Office douchebags

Selection Criteria for Commuter Olympics: Official Announcement

PRESS RELEASE City cyclists today have been buoyed by the news that Cycling Australia has released its official selection criteria for the 2014 Commuter Olympics.

The Cyclone Hubbards, as the team will be known, will comprise 14 of the nation's top commuter cyclists. Hubbard High Performance Manager Harry Halfwheel has high hopes for the contingent:

"The Commuter Olympics is an opportunity for Australia's fastest commuters to thrash it out on the world stage. Cycling to work is certainly still a minority sport in this country, but I've seen enough high-speed bike path crashes to know that we are not short of hubbard talent. While Australia doesn't boast the grass roots commuter development seen in nations like the Netherlands, I am expecting the Cyclone Hubbards to really ignite Australians' passion for racing total strangers down city streets on unroadworthy bikes."

The selection criteria, set out below, sets qualification standards based on technical skills, performance in commuter events, and number of urban Strava segments held by the athlete. Rigorous clothing regulations apply, including minimum standards for high-viz jackets and maximum numbers for zip ties in helmets.


(Maximum long team size is twice the qualified quota in UCI ranking system for nations. Only cyclists in the 2014 national long team will be considered for selection to the final 2014 Australian team.)

The selectors will consider the following in determining the 2014 Commuter Oympics national team:

  1. Mandatory Events/Requirements

Final team selection (clause 4) will be subject to a cyclist having satisfied conditions below.

    • Riders must have competed in at least one of the following during the previous 5 years:
      • Around The Bay in a Day;
      • BRW or Ironman distance triathlon;
      • Any qualification events for the World Cross-Fit Games (one of which must involve a tractor tyre).

In all cases, the rider must have purchased and worn the official event t-shirt on a Casual Friday.

2. Automatic Selections

A maximum of 2 riders who attain top ranking on 2 or more Strava segments within the CBD of their home city will be added to the final team. For the avoidance of doubt, a Strava segment will be considered to lie within the CBD if it falls within a 4km radius of the GPO and contains at least 1 set of traffic lights. The colour of the traffic lights at the time the rider passes through them will not be taken into account at the time of recording the Strava segment.

3. Additional Team Selections

  • Selectors will identify the remaining final national team members based on a mixture of talent that may include bike path handling skills, pannier loading aptitude and general panache. Particular regard will be given to a cyclist’s demonstrated ability for overtaking a bunch of commuters sitting stationary at traffic lights just so that they can get first jump when the lights turn green.
  • In no specific order of priority, selectors will consider the following factors:
    • Proportion of high-viz wear worn by the individual as a total proportion of their clothing. Particular attention will be given to reflective ankle cuffs;
    • Number of zip ties worn by the rider in their helmet (generally seen around springtime but consideration will be given to riders sporting a helmet echidna all year round);
    • Individual performances in cross-dressing (judged as the wearing of multiple pro team kits simultaneously); and
    • The rider's peripheral vision, demonstrated by their ability to subtly check out the commuters they've just passed through a slight sideways tilt of the head.

3. National Coach's Choice

One position on the final Olympic team will be decided by the National Coach  based on the best pain face demonstrated by a rider on Melbourne's Eastern Freeway bike path travelling:

  • in an easterly direction;
  • between the hours of 6 and 8pm; and
  • on a gradient of no greater than 5%.

4. Selection Schedule

  • 21 September: Long team announced by CA
  • 30 September: Closing date for appeals against non-selection into the long team
  • 2 October: Selectors submit final team selections for endorsement by CA CEO
  • 5 October: Final team announced (UCI entry cut-off date)

Converted to the sword: help get this man riding

I was contacted the other day by a friend asking to spread the word for a couple of good causes. The first is to convert a guy to cycling, and the second is to raise $5,000 for charity. The good guy in this story is an Aussie who rides to work and is routinely told by a co-worker that he should be hit by a truck. I'm sure we have all been there at some point. People just don't make the connection between idle jokes and very real dangers. Anyway, this guy has taken up the challenge of convincing this Office Douchebag to ride to work on Ride To Work day in October. The OD has said he'll ride only if the guy can raise $5,000 for charity.

You can read more about his story here and donate to the cause here. A great website I frequent, Podium Cafe, has taken up the cause too and you can read the whole story on its forum.

Lisa's Mum replies: Sickness and the Office Douchebag

Lisa's Mum was thrilled with the helpful suggestions that came in from readers in response to the letter she received last week. As you may remember, the irrepressable Jerry Castle sent Mum a letter asking how he should deal with an Office Douchebag who insists on coughing and sneezing all over the office, threatening his preparation for the 2012 Commuter Olympics. The comments that came through following the post contained wisdom that would have made Confucious proud. Suggestions for avoiding sickness in the office included eating tuna, drinking craft beer, and turning Japanese. Lisa's Mum enjoyed all these suggestions, although despite being a lady of small stature she was unable to effect a complete Japanese transformation.

Lisa's Mum's complete response to Jerry is below. Remember, if you have a question for Lisa's Mum, send it to her in the comments section below, or send an email to her at

Dear Jerry

 The Office Douchebag is a strange beast. Oftentimes I've noticed that ODs are possessed with such a generous and sharing spirit that they will share their germs freely, along with their e-galleries of wedding pictures and their opinions on office politics. You cannot fault their giving nature. ODs are typically endowed with a rather inflated sense of their own importance in the office environment. You can see this best when someone drops a big fat hint that the OD should go home and stop sneezing all over everyone: 'Oh [OD's name], you don't sound healthy. Maybe you should go home and rest.' To which the OD will respond with some kind of false matyrdom, 'Oh no, I can't. I've got too much work to do. I'll be ok.'

The reality, as you and I both know, is that should the OD go home, the world will indeed keep turning, and probably no one will even notice. But if they were to go home, they would probably sneeze all over their kids and their partner, and then they would REALLY get it.

In an ideal world, all work environments would operate in the same way as a European Protour team. At the first sign of a sneeze, the offending athlete is whisked into quarantine, where they remain for the duration of the sneeze and the following 14 days. I have even heard that Lance Armstrong, in his heyday, would order the quarantine of any domestique who demonstrated a sharp intake of breath (often the first warning of an impending sneeze). As a result, most of Lance's domestiques were quarantined within the first 5 minutes of their time trial warmup, which is why only Lance performed well in the Tour de France prologues.

Sadly, thanks to democracy we can no longer lock up people who sneeze over other people. All we can do is eat lots of tuna, drink craft beer and perhaps turn Japanese. When an OD gets you sick before an important race, you should, in the spirit of generosity with which you were infected, freely share your thoughts on the subject to the offending OD. And go and get some Sudafeds and thank your lucky stars that ASADA does not test athletes at the Commuter Olympics.

Love and kisses

Lisa's Mum

Letter to Lisa's Mum: Sickness and the Office Douchebag

Last night Lisa's Mum received a letter from the indomitable Jerry Castle. You may remember Jerry from such Ride Happy posts as What is a cyclist and the $15,000 starter kit (including Lisa's Mum's replyand A solution to magpie season: the RMD project. I think Jerry's problem will be shared by many. Lisa's Mum is taking it to the people for inspiration and advice for Jerry - please leave  your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and I'll pass them on to her. Dear Lisa’s Mum, Can you offer any advice on how to avoid sickness during winter? Well… that’s not really what I want to get to the bottom of. Not quite. Let me explain. At the moment I have a colleague who insists on coughing and sneezing all over everyone in the office. His philosophy when infected with a cold is to “share the love”. I didn’t mind so much when I was a typical office drone. In fact I was often excited by the prospect of minor illness as there was a chance of a day off. The chances of infection in the modern office are high as well – the lack of fresh air, fluoro lighting and 1 sqm of personal space would make most battery chickens feel at home. In an effort to fill my wage-slave life with something a little more interesting, and to provide an avenue to “release some steam”, I took up bike riding (in a mildly competitive way). Now that I train and race regularly nothing shits me more than a douche bag proudly infecting the whole office with his latest illness. It is the height of murderous selfishness. I can see a network diagram of illness starting with this guy, and then spreading to 5 others, then 25 others, then 125 others… Some of these, the old and frail, will be steamrolled as the illness builds in intensity with each transmission. Some of these folks will be Olympians training for their once-in-every-four-years-big-day-out. This office douche bag is undoubtedly responsible for not only thousands of nursing home deaths but the loss of 20 or 30 Olympic gold medals for Australia (this is hard to stomach, particularly when our track team is performing so well). So Lisa’s Mum, I’m hoping the wisdom of 30 years of Earl Grey drinking can help me with two questions? (1) How do I avoid sickness in the presence of an office sneeze machine? (2) What is a suitable punishment for those who infect me with illness prior to a race? Is this, for example, a bunny-boilable offence? A related question is… 3. How do I quickly get back into form after a minor illness? (perhaps that’s one for Lisa though?) Cheers, Jerry