Riding through the Storm

This guest blog post is particularly special to me. It is written by KJ, whom I met at a local cafe. We were sitting next to each other outside and struck up a conversation, which quickly turned to the topic of bikes. We had a wonderful chat and she told me the amazing story below. I immediately invited her to write a guest post about it, and true to her word, here it is! I love that this story emerged out of two strangers striking up a conversation and that bicycles brought us together. I also think this is a very important story to reflect on and share. Thanks so much to KJ and Ian for telling us their experience – and it goes without saying…if you ride in Brisbane and see Ian out and about – be sure to say hi!! Enjoy! NG.

Riding through the Storm

Riding through the Storm - Bicycles Create Change.com 27th Feb, 2018Image: Ian’s amazing bespoke bikes

Chances are if you frequent north Brisbane bikeways, you’ve encountered Ian. You may not have overtaken him though; arms pumping and metal shining, he keeps quite a pace on his recumbent hand cycle. Ian has hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), a rare disease causing progressive muscle weakness, but that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing the sport he loves with determination and creativity.

Ian fixed up his first scrapheap bike at age 15, in order to be able to “scream around the bush”. With his experience of in-shed tinkering with a neighbour, he found mechanical skills came easily, and these skills were put to use in his work as a panel beater, bus driver and Telstra exchange technician. A car license made him forget his first love until his mid-thirties when the purchase of a $120 bike offered the freedom of a daily ride before work. Before long he was upgrading, tinkering in the shed again, and sharing his joy of riding and repairing with his two children.

However, the signs that he had inherited his mother’s muscular disorder were there from as early as age 10 when he started to develop problems with his feet and knees turning inwards, and his feet dragging. His disease defied diagnosis until he was 52 when genetic testing confirmed he had the rare mutation of HSP. By this stage, Ian had been made redundant and, no longer able to climb ladders and with difficulty walking and the prospect of worsening mobility, he went on the disability pension.

Ian realised it was time for a cycling change when he tried to put his foot down to dismount and crashed. A familiar feeling for many, but this wasn’t the usual inability to clip out; his foot had just remained on the pedal. He bought a recumbent bike from Flying Furniture, and with clip-on shoes keeping his feet on the pedals at the right time, he was able to get enough momentum, despite fellow cyclists’ disparaging shouts of “Get off your bum you lazy…”

With time and progressive weakness, Ian needed to add an electric motor for pedal assist, but ultimately ran into problems with his knees falling inwards. His cycling future seemed over, with hand cycles at $10,000 priced out of his reach. He simply set to building one, and after a year and $300 was back on the bikeway.

Two hand cycles later, Ian relishes the freedom longer rides of 40 km to Woody Point or Sandgate offer, although he’s happy for a lift home from his wife Narelle. He suffers from the endorphin deficiency all cyclists experience when unsuitable weather or injury keep them off the bike – maybe a bit more than most because day to day there is a need for something to lift the spirits. Because of his fluidity and speed on the bike, fellow cyclists may be taken by surprise when he struggles to get into the end of ride coffee shop.

One thing is for sure, this is one cyclist who will not let disability hold him down.

Riding through the Storm - Bicycles Create Change.com 27th Feb, 2018

Further information can be found at the HSP Research Foundation – created in 2005 to find a cure for Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia – an inherited, degenerative disease affecting mainly the legs, causing muscle weakness, spasticity and severely impairing walking.

The HSP Research Foundation is an incorporated, registered Australian charity that facilitates and funds research to find a cure. The Foundation is also the community hub for HSPers in Australia, creating awareness and providing support and education.

Bike Rave Melburn – Pink Flamingo 2018

While I was down in Melburn (Melbourne) for a week performing the Bio Bike at the Sustainable Living Festival (SLF), Bike Rave Melbourne Pink Flamingo 2018 was held. I couldn’t believe my luck! Sarah came with me (her on a flower bike, me on the Bio Bike) and we had far too much fun. To the Melburn bike riding community: you are amazing, I miss you and thank you!

Bike Rave Melburn - Pink Flamingo 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Feb 2018

What is a Bike Rave?

For many people, bike raves are the most fun you can have on two wheels! Bike Raves usually follow a route through city streets while pumping out tunes from ‘sound’ bikes. There is usually a theme for each Bike Rave. Any and all riders are welcome (that’s the point!). They stop at predestined locations for a while to socialise, recharge, catch up and have a boogie – GOLD! Bike Raves are highly anticipated, well attended and wicked fun.

Bike Rave Melburn – Pink Flamingo

On Saturday, Feb 10th I rode in the Melburn Pink Flamingo Bike Rave. It was awesome. I would say there were at least 200-250 riders and I was blown away by the variety in the ages and styles of the riders (and bikes) that attended. There were young and old, families/individuals/groups of mates, tall bikes, cargos, art bikes, commuters, fixis, burlesque performers, couriers, bike polo teams.. the list could go on and on – there was everything (and everyone) imaginable!

It was wicked cruising Melbourne city in a massive gang of cool katz with cool music.

Riding along Southbank just after 7 pm meant that the Bike Rave were passing all the cafes, restaurants and bars at dinner time – on a Saturday night. They were packed. It was hilarious to see the reaction of diners and this massive line of pink, fluoro-wearing bike ravers passed them by!

Pedestrians and tourists stopped to gawk as well. People in cars were honking. At the lights halfway through, I got chatting to a father and son who were out riding along the Yarra River and convinced them to join us for an hour, which they did -and they had a ripper time and said they would be back.

I rode and chatted with heaps of people along the way. I love riding near the massive speaker bikes. Because I was riding the Bio Bike, people were offering me drinks all night (bless!) of which I only accepted once we had stopped. Navigating bollards (wings up!) and some of the tighter walking bridges was a little tricky, but other riders were happy to wait, helped out if they could and looked out for me on the road and footpaths. Bloody awesome!

It was super safe and super fun. And I danced my arse off!

I got extra kudos when bike ravers heard that I had come all the way from Brisbane for the event (well.. and the SLF). The Bio Bike was a smash hit – and I got extra points for flat-packing it down into a bike bag and travelling with it from Brisbane. Talk about bringing it to the party!!

I caught up with some familiar faces and also met some wicked new people. Everyone was super welcoming, happy and up for a chat. As the night wore on, lights were turned on. I saw packed dinners and food being shared along with drinks, compliments and laughs.

Around 8.30pm,  some of the families started to filter back home, leaving the ragers to push on. The later it got, the more people were looking after each other, until we reached our final destination at Flagstaff Gardens where everyone parked it and hung out until they decided it was time to go home.


Bike rave with an added purpose

Bike Raves are usually free events – but for this particular rave, organisers invited punters to bring along a cash donation for charity Bicycles for Humanity,  which they collected throughout the evening. Given my PhD research and predilections of supporting community and international development projects – I was super impressed. Go Melburn!

Here is the official Melburn Bike Rave FB link.

How does the Sound/Music work?

Bike Raves are DIY events. You grab your MP3 player/phone and download the mix (for Pink Flamingo it was a curated a 4-hour mix). The mix is usually full of pumping party tunes to keep the crew bopping and dancing all night long and specifically made for the bike rave. KUDOS!

Just before you leave the meeting place there is a countdown so everyone can sync their music to begin at the same time. This means that where ever you are in the rave you are all listening to the pretty much the same thing (plus or minus 10-15 sec). It also means that if you arrive late, join in or miss the countdown, you can ask another rider what timestamp the track is up to and sync it that way.

For the Pink Flamingo Bike Rave, people had a range of sound setups. Some of the organisers, couriers and Christiana bike owners had especially large speakers setups. They were wicked! There were a few of these rigs dotted around and they really pumped out the tunes. They were awesome fun to ride with if you didn’t have your own music on board.

Other people had basket, booms or computer speakers zip tied to their bikes (or themselves!). There were some pretty impressive creations and some speakers were integrating into costumes, helmets and bikes.

Having a consistent power source and charging batteries was a key consideration for most speaker setups (as was size/weight).

The music for the ride was great! I’m still listening to the track now!

Here’s the Soundcloud link to download the 4hr Bike Rave track.


Bike Rave Melburn - Pink Flamingo 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Feb 2018

Image: @neaderstaal

Bike Rave Melburn - Pink Flamingo 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Feb 2018

Image above: Soundcloud

Where we went

Meet-up: Bike Rave Melbourne – Pink Flamingo 2018
Start: Saturday, February 10, 2018, 6:00 pm
Finish: Sunday, February 11, 2018, 12:00 am
Meet at: Riverside Skate Park, Alexander Gardens (parkland opposite side of the river from Birrarung Marr), Melbourne, Australia.

After meeting at Riverside Skate Park, we headed off at 7:00 pm.

Here’s the route we took.

Bike Rave Melburn - Pink Flamingo 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Feb 2018

Here’s the same route, but in Google Maps.

Other interesting titbits

There are a few videos on Youtube of the event – here’s an example:

Here is some of the info the organisers released before the event. I really dug their straight shooting and fun style of communication and promotion!

If it’s nice out, we ride. If it’s cloudy, we ride. If it’s raining a little, we might ride. If it’s pouring, we don’t ride. Our speakers will get messed up. If you aren’t sure, show up anyways. Someone will be there from 5:30 pm to let people know if the ride is cancelled.

Pink Flamingo. Now that your bike is a shining beacon, time to fix yourself up. Dress in anything that’s pink. Flamingo, Pink, Flamingo, Pink, Pink, Flamingo. Pink. Flamingo. Sqwuak. One Legged Stand. Beaks Out. Pink Flamingo.

There are a few rules that we would like you to follow to ride the rave. This makes it safer for everyone and avoids problems on the night. We’ve never had an issue in the 6 years of running this event, so let’s work together to keep it that way.

1. Wear a helmet.
2. Get working bike lights.
3. Watch out for each other. If someone falls over, pick them up and see if they are ok.
4. Don’t be a dick to the public or Police. The public will most likely be confused. The Police have been quite understanding over the last few years, so don’t be rude. This could ruin the event and any future events.
5. Be safe and sensible when we are crossing at red lights.
6. Clean up after yourself – bring a plastic bag for your rubbish, we are not your parents – we ain’t picking up your shit.
7. Have fun

Bike Rave Melburn - Pink Flamingo 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Feb 2018 Bike Rave Melburn - Pink Flamingo 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Feb 2018 Bike Rave Melburn - Pink Flamingo 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Feb 2018 Bike Rave Melburn - Pink Flamingo 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Feb 2018 Bike Rave Melburn - Pink Flamingo 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Feb 2018 Bike Rave Melburn - Pink Flamingo 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Feb 2018 Bike Rave Melburn - Pink Flamingo 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Feb 2018 Bike Rave Melburn - Pink Flamingo 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Feb 2018


Check out more photos on Instagram using: #bikeravemelbourne #bikerave #bikerave2018

A massive thank you to the organisers, the riders and Melburn general public. A great time was had. Safe, super fun and a wonderful way to bring riders together and show city Melburn how fun riding bikes can be.

More Bike Raves, please!

Bike Rave Melburn - Pink Flamingo 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Feb 2018

This image from Soundcloud. All other images my own, a few pics are drawn from Freedom Cycling & Andrew Rance‘s Youtube videos of the event – thanks guys.

Have your say: Survey on Australian Bike Riding Conditions

This post was going to be on the Melbourne Bike Rave 2018 I had the delight of participating in last weekend while I was down for the SLF. However,  I am putting this quick post in as it is time sensitive. Bicycle Network is surveying Australian riders and cyclists to gauge what people feel about the current Australian cycling conditions. The survey ends in a couple of days, so I thought I would put up this quick post with the link to the survey, so if you have not already included your voice, here is your last chance to do so! We’ll get back to the Bike Rave in the next post! See you then. NG

Have your say: Survey on Australian Bike Riding Conditions. Bicycles Create Change.com 16th Feb 2018
Image: Bicycle Network

In September 2017, Bicycle Network conducted a national survey about people’s views on Mandatory Helmet Laws.

The Nov results of that survey indicated a few surprising results and also stimulated some very interesting discussion, counter-arguments critique within the cycling fraternity.

Bicycle Network often undertakes surveys – not just of its members, but for all cyclists and riders.

Given that Bicycle Network is Australia’s largest bicycle advocacy group, and has over 50,000 members, the organisation likes to keep abreast of current cycling issues and help to push for more positive riding change for all cyclists – hence the survey!

Are Australian riding conditions better?

Do you think the cycling conditions have changed? What about over the last year? Five years?

Bike riding conditions in Australia are always changing, and it is interesting to see if bike riders notice any differences.

What changes have you noticed?

Do you think things getting better for bike riders?

What needs to be done?

Add your ideas and experience to the survey below and let’s see what kind of changes you have seen on the bike.


The survey closes Monday 19 February.

Bio Bike SLF 2018

It’s been an exciting last couple of days! After constructing the Bio Bike in Footscray and with Pete and Tom helping me (thanks for being my random lunchtime saviours!), I put the frame on the bike Sarah had procured and all that was left was to put on the finishing touches. Then lunchtime Friday, I set off to ride the Bio Bike the 15 kms from Footscray into the city. I arrived at the Festival site on time, made some adjustments, got changed and then did the Friday night performance solo.  Claire and Sarah joined me for Saturday and Sunday. Here’s what happened…

Bio Bike SLF 2018 -Bicycles Create Change.com. 13 Feb, 2018

Bio Bike SLF 2018

We had a great time performing with the Bio Bike this weekend at Melbourne’s Sustainable Living Festival (SLF) 2018.

Check out our adventures and the awesome people the Bio Bike met on Instagram

Also see what else was on offer at the SLF 2018 on Instagram via:

Bio Bike SLF 2018 -Bicycles Create Change.com. 13 Feb, 2018

So what did the Bio Bike do?

We were mainly located around the food precinct and near the Dome, which was great as there were always people milling about, we had more room to move about and we had much more shade than if we travelled up the guts of the display tents.

We met so many lovely people.

Essentially we asked people three things: 1. why they had come to the festival, or what they had seen at the festival they had liked; 2. what they thought was Australia’s most pressing environmental issue and finally; 3. what were they personally doing to help the environment and be more sustainable.

After chatting about this for a little while, we then said we wanted to award them an Eco Excellence Award for their hard work. We told them the background that each award was upcycled out of bicycles bits, inner tubes and found objects and was totally unique – just like they are! We would give them their award, then get photos with them wearing it.

The response was great.

I loved how different each interactions was.

We made a point of talking to people of different ages (young and old), cultures (from everywhere!), perspectives (some conservative, others super feral), lifestyle choices (urban, rural and some backpackers) – but each interaction was interesting and unique. It was an absolute pleasure.

I got to chat with Bob Brown on Friday just before he went on for the Big Debate. Then on Saturday, Claire, Sarah and I had a great time with Costa from Gardening Australia. (See picture below). Costa remembered Claire and I from our 2014 SLF Leki and the Ova show, and he spent ages with us chatting away, taking videos of us, introducing us to people and taking lots of photos. He is always a delight to catch up with!

Aside from meeting all the wonderful people we met, we got to hear about some amazing projects and ideas.

It was inspiring, humbling and reaffirming.

Claire, Sarah and I worked well together and had a lot of fun.

We wanted our show to be positive because talking about environmental issues can get the best of us down pretty quickly. We also wanted to inject some colour, humour and movement as most of the rest of the festival was stationary (ie stalls and stages), so it was great to have the freedom to roam around and be free to go along the river, up pathways and behind stalls. We found great people everywhere we went!


Bio Bike SLF 2018 -Bicycles Create Change.com. 13 Feb, 2018

What needs modifying?

1. After the initial ride in and riding it for Friday’s gig, it became quickly apparent that we needed to make the pod higher. So on Saturday, we raised it and reinforced it where needed. This made being in the Bio Bike much more comfortable.

2. Before I left for the ride into the city, I ended up having to put in a modified splint/brace going from the back wheel to the sides of the tank to give the structure some rigidity and help hold the shape so it didn’t swing.

3. The seat had to be set at a certain height so that the rear of the shell didn’t rub on the back wheel. However, this meant that is was precarious for Sarah and Claire to ride the bike and difficult for them to put their feet on the ground to stop/start riding (we had one serious mishap from this). So an alteration is needed so that we are able to lower the seat as needed.

Bio Bike SLF 2018 -Bicycles Create Change.com. 13 Feb, 2018

What we learnt

1. Make sure any lighting, cable ties or decorations do not infringe on the handlebars turning or gear leavers. On Saturday night, we strung up lighting all over the pod. It looked amazing! I had to do a quick gaffer job as loose cables started catching when I turned the handlebars and it made navigating tricky and potentially unsafe – but it was easily rectified.

2. We had an interesting discussion with one festival-goer who asked us if we recycled the cable ties. We explained that the pod screen was recycled from a previous project and that we did reuse the longer cable-ties. She suggested that we could use wire to link the bottle top pod together instead of cable-ties, which I thought was a great idea. I’m looking forward experimenting with this suggestion.

3. I am so glad we carried extra gaffer tape, cable ties and scissors – lifesavers!

4. People really appreciated the Eco Excellence Awards. It made me so happy to see how stoked they were to find out that each one is custom-made out of recycled bike parts. I was also super happy to hear people talking about the Awards and the Bio Bike while I was not performing. I overheard people waiting for food and in the beer tent chatting about cool stuff they have seen at the festival, showing their mate the Award they had received from us and saying that they had fun interacting with our performance. Best compliment ever!

Would we do it again?

Hells yeah!

Bio Bike SLF 2018 -Bicycles Create Change.com. 13 Feb, 2018

Thanks to all the awesome peeps who made our time amazing!

A massive big thank you to those involved in making the SLF happen, Simon and Andrea in particular. But also all the other volunteers, exhibitors and crew we met.

The SLF crew was so supportive, helpful and encouraging. Thanks so much for having us as part of your team!

To the punters who came up and chatted – thanks, for your energy, stories and time – it was truly a blessing to meet you all, spend some quality time to connect and hear what you have been up to.

And a big salute to City of Melbourne for putting on such an important event. It was great to see the community coming together to discuss such critical issues that affect us all.

Melbourne … you Rock!

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You!

This post shows how we constructed the Bio Bike frame into our second performance model, Your Future Thanks You.

See the last couple of posts for first Bio Bike Model: The Eco T(h)anks.

This is the model we will be using for this weekend’s Sustainable Living Festival.  I can’t wait!

Click here to get the Festival Highlights Program.

Here’s the listing for our performance from the  Festival Program.



I am super happy we were forward-thinking enough to make the Bio Bike frame modular. And now that we have two different tops that we can interchange, it makes the Bio Bike frame so much more versatile.

Currently, we have two tops we can use for two different performances.

  1. The Eco T(h)anks and the Eco Protection Corps
  2. Your Future Thanks You

So, it has been all action stations to get the Bio Bike frame that we previously constructed as the based for the Eco T(h)anks into the Your Future Thanks You.

Construction started, of course, with our Bio Bike base…

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.


Claire had done an amazing job bending the PVC piping to shape the pod shell.

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.


We wanted the pod to look a little comical and dinky.

We both agreed that we didn’t want a fully polished piece, we liked the home-made-any-one-can-do-this feel. We also didn’t want to over-engineer, complicate or over-decorate the pod. The whole point was that it was grassroots and fun.

We also wanted people to be able to see that it was clearly made out of recycled materials and that it wasn’t ‘perfect’ – and didn’t need to be to be super fun!

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.


Claire had a previous artwork that we refashioned to be the back of the pod. The green section gave it a bit of colour and we decided to let it flop at the front because we liked the odd and unruly look of it – made you think that there is no way this thing could fly – which was perfect!

The pod shell was constructed out of recycled PET bottles attached together. I then lay it over the pod and zip tied it to the pod frame, while Claire was working on the wings.

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.


Then, Hey Presto! The wings were ready.

Now, all we have to do is attach the propellers and put it on the bike!

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.


I’ll be riding this Bio Bike from Footscray into Federation Square – just as I did for our 2014 SLF roving performance, Leki & the Ova.

I LOVE doing this!

It is a great way for the bike structure to settle in, I get to see if there are any last minute adjustments needed, and it is great to go whizzing by the poor unsuspecting public and see their faces! Honk! Honk!

It makes me super happy to ride our art bikes to the festival site. It gets me in the happy, bikes-are-awesome mood and this awesomeness is carried over into when the performance starts as I am already primed for fun!

Unleash the beast!

Here is the final Bio Bike…

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.



Here’s our listing on the event program below!

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.

See you all there!

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks

I’ve been working on the Bio Bike Project for the last couple of weeks. The Eco T(h)anks is the first of two models that will share a similar frame, but have a different (modular) top that is interchangeable depending on the event. The second variation is Your Future Thanks You, which has a UFO-style top (see next post). Given the sustainable focus of the upcoming SLF, where this project will perform, it looks increasing like we will use the Your Future Thanks You model for this weekend. However, the Eco T(h)anks was the first to be constructed as a prototype. So this post outlines the frame and how the top section of the Eco T(h)anks was made. Enjoy! NG.

See our Instagram for more Eco T(h)anks construction stage photos.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks

The previous post explained the conceptual background and aims of this Bio Bike model, the next step was to turn these plans into reality.

Stage 1 was undertaken in Coolie’s fabrications workshop in northern NSW (Cheers Coolie!) and subsequent stages completed in my backyard in Brisvegas (Brisbane). Claire did a great job of spray painting, attaching the turret and decorating the outside.

There is still a bit more to do to complete this piece. It is great to have all the main hard work out of the way and get a better sense of what the final structure could looks and feel like. And now, only the fun bits are left to do!

Here’s how it came together…

Stage 1: The Frame

The first stage was to use a general purpose bike to get a sense of dimensions and scale. Then we cut a pattern for the side panels out of 5mm white corflute. This was double layered in alternating directions and the central seam was designed to interlock on the inside to help with rigidity.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018








Two sizes of recycled PVC piping we cut to make the square frame. This frame is what the side panels will had from.

My main concern here was to make the sides easy to flatpack down (for transport in a bike bag) and easy to assemble.

Of course weight, balance and manoeuvrability were key issues.

I didn’t want to the structure to be over-engineered or overly complicated to make. I had limited time, money and access the to workshop – so this meant being productive and innovative to get an outcome with the resources at hand.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018






As well as fashioning four custom-made hangers to attach and support the side panels, zip ties and gaffer tape were the order of the day to attach the base to the bike.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018






It was important to intermittently take the bike for a test run to be sure that it was still functional as a bicycle as well as relatively easy to use re: turning, overall weight, balance, getting on and off, safety, bump in/out transportability, and the like.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018








The last task was to make the turret and the barrel.

The front piece of the turret needed to be made of a stronger metal/resin material so that it could hold the weight of the barrel.

The barrel was carefully measured so that it did not go out too far (for safety and weight reasons), but far enough so the effect ‘barrel’ was achieved

The next challenge was how to attach this to the handle bars.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018







Stage 2: Eco T(h)ank base structure

Then it was time to head back home to Brisvegas for assemblage.

First step was to reconstitute the frame and the get the front of the turret on the handlebars – this took a little ingenuity. Claire ended up using a wire frame (used in fridges for wine bottles) and attached that to the back so there were points to lash zip ties to the bike – it worked a treat!

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018








Then it was time to use 2mm black corflute to wrap around the side panels to simulate tracks (this effect will be developed further at a later stage) and to enclose the front and back of bike, whilst being mindful of how we get on and off the bike.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018






A few well placed large cogs of bike cassettes were screwed on meant overlay points were more rigid, helped with stabilising the structure and added a strong recycled aesthetic – which I thought worked really well.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018








And the final basic structure is complete!!!

The wheels turn freely and I can ride the bike unhindered.

The structure is light and versatile enough to be transferred to any kind of bike frame.

It still needs some decorations and external work done, but I’m very happy with the base structure!

Overall it took 3 days to make.

Thanks so much to Coolie, TK and Claire for their direct input, time, ideas and labour!

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018






I really enjoyed doing this project as I got to use materials and tools that I have not used before. This was one of the main reasons for undertaking their project – to develop my technical skills and be a little bolder in what I envision and can produce – and I am delighted with the result!

The next post will show how we modified this base with a different (modular) top to make the Bio Bike Model 2:  Your Future Thanks You.

See our Instagram for more Eco T(h)anks construction stage photos.

Project Bio Bike & the Eco Protection Corps

Project Eco Bike & the Eco Protection Corps. Bicycles Create Change.com Feb 1st, 2018

Bicycles Create Change’s Eco T(h)ank Concept for the 2018 Sustainable Living Festival.

Project Bio Bike & the Eco Protection Corps

Next week, I will be down in Melbourne for the Sustainable Living Festival (SLF) – Big Weekend.

With two other collaborators, Claire Tracey and Sarah Cole, we are putting on an Bio Bike roving performance for Sat 10th and Sun 11th Feb.

Here’s a little more background and detail about the project.

Initial Concept

The original inspiration came from the old armed forces morale-boosting concerts – and the recognition medals for services, commendable action and extraordinary achievement. Our spin is to boost morale AND award our own Bio Medals (all of which I have personally made out of recycled bike parts, inner tubes, discarded jewellery and other found objects) but these are for services to community members for environmental and sustainability services and action.

Inspiration adaptation

We are the Eco Protection Corps (EPS).

There are three performers – a brunette (me), a blonde (Claire) and a redhead (Sarah) – so the first idea was that there was one person for each ‘armed’ corps – Army, Navy and Air Force.

Each performer would research and give out enviro and sustainability awards and recognition medals that correlated with their ‘Eco Force’.  For example:

  • ‘Army’ for land, soil and rubbish management, flora and fauna, housing, urban and contested spaces, biochar, erosion, gardens, composting, recycling, etc.
  • ‘Air Force’ for air quality, air emissions, atmosphere pollution, acid rain, storms and extreme weather events, climate change/ozone issues, birdlife, etc.
  • ‘Navy’ for water quality, water use and conservation, desalination, plastic ocean pollution, fish and sealife issues, Great Barrier Reef, coral bleaching, oil spills and waste water control, etc.

Project Summary

The Eco Protection Corps (EPC) is a bike-powered, environmentally themed performance taking place at the Sustainable Living Festival in Federation Square. Roving members of the Eco Corps will ride an Eco T(h)ank bike around the festival, handing out medals awarding excellence in environmentalism and sustainability.

The Eco T(h)ank bike and the medals of excellence are made
from predominantly up-cycled and recycled materials.

The aim of the project is to generate positive reinforcement around individual environmental action and to remind the public that ‘an army’ of sustainable frontliners is made up of many individuals creating positive change towards global sustainability.

This project aims to promote, encourage and recognise the thoughtful environmental action taken by local community members.

The Eco Corps Bio bike , or Eco T(h)ank, and performance is a reaffirming, fun and direct way to celebrate with the wider community and array of positive, creative and personal eco action.

It is our aim that this artwork will create interest,  discussion and education around the need for sustainable action and will explore creative and  innovative ways this can be achieved.

The Eco T(h)ank

The idea of the Eco T(h)ank is to use the well-known tank as a motif of the strength and force needed to address these environmental issues – and jell that with the community-based involvement for sustainability theme of the Festival.

The bike is instantly recognisable as a ‘Tank’- but most importantly, we are keen to promote the positivity and ‘green-ness’ of this project.

So we will have modifying the tank shell to be an Eco T(h)ank  – so it is clearly  distinguishable as a representation of the Environment (Eco) thanking (Thank) people who have progressed and ‘fought’ to protect the environment and progress sustainable practices.

Achievement Medals

The performance and distribution of ‘Environmental Excellence Medals’ represent the awarding of present achievements and services rendered, as well as involving the general public in the show and helping to build a sense of unity, pride and camaraderie for our precious community and environment.

Our performance is based on interacting with the general public and discussing sustainability issues with them (participation, education and promotion). During this, we will ask people what they have done to support sustainable living and use that as they basis to present an award to that person.

This way the awards are impromptu, individual and fun. Participants also get to keep a unique trinket from the Festival as a memento.

We hope that doing so will encourage even more positive sustainable practice – as well as discussion and recognition for small acts of environmental kindness that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Project Eco Bike & the Eco Protection Corps. Bicycles Create Change.com Feb 1st, 2018


Project considerations

There are a few project considerations, but some of the key ones are:

  • budget
  • collaborating with 3 interstate performers (QLD, NSW & VIC)
  • emphasising the Eco not the militaristic intent/aesthetic
  • being respectful of armed forces personnel and possible issues
  • being sure the bike shell (Tank) can flat-pack down and be transported in a bike bag easily for flights
  • overall size and usability – getting on and off the bike
  • manoeuvring the T(h)ank around a crowd and limited space
  • avoiding damage and wear-and-tear to the T(h)ank during performance
  • storage for the Sat night
  • deciding who/when rides the bike and how the bike stands with/out people

Initial Conceptual plans for the EcoT(h)ank

Here are the three first concepts for the tank. The first idea was to have side wheels (too much space and too much work).

This morphed into having a side brace (part of this idea made it into the final design as the tank side panels).

The third idea was to have a turret and barrel where flowers can burst out of (so Banksy!). One idea for this was to mount only the barrel on the handle-bars so the barrel would swivel to point where ever the bike is pointed. But for safety and stability, this idea ended up being simplified so that the whole section was one piece mounted on the handlebars – the effect was the same, but was much less fiddling around.

Project Eco Bike & the Eco Protection Corps. Bicycles Create Change.com Feb 1st, 2018


Once this general plan was decided,  attention turned to how to construct it so it could be flat-packed for quick and easy re/dissembled and so that the whole thing could fit into a bike bag for interstate transportation.

Project Eco Bike & the Eco Protection Corps. Bicycles Create Change.com Feb 1st, 2018


After much deliberation and checking of materials and finance, here is an overall plan for the T(h)ank aesthetic, size and design.

Project Eco Bike & the Eco Protection Corps. Bicycles Create Change.com Feb 1st, 2018

The last week has all been about making this structure and see what works and can be do during the construction of this plan.

See how it all turned out in the next post!