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!

Theis story of Fancy Women On Bikes was sent through to me by a very dear friend MK, with whom I share a passion for positive action. MK sent this post after seeing it in the A Mighty Girl Facebook page and knew it that the floral, bicycle and social justice combination is right up my alley.  It is such a comprehensive post that I contacted A Mighty Girl and gained their permission to repost it here as a Guest Post in its entirety. Thanks to MK and A Mighty Girl for sharing such an important and colourful story with us all – NG.


 

Guest post by A Might Girl (3rd November 2016 ay 10.22). A Might Girl is a forum that provides a fantastic array of resources, stories and material to support families and communities to raise more intelligent, confident, and courageous girls.

 

Thousands of women — wearing flowers in their hair and riding elaborately decorated bicycles — took to the streets of cities across Turkey to proclaim women’s right to cycle free from harassment or bullying. The women, who call themselves “Fancy Women On Bikes” or Süslü Kadinlar Bisiklet Turu, were riding to raise awareness of the intimidation and harassment that many women are subjected to while cycling. Sema Gur, the founder of the movement, says learning to ride a bike at the age of 38 changed her life: “I can go to places that I wouldn’t walk or drive to,” she asserts. “I can stop, slow down, smell the things around me, talk to people, and be more mindful and healthy too… It’s a freedom like no other.” After Gur connected with other female cyclists who had grown frustrated by the status quo, the “Fancy Women on Bikes” movement was born to unite women in reclaiming their right to public spaces with the simple yet powerful message: “We should go wherever we want, dress however we like, be visible, yet not be disturbed.”

According to Banu Gokariksel, a feminist scholar of geography at the University of North Carolina, the changing political climate in Turkey has made the need for social movements like “Fancy Women on Bikes” even more important. “The rising social conservatism in Turkey in the recent years deteriorated women’s public status and freedom. With harassment and road bullying, women are denied their rights to the city,” explains Gokariksel. Gur, like many other female cyclists, frequently experiences catcalls, threats, and road rage, even in her liberal hometown of Izmir — and in more conservative areas, some women were being intimidated into stopping cycling altogether.

“Women’s visibility in urban spaces is key to reclaim that right to the city,” says Gokariksel. “Cycling is a particularly powerful way to do that – because it exposes a woman’s body in the traffic. It leaves them vulnerable in a way, but changes the way they interact with the city. Regardless of their backgrounds, transportation is a big issue for all women around the world. Women being able to peacefully ride bikes isn’t a trivial thing. This movement can trigger bigger changes, if it can overcome the differences such as class, religion, ideology and ethnicity.”

With “Fancy Women on Bikes” rides recently taking place in 26 provinces throughout the country, the group knows it’s making an impact both in encouraging individual women to feel more comfortable about riding on their own and in sending the message that women will not allow themselves to be intimidated off the roads. Gur knows that not all of the women who participated this time will become regular riders, but she believes that their movement will lead to lasting change. “You cannot bring patriarchy down overnight by simply cycling, of course,” she says. “But it’s a start and it’s what we can do. [When we were on the bikes] thousands of people saw us. Now perhaps they will be less surprised when they see a woman riding a bicycle and treat us better.”

To read more about Fancy Women On Bikes movement on The New York Times, visit http://nyti.ms/2e09ElZ – or check out their Facebook page at Süslü Kadınlar Bisiklet Turu

For a fascinating book about how bicycles became a tool of women’s liberation in the early women’s right movement in America, we highly recommend “Wheels of Change: How Women Rode The Bicycle To Freedom (With A Few Flat Tires Along The Way)” for ages 10 to 14 at http://www.amightygirl.com/wheels-of-change

For an excellent film about a young Saudi girl who dreams of greater freedom — in the form of having a bicycle of her own in a country where women are banned from freely riding bikes in public — we highly recommend “Wadjda”, for ages 9 and up at http://www.amightygirl.com/wadjda — or stream it online at http://amzn.to/2ef9h2p

Wadjda’s story has also been released as a book for ages 10 to 13, “The Green Bicycle,” at http://www.amightygirl.com/the-green-bicycle

For a fun picture book celebrating the joy and freedom that cycling brings, check out “Sally Jean the Bicycle Queen” for ages 4 to 8 at http://www.amightygirl.com/sally-jean-the-bicycle-queen

And, for our favorite t-shirt celebrating fierce Mighty Girls like the “Fancy Women”, check out the “Though She Be But Little She Is Fierce” t-shirt — available in a variety of styles and colors for all ages at http://www.amightygirl.com/fierce-t-shirt

Source: A Mighty Girl

Source: A Mighty Girl

Walt Cahill

Today I want to celebrate our mutual positive love of bicycles and all things riding by sharing the beautiful and insightful illustrations of Walt Cahill’s INKtober contributions.

INKtober

The origin of INKtober is similar version of other  monthly challenges – in this case, to produce one ink drawing each day for the whole month of October. There are many different versions of weekly, monthly (in some cases yearly) art/craft challenges – my favourite is still Noah Scalin’s Original 365 Skull-a-day, but each with the intention of producing work, igniting creativity and building skills and ideas.

INKtober began in 2009 by Jake Parker, and it has steadily grown in popularity since.

The idea is that you:
1) Make a drawing in ink
2) Post it online
3) Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2016
4) Repeat

Jakes’ website states: ‘you can do it daily, or go the half-marathon route and post every other day, or just do the 5K and post once a week. Whatever you decide, just be consistent with it. INKtober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better.’

Each day has a theme. If you are on Instagram, check out some of the amazing art people are contributing this year #inktober 2016.

This years’ prompt list is:

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-8-42-42-pm

 

Walt Cahill

One artist I found participating in INKtober this year is Walt Cahill. His work caught my eye as I saw one of his ink drawings on a totally unrelated site and followed the crumbs back to his official website. So, I went on an internet wonder and this is where I discovered he is combining his love of bicycle and riding with INKtober this year.

What a gift!

Since then, I’ve been checking in to see Walt’s latest creations.  Also, his work still makes me smile and I have been thoroughly enjoying his style and unique offerings.

To date, my favourite is still his work for Day 7: LOST because of its whimsical nature, colour and juxtapositions. I’ve included a small selection of what Walt has created this month, but to see the full range, go to his website.

Source: waltcahill.com

Source: waltcahill.com

As the month comes to a close, Walt’s work is a lovely way to reflect back on a challenging month. The vignettes express the emotion, mood and situations simply and cleanly. Walt’s style is no fuss, uncomplicated and recognisable styling – life and riding should be just as unambiguous.

I appreciate Walt sharing his INKtober work so freely – it has been a source of inspiration and comfort for me. It is wonderful to see bicycles being promoted in such a positive, vibrant and affectionate way.

His attention to detail and personal aesthetics makes his work widely accessible to many, not just cyclists. It reminds me that despite some hard work which is necessary, that life is always better when bikes are involved.

Source: waltcahill.com

Source: waltcahill.com

Source: waltcahill.com

Source: waltcahill.com

Source: waltcahill.com

Source: waltcahill.com

This post showcases one of a few street artists whose murals regularly feature bicycles. I’ve chosen Mart Aires from Argentina as he is one of the first original ‘graffiteros’ who painted whole trains in Buenos Aires, thus making his work more accessible to the public.  So he is an enduring, well-known and accomplished street artist. His work is playful, colourful, vibrant and always positive. You can see a full range of Mart’s work on his flickr site –  including one of my favourite bicycle inspired pieces of his called Una situación habitual.

Big, bright, urban bikes

I like the idea of having large-scale vibrant happy bicycles depictions being splashed about cities, which of course is why Mart is one of my favourite street artists, given that bikes feature so prominently in his work. Have a look at his Instagram for other works as well.

He often does large scale wall murals and I really appreciate his kooky style and sense of humour. While proving the internet for more information about why cycling is such a theme in his works, I came across an old short interview he did with BA Street Art back in 2011 called Me and my bike, where he is very pragmatic about his bike riding.

It is refreshing to see bicycles being central to a social commentary about movement, energy, urbanism and dynamism. I can only hope that aspiration suggestions such as Melissa Hughes (2009) vision to have street art included in secondary school curriculum due to the significance it provides for (young) people maybe taken up. In her research abstract, Hughes advocates that a deeper appreciation of the ‘social, visual and cultural aesthetics’ of local communities can be achieved. Additionally, I would like to think that doing so would also have a concurrent social critique element attached, given the impact and selection of the content, such as Mart’s bicycles, that so poetically provide a “high contrast image loaded with expression” – as the bicycle is the perfect cultural icon for an analytical mind to unpack, digest and appreciate! And so lovely to look at when presented like this!!All images by Mart Aire

cycle-6

cycle-10

cycle-3

cycle-8

cycle-2

cycle-5

cycle-7

cycle-9

All images by Mart Aires.

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

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

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

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

Source: Nick Rearden @ Velodomcafe

Source: Nick Rearden @ Velodomcafe

Source: What_u_like Tumblr

Source: What_u_like Tumblr

Source: Viola 4 Tumblr

Source: Viola 4 Tumblr

Source: Viola 4 Tumblr

Source: Viola 4 Tumblr

Source: What_u_like Tubmlr

Source: What_u_like Tubmlr

Source: 1337 Tatoos Tumblr

Source: 1337 Tatoos Tumblr

Source: Reblogged by Cycleluv

Source: Reblogged by Cycleluv

Source: Viola 4 Tumblr

Source: Viola 4 Tumblr

 

by Sachie Togashiki

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

Sunday was the revealing of the Bicycles Create Change Summer Program Art Bike Project – and what a success it was!

It was a relaxed, colourful and highly informative session and not even the small amount of rain that came could dampen our enthusiasm. I picked the team up early and everyone was in good spirits as we headed to the Community Gardens. Then the heavens opened and a few worried looks were exchanged. Nevertheless, as always, the sun shone through intermittently and then we had a burst of beautiful blue sky, right on cue as we had our bikes in hand and were rolling out to go and set up. As we walked our ART BIKES down to Bethania Street Community Gardens, we received a few locals honking and shouting out well wishes for our presentation. We arrived in plenty of time to set up and get ready.

The proceedings

We had nine attend, which was perfect (I was aiming for between 5 and 15 for the audience) so there were enough seats. It also meant that when it rained a little at the start, there was enough room for the audience, presenters and all the bikes to fit comfortably under the pavilion. Quickly after that, the weather turned it on and we had gorgeous sunshine for the rest of our time there. After a quick welcome, the order of proceedings and topics for the Art Bikes were:

Sachie – Gender Equality

Juliet – Women’s Emancipation and changing roles

Gabriel – The importance of bicycles in Cameroon Culture

Mauricio – Corruption

Nina – Child Labour

The presenters introduced themselves, their topic/issue and their bike, then discussed how their bike was symbolic of the issue they had chosen. At the end of each bike, the audience asked questions and gave feedback – which was fantastic as there were some very interesting insights and ideas raised.

We then had a brief close and thank you. It was great to see people milling around and making the effort to go and speak to each art bike artist to discuss their own reaction, interpretations and feelings about some of the issues raised during the presentations. It was very relaxed and friendly, with lots of jovial chatting. Conversations that were more profound emerged later on. Thank you very much to the locals and friends who came on the day to participate – your good company and input were very much appreciated.

Garden Butterflies

It was also heart-warming to see people drifting off into the garden to look at what was in bloom and finding something to munch on. I was especially pleased to see how excited Gabriel was to spot cassava growing there – he was delighted to see such a familiar staple food from Africa there, what made it even more awesome was that he had not idea it grew here – GOLD!

Congrats to all!

I was very impressed by the thought, effort and research that each team member had put into their bikes. The symbolism, motifs, creativity and explanations that were demonstrated showed a depth of critical thinking and careful judgement that surpassed expectations and made for a very enjoyable and stimulating morning. The presentations themselves were witty, engaging and well structured. I was incredibly proud of our team and was thrilled to be part of such a meaningful, worthwhile and illuminating event. We plan to have each artist share their bike creation and development process in a guest post on this blog.

Congratulations to the wonderful team members who have worked so hard for so long – I am so proud of you!

Bicycles Create Change – Art Bike Presentation

You are invited to an ART BIKE PRESENTATION on Sunday 13th March at 10.30am at the Bethania Community Gardens, Lota, Brisbane.

Background:

The Bicycles Create Change Summer Program has for the last 8 weeks, been working with 4 international students (from Japan, Cameroon, India & Columbia) on a collaborative learning internship to develop their academic, vocational and personal skills – which has community engagement as a central focus.

Local contributions to Art Bikes:

The program involves the participants undertaking an array of weekly tasks and self-directed activities. Each team member selected a social issue and creatively represented that issue in the form of an Art Bike. Some of the social issues the participants have chosen include women’s emancipation and corruption. One example of an Art Bike (that will be included on the day as well) can be seen here to get an idea of what will be presented – the social issue is Wasteful Consumerism: http://www.bicyclescreatechange.com/?s=art+bike&submit=Search

Local Community Involvement

We canvassed the local Lota community last month for donations for bikes to use for this project and the response was overwhelming.  We received more than enough and the reactions were super positive and engaging – so we wanted to let the wider community know what the final Art Bike results are.

Final Program Community Presentation:

We are having our final presentation where we will display and discuss our art bikes on Sunday 13th March at 10.30am at the Bethania Community Gardens, Lota, Brisbane. We would love for you to come and join us for an hour with refreshments included.

BCC Art Bike Presentation

 

 

 

The Bicycles Create Change 8-week Summer Program for 2016 is complete!!

 

Hooray!! After a very intense and rewarding 8 weeks, the Bicycles Create Change Summer Program has concluded! Congratulations to Sachie, Gabriel, Juliet and Mauricio for all their hard work, dedication and collaboration. So this completes the official structured course of our innovative 8-week Pilot Internship Program – which means we all get our Saturdays back!!

This Program was unique from other internships in many ways, primarily because the core program principles and design features were tailored to specifically meet the individual needs of each of the participants who have no prior Australian workplace experience. Fundamental to this program was developing more effective intercultural communication skills and competencies through collaboratively working with an array of professionals and locals so that students have a more authentic and meaningful experience of living and working in Australia. As we wrap up and reflect on the experience, the team has come up with eight key insights that they have identified as the main skill areas that they best connected with and improved throughout the program.

 

We learned a lot about ourselves, vocation skills and working in teams, with each member co-creating their own experience and unveiling differing outcomes, acuity and competencies. Today we discussed the valuable learnings and provided feedback for consideration regarding the impacts and challenges personally and those that are experienced by international students navigating connection and interaction in Australian workplaces. We came up with a number of suggestions to be more responsive to the helpful and hindering factors which international students encounter during their work – either at university or in the workplace.

Connections

It was very interesting hearing what the team had to say, saw how the internship was designed to highlight the importance and necessity of connections and working with experts/mentors. We discussed the usefulness and magnitude that working alone, in pairs and/or as a team of four had for the interns. With this understanding, they had a collective realization that collaboratively working with others was more than just a skill, but was also a powerful learning process and required co-creation. This was a revelation and (a now) imperative for a number of the students.

Weekly Tasks

Each week different tasks were set for the interns, which to complete successfully, relied on them to discern, practise and then reflect on the significance of effective team organisation, ability to spontaneously interactions with strangers, relating to clients, building rapport, running meetings, networking and partnerships.

Art Bikes

We still have some outstanding tasks like our public ART BIKE PRESENTATION held on Sunday 13th March at 10.30am at the Bethania Community Garden, Lota, Brisbane. Please come on down and join us if you are in the area! At this informal event, the team will each present their Art Bikes and discuss the social issue that it represents. We are looking forward to seeing some of the lovely people who donated the bike for this project there and it will be a great way to practice all the skills we have been working throughout the program.

Team Member Guest Blog Posts

As part of the Summer Program, each team member has also been researching 5 blog posts to be published on this blog. The content for each of these posts need to be sourced in their first-language – which means we can access information about bicycles project in other countries that we might not otherwise have access if they are not in English. These posts will be published later this year so keep an eye out for them!

 

For today – it is with relief and happiness that we conclude our official contact hours for this program. I am very proud of all the team members, mentors, supporters of this program and, of course the community who have helped and contributed as we progressed – Well done to all!!

Forever Bicycles 2015  is a massive outdoor installation specially designed by Ai Weiwei for the National Gallery of Victoria. It is constructed of over 1500 bicycles and stands over 9 meters tall and will feature outside the Gallery from December 11 to April 24. It is a visually spectacular installation and speaks to a number of significant social issues. If you have not seen this art piece before, I strongly recommend you to go and see it live. It is quite a special thing to behold in its entirety. Of [articular interest is the way in which the wheels rotate with each bicycle interlocked in a very strategic and clever way. Your perception of depth is manipulated somewhat and it evokes a number of very interesting thoughts as you wrestle with looking at the way it is constructed. It is quite extraordinary standing on a major city street looking through the sculpture.

 

As a bicycle enthusiast, I find it very exciting to see the grand scale and amount of popular attention this piece has been drawing.  Ai Weiwei is well-known for being a social activist and many of his pieces have strong social justice and political themes. It is in huge contrast to the scandalous bicycle laws proposed in NSW and an expression of the strong bicycle culture of Melbourne. The fact that this installation is in the NGV,  a major public place and a popular tourist location on St Kilda Road is highly significant. It is exciting to have such an obvious homage to the humble bicycle and to have it symbolised so resolutely and proudly in the CBD amongst all the city workers, tourists and locals.