Being away in Cairns for the 2016 UCI World Cup was a brilliant thing to do and I had a ball, but it meant that I have not done any work on my Lit Review for a week. I made an effort to achieve some writing goals before I left, as I wanted to be sure I had some content on paper to come back to.

I have noticed that at this early stage, often my writing time was being sabotaged. Usually, occurred when I got caught up in editing whilst I was writing, or looking for a reference, or feeling like what I was writing was too close to what I had just read, so I would scrap it and start again. This means that it takes a lot of time to produce a relatively small amount of content. It is also quite frustrating. This means that although I have been working on my Lit Review, the process thus far has been cumbersome and ineffective. So, coming back to writing again after a week’s break – I want to change my writing process and experiment with some other techniques to see if I can get more out of my writing time.ccurred

I want a designated space to brainstorm, write and express ideas that did not feel so rigid and awkward. I like the using the Pomodoro technique for writing.  I know a number of other Higher Distinction by Research (HDR) students who are also wrestling with the same issues. So I wanted to form some kind of ‘study group’ where we could all contribute and benefit from a new approach.

Hosting Shut Up & Write Workshops

A Shut Up & Write workshop is a great place to start. I like the idea of having company when I write that is conducive to productivity and professionalism. I looked around to join one. Griffith University Postgrad Student Association has a Breakfast Writing Workshop on Saturday mornings, but that’s my prime bike riding time.

So I decided to host my own SU & W sessions (a series of 3 consecutive Mondays) and I opened them up to other Griffith University students and staff a to attend.

WHO CAN ATTEND:

All are welcome! Any level of students – Bachelor, Honours, Postgrad, HDR, any type of student – international or domestic, academic or support staff, people who have no experience with SU&W or Pomodoro, writers who want a designated time to produce writing or others from outside of Griffith who want to give it a go.

WHEN: 9 am- 11 am  Wednesdays 2nd, 9th and 16th May, 2016  (Week 9, 10 & 11)
WHERE: N76_1.02/1.03 Nathan
WHAT TO BRING:
  • Your own writing materials (paper/pen or laptops)
  • 3 topics that you want to produce some writing for
  • A big smile
NOTE
  • There will be a short introduction so participants know what to expect and how to use the session most effectively. Pomodoro timing will be provided.
  • We will complete at least 3 Pomodoro rounds (maybe 4).
  • This is a professional academic workshop, so adherence to punctuality, preparedness and silence during writing times is expected.
  • Arrive early to avoid disappointment.
  • See you there and let’s get writing!

Shut up and Write Semester 1, 2016.-2

Yesterday I returned from another awesome trip to Cairns for a UCI World Cup round. This time, it was the UCI World Cup – Round 2 Cairns 2016 and it has been 2 years since the last time this event has been in Australia. Of course, we took our bikes with us on our ‘family holiday’ (Mum = me, Dad = husband, and ‘the kids’ = our bikes) and we rode Atherton Tablelands and surrounds with different mates each time – great to be out on old familiar trails and see what has changed.

Incredible racing

Last time we went to this event, it was wet, muddy and extremely hard work for all – but this, time the weather was beautiful, the track was primo and the racing was incredibly exciting. As usual, the racing format was Downhill on Saturday and Cross-Country on Sunday. Because I was not the World Cup working this time, I got to catch up with a heap of my beloved crew,  chat to teams and riders, and cheer on the side lines until I lost my voice (which didn’t take very long).

Both days racing was thrilling for different reasons. The Downhill was exciting because we had four Aussies in the top 10, with Sik Mik (3rd) and Brosnan (2nd) absolutely killing it – the top 3 within the same second! The crowd on the side lines created a super festive atmosphere and I haven’t had such a rocking great time track-side for a while.

If you want to get a taste of how fast and breathtaking the downhill track was, check out Sik Mik’s race run here.

Me and my bikie besties

One of the highlights for me was definitely the social accessibility of the event. Aside from meeting Bruni and Gwin for a long chat (no photos as it was ‘serious’ business),  I got my tourist on and went on a ‘search and photograph’ mission – the end result is below. I got to catch up with some old superstar mates from Enduro, XC and DH as well as meeting some a slew of new riders!! Sweet!! Happy days!!

by Sachie Togashiki

This post is about my art bike that I represented for the issue of gender inequality. Gender inequality has been discussed for centuries and there are still gaps between genders in salary, parliament, etc. This issue is no matter what the country, this issue is happening in both developed and developing countries.

 

I combined the structure of a bicycle with gender inequality. A basket filled with fruits represents wealth and the ‘fruits’ in terms of jobs, finances and political representation. The front wheel, (men), is closer to the ‘fruits’ than a rear wheel, (women).

 

According to the Australian Government, women get 82.1% of men’s pay on average,  so there is still a gap between genders. When it comes to political representation, women have 26.7% of all seats in the House of Representatives and 38.2% in the Senate in the Australian Parliament, according to the Brisbane Times.  Women account for about a half the population, but there are not enough representatives in government to accurately represent them. Also, women constitute only 17.3% of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of non-public sector employers in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. As you may realise, there is a real gender inequality.

 

There are some barriers and crossing gates that prevent women from getting the ‘fruits’ within society. In order to get good jobs and finances, women might have to go through ‘stereotypes’ which presents women as supposed to be spending time taking care of children or doing housework. Also, women are often characterised as being physically weaker, so many women have experienced domestic ‘violence’ in their lives, which affects not only physically in damage, but also severely impacts mental health, so the signals of violence leads to a worn-out heart (as represented as the bike saddle). Therefore, these barriers often prevent women from creating a better life.

 

The situation changes only when women visualise and realise the situation and corporate to solve these issues with men. Women should not accept gender inequality and need to assert their rights too gain equality in wealth. Also, men can often be the strongest supporters for achieving gender equality by suspending stereotypes of women, for example, by making lunch on weekends or by looking after their children instead of it always being their wives. It might take a long time to solve this problem, but only small actions can change this situation. I hope this post will cause a small change in a society.

 

Sachie with her Art Bike: Women Get Fruits in a Basket

Sachie with her Art Bike: Women Get Fruits in a Basket

 

 

Sachie Togashiki is our Guest Blogger, unveiling some of Japan’s bicycle culture for the fortnight from 11th April to 24th April.

 

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2015). Gender Indicators, Australia (no. 4125.0). Canberra, Australia. Retrieved from

http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4125.0main+features610Aug%202015

Downer, G. (2015). How to get more women into Parliament. Brisbane Times. Retrieved from http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/gender-equality-in-parliament-quotas-just-a-quickfix-solution-20150809-giuy5w.html

Workplace Gender Equality Agency. (2015). Gender pay gap statistics. Canberra, Australia. Retrieved from https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/Gender_Pay_Gap_Factsheet.pdf

by Sachie Togashiki

 

In my research about the positive contribution of the use of bicycles to children’s education in developing countries, I found CBB Cambodia. This is a Japanese NGO (non-governmental organisation) consisting of about 20 university students who support Cambodian children by providing bicycles. In spring and summer 2015, the CBB Cambodia devised and managed microfinance to provide Cambodian children with bicycles. A member of the organisation engaged in this project recorded her experience in the organisation’s blog.

The writer, Kumi Sakahashi, realised the influences of bicycles on Cambodian children’s dream job. This is because she encountered a Cambodian boy, Kea, who was about to drop education in his elementary school to support his parents. After CBB’s intervention, Kia did not have to leave school and went to a junior high school. It was because, in spring 2015, CBB Cambodia provided 33 people including Kea with a bicycle. This helped Kea to reduce his commuting time to the school and spend more time on housework and his study. This experience enabled Kea to raise his expectations from becoming a teacher to a doctor. Ms. Sakahashi heard this from Kea in summer 2015. She concludes the blog post by stating that the use of a bicycle enabled Kea to go further places where he saw many different people, resulting in a change of his dream job.

This blog post is significant because it shows the importance of bicycles in terms of widening children’s future possibilities. Ms. Sakahashi explains that without access to advanced education opportunities, children in Cambodia can only be a teacher or a farmer. Jobs requiring far more training such as being a doctor, require much greater opportunity. However, most children in Cambodia give up to go to a junior high school. This is because, according to a crowdfunding website that CBB Cambodia devised in 2014, although there is an elementary school per a village, there is only one junior high school per 3-4 villages, which makes it difficult for children to go. Ms. Sakahashi also argues that, however, with a bicycle, they might be able to continue their education and to aim to get their dream job because bicycles save the time. The children can save money as well as time by helping their parents work. Therefore, bicycles might play a significant role to help children get an education.

 

Source CBB Cambodia: Ready for Japan - Bicycles beyond borders

Source CBB Cambodia: Ready for Japan – Bicycles beyond borders

 

Sakahashi, K. (2015, September 4). A bicycle that expands children’s potential [Web log post].Retrieved from http://cbb-cambodia.org/a-bicycle-expands-possibilities-of-kids.

CBB Cambodia [NGO] (2014, November 28). 100 bicycles for children in Tomato who cannot go to their school. Retrieved from https://readyfor.jp/projects/cycle_beyond_the-borders.

Sachie Togashiki is our Guest Blogger, unveiling some of Japan’s bicycle culture for the fortnight from 11th April to 24th April.

by Sachie Togashiki

 

This online news article that I found is about the exhibition Change from Arms to Arts: Peace-building in Mozambique held in the art gallery of Tokyo University of the Arts. In this exhibition, audiences can see art objects which are made of materials which used to be guns.
After Mozambique became independent in 1975, a civil war occurred and lasted until 1992, after which many weapons used in the civil war were still left without proper removal. Then, the Christian Council of Mozambique (CCM), started the project Transforming Guns into Hoes, which was instructed by Dinis Sengulane, General Secretary of CCM. In this project, guns were exchanged with agricultural implements, bicycles, or sewing machines. Bicycles in Japan were donated to this project. Thanks to the project, about one million guns have been collected and most of the weapons collected were safely destroyed and others were used for making art objects, which are exhibited in Change from Arms to Arts: Peace-building in Mozambique.

 

Bicycles – a way for disarmament

Source: Tokyo University of the Arts – Change from Arms to Arts: Peace-building in Mozambique

 

This article expresses the necessity of bicycles. Because bicycles are needed by people in Mozambique, CCM members were able to exchange weapons for bicycles and other useful implements. This means bicycles might make the world better in terms of disarmament strategy. The issue of leftover weapons can be better solved, partly thanks to bicycles. In this way, bicycles can be used for maintaining peace – as seen in this exhibition.


Sachie Togashiki is our Guest Blogger, unveiling some of Japan’s bicycle culture for the fortnight from 11th April to 24th April.

by Sachie Togashiki

 

I found an interesting article about the development of bicycles for rehabilitation for hemiplegic patients. Sufferers of apoplexy, a percentage of which is overrepresented in mortality rate in Japan, tend to have a secondary disease, which is hemiplegic, after surgery. In order to recover from hemiplegia, rehabilitation is needed, but it usually bores patients or needs someone’s help. To solve this problem, two authors, Hiroshi Shoji and Takeshi Aoki at Chiba Institute of Technology, are trying to develop bicycles for easier and more fun rehabilitation.

How does it work?

The attraction of using bicycles as a rehabilitation tool is its sustainability, non-boringness, and refreshing feeling which comes from outside exercise. Although there is the attraction which the authors can make use of, they also need to cover some anxieties such as safety and uneasiness when pedaling. In order to guarantee safety, a foot which is not paralysed is applied a load to, so that a rider cannot pedal too fast, which results in a stable and low pedaling speed. In addition, a load is applied also to reduce patients’ uneasiness caused by a feeling of unbalanced heaviness depending on feet. The authors used an electrically-powered tricycle made by YAMAHA for an experiment and succeeded in keeping a low pedaling speed by applying a load to a healthy foot. They are going to conduct an experiment to mitigate patients’ uneasiness and to develop a smoothness when pedaling.

Significance

The article is crucial because this is an academic article which was published as a documentation of JSME (The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers) Conference on Robotics and Mechatronics and it shows a new significant way of using bicycles. Because riding on a bicycle is lots of fun and can be done without any permanent help, the authors suggested using bicycles for rehabilitation for the hemiplegic patient, which means bicycles can be used not only for town development and disarmament, which I will report on in two upcoming posts, but for medical uses. The use of bicycles as a rehabilitation tool might enhance patients’ motivation to recover from hemiplegia and contribute to a more positive future.

Additionally, in order to get the article, I paid for it, while most of the Australian articles are available for free. This made me think about freedom for students to research in Japan, which might be a little poorer than Australia.

 

Shoji, H., & Aoki, T. (2014). Development of rehabilitation bicycle for hemiplegic patients. Proceedings of the JSME Conference on Robotics and Mechatronics, 14(3P2-G03), 3P2-G03(1)-3P2-G03(2) Retrieved from http://ci.nii.ac.jp/naid/110009967356

 

Sachie Togashiki is our Guest Blogger, unveiling some of Japan’s bicycle culture, from 11th April to 24th April.

 by Sachie Togashiki

In looking for evidence to show the social changes made by the use of bicycles, I found an interesting video. In the video, a Japanese man, Satoshi Hikita, who works for a television station, and who commutes by bicycle for 24 km, delivered a lecture about using bicycles for environment-friendly and healthy town development. The video contains the interview Mr. Hikita gave after his lecture. The lecture was delivered in Nichinan, Miyazaki prefecture, where he was born, on 8th July 2011. Mr. Hikita gave interesting arguments to explain how bicycles contribute to town development.

Main arguments presented

He claims that using bicycles has benefits for both individuals and society. Individual benefits are: promoting fitness, saving money, and furthering familiarity with local town environs. On the other hand, the social benefits are mitigation of traffic jams, reduction of traffic fatalities and medical expenses, and eco-friendly traffic. He also argues that these benefits cannot be achieved by using cars because they emit carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming; people don’t exercise when they drive a car, which is not healthy, and using a car might be more expensive in the longer term because oil prices will rise more and more.

Mr. Hikita argues that town development can benefit by promoting bicycles because the immediate appeal of the local environment can best be felt on foot or on a bicycle. This means the more people use bicycles in the town, the more they can personally and directly feel the attraction of the place. He cites the examples of Tokyo in Japan and cities in the United States; where young people prefer to go, enjoying the city on foot or a bicycle, not a car and have been developed through people’s interaction and communication. Mr. Hikita maintains that riding bicycles encourages us to interact with people and to fully appreciate our local environment, as well as being a convenient mode of transport.

Comment

After watching this video, I was intrigued by Mr. Hikita’s idea of how the planning of cities and towns was influenced by the use of bicycles. Even though I lived in Tokyo before coming to Australia, I didn’t notice that people best enjoy in the city on foot or a bicycle. I agree with Mr. Hikita when he says that cities can’t be enjoyed by cars because so many interesting places are missed, such as lots of interesting and mysterious shops or galleries on narrow streets where cars can’t go through. As he insists, a town’s attraction can be found not by cars, but by bicycles. If town planning includes promoting the use of bicycles, not only can people have an enjoyable town, they have healthy and eco-friendly lives today and tomorrow.


Sachie Togashiki is our Guest Blogger, unveiling some of Japan’s bicycle culture for the next fortnight from 11th April to 24th April.

Starting next week, Bicycles Create Change is proudly hosting a fortnight of Country Specific blog posts from each of the Bicycles Create Change Summer Program Participants who will be our guest bloggers.

This means that the home country of each writer will be featured for a fortnight, and a selection of unique bicycles stories, local to that region, and inaccessible by English Speakers, will presented. Each writer brings their own distinctive take and will provide genuine and invaluable cultural interpretations on how bicycles are utilised in their home country in 5 posts.

Tomorrow we start with Japan by Sachie Togashiki, then in succession; Cameroon by Gabriel Besong Etch; India by Beula Juliet Alfred; Columbia by Mauricio Gonzalez Betancur. Each country will have an interval of 1 week of regular blog posts.

So, the upcoming schedule will look like:

Sachie 11 April – 24 April

Normal posts: April 25 – 1st May

Gabriel 2 May – 15 May

Normal posts: 16th May – 22st May

Juliet 23 May – 5 June

Normal posts: 6th June – 12th June

Mauricio 13 June – 26 June

I am very excited by this format, as it means that the expertise, personal experience and local cultural insights that each of these young professionals will inject into each of their posts will enhance the meaningfulness, imperative and authenticity for each story.

It also means that given the linguistic expertise of these researchers, we will able to gain far greater insights and access more content than those just published in English.

I am delighted that these four professionals have agreed to share their unique research translation and analysis with us and I can’t wait to read about how they perceive bicycles to create change in their home countries.

Enjoy!!

Guest Bloggers - Country Specific Fortnights

Guest Bloggers – Country Specific Fortnights

Last December, following a very enjoyable MTB trip to NZ, I was lamenting in the Politicians and Prime Ministers riding bikes post the sad state of difference between the progressive, decisive and uber cycling supportive NZ Government and that of our own fickle and overly car-dependant Australian (especially Queensland!) Government.

It seems that Australia has an obvious lack of political forward thinking and active leadership in moving towards a healthier and more sustainable society, which incorporates citywide safe bicycling into current city designs and future infrastructure. Which is a pity, because most other developed countries and major cities elsewhere have adopted such urban policies as a political, economic or social imperative – like Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, France – where ‘continued investment’ in bicycles is known as ‘smart investments’.

During my lament, I had mentioned that it was sad that NZ politicians were out on bikes (in suits no less) and that I was yet to see their Australian counterparts do the same.

Well, this week my wish came true.

 

Pollie Bike Ride: The Australian, April 4th, 2016

Pollie Bike Ride: The Australian, April 4th, 2016

Pollie Pedal Charity Bike Ride

A I know that just getting on a bike for a few minutes media photos shoot is not the same as changing laws for better active transport nationwide. However, unlike the NZ pollies (who were in suits and obviously doing a photo shoot) at least some of our politicians have committed to decent whack of time in the saddle for the 19th Annual Pollie Pedal Charity Bike Ride.

Tony Abbot has been the most publicised pollie in this year’s ride – and leaving actual politics out of the event (which is a little hard), the ride is not only raising money for charities, it is a decent length at 1,000km in 8 days ride. It leaves Parliament House for Melbourne to onto Sydney. It is travelling through the worst of the Black Saturday areas and has regular stops at schools, pubs, public services and local business.

No matter what you may think about Tony Abbott, his politics or his former leadership, it is difficult to criticize him for getting on a bike to raise much needed money for charity. Although it will be a continuous media circus the whole Tour D’Abbott, it is hard to begrudge any politician who stays fit and will get on a bike for 1,000km. It is not like Belgium’s Health Minister Maggie de Block, who at 127kgs (20 stone), could well be in a position which some may argue, she is not ‘fit for’. Conversely, according to data from 2008, 47% of all adults in Belgium were overweight, so maybe she truly is representing the common people.

Either way, at least we still have politicians who get out and about, even if it is for 9 days a year. The Pollies on the ride still have to sit on their bike seats and ride – just like the rest of us.

 

Source: Executive Styles.com

This week marks the 6-month birthday for this blog. Hooray!!

To date, I have not actively publicised or promoted this blog, as I wanted to work on it for a time so that I get a sense of the amount of work ( a lot) and what issues (technical and other) I would be contending with.

As part of my 6-month review, I am also looking forward and beyond. I have some great ideas and content to share in the next 6 months that I am very excited about. On such example, which is starting next week, is where each of the four Bicycles Create Change Summer Program participants will be guest posting 5 blogs that they have researched from their home countries and in their first languages (Japanese, French, Spanish and Indian) to broaden the contexts, experiences and scope of content sourced just in English.

Perfect time for a survey

So, this is the perfect time to conduct a survey to get some information about this blog, so that I can use the results to better shape future posts.

I’m inviting people to participate in the survey below, so I can get a sense of what is working and what is not – it will only take 5 minutes (8 questions).

I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions and ideas – so if you have a few spare minutes, I’d love to hear your ideas.

Please click here to take the 6-Month survey

 

The survey will be open for 2 weeks and I look forward to sharing the results with you.

Also, feel free to comment on any of the posts.

I really appreciate your interest in this blog – and a big thank you for your time and input in advance!