This last year has been filled with surprises, challenges and some very interesting developments – so I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store!

As with last year, my last day of 2016 was warm and sunny – and so was the perfect day for one last ride for the year. I spent my last day  of 2016 mountain bike riding with my husband and mates through the spectacular Whakarnewarewa Forest trails at Redwoods, Rotorua. We spent the day zooming around our favourite trails for 3.5 hours and headed up to one of the Trig stations to take in the view at the summit. Looking out at the panorama, I felt like the 360 view from the top was a perfect metaphor for taking stock of the year that has passed and taking a moment to pause, reflect and enjoy. It was a great way to finish the year.

Thank you to all of you who have supported, read and/or contributed to Bicycles Create Change over the past year. Whether you are new to this blog, or an regular BCC aficionado, I really appreciate you taking the time to see what’s happening on Bicycles Create Change. I wish you well for the next year – and hope that you are able to achieve all that your (cycling) heart desires.

I’m looking forward to sharing more adventures in 2017 where Bicycles Create Change!!

Best wishes for a Happy New Gear and happy and safe riding!!!

Bicycles Create Change - Bikes not bombs (Pinterest)

Source: Bikes not bombs (Pinterest)

Imagine my surprise when arriving in New Zealand, I saw another bicycle-inspired ‘Christmas’ Tree! After having just left Brisbane a week ago and seeing Brisbane’s bicycle-powered Christmas Tree at South Bank, I found that New Zealand have their own spin on the bicycle-themed (Christmas) Tree.

 

NZ’s Tree of Bikes

Just like my PhD topic, NZ’s Tree of Bikes was specifically designed to raise awareness of the vital role that bicycles play in getting children who live in extreme poverty to school – awesome!

The NZ Tree of Bikes is the brain child of ChildFund and was created in collaboration with Enterprize Steel and Beca Engineers. It was originally erected in Queens Street Wharf, Auckland for Christmas last year (2014/5). Aside from raising awareness about bicycle-for-education needs in developing nations, the tree was also a focus point to promote ChildFund’s Gifts that Grow program during Christmas. Although the Gifts that Grow program doesn’t have a specific bicycle-for-education option, it does provide aside range of immediate, sustainable, community-orientated and positive present-giving replacement options in a similar theme to Bicycle Create Change’s previous post of bicycle-inspried alternative ethical gift alternatives to help support other less fortunate and those living in extreme poverty.

 

The Tree of Bikes Origin

There are two versions of the NZ Tree of Bikes. Bother trees have the same structure, features and function.

For example, the first Auckland Tree of Bikes was a 7-meter high Bicycle ‘Christmas’ Tree that had a central steel structure that was adored by 120 up-cycled bicycles and an array of bike parts. The 120 bicycles that make up this tree were all donated by local Aucklanders and after the tree was exhibited over Christmas, the tree was dismantled and the all the bicycles were donated to local community groups like the Refugee Centre.

The Auckland Tree of Bikes was so popular and successful, that a similar, second tree was organised and installed in March 2016 by the Rotorua Lakes Council to coincide with Crankworx Rotorua. It was great to see local council getting behind the intiative and fully supporting the project by providing with a donation drop-off point, publicity and clearing the red tape to ensure that such a great project is endorsed, encouraged and prioritised. As with the Auckland Tree of Bikes, the local residents of Rotorua donated 150 bicycles and parts to create the 2016 Bike Tree public art instillation that featured prominently at the Crankworx Village Green.

 

Rotorua Bike Tree

Source: Radio NZ:Andrew McRae

Why can’t all local councils be as forward thinking as Rotorua?

Although a seemingly small project, the Rotorua Tree of Bikes is yet again another example of how NZ finds innovative, community-based initiatives that are interesting, promote cycling and increase positive community participation.

Last year when we came to Rotorua for a similar mountain bike trip, I posted on the impressive infrastructure plans and that the local, regional and national NZ Municipalities had in relation to the Rotorua Urban Cycling Strategic Plan 2015-2018. Previously and currently, the local Rotorua Council continue to invest and support development that ensures and cements Rotorua as the premier mountain biking Mecca for the Southern Hemisphere. With such committed political and community investment, the benefits are paying off as word spreads in the mountain bike and enduro scene that Rotorua is the one of the best places to ride.

Why is it so hard for the rest of the world (and Brisbane in particular) not to see that investing in road and trail cycling is profitable, positive and socially beneficial? Rotorua is a fantastic example of this can be mutually advantageous for  tourism and local businesses, as well as for bikers of all ages and stages.

So when you get here, I’ll either see you on the trails or under the Tree of Bikes!

Hi Bike Nuts!

Just a quick post to wish you and your family a very happy day today. No matter how you spend today – with family, at a BBQ, with friends, on a ride or any other way – I hope your holiday is happy, fun and safe.

No matter which holiday you believe in, or how you celebrate today (or if at all), I hope you have an wonderful day – and hopefully you’ll get some time to go for a ride in the next couple of days.

So Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays and enjoy your final rides leading up to the end of 2017!

Happy Holidays 2016

On the day before I left Brisbane to fly to Rotorua for our annual MTB pilgrimage, I found myself in the city, around South Bank to meet a friend for lunch.

While walking around South Bank,  I was happily surprised to see a bike powered Christmas tree. I’m a big fan of applying cycle-power to charge appliances and goods – for example when Robert Förstemann, the German Track Cycling Star powered a toaster to cook a single slice of bread – GOLD!

So I stopped to check it out and ended up chatting to the guy who was responsible for installing it.

Bicycle-powered Christmas tree

Bicycle-powered Christmas tree

Source: ABC News

Bike powered Christmas Tree

The tree looked very impressive standing 4.2 meters tall and apparently is the first of its kind in Australia.  There are four bikes at the base of the tree and the tree is covered in over 3,500 LED lights, so that when you pedal on a bike your riding charges up lights in certain areas on the tree.

Even when I was there in the daylight there was a line of people waiting to try it. Even in broad daylight you could see the lights happily twinkling away. The owner said this was the second year the tree had been included in Brisbane’s festivities and that it had been very popular.

I thought it was a great addition to the city – not only for Christmas, but also as a promotion for cycling and for a more thoughtful approach to energy consumption over the holiday period.

Bicycle-powered Christmas lights

In the area I live, each year, there is an increasing number of houses being decorating in a ridiculous about of Christmas lights. I know many people think it looks beautiful – and it can, but I find it difficult to reconcile the massive and wasteful energy consumption involved. But, there is a way to have beautiful Christmas lights AND be environmentally responsible as well.  To this end –  I’m waiting for the day when people who decorate their houses in copious amounts of lights or those who want to enter a neighbourhood Christmas Lights competitions – can only so so if they produce their own green/sustainable power to do so – by solar panels, pedal-power or some other sustainable source. If you can do that – go for it! Int his way, I think the bicycle-powered Christmas Tree could be a step in the right direction.

Until then, the lone pedal powered Christmas tree in the city will hopefully serve as not only entertainment, but as a reminder to the community to enjoy a more sustainable, bicycle-friendly and fit and healthy Christmas.

For more info about the bicycle-powered Christmas tree read this ABC news report about the tree here (also includes the video link below).

Christmas is nearly upon us.

In our house we have a strict no present policy. This is primarily for environmental and ethical considerations, but also because we are consciously and actively reducing our impact on the environment and our reliance of material possessions to more towards a more sustainable, thoughtful and minimal existence.

Within the confines of our house, this is easy to enforce and has been the rule for many years. My immediate family and friends know, appreciate and support our no gift position and reasoning. However, in cases when outside our immediate circle (like work) or when have to interact with other families (or other people’s kids), it can still be a little tricky. As much as I detest the mainstream practice of over packaged, wasteful, plastic commodification of expected entitlement that goes along with normative practices of Christmas gift giving, this idea can be quite hard for a four-year old to grasp.

I am fortunate to have years of practice in explaining my gifting approach in a way that can be heard – but not always understood or accepted. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that some people just won’t understand – or will think I’m crazy (..or lazy, forgot, a miser or whatever else). So be it.

I’m at the stage where I don’t care what other people think. But for others who are moving in a similar direction, it can still be difficult if your placed in situations where it might still be necessary/expected to give a present  (work Chris Cringles). So  for those who are in this kind of situation – and for any other bike crazy people who also want to support a more ethical and sustainable Christmas – here are my suggestions for alternative bikivism gift giving techniques.

 

10 Ethical, community-supportive, green, fair-trade, sustainable, bike-inspired gifting alternatives (phew!)

  1. Adopt a ‘make, bake, sew or grow’ gift that is bicycle relate – for example: make a bicycle helmet bag, bake a bicycle theme cake (as featured two posts ago) sew a bike courier patch onto a bag, or plant some flowers to grow into an old upturned bike helmet
  2. World Bicycle Relief – Support bikes, education and developing nations by buying from WBR shop where there are prints, cards, t-shirts and bikes-for-education sponsorship options
  3. Literacy on two wheels – (Room to Read/Global Girlfriend): $50 can provide a bicycle for a girl. School can often be a 2 to 3 hour walk from home along remote roads, making school an impossibility for millions. A bicycle can cut that time down dramatically
  4. Sponsor a Bike – For our UK friends – this organisation has programs starting from £10 a month to support a refugee to start cycling safely. Thi minimal cost includes: a bike, brand new lights, a lock and a helmet, unlimited repairs (if necessary), a road safety session – and you as the donor will receive one free bike service a year. There are also other upgrade options.
  5. Bike Gifts is a South African organisation that aims to add to the South African economy, to support local entrepreneurs and produce new and exciting products. they source quality, local bespoke products
  6. Create your own bicycle gift voucher or gift someone a card that you made with bicycle on the cover, or ethically source it from somewhere else like recycled artists on Etsy, and write: Happy Christmas! This card can be redeemed for an afternoon picnic ride with me. Call me to arrange the date. I can’t wait to share some quality time with you and build more happy memories together!! Happy Christmas!
  7. Check out Shared Earth for a range of fair trade, recycled gifts and home wares made from recycled bike chains. This organisation aims “to improve the livelihoods of disadvantaged people in developing countries, benefiting local community projects and keeping alive traditional skills that would otherwise be lost”.
  8. The Intrepid Foundation $25 Bicycle Helmet – The Green Gecko Project cares for former street children and their families by providing them with education, security, love and opportunity. This gift will provide four young people with a bicycle helmet for safe riding on the streets of Siem Reap, Cambodia. The best thing about this gift is that for every dollar you spend on this project – The Intrepid Foundation will match with all proceeds going to Green Gecko. Green Gecko also has some other fantastic projects.
  9. Gift a bicycle for 5 children to ride to school in Vietnam through Caritas’ Gift of Education Card program to help support “overcoming poverty, promoting justice, upholding dignity”.
  10. Support women artisans from the slums of Chennai, working with Baladarshan SPEED Foundation that promote local women’s employment opportunities by buying fair-trade recycled Indian Billboard Panniers  (see below)…. you can also select which deities you want to ride with!

Best of luck and I applaud your sustainable and environmentally/socially aware choices in gift giving this Christmas.

I wish you a minimalist and very happy time!

Baladarshan

Source: The New Internationalist – Baladarshan

I like listening to podcasts.

I listen to podcasts on a range of topics – including trying some lesser known bike podcasts – just to see what is out there and what other bike nuts are up to.

But as with any podcasting topic, biking podcasts can be hit and miss. It is a fine line between hosts providing enough detail in content to be valuable and engaging, versus too much variety in content so that it lacks depth or worse includes so much techie/gear/personal talk that it totally alienates general punters.

Having been interviewed by Caroline Jones (Community Reporter) and included in an ABC radio segment earlier this year for Brisbane’s Bike Week Style Over Speed event,  I was reminded that I love listening to audio and the it is an often overlooked medium of communication (especially in todays’ hyper visual world). It also reminded me to check out other more locally produced bike-based audio productions, radio segments and podcasts.

Call me crazy

I think listening to a variety of lesser known biking podcasts is a worthwhile activity to do, and I’ll explain why. Most not-as-famous bike podcasts are produced by people as a labour of love. These hosts are investing their most precious resources into promoting more biking, so no matter how terrible the sound quality or personality of the hosts are, I will always appreciate the effort that people put into producing podcasts – it is not an activity most people are brave enough to try, let alone undertake on a regular basis.

Also due to budget and time constraint, content is often more personal, more approachable and more immediate. So hosts often provide unique trip reports, reviews and interview their mates- which for me has a sense of authenticity and genuineness about it. It also means that content is often more localised to the immediate region of the producer and are usually advertisement free, unlike more popular sponsored shows.

The Problem

The problem is cases of lesser known biking podcasts – it can be like playing Russian Roulette – you never know what you’re in for until your download and start listening to that first episode. You find out pretty quick if the production quality is low, the content is irrelevant or worse, the host/s are not professional, structured, interesting or on-topic. What an instant turn off!

Briztreadley podcast

I decided to give the bicycle podcast called Briztreadley a go. This podcast is produced by Andrew Demack, who works for as the  Development Officer for Bicycle Queensland.

So this is what I did

I’ve had had a few misses with other bicycle podcasts in the past, so it was with a little trepidation that I downloaded my first ever episode of Briztreadley as I was not sure what I was going to get.

I was keen to support local bike enthusiasts and my local region and to hear what the show format was. I had heard about this podcast about six months ago and only in passing, but had yet to take action and listen to it. I have quite particular ideas about interviewing style and content selection (I think it is the teacher and researcher in me that makes me so particular about quality, clear, consistent and well managed audio communication,  so I was a little picky with which episode I chose for our maiden date. I resisted the newest episode and opted instead for the episode uploaded this time a year ago.

So the episode I listened to was Briz Treadley Podcast 2016 Episode 1: Finishing off the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail with regular hosts Andrew Demack, Chris Welsh and Jordana Blackman (released 21 January) 2016. I chose this episode because I wanted to see what was happening in the local area around this time and also I like listening to some earlier work on podcasts and then compare with more recent episodes to see the development over time and what has/not changed.

So how was it?

I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the show. I found the 27 minutes easy to listen to, well-paced and interesting. IT touched on a few different riding genres and provide a thoughtful snapshot of a selection of cycling news and events.

What I liked about it – among other things:

• Local and community focused
• Variety of skills and thrills
• Not too long (just under 30 minutes)
• Short, simple sound bites of variety and interest, no ego.
• Balanced, normal, not too techie
• Great to have a competent and engaging female voice/host

I was delighted to hear early on in the podcast the hosts discussing NZ MTBing at Rotorua. IT was pretty much this time last year we left for a 10 day MTB trip to Rotorua last year, which we are doing again this year, leaving next Thursday for 11 days this time (I can’t wait!!).

So it was great to hear Whakarewarewa Forest being featured – and also to hear it correctly referred to and pronunciated – it still makes me smile, and I still don’t dare say the local version (tee hee).

I like that this episode also covered a few aspects without wearing glossing over the topics superficially. So some comments on things like newbie MTB riding at Mt Cootha, NZ Rotorua MTB riding at Redwoods and the new jumps set for Crankworx 2015. The main segment is based on a phone in interview with Paul Heymans discussing the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail $1.8 million investment announcement. (*Since this episode aired, the Brisbane rail Trail has already had a few updates* )

There was also some discussion about some upcoming cycling events in RAdelaide (or when the episode went to air ‘upcoming’ events) such as the Women’s Santos and Tour Down Under and Bridie O’Donnell’s 2016 1-hour World Record attempt. Some interesting little tit-bits that were raised – from Bridie’s interview re doping issues, micorsurging, mental training, aero positioning and other people’s doubts of her world record attempt at 41 years old.

 

So what now?

Overall, I was happy I took a chance and listed to Briz Treadley Podcast. I was pleasantly surprised with the variety of content and warmth of the presenters. I appreciate the labour of love that it is. I though it showcased Brisbane and its surrounds very well and achieved its aim of informing and motivating people to get out on bikes more. I will certainly be downloading a few other episodes to take with me next week on the plane to NZ.

So if you have not already done so, either check out Briz Treadley and let me know what you think – or find another bike podcaster in your region and give them a go.

After all, these podcasters are making the massive effort and commitment spreading the bike word, love and community – so why not give a couple of episodes a try?

You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find!

Briztreadley

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been noticing a lot more ‘special’ cakes appearing at festivities lately. I am talking about a very particular kind of cake and I’m wondering if it is just me who is seeing them popping up more regularly.

I should preface this by saying that I am most certainly NOT a cake person. In fact my palate is definitely squarely in the sour/umami camp. Which is why I think I am that one step removed enough to observe the gentle but firm increase in the number of bicycle themed cakes that have magically appeared en masse.

cyclewebhouse.

Source: Cycle Web House

The rise of the bike cake

They are certainly not your run-of-the-mill normal cakes. They are hard not to miss given they are often covered in garish-coloured icing and they are clearly decorated with a plethora of bicycle inspired settings and motifs.

I’m pretty sure that cakes and baked goods have always been pretty popular and prevalent.  If there is an actual increase in cakes in general, I think it could have more to do with the upcoming holidays, Christmas and festivities about to take place – and less to do with a sudden unexplainable boom in cyclists needing to express their love of life and two-wheels through the only medium viable in the house at the time their expressive urge takes hold – namely sugar, flour and water. But I could be wrong. Either way, bicycle theme cakes are here to stay.

Whether the bike cake influx is an actual and real phenomenon, or just because I am now more hyperaware of them given that I am seeing them everywhere (similar to the ‘buying a blue car scenario’ – where you are looking to buy a car, and the one you like is say for arguments sake – blue and now as you look around you start seeing blue cars EVERYWHERE – well I think the same thing could be happening here). Either way, it is definitely a ‘thing’.

Bicycle cakes for every occasion

A birthday for a 45-year old man, a wedding cake centrepiece, a kid’s 8th birthday party and a retirement party – all with bicycle cakes. How can this be? It certainly makes for interesting party conversations and throws down the gauntlet to any would-be home-made cake making challenge. I have been impressed with the variety, ingenuity, creativity and resourcefulness of some of the bicycle cakes I’ve seen. Whether it is a snapshot of a peloton on a road ride, or a solo MTB ride – many of these cakes transform the humble vanilla sponge or chocolate cake base into towering multi-mountain stage races before your very eyes.

I find many bicycle cakes to be equal parts gaudy, interesting, personal and a little unusual. In my experience, no matter what the cake looks like, it will always be delicious. Bicycle cakes are now branching out from traditionally being the sole realm of kid’s birthdays – as seen recently in the case of retirement, cycling event celebrations and of course wedding cakes……which of course I am no stranger to as my father made my own wedding cake – which was a tower of cupcakes decorated with various aspects drawn from my husband’s and my life – of which bicycles featured prominently of course! Suffice to say the cake was a smash hit and a truly memorable part of the day.  I will always appreciate the effort and thought that has gone into creating an edible vignette of someone’s life and most enduring passion.

Our childhood cakes

I remember as a kid, each year we were allowed to pick a theme or a topic for our birthday cake. Pirate ships, dump trucks, swimming pools, even our family cat – there was nothing my mum could not turn into a creative and visual spectacular that would make Nigella Lawson jealous. Every cake was just as equally delicious to eat as it was amazing to look at. I still marvel at how things like jelly, toasted coconut and licorice straps could be transformed into a giant wave with a surfer on top, a tabby cat’s fur or a swashbuckling marauder’s sword!

Seeing these bike cakes reminds me of happy times with family and friends, of mum’s home cooking and the love and effort that went into making our happiest dreams manifest before our eyes for all to enjoy and devour with delight. Hard to beat and certainly not the same as a store bought cake.

Have you seen, made or had a bike cake?

If you are keen to try your hand, or know someone who can make a bike cake for you and unless you have a favourite (family) cake or ye-olde-faithful cake recipe that has never let you down, or even if you want to mix it up and experiment or try a new flavour or style – then I highly recommend checking out Gretchen’s  Bakery where there are videos how to make your cake. She is a professional baker and on her blog she provides an amazing selection of layer cakes and vegan cakes and also has heaps of inspiring baking ideas and recipes to stimulate your cooking and eating pleasure – no matter what taste, age or event, there will be something on her list you can transform into any cyclists dream dessert.

I’d be very interested to hear if anyone else has been in contact with a bicycle themed cake. Would you/have you had a bicycle themed cake to celebrate a special occasion before? If so what scene would you want depicted on your cake?

Have a look at some of these beauties I’ve seen elsewhere online – a selection of which nearly covers the full cycling code spectrum! Get inspired,  get baking and share the love of bicycle cakes!

Enjoy and happy cake making, sharing and eating!

My cake corner

Source: My cake corner

My Cupcake Addiction by Elise Strachan

Source: My Cupcake Addiction by Elise Strachan

GJs Cakes

Source: GJs Cakes

Dexters

Source: Dexters

lissascakes

Source: lissascakes

Mountain Bike 21st Birthday Cake - Helen Miller

Source: Mountain Bike 21st Birthday Cake – Helen Miller

This guest blog post is by Adam Harris – Owner of Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC. Here Adam shares his story, biking history, family, inspirations, business development and hopes for a more active and positive future for all on two-wheels.


Bicycles have always been a major part of my life.  As a youngster, my bike was a source of both fun and freedom.  I’d spend hours jumping curbs and laying down big rubber scorching skids.  It was only natural to go in search of fresh curbs to jump and streets to skid, so I began to explore well beyond my neighborhood, finding new friends and new adventure.

One of the great discoveries of early childhood was the three trail systems that I could pedal to.  It inspired me to scratch and save for my first proper bike, a blue Schwinn Sidewinder.  It stoked my passion for bikes and with it I also got my first taste of wrenching on a bike, learning basic maintenance and repair.

As I neared driving age I remember telling my parents that I wanted to buy a Trek hardtail mountain bike, complete with a Rockshox fork no less!  While they believed my interest in bikes would wane due to automobiles and girls, they reluctantly agreed to split the cost for my beloved anodized purple beauty.

 

My Dad

After getting my new bike, Dad was interested in riding more, so he began piloting the trusty blue Schwinn.  He joined me often for dirt time in the woods.  Those rides with my Dad are some of the best memories of my youth.

My Dad is a big inspiration for me and someone I’ve always looked up to.  He was best man when my wife and I were married.  He is also one of the main reasons for pursuing my passion once again as I spin into mid-life.  Angelo Chapman Harris III was a successful athlete and coach.  Track and Field and Cross-Country running were his passion along with the students he taught for the 40+ years of his career, all spent at the one high school!  He was offered opportunities to advance his coaching career many times – some offers for bigger programs and at the university level.  I’m sure he pondered them all, but he always turned them down.  I never understood why as a young man.

My Dad passed away three years ago this past September.  Life can be a cruel lesson, but I finally figured out the “why”.  My Dad knew where he wanted to be and what he wanted to do.  He helped many people along the way.  Passion is the fuel that drove him.  As they say, “you never work a day in your life when you do what you love”.  What a gift.  I am trying to follow his lead.  I want to always feel that satisfaction of being right where I’m supposed to be when I get ready for “work” in the mornings.

 

The family dream

We fulfilled one of our family’s dreams when we moved to Maryville, Tennessee last Spring.  As our lives became more bike-centric and we connected the greenways and neighborhood roads on our frequent excursions about town, the thoughts bouncing around in my head became too persistent to ignore any longer.  I started doing some research and soon a plan was formed to fulfill another dream.

We were going to open a bike shop.  One that would be focused on family and fun and be the ultimate in convenience, a mobile bike shop, and Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC was born.

Too many times traditional bike shops can be intimidating for those who just want to ride their bike and don’t necessarily need or care for the latest and greatest. And frankly, sometimes it’s just hard to find the time.

I’m a father of two young girls and I know how hectic life can get for me and my wife. I value family time and many of our family’s best times involve bikes. I want that for my customers as well – I want to make it as easy as possible. Time is valuable, spend it riding bikes not figuring out the logistics of how to get to the bike shop.  Let the shop come to you!

Adam's Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC

Goldie – the mobile shop

The shop glides along in a customized 1985 Chevy Step Van.  Its former life was spent delivering Golden Flake potato chips, hence the name of the steed.  Goldie!  The irony of driving a diesel step van around while working on and selling man’s most efficient machine is not lost on me.  Despite that, I think the end justifies the means.  It helps me accomplish my mission: more people spending more time on bikes.  I also do my best to minimize my impact on the environment.  I recycle all possible materials, use eco-conscious cleaning and lubrication products, and run the super-efficient LED lights off a power-bank that will soon be set-up to be recharged by solar panels.

Adam's Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC

 

More bikes, more community

Bikes have given me a lot in my lifetime.  Not only fitness, transportation, clarity, and plenty of fun, but comfort and purpose.  I am passionate about the positive impact that bikes have on people and community.  I want to see more kids riding bikes and more families riding together.  I want to be part of the movement.  I want to be involved in my community and get my community involved.

Adam's Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC

Partnerships and Events

I have some great partners that share my vision and passion for bikes, the outdoors, and sustainability.  One such is Mountain Challenge, a group of like-minded, fit, green, and happy dudes and dudettes over at Maryville College, which has been named a “Best in the Southeast” college by The Princeton Review.  Mountain Challenge continues to do great things for the college and the local community in a progressive and inviting manner and are an inspiration for impacting people in a positive way.

Another is Brooklyn Bicycle Co., who have gone out of their way to help me along and are a great model for excellent customer service.  Both were willing to take a chance on me and my business of bringing bikes to the people and for that I am grateful.

Starting a business is a lot like a long climb. Like any long climb, I’m seated and in it for the long haul, turning over the pedals.  It’s been steep – and at times I’ve felt like I’m spinning out on a low gear and only making incremental progress.  But it’s progress and I’m building momentum and shifting up the gears!

 

Contact us and say hi!

Follow my journey on Instagram and Twitter: @1happybike and Facebook:1happybike.

It’s sure to be interesting and I have big plans for the Spring of 2017!

More miles, more smiles!

Adam's Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC


Adam is a lifelong cyclist and lover of all things bicycle.  He worked in the industry previously as a mechanic and shop manager before ultimately pursuing another career, but he never stopped riding or dreaming. When his family moved to the beautiful town of Maryville, Tennessee where the infrastructure allowed a more bike-centric lifestyle, the wheels started spinning, literally and figuratively!  In a world where you can order nearly any product or service online to your front door, why not expert bicycle knowledge, sales, and service?  Adam is the owner (and driver!) of Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC, a completely mobile bike shop, where he does just that.  His mission is to get more people spending more time on bikes and he does that by providing the ultimate in convenience and a completely customized experience right at your doorstep.

This post is a break from the usual bicycle theme posts – and a foray into an associated blogging event. At the start of the week, I was invited to present one of my Blogging for Business Success workshops to a group of small-business entrepreneurs. My business (Warral Ma Consulting) has two main streams – AKA HACKA (Successful & Productive academic Language & Communication Skills) and BIZ BOOST (Proactive & Profitable Business Development & Communication Strategies).

The workshop I ran was a BIZ BOOST module from my Profitable Business Blogging Course. I love this course and was really excited to be back in workshop mode after a super busy academic semester at Griffith. I have not taken on extra Warral Ma work lately,  considering I am now working on my PhD and this blog. The last workshop I presented were 3 ACKA HACKA Shut up and Write Workshops in May, so it was great to be out of the academic classroom and back in the city of commerce!

Timely and topical

The workshop group is completing a New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) business development course. NEIS is a 4-week business course and their businesses will be launched in January. I found this a particularly timely invite considering the national squeeze on job availability, housing affordability and business opportunities  – and that such current issues are being debated in popular media and on TV and felt most acutely by Australian youths and others such as the participants doing this NEIS course.

The Business Blogging for Success Workshop

My presentation covered blogging and provided some ideas, motivation and strategies for getting started in the blogosphere. This workshop did not go into the full mechanics of monetarising a blog as many of them did not have a blog yet, so I stripped the content back to generating quality content so that they had a place to start writing posts –  you cannot make money from a blog that is brand new and has little content.

Workshop Overview

The workshop went really well and we had a lot of fun.

The group was very receptive, asked lots of questions and had a good sense of humor. We ended up covering a lot of material and the group walked with some key writing and structure considerations for good blogging – like for example, TEEEL body paragraph structure and including 3 x hyperlinks.

It was super interesting for me to hear what businesses were being developed. there were many initiatives in this group, including, Australiana sustainable home wears, professional editing/marketing, videography & filming services, organic foods, Interior Design, Personal management/coaching, Remedial massage, paintings of dogs, a musician, lighting design, domestic cleaning, virtual personal assistant, bookkeeper/tax agent, laser tattoo removal & clothing line – and more! Such a creative and motivated group!

What we did in the workshop

Given the broad scope and varied level of non/blog experience, I tailored this session more towards the generation and mechanics of producing blog posts. So my workshop covered the following areas:

  1. Quick check – see which famous blogger they may know and ask 6 orientation questions
  2. Prepping ideas – brainstorm 4 ideas: #1 concern, best skill, what is needed and participant’s own area of interest
  3. Quality Content: This was where I concentrated quite a bit of detail and strategies on putting the effort into creating quality content. I broke it up into 3 main parts, each with a tool and a link to stimulate some
Business Blogging for success

Source: Warral Ma Consulting – Business Blogging for Success Workshop

  1. Blog evaluation Activity: The group had prepared two blogs to that they bought to the workshop with them – one in their business area and another blog that they thought was interesting. To stimulate some analysis and ideas for future consideration, the next activity was to apply what we had discussed about quality content to evaluate one a blog. This is always good to do as a ‘market research’ task and to see what competing business or successful business in your space are doing.
  2. 20 blog post topics – we then looked at possible business blog topics. When starting out, some people find it hard to come up topics or ideas to write about. To address this, I provided a top 20 list of some ideas. Ultimately, there are thousands of topics lists you can get from a google search, but this was just to get the juices flowing.
  3. Brainstorming – I pitched the idea of developing 4 different types and topics of blog posts to stimulate range and variety.
Business Blogging for success

Source: Warral Ma Consulting – Business Blogging for Success Workshop

 

7. Generating ideas – This section looked at 3 killer techniques to getting posts out there and then shared around.

8. Wrap up – we then did a wrap up, next steps and questions.

I was really conscious to provide some concrete strategies and frameworks to apply to writing so that participants had something tangible to work on and develop later. The activities meant that people had some ideas down on paper to follow up and get started on at a later date. Given that the participants are all doing different businesses, I thought it important to give the give quality information that was relevant, useful and action orientated – information that was not too technical, but empowering and applicable.

Overall I had a great session working with this group. It was the second last day of their course and it was great to see them energised and excited about future possibilities.

I will be very interested to hear how – and where – they end up in the future!

 

warral Ma - Business Blogging for success

It also reminded me now excited I am about the overhaul that Bicycles Create Change is having this summer!

Pretty much everything about this blog will be updated – formatting, style, brand, editing – the works! It feels like I am launching my own blog (again) as well!

In doing so,  I’d be very keen to hear you thoughts and ideas about the before (now) and after (by Feb 20157) changes – I’ll keep you posted!

Hooray!! Today in Australia it is the first day of summer!! Woopee!!

Summer is especially exciting living in the Brisbane bayside area. I can’t wait to ride on summer! For me it means long afternoon rides along the foreshore with everyone out and about. I love going for a cruise along the boulevard in the late afternoon after a stinking hot day –  the sun ever so slowly setting, warm breezes off the ocean, families starting to pack up after a day in the park, runners weaving in and out of couples strolling arm-in-arm and dogs getting their leashes tangled enthusiastically as owners apologise to each other for the happy mayhem.

Ride on summer!

I get my bike Leki – with flowers resplendent, grab a mate and go for cruise along the foreshore.

I ring my bell cheerily, smile at strangers and say hi as we whizz by in a flash of colour and happiness. I love seeing the kids playing at the water park, girls in bikinis, men chatting on seats, the elderly relaxing under trees and families bustling along.

I love riding my bike and being part of our vibrant seaside community.

So for those who also want to celebrate their love of all things two wheels, summer and community – here are 5 things you could do this summer to promote bicycles and positive social interactions:

1. Organise a social ride for a day. Invite another family/mates/others to go on a picnic bike ride. Make a day of it. For example in Brisbane, there are lots of family-friendly bike tracks to try. Load up the bikes and go for an explore. Take your swimmers, some shade and some games to play. Explore a rail trail, link you own riding winery tour, cruise down to the beach – whatever. You could even make a theme for the day! Just head down on your bikes with some others and enjoy the beautiful sunshine.

2. Join a Cycling Meet Up group. Find a bike/cycling group and get on two wheels for a social ride or a pack road ride. Go ride at a location you have not been before, meet some new people and do something different.

3. Go visit someone who can’t get out for a ride – bring a bike to them! Go to a Nursing Home or Aged Care facility in your area. Ask the reception desk who needs a visitor for half an hour. Take a copy of the (picture book or poem) Mulga Bill’s Bicycle –  make a new friend and read them the story. Ask them about their past riding experience, favorite bike ride or anything else and take the time to be good company for someone else.

4. Be the best volunteer at a local MTB event.  Find a local community mountain bike event in your area and volunteer at their next event. Encourage the junior riders and chat to the families and support crew. Be the best track marshal they have ever seen. Cheer on every rider that passes you and wear a big smile all day.

5. Collect bike for charity donation. Find a local bicycle recycling program, like Bikes4Life or Bicycles for Humanity  – or any others –  there are many bike organisations in other cities. Letter drop your street with a note like below. Even if you haven’t got bikes to donate at your place, canvass your local street/s and do it any way.

Bring on Summer

 

This way you will start the summer on a super positive note and set the intention for a wonderful summer. You don’t have to do these activities – make up one/s that suit you best – find your own ways to spread the summer sunshine, give a small bit of your time and energy to the community you live in and share your love of bicycles.

Happy first day of Summer!

 

Bring on Summer 2