STOP PRESS: Welcome to the tour de Orange, a bike riders haven

IN THE LOOP: One of the new bike friendly street signs.

IN THE LOOP: One of the new bike friendly street signs.

ALL you fit people riding pushbikes rather than driving are getting a good deal from council, which is promoting cycling as a healthy activity and a viable alternative to cars.

 Council staff have developed a network of shared pedestrian and cycle ways across the city and are marking these with jazzy new signs now going up.

They will include the use of colours to clearly mark routes and circuits, distances to key destinations like Charles Sturt University, and provide assurance markers to show whether the keen pedallers on their treadlies are going the right way or have become hopelessly lost.

More bikes will be painted on streets where cycleways are planned.

Councillors also want to encourage students to ride to school rather than drive but if you check out the number of cars parked outside schools, many of them up-market, it’s a good bet there’s little chance of that happening.

Unlike the good old days, it’s uncool riding a bike when you’ve got a Nissan or Commodore in the garage.

Popping pills

Performance-enhancing drugs are back in the news with 17 present and former Cronulla players apparently firing up with banned peptides to boost their games.

But look what we’re taking every day.

More than half of us use herbal plant substances at least once a year in an effort to stay healthier, stronger and more energetic. That doesn’t include puffing weed.

Echinacea, valerian, dandelion root, wild yam, celery seed and passion flower are just some of the plants that supposedly offer alternative solutions to problems like viruses, headache, insomnia, fatigue, infections, hay fever, ulcers, arthritis and diabetes.

The increasingly popular notion that if it's natural, it's better, and the fact herbs account for less than 1 per cent of all toxic reactions to medicines, has resulted in the boom you can see in Orange stores where’s there’s whole display areas of the stuff.

But if sportsmen and women want to do better or go faster, they should try eating lots of cottage cheese which is a perfect low-fat, high-protein food.

And unlike Cronulla players, they won’t get busted for taking a banned drug.

Blissfully ignorant

Aren’t we lucky we live in Orange?

You can wander across busy streets in front of cars wherever and whenever you like.

 You can ignore the red “don’t walk” pedestrian lights without penalty.

You can stop and chat in large groups right in the middle of footpaths without thought of anyone else.

You can stop and chat in the aisles in the department stores, blocking the way and forcing other shoppers to climb through the clothes racks to get past.

  You couldn’t get away with doing any of those things in Sydney.

So, isn’t it great to be a bushie?  

Rage against the machine

Always a believer that machines will eventually take over the world, let’s at least be able to eat without having to rely on some tin contraption for a meal.

Billed as a food-lover’s dream, a Sydney restaurateur has just unveiled a vending machine that dispenses pizzas in less than three minutes.

The $40,000 Italian-made machine takes cash or credit cards and dispenses full-sized pizzas for $12.

But just think. You’re starving, you’ve dropped your coins into its mechanical intestines, pressed the buttons and it doesn’t deliver?

What do you do?

Kick the fool thing like you’ve often felt like doing to poker machines, drink machines and potato chip machines that fail to cough up?

Giving a pizza machine a hard kick, though, could result in bits of glass and cogs getting mixed up with dough and salami and cheese with tomato sauce all over the place and that wouldn’t be a good look.

 Are pizza machines really necessary?  

Fuming over petrol price

The bowsers at Orange petrol stations are still rusted up with little or no change in prices in the past 12 months that are among the highest in NSW.

In fact, our present price of 153.4c a litre for unleaded is typical of what we’re forced to pay in the bush, bettered by 160.1 at Parkes, 156.4 at Lithgow and 154.7 at Dubbo. Bathurst is a touch cheaper at 151.0.

Sydney motorists this week could fill their tanks for as low as 134.7 a litre at Strathfield and 134.9 at Cabramatta, a massive 18.7 cents a litre cheaper than us.

But then we poor people don’t drive cars, do we?

The state-wide average price was 144.5, so we’re really copping it in the neck. Still.

The chips are down

Two Irish potatoes are sitting on a chopping board. 

“I’m about to change my nationality,” one says to the other.  “How?" the other potato asks. 

“By becoming French fries.”

Timely reminder

Four abseilers this week lowered themselves down the face of London’s famous Big Ben to do some maintenance for the first time in four years.

The clock’s hands were temporarily stopped on 12 o’clock while the work was done.

Maybe we need some abseilers to fix our post office clock that’s been on the blink now for about 15 months with its hands permanently stuck on five past 11.

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