Mudguards reduce barfing in cycling events

Amy and I brought a couple of U.S. bicycles with us – and a bag full of skates and kid’s hockey equipment – when we returned to Brisbane.

We may be biking more, but won’t be entering any off-road races (that’s Amy on her previous bike, left, in Kansas, and below, right, today, both not exactly as shown).

Those who do, know there have been race-related outbreaks of Campylobacter and other bugs throughout the world, probably due to biking wizozwiththrough mud and crap on paths that may have been used by livestock or contaminated via runoff.

Mud guards apparently work.

Norwegian researchers report in Epidemiol. Infect. (2013), 141, 517–523, that in 2009, following a bike race, a gastrointestinal illness outbreak affected many participants.

A cohort study showed an attack rate of 16.3% with the main risk factor being mud splashes to the face. Considering these findings, in 2010 recommendations to participants in the bike race were issued and environmental control measures were implemented. In 2010, a retrospective cohort study using web-based questionnaires was conducted to measure the use of preventive measures and to assess risk factors associated with gastrointestinal illness. A 69% response rate was achieved and 11721 records Eva Sizzles for Bebe Sportanalysed, with 572 (attack rate 4.9%) matching the case definition, i.e. participants reporting diarrhoea within 10 days of race. There was a clear increase in the use of mudguards (96.7% reported access to/receiving information on preventive measures) and a significant decrease in gastrointestinal illness. This may indicate that the measures have been effective and should be considered, both in terms of environmental control measures as well as individual measures.

Bicycle and dog-friendly drive-through

Sadie (right) is an energetic dog. We found her as a 10-week-old pup, hiding underneath our vehicle, shortly after Amy and I moved into our Kansas compound in downtown Manhattan.

It happens, with the transient population of military and students, dogs, unfortunately, are abandoned routinely.

We followed procedure, ran ‘dog-found’ ads in the local paper, but no one claimed her. So we took her in.

I had a couple of Australian Shepherd-type-mutts back in Guelph (below, left), so was prepared for the, uh, high energy of Sadie. Which means she learned to run beside my bicycle. Quickly.

Sadie and I will sometimes bike to the grocery store in the morning and stock up for dinner, sometimes we’ll just bike, although we’re both moving a little slower 3 years later.

But the best is when we go to the bank.

Kansas State Bank has drive-through banking. My Canadian daughters still marvel at this when they visit. I still get paper cheques for this and that, so every couple of weeks, Sadie and I will bike to the drive-through bank. I’ll make a deposit using the pneumonic tubes, and the teller will send back a treat for Sadie, along with a deposit slip.

Oregon seems to be just figuring this out.

A couple of weeks ago, the state announced plans to crackdown on doggies in grocery stores. The N.Y. Times reported this as news this morning.

But the Los Angeles Times got it right. Kate Linthicum reported this morning that when Sarah Gilbert, a cyclist in Portland, Oregon, tried to order four cheeseburgers for her family at a Burgerville drive-through, she was denied.

Gilbert, a freelance blogger with thousands of online followers, went home and Twittered huffily about the experience ("burgerville on 26th/ powell turned me on my bike away from drivethrough. and not nicely at all."), and penned an open letter to Burgerville calling for more bike-friendly policies.

Many chain restaurants across America do not serve bicyclists at their drive-throughs, said Jeff Mapes, a Portland journalist who has written a book about bike culture. "In a lot of cities it doesn’t make much of a splash at all," he said. "But here, it’s a cause celebre."

Jonathan Maus, who publishes a blog called said, "They expect a business to treat them the same whether they come in a car or on a bike."

Advocates have successfully persuaded many local businesses to include bicycle parking, he said. Persuading banks, pharmacies, fast-food chains and other businesses with drive-throughs to serve bicyclists is the next step.

Which is why Gilbert’s complaints struck a nerve. There was talk of a boycott. The story was picked up by local news outlets. Finally, Burgerville yielded. The chain apologized to Gilbert (it said it had no formal policy dictating how — or where — bicyclists could be served) and announced that it would henceforth welcome cyclists at all of its 39 drive-through locations in Oregon and Washington.

Sadie would approve.