This guest post is by Mike Lloyd, a NZ academic who contacted me after I featured his article on the recent MTB bike rage incident that was caught on video and went viral. This post remains the one of the most popular BCC posts. His follow-up article examined ‘the spatial, temporal and interactional order of a rare case of cycle rage’ and looked at the same incident from a videography analysis to uncover the details of a MTB track run ‘gone wrong’. Both are well worth the read! It an absolute pleasure to present Mike’s first guest post – we hope to be hearing more from him – Enjoy! NG.


The Road Ahead: Research on the ‘sharrow’ in cycling infrastructure

(A summary of research by Dr Mike Lloyd, Max Baddeley, and Dr Ben Snyder, School of Social & Cultural Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand; the full paper is currently under submission with an academic journal)

‘Sharrows’ first appeared in California in the early 2000s and have now been officially mandated for use on roads in many countries including Australia and New Zealand.   Our research looked at new cycling infrastructure in Wellington, New Zealand, specifically a 450 metre stretch of road where the designers stopped Copenhagen-style cycle lanes and reverted to more standard road space marked with sharrows (short for shared lane arrow).  Here is what a sharrow looks like in this space.

Research on the ‘sharrow’ in cycling infrastructure
The sharrow is the white cycle with double arrow sign painted in the middle of the red area (indicating a 30kph zone).  For the SUV driver, in this context the sign can mean, ‘be alert for cyclists ahead, and share the road if you come across them’.  This is consistent with aspects of sharrow use in Australia where they are referred to as a ‘Bicycle Awareness Zone’.  This also conforms to the New Zealand ‘best practice’ guidelines which say the sharrow ‘helps reinforce that the carriageway is a valid place for cyclists to travel (reinforcing to other road users to act accordingly’).  The interesting question is ‘where exactly should the cyclist ride?’  Looking at the bottom panel, we can see that there seems to be some guidance in this regard: the widening green bars seem to direct the cyclist to move into the middle of the road, exactly where the sharrows signs are positioned.

A quick googling of ‘sharrow’ would confirm this, as phrases like occupy- claim- or take-the lane will crop up.  However, this is not a hard-and-fast guideline for how a sharrowed area should be ridden.  Traffic experts emphasise that the sharrow is there to help the cyclist occupy the traffic lane when it is safe and appropriate to do so.  So, key questions are: ‘when’ should a cyclist claim the lane, and in doing so ‘where’ exactly should they position themselves in the lane?  Further, any cyclist will also know that it is not only the road ahead they need to be concerned with, but the road behind.  If a cyclist occupes the lane with cars behind, how will those drivers react?  A first way into this issue is to look at the process of attempting to claim the lane in the transition from the Copenhagen-style cycle lanes to the sharrow area.  This is where the widening green bars come into play, but as we see they are no guarantee of success:

 

Research on the ‘sharrow’ in cycling infrastructure

  Panels 1 to 3 show a cyclist attempting to claim the lane, but in response the driver of the white car speeds up not allowing the cyclist ahead.  In contrast, panels 4 to 6 show success: as the cyclist moves out the driver of the green car backs off, allowing the cyclist to ride ahead claiming the lane.

We do not have a breakdown of the ratio of success to failure in claiming the lane as this was not our goal, however, it is worth noting that our research involved one of the researchers riding to claim the lane; in reality, it is rare to see other cyclists doing so.  Mostly, cyclists revert to a default line to the left of centre.  This is a pity, because as we rode we discovered that sharrows can work to make cycling safer in traffic spaces where cycle lanes are not present.   Here the effect of raised pedestrian crossings and four speed bumps within the sharrow area was signficant. The entrance of both ends of the sharrow area features raised pedestrian crossings, and whereas a cyclist can ride over these with little decrease in pace, vehicles slow to a greater degree, thus giving the cyclist a chance to maintain a lead ahead of vehicles.  When the vehicles get over the raised crossing and increase their speed, catching up with a cyclist, the speed bumps repeatedly give the cyclist a ‘breathing space’.  Of course, this all depends on the speed being travelled: this ‘breathing space’ effect works for a car obeying the 30 kph limit, but not for one travelling significantly over this speed.  Needless to say, not everyone obeys speed limits.

Also, once claiming the lane, there can be a reduction in the temptation to ‘filter’. When there are parked cars to the left, but the central line of traffic is slow or stopped, it is very common for cyclists to ‘filter’ between the cars –  a dangerous area to be cycling in.  Our cyclist’s impression was that once riding to ‘claim the lane’, when the traffic slows, filtering to the left is not so ‘automatic’, rather the cyclist may just slow their pace to match the vehicles ahead, thus reducing the risk of riding in the dangerous space between cars.

This good news has to be tempered though by one of the main findings of the research.  This has to do with how difficult it is to predict in the design of cycling infrastructure how drivers and cyclists will actually interact on the built road.  Small details can be remarkably important, yet hard to plan for.  We were able to realise this because of our dual camera research method, that is, our cyclist had a GoPro camera pointing forward on his bike handlebars, and a rearwards facing camera mounted on his helmet.  The folllowing three visuals capture a near-dooring incident.

Research on the ‘sharrow’ in cycling infrastructure

  In panel 1 the cyclist is riding past three parked cars and a motorbike, and just as he is adjacent to the motorbike, the door on the silver car starts to open.  The video record does not allow us to be definitive, nevertheless, in our view two things can be noted.  First, the opening of the door is a continuous movement (see panels 3 and 4), and second, from a careful scrutiny of panel 4, the car driver is looking forward, not behind or to the right where the cyclist is approaching.  It does not seem either that the driver is looking into a rear-view mirror to check for any vehicle or cyclist behind, nevertheless, we certainly accept that this could be the case.

Interestingly, the inability to be definitive on this point is not of crucial importance, because the more pressing question to ask is, why was the cyclist not aware of the door opening?  This is sensible to ask because, as shown in panel 3 of figure 6, it has opened sufficiently enough for it be visible.  Experienced cyclists develop a strong sense of where they are cycling in relation to parked cars and the potential at any moment for a door to be opened on them, meaning that even a door opening to 10 centimetres is probably detectable. But there is no evidence that the cyclist sees the door opening, as he certainly does not change his line in response to the opening, even though by the time he is directly adjacent to the door it may well have opened even further than seen in panel 4.

In an ‘aha’ moment the answer was provided by consulting the rearwards-facing video record, filmed simultaneously.

Research on the ‘sharrow’ in cycling infrastructure

In panel 1, the cyclist has entered the sharrow area, claiming the lane with the consequence that the silver MPV behind him slows.  Just after panel 1, the vehicle comes closer but then backs off, continuing to follow at a reasonable distance (panel 2).  Just before panel 1, the cyclist has looked behind and seen the silver MPV, so he is aware of its presence while he rides centrally ahead of it.  Panel 3 provides the answer to the question of why the cyclist was unaware of the car door opening.    At precisely the moment when the car door begins and proceeds to open, the cyclist is looking behind (hence, the tilted screenshot) to see where the silver MPV is in relation to him.  This fully explains the ignorance of the door opening, but, as captured in panels 4 and 5, we now have a much more extensive idea of what happened.  We see that the door was fully opened with the driver emerging onto the road, and we also see how dangerous this situation was.  As indicated by the yellow arrow, the cyclist’s line was directly in the path of the fully opened door.  It was probably only by a matter of micro-seconds that he escaped being doored.

There is more that can be learned from this data, for another pressing question needs answering: if the cyclist was claiming the lane in the sharrow area, why, at this particular point, is he riding a line within the dooring zone?

Research on the ‘sharrow’ in cycling infrastructure

The answer is available in the subtle change of line prior to the place where the near-dooring occurred.  In panel 1, the cyclist approaches the raised pedestrian crossing riding in the centre of the road, and in panel 2 is seen riding straight over the sharrow sign.  Panels 3 and 4 show though, that just before he gets to the speed bump, there is a subtle alteration in line, taking him leftwards and closer to the line of parked cars. This alteration in line is first due to riding around a manhole cover in the road, which takes the line towards a second cover in the road (at the head of the top arrow), which is also ridden by moving to the left.  These slight alterations in line are continued by riding to the left of the speed bump, the line then maintained towards the circled area ahead (panel 5) where the near-dooring occurs. The cyclist is clearly picking the line of ‘least resistance’ in relationship to the bumpiness of the road, which results in moving him further and further to the left, away from the sharrow line and into the dooring zone.

The subtlety of such alterations in line would be difficult for road designers to predict.  Moreover, other things can happen in the same space that lead the cyclist to a different line.

Research on the ‘sharrow’ in cycling infrastructure

This second door opening occurs well before the cylist, but is also at a time when the cyclist is riding to the right of the sharrow line, so that he is well clear of the opened door.  This is because the transition from the raised pedestrian crossing to this location has no material objects that encourage alteration in line.   In panel 2 we again see the alteration in line around the cover, but this time when the cyclist gets to the speed bump (panel 3), he rides through the middle.  The reason for this is visible in panel 4: he looks ahead and sees a parked bus taking up significant space in the road, so he anticipates the need to go wider and adjusts his line out more centrally in the road, coincidentally taking him well away from the dooring zone.

So, the exact lines ridden are clearly not solely determined by the material features of the road, rather there is a complex entanglement of the social and material in any particular riding through the sharrow area.  There are patterns in how a sharrow area is ridden, but at the same time these are not sufficient to predict the course of any moment’s riding through this new cycling infrastructure.  The particular line taken in any particular moment is part of a ‘wild phenomena’. To decide on the degree of success of any new cycling infrastructure requires close attention to the detail of how cyclists and drivers actually interact. Thankfully, the availability of cheap and easy-to-use action cameras makes data-gathering relatively simple, leaving the researcher with the difficult task of unpacking the fine detail.  It is an important task that may lead to improved cycling infrastructure design.

Hooray!! UCI World Cup starts this weekend!

I love the UCI World Cup events – in particular, the DH. It is my favorite annual race.

Much to the delight of Southern Hemisphere riders, Cairns has been included on the DH schedule for the last couple of years. For me, that has meant an annual pilgrimage to Cairns for the big event. This year the World Champs round will be in Cairns! So the local tracks need prepping now. So this post is a review of the last two UCI World Cup events – and an invitation to join the Cairns 2017 UCI World Cup Working Bee Team!

This means the local tracks need prepping early. So this post is a review of the last two UCI World Cup events – and an invitation to join the Cairns 2017 UCI World Cup Working Bee Team!

 

Great memories of the last 2 Cairns UCI World Cup Events

Last year I went to the Cairns UCI World Cup with mates and it was an all social affair.

Last year I posted about what a great event the 2016 event was and what blast it was catching up with old friends, making new ones and soaking up the World Cup vibes – here’s a few mates I managed to catch up with…

 

UCI DH World Cup

UCI DH World Cup

UCI DH World Cup

 

Last year was a total contrast to 2015. I worked the 2015 Cairns event, which was epic given that it rained non-stop a week prior to race day.

This turned all the tracks into slick and slippery death-defying shoots covered in thick gluggy toothpaste!

Boy did everyone work hard that round!!! Ahhhh the memories!!!

UCI DH World Cup

(See Instagram @Bicycles_Create_Change for more past UCI DH World Cup pics).

Remember Cairns UCI World Cup 2015- aka ‘Rumble in the Puddles’?

If you need to refresh your memory of how epic the 2015 UCI DH Cairns round was – check out this 2’32” Badass mashup video…

…and yes…that is me in the opening sequence!!

But this year will be a little different. I’ll be watching remotely as I won’t be making the trek to Cairns this year for the big event (*sniff*).

2017 UCI MTB World Cup Calendar

Redbull’s Official MTB website has the follow details outlined for the current 2017 UCI World Cup Calendar schedule:

There are six rounds each for XCO and DH – and the World Cup 2017 is starting this weekend – woohoo!!

The World Championship heads to Australia and Cairns at the end of the World Cup season with a full program of XCO, XCE and DH racing on show.

I can’t wait!!!

The UCI is expected to confirm the calendar in late June and the dates will be subject to change until then so don’t go booking trips to the events until then! Scroll down for all the downhill (DHI) and cross country (XCO) rounds.

  • April 29-30: (DHI) Lourdes, France
  • May 20-21: (XCO) Nové Mesto, Czech Republic
  • May 27-28: (XCO) Albstadt, Germany
  • June 3-4: (DHI) Fort William, Scotland
  • June 10-11: (DHI) Leogang, Austria
  • July 1-2 (XCO/DHI) Vallnord, Andorra
  • July 8-9: (XCO/DHI) Lenzerheide, Switzerland
  • August 5-6: (XCO/DHI) Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada
  • August 26-27: (XCO/DHI) Val di Sole, Italy
  • September 5-10: (XCO/DHI) UCI World Championships, Cairns, Australia

Cairns MTB World Cup Working Bee Shout-out

As a member of Cairns MTB Club, I received this shout-out invitation for World Cup working bee helpers. So if you are keen to be part of the action and for anyone in the area… here are the details as sent to me FYI:

With the UCI MTB World Championships just around the corne, there is a way you can be involved now. The Cairns MTB Club has been asked to construct a new spectator/media trail in the “Vines” section of the Downhill track. We have been offered an incentive to get it done ASAP and we want to pass some of that incentive on to the people that help build the trail.
We need are people to help out on regular Saturday/Sunday morning working bees from 7:30am-10:30 am, for about six – eight weeks beginning on the 10th of June.
We do have a budget to meet so the quicker we can get it done, the less we spend on it, giving the club more funds to put back into trail maintenance and development. The job is to create a 1.5m wide riding/walking trail in “Vines” area running alongside the downhill track. There will be a lot of shovel and mattock digging involved.

The Reward

For every working bee (3 hours long) you can attend and do productive work you will receive a gift voucher to use at the bike shop of your choice.
 You can put it towards that new something you have wanted or you can donate the money back to the club to help fund the Black snake rebuild and extension. The Gift Vouchers will be handed out at the end, once the work is completed and has been approved by National Parks. All workers will need to “sign in” with their details at each working bee so we can keep accurate records of attendance and hours worked.
If this is something you are interested in getting involved with, please email Club President Craig at President@cairnsmtb.com with your expression of interest.

Reminder

The first Working Bee will be held on Sunday 10th of June and then every Saturday and Sunday morning until the job is done.

A week ago I got an email about an upcoming 3 Day Startup (3DS) intensive.

3DS is a 72-hour learning-by-doing workshop that comes to your campus to teach entrepreneurial skills to university students in an ‘extreme hands-on’ environment. In doing so, this program helps university students develop and translate their research into a start a company over the course of one weekend. Intense!

So as part of the Advance Queensland program, 3DS offered their program exclusively for Griffith University Higher Degree by Research candidates. The Advance Queensland program has an extensive suite of services, events and programs under its Entrepreneurs and Start-up banner, with a strong focus on supporting academic research and industry collaborations.

So I applied.

And today I got word that I have been accepted to attend next week’s 3DS intensive!

3DS – An unsettling space for me to be in

I am intrigued to explore possibilities of how I can commercialize my research. Taking an entrepreneurial approach to layer over my predominately community-based, NGO grassroots practice will be a very interesting exercise in reframing my current conceptual, ethical and professional perspectives. This is the main aspect I am most interested in having challenged during the 3DS intensive: scaling up and operationalising my bicycle research (and programs) for profit.

This is a very uncomfortable space for me to consider as all my previous ventures have been staunchly community-driven and non-commercialised – as evidenced by this blog, and IG, my research and myself being completely ad-free, unsponsored/unfunded, and non-monterised.

 

So what happens at 3DS?

During the event, participants work with peers from different backgrounds and get mentorship from some leading entrepreneurs.

One the first day, participants form teams, develop an idea, conduct market research, talk to customers, create a prototype, and pitch to real investors by Sunday night.

Participating in 3DS means getting connect with talented people, exploring ways that your research topics can be commercialised, create something collaborate from the ground up, and learn about what it takes to establish a company.

 

The 3 Day Startup (3DS) program

3 Day Startup (3DS)

Image Source: 3DS Website

 

Bootcamp (1 week before program date): Participants meet, get introduced to key entrepreneurship principles, and learn best practices for maximising the 3 Day Startup program experience.

Day 1: Participants arrive – with or without startup ideas – and a facilitator leads the group through dedicated brainstorming, preliminary pitches/feedback, and team selection modules. Some teams work late into the night, and others prefer to rest up in preparation for day 2.

Day 2: Customer Discovery (teams exit the building, hit the phones or social media, and talk to potential customers), structured mentorship, intermediate pitches and feedback sessions. Day 2 places heavy emphasis on business model generation.

Day 3: Continued execution (including pitch workshops) leading into final pitches/demos to an esteemed panel of mentors and investors.

Phew!! Sounds super useful and super concentrated!

I’ve also been checking out some of the material and online content 3DS provides through their blog. I’m feeling inspired already!

So what might eventuate?

I don’t know yet!!! But, I am keen to be challenged and ready to get inspired.

I’m also very interested to see what ideas might develop and explore ways to operationalise my research.

I wonder what opportunities this experience may present and what direction this could take me…. some unique possibilities I hope!

I’ll let you know!

 

See the 1’48” video below for an overview of 3DS.

Happy International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia!!!

 

Officially today is the actual day of celebration (17th May), however there have been a wide range of events happening worldwide for the whole week.

Of particular interest to lovers of life on two-wheels is the Tirana Gay (P)ride March in Albania.

 

Tirana Gay (P)ride MarchSource: Watermark Online

Tirana Gay (P)ride March

The Tirana Gay (P)ride March was first initiated in 2006 has been gaining significant participation and coverage over the last couple of years and is fast becoming one of the most colourful, cultural community-driven events in the Albanian calendar.

This story is great for a number of reasons. Aside from being an awesome international event addition for this weeks general celebrations, it is also great as Albania doesn’t usually make headlines (at least not enough for positive reasons). Also, most people do not usually associate progressive, fun, international bicycle-inspired community demonstrations for gay rights to come out of small Southeastern former Eastern Bloc European nation. But there you go!

So kudos to the Albanians for being such a wonderful and supportive international example.

(Queensland take note!!)

A dual protest for 2017

This year was an extra special event. To mark the international festival, participants in Tirana’s Gay (P)ride Parade rode bikes for one cause, whilst elsewhere in the city two hours earlier (yet overlapping), another protest was being held in response to the country’s political opposition.  The city was inundated with bikers strewn in multi-colored costumes with balloons, flags and pennants flapping the wind as they rode past a protest tent erected in front of Prime Minister Edi Rama’s office to raise awareness and support to pressure the current Albanian government to extend their 2009  anti-discriminatory laws to legalise same-sex marriage and also to recognise trans-gender citizens.

People taking to the streets to protest is not new, but the inclusion of highly decorated bicycles adds an extra element of personality, intimacy, community and creativity which is hard to beat and difficult to ignore.

Best of luck Tirana …our bicycles are with you!!

We hope you have a fun and successful ride to celebrate your 2017 IDAHOT!

Tirana Gay (P)ride MarchSource: Fox News

Below is a 7 minute video of the 2017 Tirana IDAHOT (P)ride March.

More details:

Official International website.

IDAHOT Facebook Page 

Twitter: @may17IDAHOT

Official hashtag #IDAHOT2017

So here is an unusual biking story ….. a mystery if you will.

A cautionary and very sad tale from Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks, Florida (US), about the May 6th police shooting of a young hooded cyclist – and the strangeness of how this whole event occurred.

I will preface this post by stating: I live in Brisbane, Australia, so am not privy to the context or have adequate knowledge or access to the full story, people, or news channels. The phenomenon of US shootings (ie carrying guns and public/police shooting in general) is something that we Aussies have absolutely no experience with, so this story is even more difficult for Aussies to understand. Regardless, I am sure there are many Americans (and others) thinking the same thing – how exactly did this happen?

For this post, I’ll just present what info I have collected thus far –  so that you, dear reader, can sort it out, find out more if you are willing, and make up your own mind.

What is the mystery?

On May 6th, 2017, a young man was shot dead by an off-duty police officer at a car show. It was alleged he had a knife. Details of what actually happened are still super sketchy. One of the most provocative and unsettling themes to this story, is that the young artist, Nick Provenza (25), who had a history of mental health issues, was riding his bike and wearing a hoody at the time he was shot in public.

 Police Shooting – young hooded cyclist killed

There are a few gaps in this story that make it unusually suspicious.

From what I can gather, this story is inherently odd given the patchy way information that has been released.

There are too few details or no details at all.  The little details that have come out paint a very vague, dubious scenario.

There is yet to be confirmed evidence of there ever having being a knife.

Why the authorities’ focus on Nick wearing a hoody AND riding a bike (subversive/criminal profiling?).

How did the whole event disintegrate from Nick giving a false name/s to the officer, to Nick getting shot at a public event?

And how does a person ‘ride a bike suspiciously’ anyway? (- and how is that defined clearly enough to justify using deadly force? Is practising urban MTB trial tricks ‘suspicious’? Is it related to property, others, or yourself?).

The unfolding sequence of this story.

Here is the series of events I have been able to piece together.

This post is a step-by-step guide to the unveiling of this story as I discovered it.

If you are on Instagram, you can follow along and read the associated IG comments that add quite a bit of extra context.  If you are not on IG, then I have included the main images so you can get the main gist for each step.

Here we go ….. May 6th was when Nick was shot.

  1. On Instagram, I saw this post from one of my IG buddies (if you are on IG, check out the comments). I was intrigued given that an ‘unnamed artist was killed for riding his bike suspiciously with a hoody on‘. I was also concerned that my fellow IGer was mistaken for being the victim. That took the story from being concerning and upsetting – and added a layer of personal. So, I decided to find out more.
US Police Shooting - young hooded cyclist killed

Source: @flowerbikeman

 

2. I went online to find out what the news said.

At the time, there was only one news report I could find. It was a news article from the Tampa Bay Times. Later on, I found another from Fox 13 news posted on the same day. Both of them had pretty much the same very sketchy details. The main difference was that the Fox report was the first time I saw Nick’s name publicly released.

It made me very interested and I went looking for more info to shed some light on what had actually happened.

 

3. @flowerbikeman uploaded another post which was:

US Police Shooting - young hooded cyclist killed

Source: @flowerbikeman

 

4. Finally, on May 9th, the Tarpon Springs Patch provided a few more critical details.

The name of the officer who shot Nicholas, Officer Scott MacIsaac, was finally provided.

Interestingly, this is the first news report that explicitly says that ‘people have been spreading false information about the case and speculating about its details’ – yet the ‘false’ details discussed relate to another officer being identified as the shooter – but no mention of inaccurate facts pertaining to Nicholas’s actual death.

Still a mystery as to how it went from Nicholas giving a false name to him being shot.

 

5. On Thursday 11th May, @flowerbikeman had reposted this on IG – and I was very interested in the comments that this post provoked.

US Police Shooting - young hooded cyclist killed

Source: @flowerbikeman

 

6. Later that day, I found this news report online.

I had to do some extra scouting for it – but there is this news report about the incident (from ABC Action News).

Still very light on details. These pictures that were included in the report were new – and pretty powerful.

US Police Shooting - young hooded cyclist killed

Source: ABCAction News

 

7. By this time the local word was well and truly out on IG.

The local and wider community rallied and here are some of the responses:

A sober reminder from @flowrbikeman on IG.

US Police Shooting - young hooded cyclist killed

Source: @flowerbikeman

 

From @peenutbu on IG

US Police Shooting - young hooded cyclist killed

 

A protest T-shirt from @orton_ndau to #handsupdontshoot

US Police Shooting - young hooded cyclist killed

Source: IG @orton_ndau

 

From @cassnectao on IG

US Police Shooting - young hooded cyclist killed

Source: @cassnectar

@cassnectar’s above IG message reads: “cassnectar_ My [pained] face is blurred for a multiplicity of reasons – majorly because there is no single face behind this cause. It is NOT about me and this is NOT to score my own brownie points. Please; like & share to spread awareness.
Devastatingly, we live in a world where our loved ones are being killed for naught, by those meant to protect us. For riding a bike in public alone. For wearing a hoodie. For looking “suspicious.” WE ARE THE SUSPICIOUS IN THEIR EYES. We are the targets. We need to and we will fight for what is just, we need to stand up to those targeting innocent men. We need to question authority. We need to question EVERYTHING.
TSPD murdered Nick for riding his bike alone in a hoodie. After committing no crime. For being there, when they didn’t want him there. That’s why we’re here and that’s why we’ll fight as hard and long as we all possibly can. Nick should not be dead. We are his voice now.”

 

And back to where it all started with @flowerbikeman on IG.

US Police Shooting - young hooded cyclist killed

 

So the mystery still remains as to what actually happened and why Nicholas was shot. I don’t think it would just be us Aussies who find this whole story particularly difficult to fathom. It is such a sad story. It is a sobering and disturbing reminder that our current society is still very resistant of, and reluctant to, accept people who are outside the mainstream hegemonic norm.

A tragic reminder that people who have psychological, sexual, cultural, interest, language or personal differences – those that I refer to as ‘divergent thinkers’ – are still sorely misunderstood and often (socially or otherwise) punished for their unique ways.

As someone who identifies with the group, I find this story all the more disturbing.

And you do not have to be ‘different’ to be moved by this story.

Ever owned or worn a hoodie?

Ever been in a situation where the police have come on strong and wanted to give ’em lip?

Been out in public recently?

Ride a bike?

No matter what the lead-up was, I’m sure we can all agree that the death of a young bike rider in such circumstances is shockingly tragic.

I’ll end this post with a memorial IG post from Rachel Reed.  Ride safe my hooded biking brothers and sisters.

US Police Shooting - young hooded cyclist killed

IG Source: @rachelreed_

 

Postscript: Queensland is known within Australia as being ‘the Police state’. It was certainly a cultural shock for me to move from Melbourne to Brisbane and experience daily the differences in limited social rights, expression and creativity – and dealing with imposing, and often draconian authority – of which I have previously posted. This story also resonated with me because where I live in Brisbane (Wynnum-Manly), there was a 2011 one-month trial to ‘ban’ hoodies in shops, followed by a six-month follow-up trial in 2013. It was a voluntary ban and the details, duration and process of the ban are still unclear. Police reported that armed robberies were reduced, but no report or update outside of the new reports linked into here have released to the public that I could find. There is still talk locally of making it a permanent ban and implementing it for the whole of Brisbane city.

Great news!

Late last month, I submitted an abstract to AWCC 2017 to present a conference session entitled ‘Bicycles Create Change’!

This week I got an email from the Australian Walking and Cycling Conference organiser that started with…

AWCC Abstract Accepted

Hooray!!

It was a lovely email to receive and I am very excited about doing this conference roundtable presentation.

I’m going to draw on insights, outcomes and learnings I arrived at after designing and managing some of my community art bike projects. The session will focus on providing some important, interesting and constructive considerations that could benefit other community bike events.

BUT!! The next couple of month is going to be a very busy time though! Funding submissions for the collaborative community art project

Funding submissions for the collaborative community art project The Albatross. 70 assignments to mark now, then a series of end of course exams. Also, need to prepare my PhD confirmation paper and presentation for early August. Phew!

So – that’s my limit for taking on any extra projects! my answer from here on in is NO MORE!

(Although I did register for the 2017 Bayview Blast Ride/Race this morning! But riding is different!!!)

So aside from riding…..

I am officially at full capacity (and very happy with my lot!)

AWCC Abstract Accepted

This week is Bike Week Queensland 2017.

Bike Week is an annual cycling festival that hosts a range of events in and around Brisbane from Sat 6th May -to Sunday 14th  May.

There were many events, meets, rides, conferences and seminars (as you can see below) that were registered events for this bike festival. You can get more info about the program here.

It is the largest cycling festival in Queensland and caters for a range of cycling disciplines, styles, levels and interest groups.

This event is organised by Bicycle Queensland and has been running since the 1990’s.

Bike Week Queensland 2017

Bike Week Queensland 2017

Bike Week Queensland 2017

Bike Week Queensland 2017

Source: Bike Week Queensland 2017

Bike Week Queensland 2017 – Ride2Work Breakfast.

I attended a few official (and unofficial events). Today I rode in early to meet with the rest of the Griffith University BUGS to participate in the Ride2Work Breakfast Event. I have ridden once before with the GU BUGS from Brisbane city to Uni, but today was extra special. We met at the Law Courts in town and Bicycle Queensland had pavilions set up, the QLD Minister for Main Roads, the Hon. Tim Bailey,  spoke (and it was great to see he had ridden in on his bike as well) and there were stalls, prizes, coffee on arrival, a basic breakfast and lots of cyclists to meet. The police were there offering a service to photograph and log your bike to your license as a theft-protection service, which many cyclists took advantage of.

Bike week – Bike Summit (Friday 12th May).

I would have loved to have attended tomorrow’s Bike Summit, but alas it is my busiest day teaching at Uni. After such a positive experience discussing bicycle policy, programs and advocacy in Melbourne at the Bike Futures Conference earlier this year in Feb, I was keen to hear what the changes, trends and differences are in Queensland.

Although I was a little disappointed with the lack of detail in the program that was distributed – to me it did not give quite enough detail to really explain what each session would entail. I know there were many BUGs groups going in for the afternoon session, but the program scarcely recognised if/how the advocacy and Q & A sessions might be run – didn’t really instil much confidence.

So I stuck to attending the practical and active events this year and had a great time! See Instagram @bicycles_create_change for some additional photos from the day.

Bike Week Queensland 2017

Source: Bike Week Queensland 2017

 

All in all

I had a great day today. I appreciate all the planning and hard work that went into organising the events that were held.

For those events I went to, I made an effort to mingle and make the most of the social and community participation aspects.

It was lovely to be around people who were happy to talk bikes and it was very reaffirming to see so many cyclists in one place.

If only this dynamic could be the mainstay and not only a once a year week-long event!

But, I ‘spose you gotta start somewhere!!

This last week I returned from an (informal) 3-day ‘yoga for cyclists’ retreat.

I say ‘informal retreat’ because we actually to visit an old school friend of husband’s and his gorgeous partner at a spectacular property in Dunoon, NSW. And I say ‘for cyclists’ because both husband and I have been riding bike recreationally and competitively for a number of years now.

Luckily for us, our delightful host couple have just recently returned from an extended stay in India, where they were living in a yoga ashram to undertake their yoga instructors course (hence ‘retreat’!).

It goes without saying that staying with them was blissful, gentle and wonderfully restorative.

Yoga for cyclists!  Start the day right!

We were up at 5 am for an hour of meditation, then two hours of yoga followed by some more meditation – all before breakfast.

What a way to start each day!

Although I still did some reading for my PhD, I did not ride during this trip as I just wanted to invest in some quality rest and relaxing downtime. To this end, I was really just a love sponge for the amazing views, good company, scrumptious veggo food and stunning campfire-under-an-endless-night-sky vibes (*sigh*!).

Best of all, we did yoga every day – and I mean good yoga!

We did all the yoga poses you would get in classes, but also held some for considerably longer. Plus, we did a variety of yogic purification breathing techniques that I have not tried before – super interesting!

An additional bonus was that both our hosts team-taught each session, which was brilliant for the balance of yin/yang – male/female energies.

However!

Given years of competitive and recreational mountain bike riding, this daily yoga practice really drove home how tight my thighs and hips were – and how important regular stretching is.

A month of yoga (for cyclists) challenge

Since returning, I have committed to a month’s yoga challenge – with a focus on unlocking and releasing the years of stored up cycling tension (it might take a while!). After my initial month trial ends,  our two yoga hosts suggested to check out their ashram’s online yoga practice.

Their ashram, Akhanda has a number of yoga classes free online as well as a private youtube channel, which for $10 a month, you are able to access to a series of yoga sessions (5 x 30 mins per week, or 5 x 60 mins per week, etc.).

Overall impacts thus far?

I am feeling so much better for doing daily yoga and will definitely continue.  I have really enjoyed the progress I have made in the last eight days and can feel the difference in my legs, hips and torso. I feel a lot stronger, more centred and have noticed a considerable improvement in the range of movement in my hips.

This month’s yoga for cyclists challenge serves as a timely reminder to slow down and to explore alternative approaches to getting stronger.

Maybe some days, if it is raining outside and you are not up for a ride, you can work in, instead of work out! (Oh no, dad!).

So if you have not done yoga lately, here is one of the better of many popular yoga classes designed specifically for cyclists to get started.

I hope you have fun and get as much satisfaction out of it as I am! Enjoy!

This year is a very special year, in addition to being the 200th ‘birthday’ of the modern bicycle, it is also the Giro D’Italia 100th edition Race – Horray!

The Giro D’Italia starts today and this year features a 3,572km course from Sardinia to Milan and includes six mountain top finishes as well as two testing time trials – I can’t wait!!!

 

What is the Giro anyway?
The first Giro D’Italia was held in 1909 to sell more copies of the local newspaper La Gazzetta dello sport.

In the initial first ten years, there were some major changes regarding classifications and format until its current race design was finally settled on. An Italian won every Giro for the first 40 years until the Swiss rider Hugo Koblet took out the event in 1950. It was pretty much an Italian only affair from 1909 – 1953.

After that, Italian champions often prevailed, but by then there were many other international riders winning such as Eddie Merckx (5 x winner) Bernard Hinault (3 x winner) and Miguel Indurain (2 x consecutive).

It took until 1988 for the first non-European, Andrew Hampsten (US) to win a Giro.

Giro D'Italia 100th

Source: Wikipedia

Who else is celebrating the Giro D’Italia 100th Race?

Er, anyone who loves the pro tours of course! ….and heaps of others people….. like you and me!

As you would expect, the media was in full celebratory flight, with the Independent, and the history of the race (and a focus on British rider successes of course) being promoted by The Telegraph. On a different note, Eurosport contributed 10 things to look for in this year’s race, whilst Sky Sports celebrated with a preview the 2017 race and a prediction that Nairo Quintana (who has featured on this blog before) will take out the gong this year.

I like Google’s humble and playful homage to the Giro, complete with a quirky little animation of riders going over the hills in the background, with today’s banner being:

Giro D'Italia 100th

Source: Google

What’s the fuss – it is just another Grand Tour race, right?

Well-known for its brutal weather and hill climbs, the Giro has a very special place in many cyclists’ heart. Famous for testing rider’s endurance, stamina and mental fortitude, the prominence of snow, rain and regularly produces a gruelling slog-fest race that is remarkable by anyone’s standards. On a number of occasions, the weather has gotten so bad, that races stages are flat out cancelled.

Hardest stages, whatever – I could totally to that!!!

I like this short 4.20mins video as it gives a super quick overview of just how brutal the Giro can be. It has some of my favorite historical stages like; ‘the day the big man cried’; when 81 riders started, but only 8 managed to finish; and (as a fellow Aussie who lived in the same areas where he grew up), I am extremely delighted to see the stage where Cadel Evan is wearing the leader’s jersey (Maglia Rosafor one day during the 2002 Giro (which Cadel ended up coming 14th in overall).

So this month, be sure to yell ‘Forte!! Forte!! Rapido!! Rapido!!’ full volume at your TV on all of those unrelenting snowy mountain stages!! Woohoo!!

Every so often, I really leaving Melbourne – especially on days like today!!

Today was the Ginger Pride Rally 2017.

As a passionate and enthusiastic lover of redheads, I sorely missed not being able to support my fellow copper-topped brothers and sisters

in person today (*sigh*).

The Melbourne event looked awesome!

It was not only a great opportunity for local redheads to shine, but the event also raised some valuable publicity about bullying issues.

I was delighted to see over 1,000 redheads march and that the event received some good news coverage.

Ginger Rally 2017

Source: News.com

Ginger Rally 2017

The Ginger Net organised the event – and spruiked the event on their website thus:

Redheads and copper-tops of Australia, the time is nearing for the hottest event in the 2017 social calendar! The Ginger Pride Rally hosted by Buderim Ginger and our friends at RANGA s back in Melbourne for a second year and set to be bigger, better and more fiery than the last!

Assemble your ginger and redhead #squad to celebrate our super powers, unique fiery manes, enviable moontan complexions and unbreakable spirit with a ginger rally starting in Federation Square, marching to celebrate uniqueness and diversity in the community. The march will be followed by a finishing festival back at Fed Square with free ginger beer, vigorous games of ‘Ginger Beer Pong’, photo booth fun, a kid’s activity zone and for the first time ever ginger speed dating hosted by Singles Events Melbourne! Oh and plenty of shade and sunscreen of course.

You’ll also be bopping along to bangers from redhead bands including The VannsLuize Scott and X Factor standouts Brentwood. We’ve also partnered up with the Alannah & Madeline Foundation to help raise awareness and funds to stop bullying against children, including mini gingers to help deliver community education programs to make a valuable change in the life of so many kids.

Advance Ginger Cyclists!

For those of us who could/did not attend, it is a great opportunity to reflect, encourage and pay homage to the beautiful, robust, vitally important and wonderful flame-haired cyclists among us – whatever their age, bike choice or ability.

So in support of the Ginger Rally 2017, here are a few pictures of inspiring biker redheads through the ages and across all biking disciplines – Enjoy!

Ginger Rally 2017

Source: Ana Rosa – Girls and Bikes Ginger

Ginger Rally 2017

Source: Pintrest Redhead men

Ginger Rally 2017

Source: Pittsburg murals and pubic art

Ginger Rally 2017

Source: Cyclingpigs

Ginger Rally 2017

British cyclist Jason Kenny by Bryn Lennon

Ginger Rally 2017

Source: Colin Meagher (Pinkbike), Rider ??

Ginger Rally 2017

Source: Bause.at Rider: Angie Hohenwarter