After a very challenging two weeks of marking assessments for a new course I am teaching, I find myself more than a little tired and rough around the edges. This all consuming marking comes with associated moderation meetings, which were a lovely reprieve from solitary work, but also meant going back and checking many of the results and adjusting some accordingly – which nearly doubled the original workload – so be it! I understand it needs to be done, but it means I have not worked on my own bicycle research for 9 days straight now. I don’t want to loose my routine and ‘umphf’ that I had only just established…

So as a small elixir to keep me motivated and in touch with my bikey needs, (one more day marking to go – hang in there!!) I decided to find some realia that reflected my current state of mind – a little naughty bike inspired ‘get over it’ items to tide me over until I can get back to researching.

So, a quick look online brought up a few delectable ‘cycle ink’ projects (see below) that made me smile. I like the idea that all of these are on women, that they are all bicycle focused, and that they are ballsy, original and have healthy pinch of ‘grrr’ in them – which perfectly suits my current mental state! I really appreciate the whimsical, positive vibe of these particular tattoos – they will certainly see me through the next few days.

I cannot help but think: If you got a tattoo (of a bike) –  what and where you get? I’m still deliberating on it ….  Happy cycle ink!!!

Source: Nick Rearden @ Velodomcafe

Source: Nick Rearden @ Velodomcafe

Source: What_u_like Tumblr

Source: What_u_like Tumblr

Source: Viola 4 Tumblr

Source: Viola 4 Tumblr

Source: Viola 4 Tumblr

Source: Viola 4 Tumblr

Source: What_u_like Tubmlr

Source: What_u_like Tubmlr

Source: 1337 Tatoos Tumblr

Source: 1337 Tatoos Tumblr

Source: Reblogged by Cycleluv

Source: Reblogged by Cycleluv

Source: Viola 4 Tumblr

Source: Viola 4 Tumblr

 

This week I saw my supervisors for a meeting as it is my PhD 6-month review (PT). I’ve not had a meeting with them for a while as we’ve all had things on – I’ve been working on my Lit Review, one had long service leave and the other has been working hard for the start of the Uni semester.  I’ve been keeping busy and trialling different productivity techniques and activities to varying degrees of success. I’ve missed not meeting my supervisors each month; I like the routine, and it gives me enough time to get some work done and work towards the next deadline.

I’ve been struggling the last month with my Lit Review as I’ve found myself summarising the issues to do with my topic and not fully critiquing the references as I’d like to be. I chatted to a few other full-time PhDer about getting their lit reviews done and it the consensus is that it is on ongoing progression that you keep coming back to. I asked my supervisor to see her original thesis she wrote in 1999, which she gave me a copy. I’m keen to see to what degree and how she critiqued her sources, synthesised content and expressed her analysis and critical thinking about the methodologies and theoretical frameworks – I know I have to work on these areas for my own lit review.

My primary supervisor suggested I look at the online RMIT Lit Review material as she thought it was helpful. However, I like the practicality and find having examples more instructive, so the UQ Reviews with examples is more my style – especially seeing as though there is extra downloadable info.

But to get me back on track – I’m going to first head to Randolph’s (2009) A Guide to Writing a Dissertation Literature Review, which is clear, informative and has some great info. I’ve extracted the following two tables from said article.

I find this first table useful to approach readings, and I like the idea of having questions to answer or a focus to draw out – it also helps hone key terms, methodologies and points for comparison that I would not otherwise necessarily have looked for – but most importantly I like the reminder, and I’ve found it invaluable in relation to looking for disruptions and gaps in some research aspects.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 9.36.19 PM

This second table is a useful editing and content refinement checklist. It helps keep me honest, structured and stimulated content inclusion and points that I need to clarify, include or emphasize. I think ultimately, I will incorporate ideas from all these three sources. After a week of marking course work (this week) and having a little mental break from my Lit Review, I’ll use these resources as stimulus to get stuck back into it and refocus the themes and work on increasing the level of critical analysis – which is probably a good thing as this will be my main task at least up until November.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 9.37.03 PM

This time last week I went for my first time to Brisbane’s Greazefest – and had way too much fun! I love the rockabilly style, fashion, music, colour and aesthetic and it was all on show for two days this weekend. I went down just after lunch on the Saturday to check out the demonstrations, exhibits and stalls while the sun was out shining. Stunning tattooed ladies were abound as were many denim-clad slick, cool guys. The stalls were bursting with dresses, clothes, accessories, moustache wax, headscarves, dancing shoes, homewares, art, Hawaiian shirts, stickers, cut throat barbers, tikis, memorabilia. I found a swatch of bicycle printed cloth (to make a bandanna later on) and headscarf with Vintage bicycles prints on it…. a full-length 1950s bicycle print dress was elusive on the day, though.

These stalls circled the outer perimeter of an oval, os you could literary ‘walk around’ to see everything. In the middle of the oval were where the vintage cars and motorbikes from across the 1950s (group into category) were on display – and they were a sight to behold in and of themselves.

1950s bicycles on display

Most thrilling for me to find in amongst these machines were three lonely and humble, but proud 1950s bicycles that stood in their own category. These three bicycles were resplendent in that they were unique – encapsulating a real snapshot in time as represented by their design, shape, colour and model. I was delighted to see bicycles being included this event as Greazefest and Grezers per say are well known for their American cars – but the designs and styles of the 1950s were particularly memorable, and I’ve always held a soft spot in my heart for the 1953/1954 Schwinn Panthers.

After drooling over the bikes, I spent the rest of the afternoon and well into the evening enjoying the fantastically entertaining bands (especially the US band the Rhythm Shakers – wow!!) and watching the crowd throw their dancing partners (and myself – thanks for taking a chance with me Terry!) across the floor in a happy rock ‘n’ roll boogie and jive style that was a memorable blur of colour, smiles, rocking tunes and fun.

Source: Van the bike man

Source: Van the bike man

 

I got a few photos on the day of the three bicycles mentions, but I used a friend’s camera to get the shots, so I am waiting to get them back to upload.

 

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See you @ Greazefest next year!!!

Taken for an independently organised community TEDx Event in Somerville 2015, Bekka Wright details how her personal journey on two wheels was the literal vehicle for her changing her goals, her career and her overall life outcomes for the better. Bekka’s talk gives a human element and background to the immensely popular comic series she created called Bikeyface which perpetually showcases Bekka’s poetic drawings, keen observations and eternal love of life on a bicycle. I like how her talk is peppered with her comics, which add warmth and hour and always adding a little something extra to her narrative.

I find myself returning often to Bikeyface, just to catch up and to see what musing is on offer. I find myself often smiling with the comic’s characters and thinking to myself – Wow, how many time has that happened to me too! I appreciate Bekka’s eternal wrestle with her city, the street, the cars, the personalities and the weird and wonderful things that happen to us all when riding a bike in the city.

I find Bikeyface funny, affirming and altogether lovely – and it is delightful to see Bekka telling her story of how it all originated. Enjoy!

Source: Bikeyface

Source: Bikeyface

 

Source: Bikeyface

Source: Bikeyface

After spending a very interesting day working on editing the structure of a literature review outlining the cultural role of bicycles in Africa, I was delighted to take a break and find this tasty infographic offering from Riley Hoonan.

It caught my eye specifically because of the ‘The European Way’ content linking obesity and cycling rates in the US, Germany and Holland. I love looking at infographics and am constantly in awe of the ingenious ways the designers present and organise (often) very complex and detailed content in such a cohesive and visually appealing way.

I like the consistent and understated colours used in this one – and the fact that it includes a variety of information ranging from the physical, social, environmental, political and health advantages to cycling. I’m impressed by the thought and detail that has gone into producing this particular piece and appreciate the diversity of data represented.

My only contentions with infographics in general (certainly not a criticism of this one in particular) is that although I appreciate that references for the sources are given,  I’d like to know which source is for what data set – which is especially if you want to follow up on info. I know that having footnotes or superscripts in the image could arguably detract from the overall aesthetic, but in a situation like this, where the info is immediately useful, interesting, and potentially transferable into my bicycle research project – given that there are 14 or so sources, I’d like to see what content is linked to which reference. Perhaps this is  another design challenge for those who produce infographics.

Either way, congrats to Riley for his chic aesthetic, for promoting bike use and spreading the good word – and keep up the awesome work!

How Bikes Can Save Us

From Visually.

If you know of a bicycle project that is contributing to positive social change, or involved in an initiative where bicycles, people and positivity, big ideas and happiness converge – then we want to hear from you!!

Bicycle Create Change is inviting people to contribute blog posts from anywhere in the world, in the form of stories, reflections, summaries of projects, research updates and insights into bicycle inspired projects that are working towards a better future for all.

If you are interested contact Nina: nina@bicyclescreatechange.com.

Happy riding and happy writing!!

presenting

Canberra’s Dirt de Femme 2016 was held on May 1st at Stromlo and was a great event on all accounts. Now in its 5th year encouraging women and girls of all ages to get out and ride MTB, the ride is not only a race, but a great event to get female riders together and have a great day riding.

This year saw the highest record of entrants and the reasons for this post, is that this month saw a cover change come over the Mountain Biking Australia’s website, with David Blucher’s photo of Micheala Watt, riding in all her resplendent glory on her fat bike during the Dirt de Femme this year.

It is great to see healthy lashings of happiness, colour and fun being injected into ride days – and at races – keeps the smiles on the dials and everyone humble. If you are out to race on the day, by all means, go for it, but it is also equally just as important for those at all levels to have an equally challenging and engaging time. So I tip my hat to Micheala, who provided much fun and energy on the day and serves as a healthy reminder not to take ourselves too seriously – ever!

And so it begins (again…)

Well, it has been a busy first week of semester 2, 2016 and there is still another day to go until it officially ends! By 6 pm this evening I had met all my new classes for this semester- and there is a massive contrast between the courses I’ve taught before and the new one  I’m starting on for the first time this semester, but that’s half the fun and thrill of teaching!

To add a little extra to the general Uni anxiousness, the energy on campus is high as people run around making last minute changes to what (I’m not exactly sure), students furiously confounded by the illogical building placements whilst trying to find their classes and market day today at the Campus Heart was adding extra noise and confusion to the already raucous humdrum, with groups singing chants and oversized Jenga and chess games being disputed, and almost successfully drowning out the blaring DJs as the food trucks were doing a roaring trade – phew.

And amongst it all, I have been trying to keep sane and succeeding quite well. I learnt my lesson well last semester, and I’ve not taken on such a heavy teaching load, but enough to keep busy and pay the rent (just). I been making progress on parts of my Early Candidature Milestone (ECM) report (due Feb 2017) and have a supervisors meeting in 2 weeks (mid-August), which will mark my first six months part time since commencing my PhD.

It is a busy time, but I am a lot more settled than this time last semester. I have work completed on my Literature Review and have been getting better at finding a sustainable balance between work, researching and riding.

I’ve been missing riding most of all lately due to the cold weather putting a dampener on my motivation to get our early on the bike and a seemingly non-stop run of family and friends visiting one after the other. It has been great do see them all, but I have genuinely craved some quiet time and have been looking forward to the routine of the semester to have that regular structure to fall back on to. And please, bring on the warmer weather!

The cold, the socialising and the crazy build-up to Uni’s first week is enough to turn anyone to the drink – which, it turns out, is also reminding me to get back out and actually ride one, as opposed to just researching about it. In the last two weeks with all the visitors and family coming through, it has been delightful to see that bicycle culture has been warmly embraced as evidenced by the beer and wine that graced our tables recently.

It has been lovely to share a love of bikes, good food, good company and festivities – but from now on; it is most certainly back to work!

Good luck to all for the new semester! I’ll drink to that and riding!

IMG_3338

Today I registered for the Single Speed World Championships 2016 (SSWC 2016) to be held in Woodend, Victoria later this year on October 21-23rd 2016. Yahhooooo!

Yes, you heard correctly, the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP for 2016 is in Oz – not just the National SS which I posted about October last year.

From a preliminary count of entrants, there are currently 177 registered, with about 25 women and good peeps from all over the world are decending- so if your keen to ride (and you’ve got a costume in mind), get online and register ASAP as the entries are only available until September 1st – only another 8 days left…. so, calling all single speeders …….. local, regional and international…..

Entry will set you back $140, but if you want all the perks of the full event calendar, but none of the riding, there is also a Party Animal option.

I’m getting very excited and can’t wait. I’m even forgoing a full day HDR Workshop, of which I am on the organising committee of, to attend because this kind of opportunity does not come around very often!

2016SSWCPoster

If you have never heard of the Singlespeed Champs, or have never been to one  – check  it out the videos below…

The clip below is still my favourite SSWC clip – it is from NZ’s race last year – it typifies what the event is all about…

I found the below 7 minute video recently and it gives some good insights into the earlier origins of SSWC. It is hilarious to see what is the same (beards, drinking, tamping with bikes and fun activities, and what has changed (mostly the elaborate nature of the costumes!)

This is a sweet 7 minute short film by Chris McCoy & Adam Neustadter about the ups and downs of being a bicycle. It was created 2 years ago and has been selected for numbers international film festivals. The main character is The Bicycle  who is personified by the voice of Matthew Waterson and even so often I find myself going back to watch this film because for me, it encapsulates the full range of lived experiences, thrills and spills. I find comfort in the idea that although we may own a bike of whatever the duration tis that we own it, who knows what stories, histories and situations our bicycles are involved in before or after they come into our lives.

I also love the idea that our loved and used bicycles move on to other owners and have new lives and incarnations that we never know about. I think the secret lives of bicycles could be fascinating idea to explore given the rich, unique and interesting stories it would bring up.

I like it also as, for me, this film speaks to the consumeristic nature of our society of buy, use, discard- which has always been challenging for me to engage with – especially in the case of bicycles – a social phenomena of which I have previous created an art bike and  blogged about in the CONS_U_ME BLUES post.

This film will delight and touch any bicycle rider – enjoy the sentiments  – and give your bike a little extra love!