Geared for speed

THE pros and cons of modern-day Laman Street.

Pro. You probably won’t be crushed to death by a falling tree.

Con. You’re more likely to die of skin cancer due to a lack of shade.

Pro. If you ride a bike up Laman Street really fast, you’re reducing your chances of death from obesity.

Con. It’s a one-way street that’s open to traffic, and you could get hit by a car and die that way.

We’ve thought about that last one a lot lately.

It’s because of a website called Strava, a kind of social network for cyclists. Runners can use it too. Users post their favourite riding or running routes on Strava, and try to beat their best times.

For example, the virtual map of Newcastle is marked with circuits like the Watt Street Warm-up, and Flat-out Along the Foreshore.

Then there’s the Laman Street Sprint.

It’s a 600-metre stretch that starts at the Union Street end and finishes at Darby Street, so you’re riding against the traffic.

It might be worth mentioning at this point that Strava is being sued over the death of a cyclist in the US.

The man died riding his bike down a hill two years ago in the San Francisco Bay area, trying to set a best time on Strava. He had to brake suddenly in front of a car and flipped his bike. He was going about 16km/h over the limit.

As a result, Strava gave users the option to flag a route as hazardous. That doesn’t seem to have happened with the Laman Street Sprint.

So never mind those figs everyone was worried about. Look out for cyclists racing the clock.

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