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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9 months ago
Rich FrasierTo Graham Smith

Tagging onto an old thread.  We just got back from a tour of Puglia, where the trash along the back roads really is a problem.    There were some truly grim scenes along the otherwise beautiful roads through the olive groves.

This is in a country which should have a developed infrastructure for waste disposal.  I don't know what pressures drive people to dump bags of trash along the side of back roads, but it doesn't always make for pleasant cycling.

I struggled with how much to focus on the trash when writing my journal, because I don't want to make esthetic decisions for other people.   So I noted it a couple of times without really emphasizing it.   I thought about showing pictures of it but decided against it.  

Am I whitewashing the problem?  And somehow contributing to it?  Maybe, but I don't have any solutions.

We kind of went through the stages of grief with regard to the piles of trash.  Horror at first, denial, acceptance, and then gallows humor.  I would do the trip again, but others might find the experience unpleasant enough that they should avoid Puglia as a cycling destination.

Sicily has the same problem, based on my personal experience and what I've read in journals here on CycleBlaze.

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3 weeks ago
Ray SwartzTo Rich Frasier

When I rode south of Naples, I, too, noticed trash on the side of the road and in some lots there were huge piles of trash. Like you, I couldn't imagine what would make people drive to some place with bags of trash in their cars and then dump them in a pile.

I asked some locals about it and they said it was the mafia who had corrupt trash hauling contracts doing the dumping. I don't know if this is true, but it made more sense to me than random people driving out into countryside carrying bags of trash.

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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Rich Frasier

That’s a downside of biking in southern Italy alright, and a problem that’s gotten worse and more visible since we first biked Puglia almost twenty years ago.  Depressing alright, and something you need to either just turn an eye away from or not go.  It’s not nearly as much an issue in the smaller interior roads we usually bike though.

Corfu is even worse though, if you can imagine it.  We’ll never go to Corfu gain. 

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3 weeks ago
Graham SmithTo Rich Frasier

I’ve just finished a short cycle tour in southern Australia and also noticed that there seems to be an increased amount of illegal garbage dumping by roadsides and trail ways.

Mattresses, building waste and garbage bags of stuff people seem to prefer to throw into bushland rather than pay to put at garbage depots. 

My guess is that the worsening cost of living pressure is part of the cause of the increase. 

The roadside dumping problem here isn’t anywhere as great as it is in Indonesia (nor southern Italy it seems), but it appears to be getting worse when viewed from the vantage point of cycle touring. 

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3 weeks ago