What happened at the International Cycling Conference 2017?

Earlier this year, I posted about two ‘local’ Australian cycling conferences that were held in the first half of the year –  Bicycle Network’s Bike Futures (February) and the Australian Walking and Cycling Conference (July).

Now we are in the second half of the year, it seems the next round of cycling conferences are all big ‘international’ events being held overseas.

The most recent of these events was the 2017 International Cycling Conference, which was held this week in Mannheim, Germany.

What happened at the International Cycling Conference 2017?

This is an annual 3-day event that brings together international researchers, planners, policy makers and practitioners working in cycling theory and practice.

This year, the Conference was focused on 10 central themes:

  1. Rethinking Infrastructure
  2. Attitudes, Behaviour and Choice
  3. Health and Active Mobility
  4. Designing Future Infrastructure
  5. Policy and Strategies
  6. Mobility Cultures and Education
  7. Economic Benefits of Cycling
  8. Digital and Data
  9. Safety
  10. Bike-Sharing, Electric Bikes and Intermodality

Although international in principle, the conference is predominately attended by European representatives. This is most likely due to their being in close geographic proximity to Germany – nip in, nip out.

Understandably, there were many Dutch speakers on the program, but also it was great to see as presenters coming from further a field like Taiwan,  Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Uganda and South Africa.

I was delighted to see 3 Australian presenters, Dr Jennifer Bohnam (Uni of Adelaide), Prof. Narelle Haworth (CARRS_Q Queensland) and Dr Marilyn Johnson (Monash Uni.) presenting a session entitled: Cyclist-related content in driver licensing processes.

I’m currently working on my PhD Confirmation paper which is due in 2 weeks. After confirmation, PhD researchers get a travel grant to attend an international event to present.

Seeing the ICC program (see below) is a great motivator for me to keep pushing on with my own cycling research. (Right now I am in the ‘zombie zone’ and really have to knuckle down and just grind, grind, grind).

The range, scope, depth and variety of the sessions this year was pretty impressive. It looked as if there really was something for everyone!

If you went to the ICC, what cycling issue or topic would you present?

Until such a time, it can’t hurt to keep the ICC Program, Speaker List and Brochure handy (below) as a tangible reminder of all the good work being done around the world where bicycles really are creating positive change!

Click here to access:

Here is an overview of the ICC  program and details. Click on the pages below to read the expanded image.

International Cycling Conference 2017 - Bicycles Create Change.com International Cycling Conference 2017 - Bicycles Create Change.com International Cycling Conference 2017 - Bicycles Create Change.com International Cycling Conference 2017 - Bicycles Create Change.comInternational Cycling Conference 2017 - Bicycles Create Change.com

International Cycling Conference 2017 - Bicycles Create Change.com

Full Moon Rides

Hooray Full Moon tonight – Let’s ride!!

 

Full Moon Rides
Source: artALT

 The Strawberry Moon

Tonight is a particularly special full moon (especially if you are in the Northern hemisphere) because over there it is The Strawberry Moon.

There are heaps more astronomy details and cool stuff to know about why this month’s moon is so special.

But essentially it is because it is a micro-moon or mini-moon, which means it is the smallest full moon for the whole of  2017.

Tonight the moon will be about 30,000 miles (50,000 km) farther away from Earth than the new moon supermoon of May 25, 2017.

I went down to the waterfront at sunset to watch the moon rise – and it was stunning!

Tonight will certainly make for a spectacular night ride!

If you are not a regular night rider, or have not been for a full moon bike ride – I highly recommed it.

Not only is it lovely to ride at night by yourself or with others, but riding under full moonshine is very special and not something you get to regularly do – so if you have the chance try it!

Many bike groups and/or places and urban riders host regular or special event Full Moon Bike Rides (FMBR).

If you have not been on a FMBR before, I’ve listed a few below to share how much fun they can be.

So tonight get on your bike and get out riding under the full moon!

Brisbane’s Full Moon Bike Ride – Full Moon River Ride at Orleigh Park

Full Moon River Ride (Brisbane, QLD). Experience a unique perspective of our beautiful river city riding around Brisbane under the lights of the full moon. Starting at Orleigh Park in West End, this route is exclusively on bike paths around the Brisbane river through South Bank, the botanical gardens before returning via the Go-Between Bridge.

Date/Time & Venue: Friday, 9 June 2017, 6 – 8pm. Orleigh Park, 68 Hill End Terrace, West End, Brisbane, QLD.

Meeting point: Car park, corner Riverside Drive and Hill End Terrace. Cost: Free. Just be at the meeting point 15 minutes before the ride starts.

Requirements: Bike, helmet, water bottle, money for a coffee.

For more information contact Ross at Brisbane By Bicycle on 0413 253 366. Bookings: Not required.

Bikes and equipment can be hired for $15 per person per activity but this must be arranged in advance.

Elsewhere is Australia

LUNACY RIDE – Sacred Rides in Jindabyne, Kosciuszko (Nov – March) Guided Summer Full Moon MTB Ride. This FMBR is an organised (paid) ride and only happens in the Summer months and thier website boasts that it is .. something a bit different, why not try the BEST POSSIBLE mountain biking experience in the Snowys – (or anywhere else in Australia): Our extemely fun ‘Lunarcy Ride’ up the higest Mountain in Australia – in real Style.

During this ride you ascend Australia’s highest mountain, Mt. Kosciuszko, which for most riders is “a once-in-a-lifetime experience”. This group organises the bike ride and has a tour guided tour and  support team. You leave at 5.30pm and ride up to have a drink at the top and see the sun set and the moon rise over Australia’s iconic mountain range. You then ride back down in full moon light. Awesome!

 

Full Moon Rides
Source: Bike Rumour. Photo by Russell Jobs. Taking a break during a Full Moon Beach Ride along the shore of Lake Michigan.

 

A few USA examples

Tosa Full Moon Bicycle Rides in Wauwatosa (Wisconsin USA). This ride is a social, slow paced ride which promotes a NO SWEAT pace. All are invited to ride (bring freinds and family) through urban Wauwatosa where ther are stops for drinks and nibbles.

Philly Full Moon Bike Rides – These guys are super organised and have a strong Facebook community and get a regular turn out (see photo above).

ATex Full Moon Group (Austin, Texas) have regular Full Moon Bike Rides – as does their ‘brothers’ in Houston Texas.

These guys are extra special as they start their ride at 11.59 pm and ride til 2am so that they can ‘be closest to the full moon’ – Wow!

Atlanata Moon Ride is not just as social ride, but a supercolourful fundraiser and live music event with best decorate bike and costume awards – they get up to 5,000 riders to their event. Imporessive!

Full Moon Bike Rides
Source: Bike Rumour. By Gary. Preston Theler, one of our shop mechanics and master wheel builder, took this picture on a full moon ride up Mt. St. Helena, Napa, California.

New Zealand, Palmerston North

The Swamp Rads Bike Gang rove the trails and streets of Palmerston North – where they “rove the sweet Manawatu bicycle trails stopping at taverns, cafes, beaches and picnic benches. The rules: pedal power only, no lycra, no hierarchy”.

Global  and/or start your own

International Awarewolf Full Moon Bike Rides. International Awarewolf Full Moon Bike Rides are now happened in San Diego CA, Dallas TX, Tempe AZ, Las Vegas NV, Bristol England, Johannesburg South Africa, Oslo Norway and a few other places. Awarewolf wants to have more cities around the world hosting similar AWLF inspired FMBRs to raise awareness for Safe Cycling Advocacy. Plus they have some cool statements, like: We are a pack, not a mass and Don’t be a negative example of a positive movement.

Get out riding tonight!!

Where ever you are, and however you can – be sure tonight to get on a bike tonight and check out the beautiful Strawberry full moon.

Enjoy your full moon ride!

Howl, Howl!!

Full Moon Rides
Source: Bike Rumour. Photo: Russell Jobs. Taking a break during a Full Moon Beach Ride along the shore of Lake Michigan.

EWS 2017 Starts today

The Enduro World Series kicks off today in Rotorua NZ – Horray

This is going to be a great year for Enduro racing and it is awesome to see the first two rounds in the Antipodes – and with heaps of support, media and events going on there is something for everyone.

Here is where the series will be taking us this year –

EWS 2017
Source: EWS

I’m stoked the first round is in Rotorua. It was raining pretty hard for a while, so now the tracks are pretty muddy and slippery – a real physical challenge!

Great to see the full 7 rounds being held at Redwoods – much better than last times liaise over the other side – much better management and track link-up.

Nice to see the new (old) illegal track (now legal) as well as Dodds, and some of Whakarewarewa Forest’s best double black diamond runs being showcased for the event (see map and track overview at the end of this post).

Rotorua is the place to ride

Just 2 months ago I was in Rotorua riding exactly the same trails – it was our second year riding in Rotorua and I have posted previously about how impressed I am with the government, local business and community support that Rotorua has for mountain biking. The local community has some great authentic family-based initiatives, like the Dad’s n Lads project to get more Rotorua locals on bikes as well – so the push for more biking is not just for out-of towners.The infrastructure, encouragement and forward-thinking that Rotorua has for bike-based tourism is brilliant – they are most certainly leading the way.  And rightly so. Securing some big ticket international MTB  festivals such as Crankworx, this EWS round and the  Rotorua Bike Festival sends a very clear message that NZ is a principal mountain biking destination.

Round 1 is anyone’s game

It will be interesting to see what happens for this round – and for the season. Personally, I’m hoping Sam Hill is in superman form and give Riche Rude, Damien Oton and Jerome Clementz a serious run for their money. I’m also hoping that NZ local boys Wyn & Eddie Masters and Matt Walker strut their stuff and show ’em how to ride NZ style on home turf – it would be awesome to see Kiwis on the podium. In the Elite Women’s, Cecil Ravanel, Isabeau Courdurier and Anita Gehrig are set to battle it out with the rest of the field. What a top line-up. If practice was anything to go by many agree it is going to be a very exciting round!

So strap yourself in for a great EWS series full of some awesome racing this season – let’s get it on!!

Source: Pinkbike. Follow Fabien Cousinié down the 7 stages.

EWS 2017 Starts today
Source: EWS

Source: EWS

Earth Hour 2017

Tonight my household is part of the international celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Earth Hour 2017. Horray!

Along with millions of other homes in 179 countries and in over 7,000 cities, from 8.30pm – 9.30pm tonight, those homes who have registered are turning off all the power for at least one hour in recognition of worldwide climate, resource and environmental issues.

How bicycles are part of Earth Hour 2017

I am very proud to see this Australian event take off internationally and to see how bicycles have been incorporated more and more into the event – here are just a few ways cycling is featuring this year around the world for Earth Hour 2017.

There are heaps of bicycle-themed events going on this year for Earth Hour. Here are some innovative examples:

Earth Hour 2017
Source: Press Reader. Click here for original article.

 

I was interested to find that in 2014 there was a spin-off version of Earth Hour called ‘Bike Hour’ – a very bicycle-inspired initiative.

Earth Hour 2017
Source: Cycle Space Click here to original

 

If you are interested – the short video below shows some of the highlights and impacts from Earth Hour 2016. If you are not already involved – and even if you are – perhaps you can host your own Earth Hour bicycle event! Good luck and have fun!!

International Women’s Day 2017

Happy International Women’s Day  – A quiet ride to celebrate.

I have just returned back from celebrating International Women’s Day 2017 (IWD). It is late now, just past midnight in fact, so technically it is the day after IWD. I’m late as I had spent the afternoon and evening going for a wonderful IWD ride. So before my IWD night officially ends, I thought I would put up a quick considerations to mark the occasion.

International Women’s Day Background

For those who don’t know, International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

International Women’s Day has a long history in the West dating back to 1909. In 1975, the United Nations General Assembly made the holiday globally recognized by inviting member states to declare March 8 a day for women’s rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment. Since then, the UN creates an annual theme for International Women’s Day. Today also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity and the theme for this year is Be Bold For Change.

This day is important for many reasons, but  with the World Economic Forum prediction that the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186, the struggles of many women in disadvantaged situations is more acute than ever.

Therefore, International Women’s Day (IWD) is an opportunity to raise positively contribute to

  • celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women because visibility and awareness help drive positive change for women
  • declare bold actions you’ll take as an individual or organization to help progress the gender agenda because purposeful action can accelerate gender parity across the world.

International Women's Day

Two Awesome Historical Stories of Heroic Cycling Women

I got a real kick out of reading Peter Zheutlin’s article about his amazing great great-aunt Annie Cohen Kopchovsky’s ride way back in 1895 and the legacy that this event has had since in helping women to break boundaries – inspirational!

Another historical piece by fellow bike Blogger Nicola from Women Who Cycle offered some insightful comments when considering the impact and connections between bicycles and specifically American women (based on a Wisconsin stimulus).

 

International Women's Day
Source: Bike Penticton

IWD 2017 – Who, what and how?

IWD is not all about women – it is equally important that our brothers and the gorgeous men in our lives are also recognised! In fact some of the most staunch feminists I know are men.

There are many places to find out what is on this IWD. Some people offer ideas such as hosting your own events, for others who might want time alone or to be with friends, there are numerous suggestions on ways you can celebrate and share the day.

International Women's Day

How are riders around the world celebrating International Women’s Day 2017?

For the cycling community, regardless of what gender you are  – IWD guarantees a plethora of events, celebrations, awards and all kinds of reasons to get together for a ride – for example:

  • There were celebrations and rides all over the world, although coverage of these reports varied in detail and depth for example Malaysia, India and  the UK.  There was also a massive march in New York City, which some friends of mine attended and said they saw a large cycling cohort represented – hooray!
  • More locally, the Bushrangers MTB Club celebrated more women registering in the club than ever before.
International Women's Day 2017
Source: Total Women’s Cycling

 

Quiet time to reflect and give thanks

Personally, I celebrated International Women’s Day 2017 in low-key style. This year I wanted to mark the day with simplicity, gratitude and in a way that acknowledged the ordinary and everyday.

Instead of going to a big event, I opted instead to take a solo ride along the coastline and have time to reflect. For me, this was a more honest and personal way to ruminate and commemorate on the processes of womens’ struggles.

As I rode, I thought about my life and the lives of others.

I thought about the current situation of fellow sisters throughout the world, the amazing progress the world has made and areas that still need improving. I thought about how I impact the world, and how I felt I was making a difference and where I though we needed more change.

I took time to stop and gave thanks.

I watched the bay and listened to the lapping of the waves. It was a stunning afternoon. The ocean breeze was cool and reassuring, the sunset spectacular and full of promise for the next day and I was very grateful to be alive and riding my bike.

What did you do to commemorate this day?

What ever it was – Happy International Women’s Day!

Year of the Bike – Happy 200th!

I’m very excited as 2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the bicycle.

Happy Year of the Bike!

Bring on 2017!

According to Chinese Astrology, we are leaving the Year of the Monkey (2016) and entering the Year of the (Fire) Rooster (starting Feb 2017 for Chinese New Year). If you are not sure what ‘Year of the ..’ you were born – check here.

The New Year transition ALWAYS means big changes – but this transition ESPECIALLY is going to uncover some sudden upheavals, dramatic ends and new beginnings. Don’t be surprised if you see relationship break ups, new lovers coming together, people leaving their jobs or being promoted, other will be moving house, going away (interstate or overseas). Passionate pleas will be made, sudden conflicts aroused, cathartic outbursts unleashed, secrets revealed and many desires fulfilled (*sigh*). No doubt a few unexpected changes to content with during this particular New Year transition – perhaps you have already noticed or experienced it’s effects??

But once this has passed, 2017 is shaping up to be AMAZING!!!

Most importantly  – I think it is awesome that the wee little future riders lucky enough to be born this year can claim to be a ‘bicycle’! All those born in  2017 will be ‘Year of the Bike’ – how cool is that!!

I wonder if this means we will see a significant increase in births by cycling parents trying to have their kids born this year so they can claim their child to be ‘Year of the Bike’. It would be an interesting sociological/public health study to investigate!

I also hope this means that a few of us get a massive kick start to the New Year. Also, all year there should be HEAPS of events, exhibitions, art, gatherings, conferences and shows paying homage to the humble bicycle. So keep your eyes open for upcoming events – or even better host your own!

If you see or know of a Year of the Bike event that you think Bicycles Create Change should feature, please let me know via the comments.

2017 – Happy New Year of the Bike!!

 

Back in the day

It is hard to believe that it all started 200 years ago in 1817, when in his German Mannheim laboratory,  Baron Karl von Drais produced the first recognised velocipede – the original of what we today call the bicycle. When it was first launched, it was called the Laufmaschine  (“running machine”) and was the brunt of much ridicule.

Over the years the basic (frame and wheel) design saw many evolutions of change and development until by the 1860’s the product was such that it was officially dubbed a ‘bicycle’ from then on. As you well know, improvements in bicycle designs continue today.

The bicycle has a long and rich history, of which I am not going to recount here as it easy to find details of the bicycle’s history, uses, popularity and transformations over the years.

 

Pat Brennan
Source: Pat Brennan

How well do you know bike history?

If you love bikes and are keen to test your knowledge of bicycle history – try this HISTORY OF THE BICYCLE EXCERCISE – which also has a downloadable worksheet (and answers). See how well you do and get some extra awesome histo-cultural background to wow your mates on group rides and at dinner parties when the topic of Year of the Bike comes up.

To see a quick rehash of the major stages and changes that bicycles have undertaken over the years – this 1-minute animation is spot on.

Rotorua’s Tree of Bikes

Imagine my surprise when arriving in New Zealand, I saw another bicycle-inspired ‘Christmas’ Tree! After having just left Brisbane a week ago and seeing Brisbane’s bicycle-powered Christmas Tree at South Bank, I found that New Zealand have their own spin on the bicycle-themed (Christmas) Tree.

 

NZ’s Tree of Bikes

Just like my PhD topic, NZ’s Tree of Bikes was specifically designed to raise awareness of the vital role that bicycles play in getting children who live in extreme poverty to school – awesome!

The NZ Tree of Bikes is the brain child of ChildFund and was created in collaboration with Enterprize Steel and Beca Engineers. It was originally erected in Queens Street Wharf, Auckland for Christmas last year (2014/5). Aside from raising awareness about bicycle-for-education needs in developing nations, the tree was also a focus point to promote ChildFund’s Gifts that Grow program during Christmas. Although the Gifts that Grow program doesn’t have a specific bicycle-for-education option, it does provide aside range of immediate, sustainable, community-orientated and positive present-giving replacement options in a similar theme to Bicycle Create Change’s previous post of bicycle-inspried alternative ethical gift alternatives to help support other less fortunate and those living in extreme poverty.

 

The Tree of Bikes Origin

There are two versions of the NZ Tree of Bikes. Bother trees have the same structure, features and function.

For example, the first Auckland Tree of Bikes was a 7-meter high Bicycle ‘Christmas’ Tree that had a central steel structure that was adored by 120 up-cycled bicycles and an array of bike parts. The 120 bicycles that make up this tree were all donated by local Aucklanders and after the tree was exhibited over Christmas, the tree was dismantled and the all the bicycles were donated to local community groups like the Refugee Centre.

The Auckland Tree of Bikes was so popular and successful, that a similar, second tree was organised and installed in March 2016 by the Rotorua Lakes Council to coincide with Crankworx Rotorua. It was great to see local council getting behind the intiative and fully supporting the project by providing with a donation drop-off point, publicity and clearing the red tape to ensure that such a great project is endorsed, encouraged and prioritised. As with the Auckland Tree of Bikes, the local residents of Rotorua donated 150 bicycles and parts to create the 2016 Bike Tree public art instillation that featured prominently at the Crankworx Village Green.

 

Rotorua Bike Tree
Source: Radio NZ:Andrew McRae

Why can’t all local councils be as forward thinking as Rotorua?

Although a seemingly small project, the Rotorua Tree of Bikes is yet again another example of how NZ finds innovative, community-based initiatives that are interesting, promote cycling and increase positive community participation.

Last year when we came to Rotorua for a similar mountain bike trip, I posted on the impressive infrastructure plans and that the local, regional and national NZ Municipalities had in relation to the Rotorua Urban Cycling Strategic Plan 2015-2018. Previously and currently, the local Rotorua Council continue to invest and support development that ensures and cements Rotorua as the premier mountain biking Mecca for the Southern Hemisphere. With such committed political and community investment, the benefits are paying off as word spreads in the mountain bike and enduro scene that Rotorua is the one of the best places to ride.

Why is it so hard for the rest of the world (and Brisbane in particular) not to see that investing in road and trail cycling is profitable, positive and socially beneficial? Rotorua is a fantastic example of this can be mutually advantageous for  tourism and local businesses, as well as for bikers of all ages and stages.

So when you get here, I’ll either see you on the trails or under the Tree of Bikes!

Ethical Bicycle Christmas Gifts

Christmas is nearly upon us.

In our house we have a strict no present policy. This is primarily for environmental and ethical considerations, but also because we are consciously and actively reducing our impact on the environment and our reliance of material possessions to more towards a more sustainable, thoughtful and minimal existence.

Within the confines of our house, this is easy to enforce and has been the rule for many years. My immediate family and friends know, appreciate and support our no gift position and reasoning. However, in cases when outside our immediate circle (like work) or when have to interact with other families (or other people’s kids), it can still be a little tricky. As much as I detest the mainstream practice of over packaged, wasteful, plastic commodification of expected entitlement that goes along with normative practices of Christmas gift giving, this idea can be quite hard for a four-year old to grasp.

I am fortunate to have years of practice in explaining my gifting approach in a way that can be heard – but not always understood or accepted. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that some people just won’t understand – or will think I’m crazy (..or lazy, forgot, a miser or whatever else). So be it.

I’m at the stage where I don’t care what other people think. But for others who are moving in a similar direction, it can still be difficult if your placed in situations where it might still be necessary/expected to give a present  (work Chris Cringles). So  for those who are in this kind of situation – and for any other bike crazy people who also want to support a more ethical and sustainable Christmas – here are my suggestions for alternative bikivism gift giving techniques.

 

10 Ethical, community-supportive, green, fair-trade, sustainable, bike-inspired gifting alternatives (phew!)

  1. Adopt a ‘make, bake, sew or grow’ gift that is bicycle relate – for example: make a bicycle helmet bag, bake a bicycle theme cake (as featured two posts ago) sew a bike courier patch onto a bag, or plant some flowers to grow into an old upturned bike helmet
  2. World Bicycle Relief – Support bikes, education and developing nations by buying from WBR shop where there are prints, cards, t-shirts and bikes-for-education sponsorship options
  3. Literacy on two wheels – (Room to Read/Global Girlfriend): $50 can provide a bicycle for a girl. School can often be a 2 to 3 hour walk from home along remote roads, making school an impossibility for millions. A bicycle can cut that time down dramatically
  4. Sponsor a Bike – For our UK friends – this organisation has programs starting from £10 a month to support a refugee to start cycling safely. Thi minimal cost includes: a bike, brand new lights, a lock and a helmet, unlimited repairs (if necessary), a road safety session – and you as the donor will receive one free bike service a year. There are also other upgrade options.
  5. Bike Gifts is a South African organisation that aims to add to the South African economy, to support local entrepreneurs and produce new and exciting products. they source quality, local bespoke products
  6. Create your own bicycle gift voucher or gift someone a card that you made with bicycle on the cover, or ethically source it from somewhere else like recycled artists on Etsy, and write: Happy Christmas! This card can be redeemed for an afternoon picnic ride with me. Call me to arrange the date. I can’t wait to share some quality time with you and build more happy memories together!! Happy Christmas!
  7. Check out Shared Earth for a range of fair trade, recycled gifts and home wares made from recycled bike chains. This organisation aims “to improve the livelihoods of disadvantaged people in developing countries, benefiting local community projects and keeping alive traditional skills that would otherwise be lost”.
  8. The Intrepid Foundation $25 Bicycle Helmet – The Green Gecko Project cares for former street children and their families by providing them with education, security, love and opportunity. This gift will provide four young people with a bicycle helmet for safe riding on the streets of Siem Reap, Cambodia. The best thing about this gift is that for every dollar you spend on this project – The Intrepid Foundation will match with all proceeds going to Green Gecko. Green Gecko also has some other fantastic projects.
  9. Gift a bicycle for 5 children to ride to school in Vietnam through Caritas’ Gift of Education Card program to help support “overcoming poverty, promoting justice, upholding dignity”.
  10. Support women artisans from the slums of Chennai, working with Baladarshan SPEED Foundation that promote local women’s employment opportunities by buying fair-trade recycled Indian Billboard Panniers  (see below)…. you can also select which deities you want to ride with!

Best of luck and I applaud your sustainable and environmentally/socially aware choices in gift giving this Christmas.

I wish you a minimalist and very happy time!

Baladarshan
Source: The New Internationalist – Baladarshan

Invisible Bicycle Helmet

There are a number of things I love about this innovation – the invisible bike helmet.

Yes, it is primarily about bikes and most certainly about creating positive and safe biking change.

However, it is a reinvention of the normal and breaking many (social and technical) barriers. Here are some reasons why this innovation is so special:

  • it is NOT from an English-speaking country (and not presented in English – how refreshing!)
  • it took the two inventors sooo long to get the research right (seven years!!)
  • their overall commitment, passion and teamwork is inspiring
  • and most importantly … the creators are two Swedish female Industrial Designers leading the (male dominated) field …. and kicking ass!!

How the hell…

I like the revolutionary and stylish innovation they have come up with.

It directly responds to current changes in urban biking as well as being understated and no fuss (the model only comes in black  – how Swedish chic!).

I’m still in awe of the engineering behind how it is deployed and works and I think the concept is magnificent.

The speed and responsiveness of the sensors and algorithms they have used are quite remarkable.

In Australia?

It is tempting to look into the legality of using one of these helmets in Australia.

I know you have to have a registered Australian Safety Approved helmet here. But let’s face it, in some respects Australia can be so far behind the times and considering this is a recognised international safety and protection device…. the larrikin bugger in me would love to use it and see what happens!

The company who is producing it Hovding, have them currently retailing for €299. They are up to their second model already and have won an European Patent Office Award (2016) patent. Models can come with stylish personalised covers. Sign me up!!

“Cars are so yesterday, bikes are the future.”

 

Japan: Bicycles that expand children’s potential in Cambodia

by Sachie Togashiki

 

In my research about the positive contribution of the use of bicycles to children’s education in developing countries, I found CBB Cambodia. This is a Japanese NGO (non-governmental organisation) consisting of about 20 university students who support Cambodian children by providing bicycles. In spring and summer 2015, the CBB Cambodia devised and managed microfinance to provide Cambodian children with bicycles. A member of the organisation engaged in this project recorded her experience in the organisation’s blog.

The writer, Kumi Sakahashi, realised the influences of bicycles on Cambodian children’s dream job. This is because she encountered a Cambodian boy, Kea, who was about to drop education in his elementary school to support his parents. After CBB’s intervention, Kia did not have to leave school and went to a junior high school. It was because, in spring 2015, CBB Cambodia provided 33 people including Kea with a bicycle. This helped Kea to reduce his commuting time to the school and spend more time on housework and his study. This experience enabled Kea to raise his expectations from becoming a teacher to a doctor. Ms. Sakahashi heard this from Kea in summer 2015. She concludes the blog post by stating that the use of a bicycle enabled Kea to go further places where he saw many different people, resulting in a change of his dream job.

This blog post is significant because it shows the importance of bicycles in terms of widening children’s future possibilities. Ms. Sakahashi explains that without access to advanced education opportunities, children in Cambodia can only be a teacher or a farmer. Jobs requiring far more training such as being a doctor, require much greater opportunity. However, most children in Cambodia give up to go to a junior high school. This is because, according to a crowdfunding website that CBB Cambodia devised in 2014, although there is an elementary school per a village, there is only one junior high school per 3-4 villages, which makes it difficult for children to go. Ms. Sakahashi also argues that, however, with a bicycle, they might be able to continue their education and to aim to get their dream job because bicycles save the time. The children can save money as well as time by helping their parents work. Therefore, bicycles might play a significant role to help children get an education.

 

Source CBB Cambodia: Ready for Japan - Bicycles beyond borders
Source CBB Cambodia: Ready for Japan – Bicycles beyond borders

 

Sakahashi, K. (2015, September 4). A bicycle that expands children’s potential [Web log post].Retrieved from http://cbb-cambodia.org/a-bicycle-expands-possibilities-of-kids.

CBB Cambodia [NGO] (2014, November 28). 100 bicycles for children in Tomato who cannot go to their school. Retrieved from https://readyfor.jp/projects/cycle_beyond_the-borders.

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