Audax Australia
This is the umbrella organisation running long distance cycling events in Australia Their website includes a calendar of events.

A place where cyclist can keep track of their mileage and any number of other statistics, as well as an attached forum.

A set of discussion forums covering almost every conceivable cycling related topic.

Cycling Adventurer
The Cycling Adventurer has tossed in the structured life of an urbanite to explore the world by bicycle. A well-written site detailing how he came to cycling, and what he learned along the way.

Crazy Guy on a Bike

Bicycle touring journals from all over the world, including a couple of my own.

Johns Cycles

This is my LBS on the Gold Coast. While they cater more to the racing market, their service, advice and workmanship is the best on the coast.

St Kilda Cycles

Importers of all manner of things hard to find in Australia, including the legendary Schmidt hub dynamo & E6 lights.


Wonderings and wanderings out and about in Portland, Oregon, US

The Journey
The journey begins in Perth, Western Australia.

Lance Notstrong
The "other" Lance!

Ms Mittens
The Wired Cat on-line

Iron Gambit

Aussie Writer and Cycletourist
A blog chronicling the writing and cycling of a seaside baby boomer.

Up in Alaska
Jill's subarctic journal about ice, bears and distant dreams of the midnight sun.

The Kin Chronicles
Taking mediocrity to a new level of ordinary.

Riding and running with a vengeance.

London Cycling Diary
Pedalling across the capital since August 2005.

CouchPilot-2-BikePilot (Zin's cycling blog)
Living an adventurous life with Type-2-Diabetes.

The adventures of Crazy Biker Chick
... Including cycling, adventuring, cooking, knitting and ranting.

Redneck Espanol
The two wheeled Spanish redneck.

Treadly and me
"Work is something I do between riding my bicycle".

Womanist philosophy and theology. Cycling, climbing, art, single-motherhood and fire-twirling.

Adrian Fitch's random rambling.
A bit about cycling, a bit about genealogy, a bit about radio but mostly a lot about nothing at all.

Geo's big adventure
The life and times of Geo.

It's about the bike
Musings on the cycling life.

Various cycling tidbits.

Industry Outsider
A blog about bikes and stuff.

Tweed Coast Treadly
An old man's bicycle riding diary.

A cyclist's life in Tenerife
(Canary Islands).

Bike to work to live to bike
It's never too late to get back on the bike

Stupid Hurts
Just the random scribblings of a guy with a bicycle

I'm not drunk enough for this
Really, I'm not.

What can I say? Just read it.

Mozam's cycling adventures
A random collection of the things I like to do most, and mostly that is to ride my bikes, bicycles that is... My musings from competitive riding, long distance endurance to puttering around the neighborhood..

More cycling blogs

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Friday, October 08, 2004

Editorial: "Common" people?

Tomorrow is the day of the Federal Election here in Australia. I made up my mind some time ago who I was voting for (I try to do this before politicians try to confuse the issue with "promises"), and consequently, I haven't paid a huge amount of attention to the campaign over the last couple of weeks. However, there was one thing that was pointed out to me from the policy speech given by ALP leader Mark Latham. To quote what I was told he said toward the end of it:

"I live in the Western Suburbs of Sydney... (a supposedly low-middle class area) ... and I have a huge mortgage.

I guess the obvious question here is just how one accumulates a huge mortgage on a politician's salary in a supposedly "lower class" area. Regardless of how it comes about, one questions why Mr Latham would feel the need to say it at all. I wouldn't have thought having a huge mortgage or living in a particular area (regardless of it's "class") would necessarily qualify someone to run a country better or worse than anyone else. However, let's dig a little deeper, shall we?

Like any other policy speech that any other politician has ever given, it was a blatant grab for votes -- evidently being a "battler" is somehow going to make him more popular than if he said something along the lines of "I'm the leader of the opposition, I earn over $100,000 per annum" etc etc (which is more likely to be a true statement). What I want to know is this: Why is being a "battler" seen as being a wonderful thing? What's so special about 2.3 kids and a mortgage? What is wrong with simply giving a straight-forward assessment of your background? Or better still, simply sticking to the issues at hand (i.e. what he plans to do if elected) and not bringing up status at all?

This affection for the so-called "battlers" is everywhere. The print media thrives on it, talkback radio directs all sorts of virtriol at anyone or anything perceived as a "threat" to the battler. However, let's ask ourselves one question: just how accurate is the tag, "battler". The guy living in the Western Suburbs with 2.3 kids, the mortgage on the 3 bedroom brick home, and the holden in the garage -- just how badly is he really doing? How much is he really battling? Sure, he might have to make a few sacrifices -- maybe he can't afford that holiday to Switzerland this year, but let's compare his plight to someone living on the streets of Kings Cross in the same city. Let's compare it to the unemployed guy in the single room apartment (and boy, the media are ever severe on "dole bludgers"). Just who are the real "battlers" out there?

Let's face it, this whole "battlers" tag is just another way that Western society tries to force it's middle-class values on everyone else. We have a politician trying to talk down his personal wealth in order to win popularity, mainly due to the perceived resentment of the wealthy that permeates much of middle class society (ironically, mostly perpetuated by people in the media who are quite wealthy themselves, although you'll never get them to admit to it publicly). Yet while people in the "middle class" group somehow see that as OK, not because of anything this politician is going to do, but because he's supposedly "one of them", and that somehow makes him better in some way. I wonder what sort of response Mark Latham would get if he offered the same policies, then talked up his personal wealth, rather than trying to talk it down.

What I want to know is this. What happened to individuality? Why do so many people want to try to glorify an existence that, in reality, isn't really all that remarkable? What is so special about being poor, or more accruately -- middle class, that it somehow seems "cool". What is it about this middle class existence, that anyone who lives at all differently (either by choice or by circumstance) it going to be looked down upon in some way. Let's be honest, 95% of them would buy their way out of that existence in five minutes if they got a windfall that allowed them to do so. Why expect everyone else to live the same way?


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