Today is World Refugee Day.

Currently, there are 65 million people forcible displaced globally and the number is growing every day.

The UN states that the World Refugee Day commemorates “the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. This year, World Refugee Day also marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee.”

To highlight this issue, international organisations such as UNESCO and many others have been actively promoting the stories, issues, data and conversations then need to be talked about as the countries individually and collectively struggle to deal with critical refugee issues.

The refugee crisis is an issue that every country has to deal with.

So below I have 3 ideas for Aussie cyclists to mull over* in honour of today’s theme.

3 Considerations for World Refugee Day 2017 

1. Is Australia really helping the Refugee Crisis enough? 

YES! It is!

SBS reported Australia’s current refugee involvement in a positive light by publishing the following encouraging stats:

$33.9 million has been raised in the last year (2016-2017) by Australia for UNHCR (United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) official partner in Australia) to support the UN’s worldwide emergency and humanitarian programs.

Of the record $33.9 million that Australia for UNHCR has raised:

  • 75% are for UNHCR’s general emergency operations
  • 19% for emergencies in Syria, South Sudan, Iraq & Ecuador
  • 6% for specific projects providing targeted support for women, girls and children
  • $550,000 was raised by the community in NSW, QLD, WA and SA, to support Australia for UNHCR’s appeal for Syrian refugees.
  • There was also a significant contribution from Australia’s Vietnamese community, which has previously benefited from UNHCR support.

NO! Its not!

SBS’s report is a stark contrast to Tim Costello’s moving article entitled Even Poor Countries Are More Generous to Refugees than Rich Australia: Australia’s efforts would suggest we’re losing a sense of our shared humanity published in the Huffington Post.

Tim draws parallels between Australia’s efforts compared to Uganda (one of the top three refugee hosting countries in the world) and poignantly reflects that:

‘I was profoundly moved to witness how this relatively poor nation has welcomed hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese fleeing famine and war. How can it be that such a poor country does so much to shoulder the humanitarian load when we, rich and prosperous with a per capita income almost 25 times higher, do not?”

It is a sobering and honest point he makes that ‘we’re losing a sense of our shared humanity, which for a country built on migration is, at best, ironic’.

It is a very interesting article to read.

World Refugee Day 2017

Source: Huffington Post/Tim Costello Twitter

2. Ride for Refugees Event

Aside from political and economic furor – cycling and biking is great way to promote a social issue and get people involved – so today is no exception!

There were many biking events and rides this year, but my cycling event for World Refugee Day 2017 goes to Nepal’s ‘Ride for Refugees’. This is the second year this event has run and 2017 saw a turnout of over 500 people. Spotlight reports that people riding included ‘government officials, diplomats, refugees of diverse nationalities and local residents of the Kathmandu Valley showed their solidarity with refugees — both in Nepal and globally — by participating in the second annual “Ride for Refugees” cycle rally south of Patan’.

Aside from riding  in the critical mass event with all the locals, celebrities, ex-pats, supports and the like, Kathmandu is hosting an array of ‘Refugee’ events throughout the city including a photo exhibition, site visits and discussion meetings.

 

World Refugee Day 2017

Source: Spotlightnepal.com. (From L to R) Swiss Ambassador to Nepal Jörg Frieden, UNHCR Representative in Nepal Kevin J Allen with Miss Nepal Asia Pacific, Sahara Basnet and Miss Nepal Earth, Rojina Shrestha at Patan Dubar Square for ‘Ride for Refugees’

World Refugee Day 2017

Source: UNHCR

3. The Nashville Food Project Celebration

To keep the fun and community in perspective I’d like to acknowledge a smaller grassroots honorable mention from last year (2015) – undertaken by The Nashville Food Project. You cannot go wrong with friends, family, food and farming!

As stated on their website, this lovely inclusive event was ‘a collaboration and art project for World Refugee Day included such a meal. The Nashville Food Project joined friends from the First Center for the Visual Arts, the Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee, Oasis Center and members of their International Teen Outreach Program, Bhutanese gardeners and neighborhood gardeners at the Wedgewood Urban Garden.   

“I just loved sharing a meal with all these people who came together around growing food, volunteerism, making art and celebrating World Refugee Day,” said TNFP Garden Manager Christina Bentrup. “There were people and foods from both around the world and from different neighborhoods around Nashville, It was a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-generational group of folks celebrating community and diversity. It doesn’t get much better than that.” 

The group also turned recycled bicycle parts into art for the garden (see below) and then had a big community pot luck lunch together!!

At the end of the event description on their website is a great squash recipe, which to me highlights the significant interconnection between community, food and garden.

What a wonderful way to celebrate the day!

World Refugee Day 2017

World Refugee Day 2017

Source for these 3 images: Nashville Food Project

 

How did you celebrate World Refugee Day 2017?

How next year planning some grand celebratory biking plans that will bring together locals, refugees and community?

How about infuse it with welcomeness, fun, inclusivity and of course… biking!!

Best of luck for next year’s bike-themed World Refugee Day event!


*Note: the two  news articles used for point ”1. Is Australia really helping the Refugee Crisis enough?’ should be taken as a stimulus to explore your own reflections (and reasons for your answer) to this question. The two articles included have been artbitrarily selected and are not to be taken as definitive or sole proof of this position. So please use your amazing brain. Research and make you own mind up based on the best quality, relevant information.

Last week I returned from the 3 Day Start-Up intensive.

This event ran 40 Griffith PhD candidates through an entrepreneurial practical intensive on how to develop a start-up business.

I needed a little time between the 3DS event and posting about it to decompress, recharge and digest all that went on – and I am glad I did.

It certainly ‘intensive’. The actual content and structure was well thought out and very useful, the challenge was in the level of input and quality of work you wanted to achieve. This plus an added pressure of going market research, having a round-robin of mentors consult with you as you are preparing a pitch and the overall organising, synthesising and production of a real-time sales pitch with a team that you have never met before – (*phew*).

3DS – 5 Reflections

Rather than giving you everything that happened, here are the top 5 things I got out of the whole experience:

1. Working with a new team on developing my Campus Bike Start-up idea.

After a few warm-up activities, the room was invited to come up and pitch an idea for a possible business. There were about 25-30 ideas. In the spirit of participation, I contributed an idea called Campus Bike. We then had an anonymous vote for the best 6 to carry on developing for the rest of the course through to final investor pitch. There were some great ideas. So imagine my surprise when Campus Bike was voted as a finalist. Campus Bike ended up with a team of 5, of which I was the (un)official manager of. Managing this team (and myself) for the duration of the intensive was challenging, interesting, rewarding and surprising for a number of reasons. I got a lot out of working with my team, and learn a lot about working with new people (what worked and what didn’t) as well as reaffirming some home truths about dynamics, management, goal setting, leadership and individual/group effectiveness.

Bicycles Create Change 3DS

Bicycles Create Change 3DS

 

2. Useful frameworks
The Lean Canvas was a preparation framework that was presented to us on the first night as a way of starting to distill and tease out our start-up idea into more detail. As a structure fanatic and a big fan of using visual organisers to clarify complex ideas and document progress, I liked this model. It is easy to use, comprehensive, helped focus our team and meant that we a clear out line of considerations. It was a very effective tool and once completed, we received feedback we could the incorporate and develop in next stage ideation.

3DS

Source: Running Lean by Ash Maurya (p18)

3. Environs
I was surprised at how affected I was by the environs. It was held at Griffith’s Gold Coast campus in a large room of 40 people (most I did not know), run by American Facilitators, had long hours (9 am – 10 pm, food was provided, but you work while you eat) and was a very energy/concentration intensive process (including added daily peaks in extra stress for pitch prep and presentation). I was also staying at a colleague’s house, (which was so lovely, but not my normal home and bed), so I did not sleep well at all. I was away from my usual productive morning routine and was grumpy for not being able to have my bike to go for a ride and release some tension and get some fresh air for three days. Combined with being run down, overtired to start with, having some serious IT issues and complications with PhD and one of my classes back in Brisbane, meant that I was most certainly not in prime form. In recognising this, I made some significant changes to my approach to make sure I minimised stressors and was able to monitor myself physically, emotionally and mentally. But it was a big ask and pretty draining – so I learnt quite a bit about managing myself in challenging and new environs and what was okay and what was not.

4. Working the pitches

I gained a lot of insights and ideas watching my group and the other work on – and develop – their start-up ideas as a progression over time. At the end of each day, we pitched, which meant that you could see the development of the idea and what decisions, changes, embellishments and omissions were made. I found this fascinating to watch. As a teacher, I am curious about the learning process and seeing how each pitch morphed and changed – sometimes positively, sometimes not. I found these changes to be super revealing. It showed not just about what worked, or how to apply the process/business concepts we were being exposed to, but more interestingly, it divulged more about the team members themselves and how they interpreted and integrated new content.

3DS

Source: Running Lean by Ash Maurya (p18)

5. Motivated to initiate a start up
I was super impressed with the logistic and coordination for this event. Each day we had teams of local business people, entrepreneurs, advisors and mentors streaming in and out – all with super interesting ideas, suggestions, insights and advice. The mentor consultations were invaluable. The quality of guidance and depth of knowledge was excellent. Our discussions were constructive, and the mentor’s input pushed us to consider ideas that we had not previously accounted for. It reminded me of my time working in business in Sydney and what a buzz it can be working with like-minded passionate entrepreneurial – it was very energising to get a taste of that again. The event also served its purpose of encouraging the PhD cohort present to see start-up business as a very viable opportunity.

I consider this event to be a success. It was hard work but was also a very useful experience. I was impressed with my team and the other teams as well. The organisers did a terrific job of managing the time, content and mentors – kudos and thanks!

As a clincher, I found out after we had finished that 3 out of the 6 teams have decided to go ahead with their business idea that they had been working on and will be actually taking their idea to market. Awesome!!

 

Bicycles Create Change 3DS

Hi Bike Nuts!

Thanks for checking in with Bicycles Create Change.

There are so many wonderful cycling events, news and projects going on right now – what a great time to be a bike rider and cycling enthusiast!!

Among it all, a small and quirky initiative caught my eye.

Many of us who road ride have no doubt had some experience with cars that has been ‘challenging’ and possibly unsafe. But how to handle such a situation?

How about a sporting metaphor? Maybe a reference to the Yellow penalty card used in many sports (like football/soccer) as a means of cautioning, reprimanding or penalising a person for ‘bad conduct’?

Cyclists Magnetic Yellow Card

In 2004 Film maker Peter Miller created the cyclists magnetic yellow card. At the time, it was described as being an open-source ‘subversive intervention via business card-sized magnets, personal edition of 200′. In 2010, it had a resurgence in popularity among cyclists and the media. More recently, a group of LA bikers have been distributing this little magnetic yellow card as a way to help ‘get the message across’ in such situations.

I wonder how effective it is? What reaction would it illicit if you were a cyclist – or a car driver?

Certainly a novel approach to trying to ‘(re)educate’ the automotive general public!

Source: Gizmodo.com

Hooray Full Moon tonight – Let’s ride!!

 

Full Moon Rides

Source: artALT

 The Strawberry Moon

Tonight is a particularly special full moon (especially if you are in the Northern hemisphere) because over there it is The Strawberry Moon.

There are heaps more astronomy details and cool stuff to know about why this month’s moon is so special.

But essentially it is because it is a micro-moon or mini-moon, which means it is the smallest full moon for the whole of  2017.

Tonight the moon will be about 30,000 miles (50,000 km) farther away from Earth than the new moon supermoon of May 25, 2017.

I went down to the waterfront at sunset to watch the moon rise – and it was stunning!

Tonight will certainly make for a spectacular night ride!

If you are not a regular night rider, or have not been for a full moon bike ride – I highly recommed it.

Not only is it lovely to ride at night by yourself or with others, but riding under full moonshine is very special and not something you get to regularly do – so if you have the chance try it!

Many bike groups and/or places and urban riders host regular or special event Full Moon Bike Rides (FMBR).

If you have not been on a FMBR before, I’ve listed a few below to share how much fun they can be.

So tonight get on your bike and get out riding under the full moon!

Brisbane’s Full Moon Bike Ride – Full Moon River Ride at Orleigh Park

Full Moon River Ride (Brisbane, QLD). Experience a unique perspective of our beautiful river city riding around Brisbane under the lights of the full moon. Starting at Orleigh Park in West End, this route is exclusively on bike paths around the Brisbane river through South Bank, the botanical gardens before returning via the Go-Between Bridge.

Date/Time & Venue: Friday, 9 June 2017, 6 – 8pm. Orleigh Park, 68 Hill End Terrace, West End, Brisbane, QLD.

Meeting point: Car park, corner Riverside Drive and Hill End Terrace. Cost: Free. Just be at the meeting point 15 minutes before the ride starts.

Requirements: Bike, helmet, water bottle, money for a coffee.

For more information contact Ross at Brisbane By Bicycle on 0413 253 366. Bookings: Not required.

Bikes and equipment can be hired for $15 per person per activity but this must be arranged in advance.

Elsewhere is Australia

LUNACY RIDE – Sacred Rides in Jindabyne, Kosciuszko (Nov – March) Guided Summer Full Moon MTB Ride. This FMBR is an organised (paid) ride and only happens in the Summer months and thier website boasts that it is .. something a bit different, why not try the BEST POSSIBLE mountain biking experience in the Snowys – (or anywhere else in Australia): Our extemely fun ‘Lunarcy Ride’ up the higest Mountain in Australia – in real Style.

During this ride you ascend Australia’s highest mountain, Mt. Kosciuszko, which for most riders is “a once-in-a-lifetime experience”. This group organises the bike ride and has a tour guided tour and  support team. You leave at 5.30pm and ride up to have a drink at the top and see the sun set and the moon rise over Australia’s iconic mountain range. You then ride back down in full moon light. Awesome!

 

Full Moon Rides

Source: Bike Rumour. Photo by Russell Jobs. Taking a break during a Full Moon Beach Ride along the shore of Lake Michigan.

 

A few USA examples

Tosa Full Moon Bicycle Rides in Wauwatosa (Wisconsin USA). This ride is a social, slow paced ride which promotes a NO SWEAT pace. All are invited to ride (bring freinds and family) through urban Wauwatosa where ther are stops for drinks and nibbles.

Philly Full Moon Bike Rides – These guys are super organised and have a strong Facebook community and get a regular turn out (see photo above).

ATex Full Moon Group (Austin, Texas) have regular Full Moon Bike Rides – as does their ‘brothers’ in Houston Texas.

These guys are extra special as they start their ride at 11.59 pm and ride til 2am so that they can ‘be closest to the full moon’ – Wow!

Atlanata Moon Ride is not just as social ride, but a supercolourful fundraiser and live music event with best decorate bike and costume awards – they get up to 5,000 riders to their event. Imporessive!

Full Moon Bike Rides

Source: Bike Rumour. By Gary. Preston Theler, one of our shop mechanics and master wheel builder, took this picture on a full moon ride up Mt. St. Helena, Napa, California.

New Zealand, Palmerston North

The Swamp Rads Bike Gang rove the trails and streets of Palmerston North – where they “rove the sweet Manawatu bicycle trails stopping at taverns, cafes, beaches and picnic benches. The rules: pedal power only, no lycra, no hierarchy”.

Global  and/or start your own

International Awarewolf Full Moon Bike Rides. International Awarewolf Full Moon Bike Rides are now happened in San Diego CA, Dallas TX, Tempe AZ, Las Vegas NV, Bristol England, Johannesburg South Africa, Oslo Norway and a few other places. Awarewolf wants to have more cities around the world hosting similar AWLF inspired FMBRs to raise awareness for Safe Cycling Advocacy. Plus they have some cool statements, like: We are a pack, not a mass and Don’t be a negative example of a positive movement.

Get out riding tonight!!

Where ever you are, and however you can – be sure tonight to get on a bike tonight and check out the beautiful Strawberry full moon.

Enjoy your full moon ride!

Howl, Howl!!

Full Moon Rides

Source: Bike Rumour. Photo: Russell Jobs. Taking a break during a Full Moon Beach Ride along the shore of Lake Michigan.

National Reconciliation Week 2017.

This week, Australia is celebrating National Reconciliation Week 2017.

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) celebrates, reflects and builds on respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other non-Indigenous Australians.

This year is particularly important as 2017 marks 50 years since the 1967 Referendum (May 27th), and 25 years (3rd June) since the historic Mabo decision.

The theme for #NRW2017 is ‘Let’s Take the Next Steps’, and there are many events and activities on offer throughout the week.

Griffith University has a strong commitment to Indigenous issues and positive Reconciliation.

One of my favourite annual events is the Walk and Talk event, which was held this Tuesday. It is a great event to connect, reflect and acknowledge.  I love doing the bushwalk between the Mt Gravatt and Nathan Campus, a trail I regularly walk or ride by myself, with a host of other students, staff and locals – and I always meet someone interesting and learn something new.

Aboriginal participation in cycling

It also gave me pause for thought about how Indigenous riders had opportunities to participate in mainstream Australian cycling culture. This is an area that needs serious concentrated effort and commitment. There are a few rare programs that focus on encouraging and increase access to biking for indigenous riders.

For example, this blog has previously featured the NSW Indigenous Mountain Bike Project as well as for NAIDOC Week 2016, the Aboriginal Bicycle Safety Program in NSW. So to celebrate NRW 2017, I searched for some other cycling program that was creating some positive cycling change for Aboriginal Australians – and this is what I found..

National Reconciliation Week 2017 & Aboriginal track cyclists

 The Indigenous Talent Identification and Development Squad (ITID)

Last year, The Indigenous Talent Identification and Development Squad (ITID) was initiated at the Midvale Speed Dome (Perth) for young aboriginal riders aged 10-14 by Amanda O’Connor (Coach) to help identify and develop Australia’s first Indigenous Olympic track cyclist.

Reports from this time last year indicate there were 8 Indigenous boys and girls riding in the squad.

Just after its conception, the ITID introduced some of the young talents, such as LeMarna Valentine and Rory Charles – as these up-and-coming ITID cyclists were due to participate with their teammates in a junior Pacific tournament in September 2016.

I also found a 3’ 26” ABC segment which gives a little more about the ITID development squad – New ABC Radio: Program in WA to identify the next generation of Aboriginal athletes.

National Reconciliation Week 2017 & Aboriginal track cyclists

More support, access and recognition for Indigenous riders please!!!

It was great to see a forward-thinking program that provides instruction and coaching for track cycling for young aboriginal cyclists. Considering the immense investment in time and effort required to success at track cycling, it is a step in the right direction to provide a safe and encouraging environment for new and younger cyclists to try their hand at track.

Considering the success Australia has had so far in 2017 in track cycling, there certainly looks like there room for fresh new faces to get amongst it – and it would be great to see some aboriginal athletes representing Australia in track cycling in the future.

National Reconciliation Week 2017 & Aboriginal track cyclists

Source: Hills Gazette. Young cyclists in training: LeMarna Valentine, Rory Charles and Jacqualene Williams. Picture: Steve Lloyd

On the weekend, I participated in Brisbane’s Bayview Blast MTB Event.

This event is held by the RATS Cycling Club in conjunction with other partners.

I signed up for the social ride ‘Havablast 25 kms Women’s Chicks in the Sticks’ event to help populate and support the category.

Here is Zoe helping me ‘pack’ on the morning of my Bayview Blast ride – she never misses an opportunity to go for a ride!!

Bayview Blast 2017

 

This event is held over two days and the order of event looks like this:

Bayview Blast 2017

Source: Bayview Blast 2017

Bayview Blast 2017

Sat Race briefing

The Bayview Blast MTB 2017 Event

It was a stunning, sunny Brisbane day.

I had two mates and Zoe (who all came as supporters for the day) with me and we had time to set up a lovely picnic camp in the bush near the race start and get organised before race briefing. The junior events were still being held. I was on my singlespeed and had decorated it with flowers.

How was the ride?

For this event, I was resolute to keep my ‘ride not race’ perspective. For periods of time, I made sure I did this by forcing myself to ride behind a fellow rider, and not pushing to overtake for 10 minutes, but just to be content to sit on the speed set by the rider in front and go at their pace. It was an interesting exercise to deliberately ‘slow down’ – and one I admit was not all that easy to do, but I was glad I did it and I think it was a very valuable exercise to undertake nonetheless.

It was great to be back on a bike after a couple of months off. I was certainly not race fit, but really enjoyed the physicality of riding, riding a course I wasn’t familiar with and testing my mental training on the challenging hill climbs and long slogs. I didn’t see any other singlespeeds on the day and it was an interesting experience having to charge up sections to keep onto of my one and only gear, while those I was passing looked on at me often very incredulously as if I was making a deliberate personal point on the uphills!

Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, my approach for the ride was to do what I needed to do to get up sections, knowing that I would be gasping for air (like everyone else at the top – so my approach was to keep pedaling while going up and over (not just to the top) and to use the down sections where I was technically more confident as my ‘recovery’ period. Given my lack of fitness, this approach served me well on the day as I finished in a respectable time, did not blow my muscles out and felt surprisingly perky despite the hard work.

Bayview Blast 2017

Me giving the XCers a little bit of scare – GOLD!!

Post-ride?

An added bonus was that, on crossing the finishing line, I was accosted by the race MC who was calling the day and was quickly interviewed and awarded the ‘best decorated’ bike for the day. This little accolade landed me a free hour-ling massage voucher – Hazah!!

After that little interlude, I returned back to our picnic location to regroup and recharge the batteries. Later on, I was invited back to explain more about my PhD and this blog over the race megaphone for an impromptu interview, which went very well and saw me chatting with a few friendly female riders soon after. A very productive and satisfying day overall!!

Bayview Blast 2017

Our picnic spot trackside – Zoe & Sara holding the fort.

I’m glad I went and supported the Saturday event and helped fill up the Women’s category. The more ‘serious’ riders were registered for Sunday and I managed to talk one of the 100km Marathon competitors to write a blog post about that day – so stay tuned!

I think the organisers did a great job putting on the event, it must have involved some serious organisation and planning and I super appreciate the effort that was put in and the commitment of the volunteers. It is certainly no mean feat to stage such an event, which is why I wanted to support the local MTB club by participating.

Below is a Course Preview (video 2’55’).