Oh Hervey Bay....how you've changed

Oh Hervey Bay....how you've changed

Postby K2 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:59 am

Been heading up to Hervey Bay once or twice a year for yonks now. Always take the bike and used to enjoy just sticking to the Esplanade shared path with all the hazards that peds and other cyclists with holiday heads on provide.

Last couple of years I've been taking to the road since fitness has improved and I can maintain a reasonable pace now. Initially it was just a one way run with the wind and a return along the path. This week it was more like a run from pier to Gatakers return followed by one or two runs back down to the roundabout at Pialba and back each day.

Allowing for the increase in road time, I still get the feeling it's got a lot nastier up there. Perhaps it's just the time of year? The number of times motorists elected to share their passing thoughts on cyclists/me with me was phenomenal - up to half a dozen a day whereas previously I'd be lucky (???) if it were once in the whole week. And the number of folk who sit on your tail when they could easily pass and then elect to pass when there's oncoming traffic, or concrete islands, or parked cars, seems to have increased similarly. Likewise the number of folk who'll willingly pass towards the left hand side of their lane rather than even move slightly towards the centre line to maintain a safer distance.

As we were leaving I witnessed a motorist very purposefully swerve into and out of a marked parking lane immediately after passing an older commuter type cyclist using it!

The icing on the CWA cake however, was an old biddy exiting stage left across my path on Elizabeth St. She was stationary, waiting to turn right. The last car ahead passed her about 150m in front of me. She waited until I was about 30m from the intersection before commencing her manoeuvre. I was traveling at about 30ish!

From that distance it wasn't hard to spot that her gums began flapping as soon as she lurched forward. I'd had my eye on her, so hit the skids immediately. She wasn't in any hurry. In fact she virtually rolled across in front of me and barely seemed to move any further at all. By this point both hands were off the wheel and doing some kind of weird impression of a blender inside her little bubble car. I'd almost come to a standstill a few metres from her, and being in that fantastic mood a lovely early morning ride can achieve, I just waved/pointed once in the direction she was traveling with my left hand to indicate that perhaps it was time she got on with her journey.

Her head nearly exploded. I had visions of the poor old bloke in the passenger seat having to make that call to the cleaner (a la Pulp Fiction). Fortunately he made a hand gesture similar to mine to her and with the other indicated that besides myself, she was holding up three vehicles waiting to come out of the street. She proceeded, reluctantly.

I suspect that this lady too had something very important to impart to me, but what with the heavy braking, the closed passenger side window, and the frothing mouth that could barely contain her false teeth impeding my lip reading skills, I was left wondering if she had perhaps mistaken me for someone who might have been responsible for the imprisonment, brutal torture, and eventual slaughter of her entire family.
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by BNA » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:42 am

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Re: Oh Hervey Bay....how you've changed

Postby Sydguy » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:42 am

Cycling is sometimes like bobbing for apples in a bucket full of dicks.

It can be very frustrating, which is a shame considering it is an enjoyable and practical way to get around.

JM
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Re: Oh Hervey Bay....how you've changed

Postby RonK » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:05 am

Hervey Bay is a retirement town - has been for years and years. Why would it come as any surprise that some of the senior citizens drive a litle erratically? Treat them with caution (and a little respect). How competent is your grandmother's driving? How would you feel if some aggro cyclist started abusing her?
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Re: Oh Hervey Bay....how you've changed

Postby Sydguy » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:44 am

Hi Ron

If one of your parents is a poor driver then people around them should encourage them not to drive.

To the point where they simply should not be let on the road. Driving is not a right.

Two peds killed in Sydney over night, both by elderly drivers at night. Might be a cyclist on this forum next.

It is difficult to take away someones mobility especially when our PT is 3rd world.

However how many lives is a persons mobility worth? People need to realise it is not all about them, sometimes the greater good needs to rank above your own needs and convienence.

The older generations should be applauding cyclists, it should remind them of the good old days when there were few cars and lots of fit and happy people cycling around the kids playing cricket on the street.

Now I often see old people stranded on a median strip or foot path, struggling to find a safe way across a road with cars humming along at 60 km/h.

JM
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Re: Oh Hervey Bay....how you've changed

Postby uncle arthur » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:51 am

Sydguy wrote:Hi Ron

If one of your parents is a poor driver then people around them should encourage them not to drive......

Now I often see old people stranded on a median strip or foot path, struggling to find a safe way across a road with cars humming along at 60 km/h.

JM


This is why old people should be in old persons' homes :P

I am of course kidding..... but the vexed issue of our elderley and their right vs ability to drive is indeed a curly one. My own mother at 75 scares the bejeezuz out of me the way she drives, but I remember one older bloke - a founding member from the QLD MX5 Club who was as capable as Jackie Stewart behind the wheel of a range of sports cars, right up until his death in his 80's. He used to lead the car runs, and was known as one of the best and fastest drivers in the club.....

So we have chalk and cheese.....

As for Hervey Bay - my family (mother's side) hails from that part of the world, and it has grown exponentially, but perhaps has struggled to keep pace. It is a bit like the old woman you described - rapid change forced upon her - life has sped up and grown, yet deep down she still feels like she's in the sleepy little beachside village she remembers from growing up. I'd be surprised if she'd even ever left HB during her time, and now the "big smoke" is coming at her at breakneck speed..... or in the form of a cyclist at 30kmh.......
What is it with cycling? 30+ kmh and lycra???!!!
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Re: Oh Hervey Bay....how you've changed

Postby elantra » Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:20 pm

K2 wrote:Been heading up to Hervey Bay once or twice a year for yonks now. Always take the bike and used to enjoy just sticking to the Esplanade shared path with all the hazards that peds and other cyclists with holiday heads on provide.................

Time to consider an alternative destination perhaps.

Have you considered Yamba ?
I was down there a few months ago and there seemed to be some roadies enjoying the local roads (and cafes !)

Also i was able to cross the river on a lovely boat ride and slowly pedalled up and down the main street of Illuka.
Not many cars there..... :D
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Re: Oh Hervey Bay....how you've changed

Postby sumgy » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:22 pm

uncle arthur wrote:This is why old people should be in old persons' homes :P



Which is probably why these people are in HB.

Sorry to say it but from my experience "Ferals" have always existed up in the Maryborough and Hervey Bay area.
We used to call them "sheddies" (because many of them lived in the back blocks in sheds).
I was up there about 12 months ago.
Nothing much had changed.
Just the numbers of sheddies/ferals as the population had increased.
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Re: Oh Hervey Bay....how you've changed

Postby K2 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:22 pm

RonK wrote:Hervey Bay is a retirement town - has been for years and years. Why would it come as any surprise that some of the senior citizens drive a litle erratically? Treat them with caution (and a little respect). How competent is your grandmother's driving? How would you feel if some aggro cyclist started abusing her?


Ron, All my grandparents are dead. Thanks for asking. If some looney wanted to yell at the pieces of dirt they decomposed in then I guess they'd have my sympathy. Life's too short to be talking to dirt.

Less facetiously perhaps....as I said, I've been visiting Hervey for years. I know what it was and what it's becoming. The point of my post was surprise at the rapid deterioration of attitudes towards cyclists, at least as experienced during the last week, in comparison to only a couple of years ago. And though I have no way of knowing, I suspect much of it was from other visitors. The older locals who can often be found pounding the shared paths in the growing light are some of the friendliest and accommodating folk you're likely to encounter on a ride.

To be honest I think perhaps you should read my post again. I can't see anywhere that would have given the impression that I was aggressive and abusive. In fact I was in a brilliant mood and was on the receiving end without any rhyme or reason.

Lastly, erratic driving from anyone, anywhere doesn't really surprise me at all (little enforcement/penalties equals a virtual free for all for anyone who's that way inclined) and I try to treat all situations with caution accordingly and afford them the respect they deserve, as you might be able to discern from my original post...as too that it wasn't so much her driving that I found peculiar but rather her apparent utter hatred of someone she'd never even met.


Uncle Arthur, I hear what you're saying, but you could change the circumstances a little and just as easily make the same excuses for her having to deal with newly arrived Australians, or same sex couples etc. Actually I've been getting that feeling a lot more of late...not just in Hervey. This us and them thing, or in this case this apparent "they're not like us" rubbish. Amusing in a League of Gentlemen "This is a local shop" sketch, but a lot less so for real.

Following that line she should logically be more accepting of cyclists than the younger generations. As Sydguy intimated, you'd expect that she grew up when the ratio of vehicles to bikes was vastly different, and a wary cyclist traveling at half the speed of any cars that bother sticking to the limit should be the least of her worries.

Further, I'm no spring chicken, I don't wear anything specifically bike related other than a helmet, and I'm pushing an old all rigid mountain bike, so I don't think I warrant any sort of threat or wannabe Tour de Foreign Country value. Hence I can only assume that she reacts to all the old folk making use of two wheels to fend off the reaper (and there are plenty up there) in a similar manner. Quite sad really.


Elantra, Although my post came across like a big whingefest, I was really only a little dismayed about the apparent change in attitudes over such a short period. We go up there to spend time with the folks...who just happen to provide free accommodation :) which is cat on its last legs friendly. :) :) :)

Despite the downer post, it is still a very lovely part of the world, especially if you can get up there outside holiday periods to enjoy kid friendly beaches with barely another soul to bother you. And it's still a great place to ride being rather flat with most people behaving like you'd expect from folk enjoying their holiday. Just need to get out on the road at first light to avoid the majority of the motoring nasties I guess...pretty much like most other places. Plus it has better paths than most with the nice but busy run amongst the trees along nearly all of the beachfront, and a much quieter bitumen path that replaced the old railway line a few blocks back which is great if you want to burn some energy with minimal interruptions.

Haven't been to Yamba since I was a youngster though. Might head down that way again once the cat departs this feline coil.
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Re: Oh Hervey Bay....how you've changed

Postby PawPaw » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:44 pm

I worked up there for a year around 10 years ago. That was enough. The area is what the govt refers to as revenue negative.
That means it consumes more tax revenue than it generates.

Sure, some of that is old age pensioners, but there's also a lot of young welfare recipients as well.
My take on it is trash from Victoria, SA, and NSW move up there so they can be unemployed and out of their brains in the sunshine and warmth.
Sad really. The place used to be ok for a holiday. Now, it is tatts, body piercings, third rate bikies, and sleeping with your partner's best friend kinda country.
Also sad, because Maryborough was one of the most commercially and industrially productive towns in Qld until the 70s. But most working age people with any brains left, and now the trash run it. I spent a lot of time with the elderly in Maryborough who filled me in on the history. God, how we need their type now.
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Re: Oh Hervey Bay....how you've changed

Postby jillybean » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:07 am

As a 10yr resident of Hervey Bay, I find it hard to reconcile some of what is being said with what I see day-in day-out. Yes, there is the odd driver that causes a problem, but it really is the exception rather than the rule. We have a 200 member BUG plus the local cycling and triathlon clubs and there are always plenty of cyclists on the roads and paths at all times of day in addition to the bunch rides most mornings. I guess it helps to be a local and know which roads to avoid at particular times of the day, but other than needing to keep your wits about you as you should riding anywhere in the company of cars, I have never felt 'unsafe' on local roads.

As far as it being 'tatts, body piercings, third rate bikies, and sleeping with your partner's best friend kinda country', I must frequent the wrong places and mix with the wrong people because this certainly hasn't been my experience - and judging by how full all the beachfront camping and caravan grounds are during school holidays it is obviously still a popular place for a relaxed family holiday. I suppose I must be sounding very defensive of 'my town', but when I sit at the coffee shop overlooking the calm waters of the bay chatting with a bunch of fellow cyclists most mornings it is hard to imagine a better place to be.
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