The bus stop that was taken over by al fresco dining

I’m all for al fresco dining. It can be lovely sitting in the sun on the street enjoying food and drink — and will be doubly so once the smoking ban comes in, in 2017. And it helps make our streets more interesting and interactive.

But getting off a bus in Brighton the other day, I noticed this, which just seemed excessive.

Bus stop somewhere amongst the al fresco dining

As an able-bodied person, I was able to get off the bus — but what would someone with a pram or wheelchair do?

There was only a small gap (where the tactiles were) — the bus driver had lined up his front door with this, but the back door faced a barrier.

Bus stop among the al fresco dining

It seemed logical to ask the local council, City Of Bayside, what was going on, as in most areas there are guidelines as to where cafe and shop furniture can be placed.

The bus company got into the conversation pretty quickly, but more importantly, the council replied that they were on the case:

This is not a theoretical problem. Route 703, and other local bus routes, often have passengers in wheelchairs on board, and others who require some space on the kerb to get on and off.

“Kneeling” buses can still do their thing, but small gaps don’t allow space for ramps to be deployed.

These cafe owners should have known better. Hopefully space can be allocated more sensibly. By all means allow kerbside trading, but keep the bus stop clear.

There are probably more cases like this. I’d encourage you to have a word with your local council if you’re concerned or affected.

Update 9:40am:

Update 1pm: The bus stop guidelines provided by VicRoads appear to mandate a 2 metre clearance out from the kerb in the area of the front and rear doors, as well as the clear area adjacent to the front door that is 2 metres wide (eg 2 x 2 metres in this area).

Also, my sister zipped past this morning and tells me nothing’s changed yet.

I love Bentleigh

Do you want to do this thing, they asked? For a weekly feature in the local paper.

“Sure!” I said… all I had to do was nominated places (mostly restaurants) in my neighbourhood that I like. Easy, and it might help push the cause.

I got my photo taken in one of the local parks. You can’t tell from the picture, but I was crouching uncomfortably to get the flowers into shot, and it was starting to rain. But the photographer was a cheery bloke who made it work.

Fairfax Weekly Review 3/6/2015

This seems to be part of the Fairfax local paper strategy of filling its pages entirely with lifestyle pieces rather than news. It ended up basically being a plug for all my favourite local businesses.

I think I may have given a bigger plug to the Frankston line’s 10 minute services than PTV or Metro have managed since they were introduced.

FebFast is over

FebFast is over

I think FebFast has brought a change in attitude from me. I’m going to continue to take in healthier snacks with me to munch on at work — to my surprise, I don’t actually mind the taste of raw carrots, and it’s been easier to Just Say No to biscuits than I thought it would be — easier than trying to limit their intake, in fact.

Apart from biscuits, I also managed to stay off chocolates, chips (hot and cold), muesli bars and pizza. I’ll probably get back onto occasional pizza, hopefully home-made and healthy (in fact I just got a pizza stone for the barbecue, now looking for recipes!), and occasional hot chips and chocolate, but avoid having them regularly, and lay off most of the baddies.

I’m in two minds about muesli bars — I know even the Carmans ones (with no chocolate or yoghurt) are basically just a big biscuit, but if I do munch on them I’ll definitely limit myself.

A few years ago I compared the nutritional attributes of various snacks… it’s no surprise that fresh (not dried) fruit provides fewer kilojoules, less sugar and fat and salt than chocolates or muesli bars.

The weakness was cake. With birthday celebrations during February for one son, a nephew and the usual work end-of-month practice of celebrating “February babies”, it can be socially difficult to resist joining in having some cake.

I raised $200 for youth addiction services by participating in FebFast — half the default target that was attached to my enrolment, but I had no idea how high it’d get. Thanks to all those who contributed — I think the donate link still works!

Running

I got myself some earphones (on frequent flyer points) for running. Given when I listen to music I can’t count my pacing, I’ve got RunKeeper saying hello every minute. I’m walking one minute, then running another. Some might call this Interval Training. I call it Needing A Rest Every So Often.

But it is allowing me to gradually extend my runs.

What music? So far I’ve been trying some Ocean Colour Scene. The rhythm is fairly consistent (I won’t say plodding), and I know the music so I can enjoy it in the background without it being too distracting.

Runkeeper is telling me I’m averaging a kilometre about every 6 and a bit minutes, making my speed about 9 kilometres per hour. That said, I have to remember to set the Location setting on the phone to GPS only; setting it to “high accuracy” (using WiFi and other settings to help) actually seems to play against it when doing laps of the oval.

On this morning’s run I was joined by one lady who effortlessly ran about 6 laps non-stop, an older lady who effortlessly did run/walk/exercise laps, and an elderly lady who effortlessly walked a couple of laps — all while I huffed and puffed my way around, once again losing count of how many laps I did.

One conclusion is: I probably need to buy some decent running shoes. I got cheapies to get me started, and it’s probably time to (sorry, bad pun coming up) take the next step.

I probably also need to find a proper cool-down method. It seems to be pointless to have a shower too quickly after the run — somehow I just come out afterwards still sweaty.

Walking (total steps)

I’m still targeting 10,000 steps per day — some days I’m reaching and exceeding this by a long way, some days I’m way under. It varies, but it’s good to have a goal, and just thinking about it has me consciously trying to walk further.

Lunchtime walks are also a great way to avoid CBD tram overcrowding.

Looking at the figures, I’ve averaged 9850 per day since the start of February.

Turns out for people who are members of both Flybuys and Medibank and also have a Fitbit there’s a scheme running this month where people who sign up and reach 10,000 steps every day in March win a $100 prize. They also have 10 Flybuys points for each day you reach the target.

Daniel's steps per day

All in all I think doing FebFast was good for me, and hopefully has helped changed my attitudes towards diet, as well as fitness.

FebFast: No junk food for a month

I’ve just enjoyed my last takeaway pizza for a month, including leftovers for lunch today:

Last takeaway pizza before FebFast

I’ve signed up for FebFast, where participants are encouraged to refrain from something for the month of February.

They’ve got a few variations on it:

FebFast Smoking — no point in this, as I don’t smoke.

FebFast Social Media — Noooooooooooo.

FebFast Alcohol — I barely drink, so there’d be no challenge here.

FebFast Sugar — not convinced sugar intake is a problem for me, but I think it’d be difficult to do properly.

FebFast Junk Food — that’s the one for me!

Here’s an info-graphic on the benefits of staying off junk food:

FebFast: Junk food infographic

They’re ultimately leaving it up to the individual to decide what’s in and what’s out, though they do have some guidelines.

For me, I’ll be aiming to avoid: chips (both hot and crisps), chocolates (apparently “raw dark chocolate” is okay?), biscuits (a difficult ask in the office), milk shakes. Cakes? I’ll decline anything except a small slice for any birthday celebrations.

I’ll lay off soft drinks, but reserve the right to glug down a Coke if I need to, as I use them to fight off headaches occasionally. But I’ll try and avoid it.

I’ll avoid ice cream, but with one exception: I’m hoping to have one last Dairy Bell cone before they close in late February. I have fond memories of them from when I was a kid living near their Elsternwick shop — it’s a shame they’re going.

Non home-made pizza, burgers, and most other packaged/processed foods are also on the No Go list. I suspect I should also avoid muesli bars… they’re really just a glorified biscuit, aren’t they?

What else should I avoid?

I love my snacks between meals, so I’ll stick to fruit and nuts and other fresh stuff. Maybe I should pack some carrot sticks for morning tea?

Daniel's FebFast banner

So, who wants to sponsor me? Donations are tax deductible for Australians, and go towards supporting youth drug and alcohol addiction services.

Update: I was asked a good question on Twitter: How much junk food to I normally eat? I don’t binge on it all the time, but I do sometimes fall into the trap of a takeaway burger and chips as a lazy lunch or dinner, and I do eat far too many snacks such as biscuits at work, where we have a plentifully supplied biscuit jar.

Update FebFast Day 2: You should have SEEN the number of chocolate biscuits in the office biscuit jar today. Somehow I managed to resist them all!

Update FebFast Day 7: It’s been surprisingly easy to avoid chomping on office snacks such as biscuits. I did eat one muesli bar which I had in a desk drawer, and found it unsatisfying, so I doubt I’ll be having any more in a hurry. I have succumbed to a couple of (small) bottles of Coke as a pick-me-up (one day as I’ve developed a cold which has left me feeling pretty flat). I have been snacking on fruit and nuts, though I wonder what the overall kilojoule count is like on those.

Your guide to meat

M+J were clearing out some old cook books, and found this gem. It’s not dated, but it does have a decimal price, so it must be post-February 1966. Perhaps not far after though, judging from the style.

Much of it is in black and white, but here are a few choice colour pages…

Cover from a 60s meat industry cookbook

Food groups - From a 60s meat industry cookbook

Cheese! From a 60s meat industry cookbook

Onions! From a 60s meat industry cookbook

Meat! - From a 60s meat industry cookbook

Wiltshire knives ad - From a 60s meat industry cookbook

Golden Circle pineapple ad - From a 60s meat industry cookbook

And one mouth-watering recipe for you, from the “Economising with meat” section: Open wholemeal brain sandwiches. Yum!

Brain sandwich recipe - From a 60s meat industry cookbook