ad from Holden for some new car of theirsĀ  (click here to watch).


Now, there’s been some commentary about this on their YouTube channel, and here is their response:


Well I’m sorry Holden, but your comments just don’t wash. This ad clearly depicts careless and dangerous driving, even if its not immediately apparent to a casual, non-cycling viewer. Let’s take a look at it frame by frame.
At 18s, we see the driver is not paying attention to the road – he is more interested in looking at his companion than at the road ahead of him:


At 20s in, we see the cyclist from behind. The implication is that this is the drivers POV. The car must be extremely close to the back wheel of the bike to get this shot. Perhaps the driver should have been looking at the road two seconds earlier:


At 21 seconds we see the car make a significant swerve to go around the (crashed) cyclist – check how the body is rolling on the suspension. In order to require such a sharp manoeuvre, the car must have been driving directly at the cyclist in the moments prior. (Had the driver been driving safely and with care, he would have pulled out to give the cyclist room well before he got so close, and would not have needed to make such a sudden swerve.) At he is close too; we can see the car is indeed no more than 2 or 3 metres behind the cyclist:


Perhaps someone from Holden’s marketing department would like to ride a bike down the street whilst I drive my car behind then two metres off their back wheel – let me tell you, it’s pretty terrifying. It’s also illegal under Australian Road Rule 127.

The driver does not then stop to render assistance to the cyclist, or check he is OK – instead he just drives off.


Whilst most Australian drivers are thankfully much more observant and much more considerate than the driver in this ad, it is a sad fact that there is a tiny minority out there who think cyclists are ‘fair game’, and will deliberately drive at them, drive close to them and in some cases even force them off the road. These incidents are of course rare, but anyone who has cycled in Australia for any length of time will probably have experienced this type of thing at some point. For Holden to be glorifying and legitimising this kind of hoon behaviour is utterly unacceptable – and simply shrugging it off as ‘tongue in cheek’ is not good enough.

Sure, make an ad that pokes bland cars in the eye. But don’t try to claim it’s funny when someone exhibiting careless driving puts a vulnerable road user in danger.

You can make a complaint about the ad here, if you feel moved to do so.

Dangerous or not?

April 4, 2010 at 12:27 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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A little while ago I replaced the bars on my pug with some wider ones; to make this easier I also bought a quill-to-threadless stem adapter. (I then set about taping the bars with a moderate degree of success.)

The finished product looks like this, including the stem adapter:

Now, I also submitted this picture along with a review of the adapter to the website where I bought it from. I then received this email from them:

Hello Daniel,
Thank you for reviewing your Profile Quill to Ahead converter. I noticed on your submitted image that you have a gap left just below the stem. Normally you would insert the quill section into the frame completely so that your stem rests on the top of the headset. This prevents any chance of the stem slipping down the ahead mounting point or the quill slipping down the inside of your steerer tube. I may be looking at your set up incorrectly but just wanted to be sure that you are aware of the risks. Do let me know if you need any help with this.
Thank you


Now, I’m not sure about this; I actually don’t see a problem with the way it’s set up. So I sent this reply:

Many thanks for your mail, I appreciate the time you have taken to write it.
However, I’m not sure your concerns are justified. The quill is no more likely to slip inside the steerer tube than a regular quill stem of the kind that was on the bike before; one of the advantages of a quill stem is, after all, that the can be raised or lowered, and then tightened into position.
I suppose it’s possible that the stem might slip on the converter, but this too seems unlikely. Whilst we are used to seeing such stems resting on spacers, the primary purpose of the spacers is actually to prevent the steerer moving up and down with a threadless headset – it is the clamp action of the stem that holds the forks onto the bike (something that is done by the locknut on a threaded headset). The stem is no more likely to slip down the adapter than, say, the bars are to slip round in the stem (in fact it is somewhat less likely, given that the turning moment of the bars is on axis with the clamp, whilst for the stem would be against it, thus pressure on the bars would tend to jam the stem against the adapter).
As such, I don’t think there is a problem. The quill is inserted to the ‘minimum insertion’ mark, so it seems it was designed to be used in this way (otherwise the ‘min insertion’ mark would be just under the lip of the top part of the adapter). It does look a bit odd, I agree, but that’s simply because we’re not used to seeing an oversize stem fitted to a narrow quill. However, I’m confident there is no mechanical risk from this arrangement, provided all the bolts are tightened to proper tolerances.


So – what do you think? Am I correct, or does the stem need to be resting on the headset locknut? It’s worth noting that I actually doubt I’d be able to get the quill adapter any further into the steerer; it was a tight fit and difficult to get down as far as the ‘min insertion’ mark. And if I did get it lower, then the bars would be too low, unless I then bought a stem with a huge rise angle.

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