Global Gutz Recap

Global Gutz was scheduled to be held last Saturday night, but unfortunately was shut down by the Qld Police.  Police presence was counted at 17 officers, with entrant riders around the 23 mark.  A Paddy wagon, unmarked car, marked car, three motorbikes, and two to three push bike police were counted at one point.  An excessive use of force at the best of times.  Photos on Flickr.

So what was the point of the police turn out?  "Random bicycle safety check" was the reason given to most punters.  Personally, a few things in this statement really rub me up the wrong way.  

Firstly, what constitutes "random"...

Random. (adj)
1.  Proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern: the random selection of numbers.
2.  Statistics. of or characterising a process of selection in which each item of a set has an equal probability of being chosen.

lifted from

So by this definition, a targeted and methodical approach to checking every entrant in a much publicised global race does not constitute "random."  Random in the sense of the word would entail only a few people being checked while riding, rather than everyone during pre-race banter.  For police to turn out in numbers that they did, they have had long prior knowledge.  If this were the case, as el Brado ( forum member) suggests, why not proactively approach the race organisers to let them know of their potential legal issues, and instead encourage a safe and legal ride.  In this instance, Qld Police took a reactive stance, wasting time, effort, resources, and serious tax-payers money.

Secondly, "bicycle safety check"
Participants who got in trouble had their back tyres let down, the number one reason for which being "not having a bell."  What is the point of a bell anyway, apart from conforming to the letter of the law?  When riding on the street, cars don't hear a bell.  And when riding on the footpath, which is done very rarely due to potential pedestrian aggravation, most pedestrians are in their own ipod bubble world, unable to hear your warning bell.  In both situations a well timed yell can work wonders, not some tinkle or bing like a microwave finishing its operation.  Everyone at the event had helmets.  We understand the importance of such an item.  Everyone also had lights.  Lights are incredibly more important from a cyclists perspective when it comes to signaling intentions to drivers as well as pedo's.  I for one run Ay-Up beams from my helmet allowing me to pinpoint errant drivers who don't take my position on the road seriously.  So for all intents and purposes, the infractions were moot from a "safety" perspective.

Regardless of this all, we were in the wrong legally for "not having a bell".  But what about the personal estimate of the other 95% of the cycling population that do not have a bell.  Would Police be so overzealous of their infraction notices to roadie groups on a Sunday morning cafe ride?  No.  Or what about the much publicised "Brisbane to the Gold Coast" or "Great Brisbane Bike Ride"?  Would they "randomly"... ie. check every person riding in such an event?  No.  Not only too big a waste of resources, but also potential public backlash.  How about setting up a stop on the Brisbane river loop, and enforcing the same rules they applied to us to all roadies and commuters.  Their success rate in all the instances mentioned above would be consistent with their success rate on Saturday night, so why don't they do it?  Point is they dont, and will probably never, instead preferring to target a select minority.

I can only really see one of two things happening from this event.  Firstly it is going to push the community further underground, creating flaming tensions between fixies and police.  Or secondly, the fixie community is going to continue what they are doing, albeit with ridiculously large but inherently useless clown bells.  

To be honest... I'm not sure which one I would prefer.


  1. According to a source on the thread, the shutdown came around as a reponse to the '2 Pot Screamer' video floating around on youtube.

    Performing such dangerous actions on the road endanges the rider, other road users, drivers and creates animosity and ill will to the cycling populus in general i.e. those who ARE doing the right thing.

    And yes, I ride bikes too.

  2. Not having a bell, especially when you are riding on shared paths is unnecessarily risky, especially when pedestrians have a tendency of walking out in front of you (although I'll admit pedestrians with iPod's in their ears at full volume are oblivious to just about everything). 95% of the people you ride with may not have bells, 100% of the people I ride with DO have bells, and I would suggest that the figures you are touting are inaccurate; my estimate would be 70+% bell equipped bikes vs not.

  3. I'm glad it got shit-canned. That kind of riding is why I get junk thrown at me riding safely in broad daylight. The sooner dickheads who think Quicksilver was documentary all sacrifice themselves into the Darwin Awards the better.

  4. Well done the the police, the more of these d!ckheads that are off the road the better.

    I feel sorry for their families and the poor person that cleans one of these tools up on the road one day with a car.

  5. isn't it better to have the bell and whatever other requirements and thumb your nose at the police than give them something to ping you with. more satisfying to ride away knowing they have wasted their time.

  6. I can't believe you wankers feel hard done by.

  7. It seems like there is a lot of hate on here... and also seems to be written by the same person, given the use of continual derogatory comments.

    The issue at stake here in my mind was the overzealous acts of the police. As the original anonymous noted, it seems it was shut down due to the 2 pot screamer video. However, just because a select minority choose to run red lights and act dangerously while on a shared road doesn't reflect on the rest of the fixed community. The majority of us do obey the law (to the best of our knowledge) and are very friendly approachable people... not "dickheads" or "wankers", which seemed to pop up in 3 of the comments above.

    As a side, I will leave all of the above comments on this site, but will remove future derogatory comments that fail to constructively add to the conversation. This blog entry is not here to fuel hate, but rather to constructively criticise what I believe was an excessive use of force.

    I admit that by the letter of the law we were in the wrong by not having bells. Judging by the comments on most of the participants will soon have bells on their steeds. And I also agree with anonymous@7:41 that it would be better to have all the requirements rather than inflaming tensions from our end.

    Anonymous@5:43. My 95% comment doesn't refer to the people that I ride with; it refers to what I perceive as being the entire cycling community. For the record, 100% of the people I ride with don't have bells. I ride with fixed gear enthusiasts who like a clean look, and with MTBers who don't like the annoying bell ring as they go over rough terrain. It is my observation that it is mostly commuters who have bells, who also share a footpath. The riders that don't share a footpath, and instead ride on the road generally (my 95% comment) don't have a bell. Stop any big road bike crew and you will more than likely find that they don't have bells either.

    I am more than willing to enter into a discussion with people, but please don't fill this blog with hate. As I said before all comments after this one that don't add to the conversation will be deleted.

    Please keep this polite and civilised.

  8. think what you guys will about fixed gear bike riders. but unless you know the culture/sub culture take a brake with the whole critisism.


  9. btw go melbourne fixed gear. our global gutz was insane. had such a good time. no police interfeerance.
    i posted the peace comment before.

  10. It would be nice to see some of these comments with names attached to them also. It is one thing to voice an opinion, it is another to be a coward hiding behind a keyboard.


  11. During the recent police bicycle blitz, they were stopping everyone possible who was completing the riverloop on the footpath.

    I agree, that if you are riding on the footpath then you should have a bell, however if you're a road rider, and kicking up 20km easy at the end of a ride, and don't want to have to deal with traffic, needing a bell is ridiculous. I don't know a single person over the age of 10 that has a bell on their bike, let alone one that has been sold a bike with a bell.

    As BOCrew said, a bell does shit all against a car, which for many is why we don't own this useless piece of junk.