A wheelie good week for Bicycles Create Change Blog

As part of my new year goal setting strategy, I made a commitment to celebrate small success. This mechanism is not about attaining milestones and chalking up points, it is primarily a way to practice regular acts of gratitude and to be sure to take the time to enjoy positive results before rushing to move onto the next task.

With this in mind, I very happily acknowledge that this last week has been particularly favourable –  what you might call ‘a good blog week’. Having just dragged myself out of a new year funk, I feel very blessed and excited about the awesome things that happened this week.

An extra good blog week

Here are the top 5 amazing synergies from this week:

  1. This blog’s readership broke over 1,000 readers per day
  2. Through the blog network, a Casey City Council Representative asked permission to repost onto the council Facebook page my blog post about the Boys Backyard MTB Track from 26th Feb (CCC has been awarded $2.9m for a new BMX Complex and Cycling Precinct and like the idea that local riders of various skills and ages knew what they wanted from their cycling infrastructure – grassroots example of community consultation!).
  3. I was contacted through via blog comments, by an international academic regarding some of their research that has been featured on the blog (some of the most popular posts too!) and we have been emailing since.
  4. A local business asked if I could display my blog’s business cards at their counter. They loved the idea of the blog and wanted to support me and promote more locals to participate in active transportation.
  5. I was featured in Griffith University’s EPS weekly internal newsletter ‘Hot off the Press’. Each week a different personality is approached to be ‘introduced’. It required answering 7 standards questions – the result of which is displayed below. Since it has been distributed, I have had people come up and say how much they liked it and that they would check out the blog and other super supportive comments.

A wheelie good blog week

A super happy week!

Individually, each of these events is a lovely thing to happen, but collectively, it has been fantastic.

It feels good to be recognised for the work I do on the blog, it is not always easy. It is also great that people are now reaching out to contact and connect with me. It has also been great to get some feedback, share ideas and have some two-way interaction with other like minded people – seems like everyone is a bike advocate now!

This week has been very memorable as it is the culmination of lots of (enjoyable) hard work. It is wonderful to have people responding so positively to the blog. This week has been a massive confidence boost and injected me with a healthy shot of motivation. It has been a very unexpected, humbling and exciting week.

Thank you to the regular readers and welcome to the newbies!

A massive and sincere thank you to all those who have contacted, supported and encouraged me thus far.

And to those new friends who are more recent visitors to the blog – welcome to the community and enjoy!

Two months ago the Bicycles Create Change blog started posting on Instagram. This happened as a result of a conversation I had with a friend. I went through the usual excited and overzealous initial period or exploring, locating and investing in producing and posting images and its truth be told I enjoyed the whole precess and have learnt a lot. This particular project I am currently undertaking specifically utilises and capitalises on all the best visual and sharing aspects that Instagram has to offer.

 

 Cycling Interspecies Team of Awesomeness (Bikes_CISTA) Project

The Cycling Interspecies Team of Awesomeness or Bikes_CISTA Project is a collection of photos I have taken while riding Leki (my flower bike) around my neighbourhood and features the people I spontaneously stop, introduce myself to, have a chat and request to take their photo. All this is because they fit the inclusion criteria for the Bicycles Create Change Bikes_CISTA Team.

The eligibility for a photo invite requires:
– at least one person
– at least one dog
– at least one bike
– all are happy to stop and have a chat with me
– all give their verbal permission for me to take and post their photo (which I provide a link to).

 

Bicycles Create Change.com

Bicycles Create Change.com

As of today, I have posted 27 Bikes_CISTA teams on Instagram -with two ready to go.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this project. It gets me out and about, meeting new and different people, it requires me to brave in approaching new people and has helped me perfect my approach and explanation of the project. It is an easy way to start more conversations about bikes, community, enjoying the local area and life being better with dogs.

In addition to adding experiential value to my daily routine, it also provides a space for actively encouraging more personal social connection with my local neighbourhood and the locals.

It also has been pushing me to talk more openly about the blog and my research.

Bicycles Create Change.com

By doing this project, I not only derive incredible personal satisfaction from engaging with the personalities, stories and encounters I have with those I feature, but I also like the unpredictability and immediate nature of spontaneously interacting with people in my community.

Bicycles Create Change.com

In the very least, it is a good way to test my mettle and effectiveness in discussing my common bicycle/dog interests, promoting my blog and creating the opportunity to practice explaining in easy and clear ways what my PhD research is- this alone is an excellent skill to have!

Who have you met?

Most people I approach are great, a rare few say no, others settle in for a good chat – it has been such a range of unexpected encounters! I often walk away from my last interaction flush with new information and surprised with the generosity and friendliness of strangers-now-aquaintances. I’ve even seen a few since our initial meeting, and we have now progressed onto waving and first names basis.

Bicycles Create Change.com

Celebrate the best of you locality and positive lifestyle

Approaching people with a Bikes_CISTA invitation is my way to identify and recognise people who best represent some of what I consider to be some of the essential and most productive lifestyle choices and activities one can undertake – namely participating in a local, outdoor, social, healthy, active, dog-friendly biking community.

It been so enjoyable investing time, energy and focus into the Cycling Interspecies Team of Awesomeness – Bikes_CISTA Project. The whole precess has given me much food for thought and has proven to be a powerful technique of uncovering social and personal insights. I love getting out on Leki and keeping an eye out for potential teams to approach.

I can’t wait to see where this project goes.

On Instagram – check out more Bicycles Create Change Bikes_CISTA Teams at #bikes_CISTA or the@bicycles_create_change.

Bicycles Create Change.com

One of my goals for this year is to support and attend more bicycle infrastructure, policy and research events.  After all, 2017 is the ‘Year of the Bicycle‘ and my research is entering a stage where it really has social viability, so looks like I’ll have to dust off my dancing shoes for a few shindigs!

So to kick off the year right, I am heading down to Melbourne in a few weeks to attend my first event of the year –  Bicycle Network’s Bike Futures Conference 2017. Tasmania and Sydney have already held their state conferences and there appears to be no state conference set for Queensland – at least not in 2016 or 2017 that I have found. (Oh  dear Queensland! Not again!! Such a pity you are always so far behind the world and rest of Australia when it comes to supporting any kind of progressive cycling or biking – tsk, tsk – perhaps this is the year to turn it all around!!).

So it’s off to Victoria!  It is also a great excuse to revisit to my old hometown and see some family and friends after being away for what seems like an age!

Bicycle Network Bike Futures Conference 2017

This is a one-day forum aimed at bringing together researchers, policy-makers, bike advocates, businesses, government agencies and others to share the latest developments in cycling provision. The overall aim is to improve biking conditions and encourage more people to ride bikes. The program details a good range of speakers confirmed from various educational, business, political, health and social spheres.

On the day there will be plenary discussions, presentations and workshops on a range of topics (see tentative program below) such as safety, planning, behaviour change and various urban uses and infrastructure approaches.

I’m very excited to hear what cycling development Victoria has implemented over the last 2.5 years since I have been away and to hear what has – and has not worked. It will be a great opportunity to make some contacts and network as well. The program looks diverse and engaging and I am keen to attend pretty much every session!

I am going as I want to make some industry contacts and hope to hear about a range of interesting, challenging and/or informative sessions. I’m looking to get inspired – and hopefully, the event will also help stimulate and distill some new ideas. If I am really lucky, maybe it might even open up some new directions on how I can apply some key learnings from Melbourne’s experience to my own PhD research project.

 

Opportunity to scout some new BCC blog talent and features!

I’m going to make the most of this trip to Melbourne. To do so, I am also organising some introductions, meetings and site visitations while there. I’m keen to catch up with some old friends and see what has changed, and to follow up on a few leads featured previously on this blog – and to make some new contacts to feature as well!

I’m also looking forward to riding around Melbourne and rediscovering her biking treasures and secrets.

It is a great opportunity also to investigate what cycling events are going on in and around Melbourne.

So if you know of any biking research or events happening in Melbourne from Feb 7th – Feb 21st, 2017 that you think is worthy of a look-see, or want to recommend a person, group or event I should contact for this blog, please let me know via the comments box below. Thanks in advance! I would really appreciate your suggestions!

 

Morning Bicycle Network

Bicycle Network

Source: Bicycle Network

 

Well team – I’m delighted to announce that Bicycles Create Change is now on Instagram!

As you know, last month Bicycles Create Change celebrated it’s 1-year blog anniversary. It has been important to me to spend this year focusing on laying down some solid ground work to establish this blog. I have been reluctant to branch out into other social media platforms. Mostly because of time constraints given my PhD research, teaching load and other commitments, but also I am conscious of not wearing myself too thin and possibility diluting my passion and quality of content.

 

Instagram Origins

With this in mind, I recently had a conversation with a new acquaintance, who is a fashion designer. We were discussing different social media and I had mentioned my blog. She told me she was on Instagram and explained that as a fashion designer she more visually driven and so Instagram was ideal for her to share her identity, experiences and ideas. I asked her to show me some of the functions and was I pleasantly surprised at its simplicity. She ended our informal tutorial by saying ‘If you were on Instagram I’d follow you’.

 

A Different Medium

So on the 1-year anniversary, Bicycles Create Change branched out into Instagram – you can find me there at @Bicycles Create Change.

It has been a very interesting addition and I appreciate the different medium and what photos have to offer as far as expressing color, movement, places and moods – something which at times can be more challenging to express through writing. I have also been amazed at the effort that some people on Instagram put into the photos they upload. The quality and intensity of some of the images are remarkable and I’ve found it to be a great way to connect a whole new range and group of people.

 

Welcome to Instagram

I admit to going down the rabbit hole for a good week, checking out some of the amazing pictures, following leads and picture ‘crumbs’, exploring who is around and what they are posting. I’ve been revisiting some of my old biking trips for pictures and am certainly taking a few more photos when I’m out and about riding.

It’s been great being able to post my own images on Instagram that have not made it onto the blog (see below). I appreciate how the blog (text) and Instagram (images) are complementary as communicative mediums. Utilising Instagram has been an interesting development and I’m looking forward to seeing what might eventuate.

Thank you to those who have found and followed Bicycles Create Change on Instagram already. If you are on Instagram – drop in and check it out!

 

Instagram

 

Instagram

 

Instagram

 

Instagram

Horray!

Today is Bicycles Create Change 1 year blog anniversary! Amaze balls!

Wow.

It certainly does not feel like one year has passed (to the day) that I started sharing my love of all things on two wheels. It feels like we only just celebrated the 6-month anniversary. So much has happened since then.

What a year it has been, since its inception and the first maiden post. For the last year, this blog has been home to a wonderful collection  of stories, research and personalities detailing bicycles, riding and positive community change.

I am very pleased that I have stuck with it. I have learnt much along the way and have thoroughly enjoyed sourcing content to share. I definitely feel that there has been a change in my approach to blogging (for the better). Aside from being more strategic in how I invest time and energy into this blog, I have also derived much pleasure and satisfaction.  It has been surprising to see improvements in my technical skills, written confidence and some fantastic contacts and opportunities cropping up.

I am still humbled by the impact that a single bicycle can have on a person’s life. I know firsthand how integral riding my bike has been to my own mobility and mental health, and as a social cohesion tool that connects me to other people, locations and experiences.

I am constantly in awe of the amazing adventures, inventiveness and genuine passion that so many people have for their bicycles and getting out to contribute back to their communities. It has been such a delight to be involved in such a dynamic area. Although self-managing a blog can be difficult and challenging at times, I have been rewarded with inspiration and a sense of productivity that has been very affirming. This blog has helped my PhD research in many ways and I have been very happy with the complimentary way my research and this blog have developed concurrently.

I’ve included below a breakdown of the last 12-month analytics for this blog. It is very interesting to see and track such results. For example comparing the 23,000ish monthly visits from the 6-month mark, to the current result of 32,800 monthly average visits. I accessed this blog summary feature in the last six months and was both surprised and thrilled to see the results. Especially considering I have never officially ‘launched’ the blog, developed it to make money, or broadcasted or networked any promotions (which quietly, I have been happy with!).

Bicycles Create Change 1 year blog anniversary

The analysts and stats so far..

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I have been very fortunate to have a very supportive partner, family and immediate group of friends. It has been lovely developing a wider support crew and readership as well. All these people have been instrumental in helping me stay productive and interested. So to all those who have contributed time, ideas, feedback, material, suggestions and support – I cannot thank you enough!

And thank you to the readers!! Your time and support is invaluable to the creation of this blog. A very genuine and heartfelt  thank you for your encouragement and interest!

Although I am still waiting to hear back from a scholarship proposal as to the results as the outcome pretty much governs my next move, I will continue posting and promoting on our amazing cycling culture.  In addition to progressing my PhD, I have big plans for this blog in the 12 months. So stay tuned!

bicycles-create-change-com-2

I am hoping to collate some ideas, reflections and experiences from SSWC 2016. Hence an invite to riders involved in the SSWC 2016 to participate in an academic research project.

At this stage, I am still formulating possible research directions as I have been very disheartened at the lack of interest and exposure that singlespeeding has had as a cycling community. Coming from a community development and academic research background, I am hoping to positively contribute to this oversight – and the SSWC event is a good place to start given the concentration of passionate enthusiasts.

If you would be interested in being involved (Australian or overseas), please send me an email so that if/when this project gets off the ground, I can contact you to invite you to participate in the project. I will email you more details as the project comes to hand and this shout out is just a preliminary Expression of Interest (EOI).

 

Contact for SSWC 2016 Research Participants

So, if you participated in the Singlespeed World Championships 2016 in Woodend and would be interested in being part of a research/community project about the event and other Singlespeed culture and lifestyle explorations, then please send me an email at: <sswc2016.bicyclescreatechange@gmail.com> with ‘Count me in‘ as the subject line.

At this stage, there is no guarantee that this project will eventuate, but I will most certainly be pushing for it to happen in some shape or form and will email you with details so you can make an informed choice moving forward. You email contact will not be given, sold or used for any other purpose – only for contact my me (NG) only for this research project. If you know of other riders who maybe interested in being involved, please pass this on to them. This invite will be active until 1st December 2016.

Thanks so much of your interest. Happy riding until then!

 

bicycles-create-change-com-1

Calling all would be Guest Bloggers – here is your official invitation for submission!

If you know of a bicycle project that is contributing to positive social change, or if you are involved in an initiative where bicycles, people and positivity, big ideas and happiness converge – then I want to hear from you!!

Bicycle Create Change is inviting contributions and blog posts from anywhere in the world, in the form of stories, reflections, summaries of projects, research updates and insights into bicycle inspired projects that are working towards a better future for all.

This blog is an entrepreneurial-free zone, so we won’t publish blogs by companies, free paying marketing or advertising. Just genuine, interesting experiences that reflect the diversity, people  and pleasure that comes from a life on two wheels!

If you are interested contact Nina: nina@bicyclescreatechange.com.

Happy riding and happy writing!!

presenting

This week is the start of July 2016, heralding this blog being active for just on 9 months. Amazing!

It has been an absolute pleasure and a fantastic learning curve producing this blog. It has taught me so much about routine, researching, networking, editing, staying connected and the value of developing new skills. It has been a brilliant experience sharing and celebrating what I am are genuinely passionate about – bikes, community and positive change – and working on this blog has brought me so much joy and motivation.

9 month stats

Following the six month survey and the subsequent general feedback from that survey, I went to my host server Fat Cow and squirrelled through my account to find the first stats  (see below) I’ve seen for this blog since its inception. I was delighted (and happily surprised!) to see how many people have been visiting and enjoying this blog – and with 183, 955 hits as of July 2nd, 2016 that result is super fantastic!

I was unaware until I saw these stats exactly how many people were visiting this blog. It is very motivating. I feel super grateful that there are so many bicycle-loving, community-minded super-awesome spunks out there who active and interested in promoting a ‘cycle’ of positive change.

It has been a very interesting undertaking producing this blog and I have thoroughly enjoyed researching and networking content to share. Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

I am excited about what the future holds and I am happy that you are along for the ride!

 

Bicycles Create Change blog: Stats after 9 months

Bicycles Create Change blog: Stats after 9 months

 

Thank you

Just a quick thank you to those who have supported, encouraged and contributed to this blog so far – to the guest bloggers so far, friends and family, Mauricio for his IT help, the regular visitors of Bicycles Create Change, and to all those people who have given help and support in a variety of ways (you know who you are – thank you!) and to my beautiful husband for his unwavering support.

Thank you so much for your interest and support over the last nine months.

When this blog hit six months, I invited those who wanted to participate in a six-month survey to help review and give feedback on this blog.

There were eight questions in the survey, and I wanted to release a quick overview of the feedback I received. There were 28 respondents, from all across Australia and overseas who provided some great comments that will help shape future posts and streamline delivery.

It was great to hear how this blog’s mix of academic research, various bike initiatives and personal input was received.

A big thank you to those who responded as I really appreciate your time, ideas and comments.

 

Main feedback

Overall feedback was positive and respondents found the content interesting and liked the variety, which was very good to hear. Some people commented on having more images, colour and pictures included with posts – which is a suggestion I have taken under advisement. Since this survey opened on April 6th and closed two weeks later on 20th April, I have made a conscious change to include more images – a difference that has made the posts more visually engaging. In investigating images, I have also been inspired to create some of my own images and graphics, which means I have learnt new skills in how to use quick and interesting image and content via software programs such as Canva, Pikochart and Quote Cover –  which I have thoroughly enjoyed and hope to use more of.

Although I agree that it would be great to expand into audio and have more interactive features and extra bells and whistles on this blog, I have been mindful to keep true to a more simple format for this blog so that it is a pleasure to maintain and not onerous, especially given my PhD research commiments.

Another point raised by a few comments was checking more closely for grammar accuracy in the early posts. This is something I am aware of. There were a few key reasons why I began this blog; to get more confident and practice continuously producing a variety of texts and to sharpen up on writing skills, finding my voice and being more concise and precise with my expression. So this feedback is something that I am very conscious of and have been working on. Since my first few posts, I have been not only checking more closely before posting but am also running posts through Grammarly as an extra measure and have been using a less verbose and formal style to reduce complex expression. This is something that I will continue to work on and develop.

Some participants provided more specific suggestions, which are very helpful when looking for particular aspects to work on, other gave general feedback and ideas – all of which were very gratefully received and taken on board. Although I cannot respond to each and every idea, it is very helpful to get some insights as to how the blog is looking and feeling from the consumer point of view.

I will be very interested to hear your ideas as to come of the changes you see happing since April 20th onwards. Below are some of the results that were received –thanks again for your input!

 

Samples from questions in the six month survey

 

Q. 1

 

Q. 2

 

What do you like most about this blog?  (Sample answers)

  • Community orientated
  • Interesting content
  • If your into cycling and social change its great. If not it would interest me enough to read it.
  • Usual, entertaining, enthusiasm of writer
  • This blog has an array of interests that is able to connect with both like-minded people and the broader community of people that care about community, making changes and education.
  • Diversity of really interesting and worthwhile “good news” out there.

 

Q. 3

 

 

What suggestions do you have for improving this blog?  (Sample answers)

  • Include more pictures of images
  • Some video
  • Some cool graphics to go with the daily posts
  • More people feature and more graphics
  • Spelling and grammar check
  • Get it to the public so it can be more interactive – market from it.

 

Q. 7

 

Is there anything else you want to tell me or think I should know? (Sample answers)

  • Best wishes for your research.
  • I’m interested in bicycles in China as China is the largest population who have been using bicycles for a long time, but most Chinese now are using cars and motorbikes – what is happening there?
  • Keep up the good work.
  • Great job of different and interesting posts.
  • Easier to create content and keep inspiration going once you involve other others.
  • Well done for generating a blog on an issue that is close to your heart.

 

Thank you to all who participated!

Please also feel free to use the comment function on individual posts – you certainly don’t have to wait for a survey to share your ideas. I’d love to hear from you anytime either through comments or via email.

Starting next week, Bicycles Create Change is proudly hosting a fortnight of Country Specific blog posts from each of the Bicycles Create Change Summer Program Participants who will be our guest bloggers.

This means that the home country of each writer will be featured for a fortnight, and a selection of unique bicycles stories, local to that region, and inaccessible by English Speakers, will presented. Each writer brings their own distinctive take and will provide genuine and invaluable cultural interpretations on how bicycles are utilised in their home country in 5 posts.

Tomorrow we start with Japan by Sachie Togashiki, then in succession; Cameroon by Gabriel Besong Etch; India by Beula Juliet Alfred; Columbia by Mauricio Gonzalez Betancur. Each country will have an interval of 1 week of regular blog posts.

So, the upcoming schedule will look like:

Sachie 11 April – 24 April

Normal posts: April 25 – 1st May

Gabriel 2 May – 15 May

Normal posts: 16th May – 22st May

Juliet 23 May – 5 June

Normal posts: 6th June – 12th June

Mauricio 13 June – 26 June

I am very excited by this format, as it means that the expertise, personal experience and local cultural insights that each of these young professionals will inject into each of their posts will enhance the meaningfulness, imperative and authenticity for each story.

It also means that given the linguistic expertise of these researchers, we will able to gain far greater insights and access more content than those just published in English.

I am delighted that these four professionals have agreed to share their unique research translation and analysis with us and I can’t wait to read about how they perceive bicycles to create change in their home countries.

Enjoy!!

Guest Bloggers - Country Specific Fortnights

Guest Bloggers – Country Specific Fortnights