Farewell to 2017 and goodbye 200th year anniversary of the invention of the modern bicycle.
According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2018 is Year of the Dog with the associated element being Earth and lucky colours blue, black and green… which is surely good enough reasons for a new cycling kit!
Happy New Gear 2018 = Year of the awesome rides!
It is great to see how enthusiastic cyclists are welcoming in the new year.
There are many ways to celebrate the cycling, international and cultural events coming up in 2018.
I started getting excited when I saw a few of the examples (below) of how our talented and passionate cycling community are celebrating 2018.
So what’s on in 2018?
Not yet fully enthused about 2018? Let me whet your whistle…..
For the cyclists – get online and see what events, competitions, festivals and meets are on in your area. Of course your first stop for events will always your favorsite cycling website, magazine, news, Facebook, mates or cycling group.
International events – there are so many local and international days of significance in the 2018 calendar – and there are some awesome dates to look forward to, like some of th worldwide holidays and special dates below, like:
For some other global ‘Day of the …’ events that will blow your mates away, check out the massive range of UN International Days -which includes heaps of historical and commemorative dates (too many to list here), as well as many others, such as May 2nd (World Tuna Day), 13th June (International Albinism Awareness Day) or November 19th (World Toilet Day).
Or, for something a little more multicultural for the Aussies- here is Griffith University’s Cultural Diversity Calendar (see below), so you won’t miss any important dates.
So much to see and do in 2018- and so many great rides to experience!
However you chose to celebrate 2018 – I hope this year is filled with fun, challenges, excitement, change ….. and lots of awesome cycling!
Bike-sharing schemes are a fast-growing transport trend, with almost 1,500 operating around the world today. To governments, they’re a novel tool to help ease the burden on public transport systems and reduce congestion in cities. To people, they’re an affordable and green way to get from A to B, without having to actually buy a bike.
Inspired by the principles of the “sharing economy”, bike-sharing schemes aim to make efficient use of resources by providing affordable, short-term access to bikes on an “as-needed” basis.
These schemes have been one of the most distinctive and user-friendly means of inspiring people to change their mode of travel, largely because they blend the sustainability of cycling with the speed and convenience of public transport.
But as striking photographs from China reveal, these bold principles don’t always play out in practice. To prevent thousands of bikes literally piling up in need of repair or retirement, cities and bike-sharing businesses need to swerve around a few obvious potholes.
An uphill effort
Certain features can make cities hostile places for bike-sharing schemes; for example, overcomplicated planning procedures, strict cycling laws (such as compulsory helmet use) and political friction over giving up parking spaces to bike docks.
Inadequate infrastructure – such as limited bike lanes and unprotected cycle paths – together with traffic safety concerns, bad weather and hilly streets can also put off would-be cyclists. And if schemes suffer from poor promotion or sluggish expansion, the bikes can languish for lack of use.
Traditional bike-sharing schemes enable users to rent and return bikes at special hire stations, but they don’t provide a door-to-door service. So, for them to work, convenience is crucial. Schemes such as Seattle’s Pronto paid the price for having sparse and poorly placed docking stations, ceasing operations in 2017.
Over the last two years, Chinese bike-sharing start-ups such as Mobike and Ofo – funded by internet giants Alibaba and Tencent – have rushed to address this problem, by providing stationless smart bikes, which users can lock and unlock using a mobile app.
With lightning speed, hundreds of door-to-door bike-sharing schemes have spread across China, throughout other Asian countries and finally into Europe – the homeland of conventional public bicycle programmes. This new model has in theory the capacity to transform the world of cycle hire, just as Uber and Lyft have done for cabs.
But amid the rush to embrace this new technology, there have already been a fair few fiascoes. China’s third-biggest bike-sharing company, Bluegogo, has run into financial trouble, despite having 20m users and £226m in deposits at its zenith. With so much competition in the market, there are too many bikes available at very low prices, with insufficient demand from consumers.
Of course, some of these mistakes are easily avoidable. Wukong Bicycle, a minor Chinese start-up which placed 1,200 bikes in the notoriously hilly Chinese city of Chongqing, went out of business after only six months in operation, with 90% of its bikes presumed missing or stolen. They made the fatal error of not installing GPS devices in their fleet.
Beijing-based bike-sharing firm 3Vbike also went bankrupt in June 2017, after losing more than 1,000 of its bikes in just four months. The scheme relied on location data from WeChat, rather than building its own app, making its tracking functions ineffective. Worse still, the owner had to purchase the bikes himself, for lack of other investors.
Manchester’s Mobike scheme – the first of its kind in the UK – is still going strong, despite facing teething issues during its first three months. Bikes were vandalised, dumped in canals and bins and stolen outright, leading the company’s spokesperson to suggest that the system has been “misundertood”. Bikes have since been taken in for repair, and will be redistributedacross a smaller area in the city centre. The oBike scheme in Australian cities faced similar problems.
So, even with the right technology, dockless schemes are prone to misuse. If this new model of bike-sharing scheme is going to survive, operators will need to take note of these pitfalls, and adapt to the specific needs of their cities. Here are a few measures which can help to ensure the success of a bike-sharing scheme:
Stationless bikes might work where traditional bike-sharing schemes have failed, provided there is enough demand for these services. But free-floating bikes must have GPS systems attached – not doing so is a recipe for failure.
Fair fares, flexible membership options and ease of access all help to make schemes more user-friendly. And each scheme should have its own purpose-built app – no substitute is good enough.
Protection mechanisms and penalties for vandalism and theft should be in place from day one, to help minimise misuse. Market and education campaigns can be used to promote bike-sharing culture, and encourage people to take a positive attitude towards these bikes.
Too much competition within a city is a problem – an oversaturated bike-sharing market can be a fatal trap, especially for smaller schemes. Once they’ve assessed the market, operators need to make a city-specific plan for methodical and incremental growth. Rushing things through will lead to disaster.
City authorities should enthusiastically support bike-sharing and invest in cycling infrastructure to help schemes succeed; having a champion for the scheme, such as London’s former mayor Boris Johnson, guarantees long-term viability.
Very aggressive expansion can doom even the strongest dockless bike-sharing initiatives. Bike-sharing might not be an extremely profitable investment, so it’s important to manage investors’ expectations.
Bike-sharing is still, in many ways, a revelation and a positive addition for many cities which are battling the ill effects of car use. But at the same time it should be realised that not every city is destined to become a paradise for cyclists.
Village Bicycle Project (VBP) is a completely volunteer-run organization that collects and sends second-hand bicycles to community partners only in Ghana and Sierra Leone.
VBP has been in operation since 1999 and has its base headquarters in Seattle, USA.
It was originally founded to provide transport options of Ghana’s rural residents and farmers and has since expanded on this aim.
VBP facilitates the on-the-ground distribution and sales of bicycles that are either sourced through direct donation or via collection drives undertaken by local partner organisations based in the USA, Canada and Europe, such as Bike Works (Seattle), Recycle-a-Bicycle (New York City) and Bikes not Bombs (Chicago).
Their motto is Affordable and sustainable transportation to Africa and Changing lives in Africa.
The core philosophy framing all VBP policy and practice is not to give bicycles for free.
A clear statement on the VBP website explains the justification for this ideology as being threefold. They believe that supplying free bikes will flood the local market which undermines local bike enterprises and associated livelihoods, that free bikes do not remain in possession of those who need it most and that it devalues the bicycle as well as precipitates a reliance on aid.
Once the bikes are sourced, they undergo rigorous condition checks to ensure that only second-hand bikes of excellent quality are included, while the rest are stripped for parts.
When collection reaches distribution point, a 40” shipping container is filled with 450 bicycles and is shipped over to distribution partners in Africa.
Each shipment is divided into three streams on arrival, 150 bikes are reserved for VBP one-day maintenance workshops, a quota is reserved for other partnership initiatives (such as supplying bicycles for rural teachers). The rest of the bicycles and extra parts are sold to local bike retailers to pay the $5000 cost of shipping the container to Africa.
VBP ships about 20 containers to Africa each year.
As well as supplying bicycles, tools and spare parts, VBP provides access to mechanics for assistance and runs a number of programs. Programs include bicycles with maintenance workshops, learn to ride, bicycle mechanic training and bicycle collection and distribution.
The one-day maintenance workshop is free for anyone who has purchased one of their bikes. This course shows new owners how change flat tires, check gears and brakes and provides advice to increase biking confidence and safe riding practices.
Girls-only riding and bicycle programs
VBP specifically targets women and girls for inclusion to help begin to address the gender inequalities that limit accesses to bicycles (VBP, 2015).
The VBP website states that as of 2017, they achieved: 106,000 bikes supplied to Ghana and Sierra Leone, 3500 girls and women have learnt to ride a bike through one of their programs; 18,000 people have been trained in bike repairs; and 60,00 tools have been distributed to support the increase of bicycles in communities (VBP, 2016).
In 2014 with the help of Clara Matthews, VBP launched their girls’ only after-school month long ‘learn to ride’ classes in Lunsa, Sierra Leone. These classes were held in community parks to capitalise on being open air, friendly and socially inclusive programs within the community and were used to try to improve community acceptance of more girls riding bicycles.
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:
Attitudes, Behaviour and Choice
Health and Active Mobility
Designing Future Infrastructure
Policy and Strategies
Mobility Cultures and Education
Economic Benefits of Cycling
Digital and Data
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
Here is where the series will be taking us this year –
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).
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.
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:
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.
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!!
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.
Two Awesome Historical Stories of Heroic Cycling Women
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).
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 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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!