04 October, 2009

An Open Letter to Magda Szubanski, Julia Morris, Channel Ten, Jenny Craig and Kellogg's

Dear all,

It has come to my attention, and that of many thousands of cyclists around the globe, that Magda Szubanski and Julia Morris, seem to have a dislike for a certain demographic of our society- that being road cyclists.

Now I can understand individuals not sharing the enthusiasm that others might have for their chosen physical activity/hobby/pastime/mode of transport- but I can not understand the vehemence with which these two people vented their distaste/dislike/hatred toward road cyclists. Announcing to the world on Channel Ten's "Good News Week" Monday night of this past week that it was okay to "take out cyclists' or "just door them" went well beyond comedic remarks.

Yes, the segment started out poking fun at cyclists and the "tap,tap" sound of the cleats on cycling shoes as riders make their way across the cafe floor- and the lycra outfits that many cyclists choose to wear. Sure- some of them are bright and pretty wild but for those who ride any amount will attest, a good pair of cycling shorts can make a world of difference when you're spending 3 or 4 hours on the saddle. If it had stopped there, most would have written it off as a bit of fun at our expense.

But no. Julia Morris, you who are a commercial figure in advertising for Kelloggs' All Bran cereal, got involved in the segment. You decided to really vent your spleen and in so doing encouraged road users to injure (or worse) cyclists by taking them out. Magda continued and agreed saying to just "door them". I have watched the video replay several times and there was no comedic aspect to those statements- it was a war cry- a rallying call to all and sundry who may have felt inconvenienced on our nation's roads by someone on a bike. And as someone who cycles often and also drives a car, there are certainly a generous number of road users who will gladly respond to the call.

I have had more close calls than I care to reflect upon and in July of this year was struck by a car driven by an individual who failed to give way at a T intersection. I have been verbally abused on the road and had items thrown at me from passing cars. I know of at least two local riders who have had people pull up beside them as they were cycling and grab their bikes. One of the riders was then pushed from his bike at speed and left to lay in the ditch. The resulting injuries left this medical professional unable to perform his role for some period of time. We'll never know if any of the patients he would have seen during that period may have died as a result of his specialized service being unavailable.

To Channel Ten: How does this happen on a show that's not live to air? And from a network which is a partner of the Amy Gillett Foundation. To say this shows irresponsible editorial practice would be a bit of an understatement.

To Kelloggs': You may want to rethink your position with your All Bran spokesperson (or corporate face as indicated on the linked website). The uptake of a healthy diet is but one part of a healthy lifestyle. When I am shopping for cereal or snack bars (and believe me, cyclists go through a good number of snack bars in a year), the chances of my purchasing a product represented by an individual who willfully incites violence against someone are nil. I am sorry but I will exercise my displeasure by opting to not purchase any item from the Kelloggs' line.

To Jenny Craig and oh yes- perhaps the "Fernwood Fitness Centres" may want to consider their position with Ms Morris as well- as it is indicated on her website that she is also the corporate face for your organisation. It would be unseemly to encourage people to enroll in your programs, take up a healthier lifestyle, maybe get out on the roads for some further exercise- only to be "taken out" by some aggravated, no mind neanderthal in 1800 kg of metal and plastic because Julia and Magda said to do so.

I remain a committed cyclist and road user and most importantly I like to think of myself as a human with family and friends- not a target for a raging road-warrior.


Groover said...

You speak the mind of a lot of people and I also make purchasing decisions based on perceptions I have of the brand (and will 'Fly V Australia' and Virgin Blue because they sponsor a cycling team rather than Jetstar and Qantas).

Bluenoser said...

Good for you BoaB. I'll watch what I buy also. I've been busy and am just catching up on all this.

What a couple of twits. BGW certainly had his say on it and I agree with him.

I watched the video on Groover's site. Seems to me that it wasn't just the cyclists that had their ass stuck up in the air!


BoaB said...

Thanks Groover and B

I really hope the message gets through to these people that cyclists are people- someone's son, daughter, mother, father, and that we all want to get home safely from our rides. The chances of that happening are somewhat lessened when the attitudes and opinions expressed last week are given credence.