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.

TAKE THE SURVEY HERE

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.

Sweet!!!

 

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!

Sustainable Living Festival – Bio Bike ACCEPTED

Sustainable Living Festival - Bio Bike ACCEPTED. Bicycles Create Change.com 28th Jan 2018
Image: SLF 2018

Hey, bike nuts! Welcome back!

The last week has been super crazy getting ready, because…

A while back, my regular creative collaborator and friend Claire Tracey and I put together a roving performance idea and application for the upcoming 2018 Sustainable and Living Festival (SLF)- and we got the news it was successful!

Sustainable Living Festival – Bio Bike ACCEPTED

The Festival’s Program Coordinator Big Weekend emailed:

Thank you for your Festival application. We are pleased to inform you that your event application has been accepted!  The team at the Sustainable Living Festival are delighted to have your event as part of our program.

Woohoo!!

So, we are heading to Melbourne to perform the Bio Bike at the 2018 SLF!

Previous SLF adventures – Leki & the Ova

The phenomenal Claire Tracey and I have previously collaborated for the 2014 SLF, where we created the roving performance/art bike Leki & the Ova.

This project used Leki as the basis for a pedal-powered no-money/barter/trade/swap, mobile op shop. It was sooooo much fun!

Leki and the Ova will be very familiar to regular BCC readers, given it is immortalised as the central feature image for the Bicycles Create Change homepage.

We roved the Festival and went out twice a day. We had a brilliant time and were a roaring success – the punters loved being part of it … and so did we!

Projects - Bicycles Create Change.com

 

It was a wicked project to make and present – and Claire and I knew we worked well together and have since joined forces on a number of ventures.

So we threw our hat into the ring for this year with our concept of the Bio Bike … and hey presto! We’re in!

So, no time to waste – we have to get organised!

But first a bit of background.

What is the SLF Big Weekend?

In it’s own words, the Festival’s signature Big Weekend event will be staged between the 9th and 11th of February. Held in the cultural hub of Federation Square and Birrarung Marr, the Festival’s Big Weekend showcases the main attractions of the Festival’s calendar.

Featuring interactive workshops, talks, technology demonstrations, art, film and live performance pieces (of which our roving Bio Bike performance will feature! NG).

One of the main attractions of the Big Weekend is the Exhibitors Market featuring over 100 exhibitors, including vendors showcasing the very best of organic food, beer and wine. Ethically-sourced clothing, sustainable building designs and gardening options will also be on show.

Treadlie and Green Magazine will be back to host the always popular Treadlie Bike Hub, with bikes, accessories and even a test track to help you make the switch from horsepower to human-power.

Click here for a sneak peek at the SLF guide highlights.

Our Bio Bike Project Aim and Overview

As an arts collective, we aim to educate, encourage and empower participants to seriously think about their ability to affect positive environmental change.

Our event is focused on raising awareness about the necessity of transitioning to a ‘below zero emissions’ society and examines creative solutions to creating this widespread societal change as soon as possible.

The Bio Bikes roving performance uses positive reinforcement and humour to create public awareness about climate change and encourages viewers to participate in the performance by interacting with the sculptural bikes when they are stationary. 

Next steps…

So, it has been action stations to get the foundations organised and prepped for the Bio Bike. We already have a clear conceptual plan of what we want the performance to entail, but it is the props and bike itself that requires time, skills, materials and construction. With the Festival fast approaching, the making of the Bio Bike is a top priority.

So, I’ve been away for the last 5 days visiting a dear long-time friend, called Coolie, in northern NSW. (No internet there, hence the delay in uploading this post- sorry!). Coolie’s technical expertise, insight and fabrication workshop was invaluable in constructing a Bio Bike prototype which will be a major part of our roving performance.

The next couple of posts will be tracking our project development as we refine and work on the Bio Bike, props, costumes and production.

Stay tuned to see how it unfolds – and if you are in Melbourne, we’ll be seeing you at the Sustainable Living Festival in a couple of weeks!

Sustainable Living Festival - Bio Bike ACCEPTED. Bicycles Create Change.com 28th Jan 2018
Image: SLF 2018

World first announced this week: Hydrogen-powered Bikes

This guest blog post is by Greg Beach, who earlier this week reported on the official announcement of the World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Bicycle. Two months ago, DesignBoom reported on this design, however, it was not officially announced until this week that Pragma’s ALPHA hydrogen-powered bicycles have been manufactured and are set to become commercially available in the near future. It will be very interesting to see what impacts and reaction this new announcement will have on cycling communities and city bike share initiatives. NG.


World first announced this week: Hydrogen-powered Bikes

Pragma Industries just became the first company to launch a hydrogen-powered bicycle for commercial and municipal purposes. Based in Biarritz, France, the company has already secured 60 orders for the hydrogen bikes from French municipalities such as Saint Lo, Cherbourg, Chambery and Bayonne.

While the bikes are currently too expensive for the commercial market, costs are expected to eventually drop from 7,500 euros to 5,000 euros, and charging stations cost about 30,000 euros.

World first announced this week: Hydrogen-powered Bikes - Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Jan 2018

While Pragma is not the only company interested in hydrogen-powered bicycles, they have taken production of such vehicles the farthest — so far.

“Many others have made hydrogen bike prototypes, but we are the first to move to series production,” Pragma founder and chief executive Pierre Forte told Reuters.

Pragma’s Alpha bike is able to travel a distance of 100 kilometers (62 miles) on a two-liter (0.5 gallon) tank of hydrogen.

Although the range is similar to that of a typical electric bike, the recharge time is significantly reduced from hours for a traditional e-bike to merely minutes for the Alpha hydrogen-powered bike.

World first announced this week: Hydrogen-powered Bikes - Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Jan 2018

Pragma offers two types of recharging stations: one that uses hydrolysis of water to generate hydrogen fuel on-site, and another, more affordable station that relies on tanks of already prepared hydrogen fuel.

Due to the high cost, Pragma is currently marketing its bikes to larger commercial and municipal operations such as bike-rental operators, delivery companies, and municipal or corporate bicycle fleets.

After producing 100 such bikes last year, Pragma hopes to sell 150 this year to organizations in places such as Norway, the United States, Spain, Italy and Germany.

In addition to developing a bike that is capable of turning water into fuel without the need of a charging station, the company plans to massively expand into the retail market within the next few years.

World first announced this week: Hydrogen-powered Bikes - Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Jan 2018

 


This news was reported world-wide through the major news outlets, so unsurprisingly, most of the reporting on this innovation appears to be based on the same publicity brief with articles repeating pretty much the same info. However, there were a few articles that supplied a little more detail about the bike, how it looks and it’s specifications (like this Reuters article).  

Images and original article published in Inhabitat 17/1/2018.

My first book review is published

My first book review is published. Bicycles Create Change.com. 17th Jan, 2018.
Source: Springer

Taking a quick side-step from our usual posts of all things bikey into the straighty-one-eighty world of academia, I was delighted this week to be notified that my first book review has been published!

Woohoo!

I found this book review a little nerve-racking to do, for two main reasons.

  1. The book I reviewed was written by two leading scholars in the field, so it was comprehensive,  clearly organised, informative, interesting and very well written.
  2.  It was the first time I have collaborated with my PhD supervisor Prof. Singh on a writing project.

Overall it was a very positive experience.

I enjoyed reading the book, learning some new skills (like how to use Routledge’s online proofreading software system) and having to opportunity to develop different academic writing skills and genres

Most of all, I am so grateful to Prof Singh, who invited me to work on the project with her so I could extend my academic skills, networks and exposure.

She is a wonderful role model and a very positive and inspiring PhD supervisor.

I was previously advised that while undertaking a PhD, it is important to recognise and celebrate the smaller stages of the whole research process  – which this first most certainly qualifies!

So here it is!


Ginsberg, N., & Singh, P. (2018). Consultants and consultancy: the case of Education. Journal of Education Policy, 1-2. doi:10.1080/02680939.2017.1420310

Consultants and consultancy: the case of Education

In their book titled Consultants and consultancy: the case of Education, Gunter and Mills explore how the growth of a consultant class, (a faction of the middle class and comprised of knowledge actors) is working to accelerate the privatization of public education in the United Kingdom. This class faction of the new middle class is redefining what the authors call ‘knowledges, knowings, knowledgeabilities and knowers’ (p 12). The authors have considerable experience and expertise in the research area and this is put to good use in the selection of content and theoretical approaches.

The book focuses on the role and implications on the UK public education service of ‘The 4Cs’ (Consultants, Consulting, Consultation and Consultancy). Each of these 4Cs are defined in detail and refer to actors, practices, exchange relationships and power relations. In doing so, this book provides a valuable exposition of the increasing commodification of knowledge and its implications for how educational policy is being designed and enacted.

The authors are unsettled by the ubiquitous and increasing privatization of the UK education process. In recognizing that ‘the 4Cs are generated by privatization, they create and develop it, and are beneficiaries of it’ (p 95), the book seeks to warn there is ‘no alternative to the privatization of public education’ (p 93) and the ‘creeping commercialization within schooling’ (p 93) will continue, as will the ‘setting up and development of a branded and billable education’ p (129).

The central premise of the book is to raise greater awareness and critical analysis for how the 4Cs are impacting educational management and provision. To highlight this, the authors present their arguments in a clearly structured way, with the book being divided into two main parts. After defining key terms and setting the scene in the introductory chapter, the first part of the book consists of three chapters, where the role and contributions of ‘educational experts’ in the form of corporate consultants, university researchers and industry professionals, are succinctly clarified and unpacked. Part two of the book consists of five chapters. In each of the chapters empirical data generated from three large scale studies is presented with the aid of concepts derived from key sociologists of education (Bernstein and Bourdieu) to think about the processes and issues involved in the generation and management of knowledge within education policy and practice. This section describes the ways in which policies and practices of the ‘consultocracy’ are shaping educational dynamics, tactics and reform.

The book has implications for education researchers working not only in the UK, but also Australia and elsewhere that have witnessed the rise of new middle class factions of consultants. Specifically, the book explores the notion of ‘knowledge regimes’ and ‘knowledge politics’ by drawing on theoretical concepts from Bourdieu and Bernstein as thinking tools to explore the ways in which new knowledge forms produced by the consultancy class (consultocracy) are reaching into schools, classrooms and homes. From Bernstein (2000) the authors draw on the concepts of boundary, pedagogic device, pedagogic fields and recontextualisation. From Bourdieu (1992; 2000 ) the authors draw on concepts of misrecognition, logic of practice, codified knowledge as doxa of self-evident truths, habitus, capital and the illusio of the game.

A limitation of the book, however, is that the work of these theorists is not systematically used to present new insights about the marketization of public education. For example, Bernstein has written about the emergence of new middle class factions engaged in processes of symbolic control (see Robertson & Sorenson, 2017; Singh 2015; Singh, 2017). The book needed to provide more detail about the ways in which factions within the middle class positioned in the fields of symbolic control and economic production are struggling over the pedagogic device of knowledge about public education. The authors provide a deterministic account around the production of new knowledge regimes, and what is thinkable, doable within these regimes. However, as Bernstein (2000) clearly indicated the pedagogic device is a site of ongoing struggle because the stakes are high. Ultimately the pedagogic device governs modes of consciousness and conscience – what is knowable, doable, and thinkable in terms of public education.

This book constitutes one of the sites of struggle over the pedagogic device of public education. Consequently, the book and this review are actors in ongoing struggles over ideas about the re/form of public education.

References

Bernstein, B. 2000. Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity. Theory, Research, Critique. Revised Edition. 2nd ed. Lanham: Rowan & Littlefield Publishers Inc.

Bourdieu, P. 1992. The Logic of Practice. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Bourdieu, P. 2000. Pascalian Meditations. Oxford: Polity Press.

Robertson, S. L., and T. Sorenson. 2017. “Global Transformations of the State, Governance and Teachers’ Labour: Putting Bernstein’s Conceptual Grammar to Work.” European Educational Research Journal, 1, 19.

Singh, P. 2015. “Performativity and Pedagogising Knowledge: Globalising Educational Policy Formation, Dissemination and Enactment.” Journal of Education Policy 30 (3): 363384. doi:10.1080/02680939.2014.961968.

Singh, P. 2017. “Pedagogic Governance: Theorising with/after Bernstein.” British Journal of Sociology of Education 38 (2): 144163. doi:10.1080/01425692.2015.1081052.

Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival 2018

Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 12th Jan, 2018.
Image: Space for Cycling Brisbane.

I’m looking forward to March this year because that is when the Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival 2018 is on- Hazah!

I can’t wait!

In June, I posted about some other Australian and international Bike Film Festivals that were happening.

So the Brisbane Bike Film Festival is fast approaching, which means for those who are brave enough, NOW is the time to get cracking and put together an entry!

Click here for more info and background on the Brisbane Bike Film Festival.

This festival aims to bring together all the different codes and cycling communities,  as well as other would-be riders, supporters, interested parties and other two-wheeled enthusiasts.

These films are a great way to experience other cycling perspectives, celebrate rides, riders and adventures, share the love and freedom of bikes … and contribute to promoting and participating in the thrills, spills and skills of all things cycling!

Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 12th Jan, 2018.
Image: Bicycle Film Festival 2012.

What do I need to know to submit an entry?

Each film is judged on the criteria of creativity, cinematography, entertainment and overall ‘bikeiness’.

Once all entries are submitted, the finalists are shown for one night only at the Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival, where the winners and People’s Choice Award are also announced.

Entries are open to any Brisbane bicycle riders. The idea is for local riders to grab a camera and film a bike-related video of something bike-related happening in or around Brisbane.

To submit a film – the official requirements are:

  • Films should be no more than 5 minutes long
  • Quicktime Format  MP4 or.mov files
  • 1920×1080 frame dimensions preferred. (Definitely not below 720×480) Larger is fine.
  • Upload your movie to Vimeo and password protect your film. Include the link to your film on your submission form along with the password.
  • The actual final formatted file might be required, in which case you will be notified.
So grab a camera and your bike and get busy –  submission close 12th Feb.
Tickets are $19ish and are now available through Eventbrite.
You can get more info and updates via the Facebook Event page.

Last year,  Guy Marron’s Global Gutz (see below) took out the top prize.

So best of luck for putting together your submissions – see you there!

Vycle – Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th

 

There are some super creative professionals out there producing innovative solutions to urban issues using bicycles as the foundation for inspiration and design.

One example I have previously posted, is the incredible and now readily available Invisible Bike Helmet which is the brainchild of two Swedish Industrial Designers, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin.

Another is the Vycle, which was first designed by Elena Larriba.

Vycle is touted as being a human-powered vertical transport solution to address increasing urbanisation.

What is Vycle– Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower?

Elena Larriba is a qualified architect (MArch) and an Imperial College and the Royal College of Art (MSc & MA) alumni.

Her work is concerned with responding to increasing urbanisation and migration.

Most densely populated urban environments and cities utilise vertical spaces. Therefore innovate methods for vertical transportation are being investigated – and harnessing the functionality of cycling is Elena’s answer!

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th Dec, 2018

 

Elena’s website explains that her design is inspired by bicycles, in that “Vycle is a system powered by continuous cyclical movement. Its benefits are twofold: firstly, it will give stakeholders a more efficient and sustainable option to ascend, and secondly, variable energy selection will be able to cater to people of varied ages and abilities, whilst creating a personalised experience”.

The two choices of moving about between building levels: elevators or stairs – and both have some serious drawbacks. Elevators require a lot of energy and encourage laziness, whereas stairs encourage physical activity, but that for some, this can be onerous or too strenuous.

In a nutshell, Elena believes “that stairs require a lot of effort for a person to go up whereas lifts are 100% powered and that this carves out an area of opportunity that sits between the two.”

Comparatively, using Vylce appears to alleviate these concerns by being compact and space efficient, easy to physically propel, as well as removing any reliance or use of precious energy and thus is incredibly environmentally sound – go bicycles!

Concept Development

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th Dec, 2018

 

The Vylce is currently only a working prototype. Further testing is required to take this product to market and comply with regulation level safety measures for implementation.

How does it work?

The Vycle team explain that this device operates by allowing “people to cycle up in an effortless and enjoyable way. The system is balanced with counterweights leaving the user body as the only weight to overcome. Using a gearing system similar to how bikes work, the user can decide how much effort they want to put to ascend or descent”.

You can see how Vcyle works in action in the video below.

Here is a possible future that Elena hopes to provide – pretty inspiring stuff!

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th Dec, 2018

 

I love the visionary and inventive ways bicycles are being utilised, modified and adapted to help provide productive and resourceful solutions to growing social, environmental and technological issues.

I can’t wait to see more ways where bicycles are being used to create a more positive future for all.

Images and video courtesy of ycle.co.uk