A Cycletourer’s Burden? (page 4) - CycleBlaze

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A Cycletourer’s Burden? (page 4)

Graham SmithTo John Pescatore

John that’s a really interesting post to me, because in my previous work, I’d rely greatly on security and safety assessments from professionals such as you.

I was responsible for taking large groups of mid-career Australians to Indonesia for leadership development programs. To prepare such visits took months of work, and risk mitigation was the highest priority. All the things you mentioned become much more pressing  when making decisions for others’ safety.

Not surprisingly, the greatest real risk to life and limb were motor traffic accidents, whereas the greatest perceived risk by our travel colleagues were terrorist attacks and plane crashes, despite the very low probability of either occurring. Media coverage, and peoples’ sense of control over risk, help explain the difference in real risk versus perceived risk.

I’m pleased to say that over many years of taking hundreds of people to Indonesia, there were no major injuries. The only one of concern I can recall was someone slipping on a very polished timber floor in a hotel and breaking their wrist. 

The repeated observations in the CB journal of my cycle touring friend,  who is currently nearing the completion of his long ride, do remind me of one major health risk which I also took in my younger years on long tours. That is, breathing in diesel fumes, and numerous other air pollutants from motor vehicles. 

When I first started cycle touring in the 1970’s, exhaust filters were non-existent. Numerous times in Europe I found myself pedalling behind smoky trucks, buses and even tractors, breathing in all manner of toxins. Nowadays emission control legislation and standards such as catalytic converters have largely removed this health risk in many countries. But not in Indonesia. Air pollution is extreme in cities, and often in rural areas, especially on major highways.

If I ever do cycle-tour there, I’ll plan as many backroad routes as possible. And try to tour mostly at higher elevations. 

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