Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival 2018

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

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

I can’t wait!

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do I need to know to submit an entry?

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

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

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

To submit a film – the official requirements are:

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

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

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

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.
Image: Official Woodford Program Cover

Hey Bike nuts! This week I was at Woodford Folk Festival.

Woodford is Australia’s largest annual outdoor cultural and folk festival.

This year, there were over 2,500 amazing musical gigs, performances, shows, talks, demos, roving performances, gardens and activities.

It is a truely amazing experience to wander around Woodfordia.

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival

Here is a copy of the full program – EPIC!!

There is also the Speakers Program, which has over 70 talks on a massive array of topics – including many current social, political and environmental issues.

It is difficult to tell you everything you can see and do at Woodford, so I’m just going to hit the bike high points and let you explore the full shebang for yourself another time if you are interested (highly recommended!).

On arrival – bike parking

It was great to see that at the entrance, the ‘Bike Parking’ was already filling up and that cyclists had a direct and preferential access to the front entrance – rockstar parking for bike riders!

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Wozwaste

I was delighted to see Wozwaste was not wasting anything – and their market stall looked great! I am super impressed at how their product range has increased since I last saw them.

I popped in for a good chat and catch up. they are doing great work with recycling materials. While we were chatting, I asked a few technical questions about issues I was having working with bike inner tubes. They had had the same difficulties I was experiencing and so had decided to switch over to using motorbike inner tubes now as a result.

I really appreciate Wozwaste’s philosophy and commitment. It is inspiring to know people are out there whereby up/recycling is the basis of their business. It was great to see their range first hand and see what they have achieved so far.

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Roving Performances

The Rain Cloud

The heat and sun was super hot, so the organisers arranged to have the rain cloud bike roving to help cool off punters.

This is four person, pedal-powered bike which ‘rained’ a fine mist over those who stood near the clouds.

It was a great way to cool off, the drizzle was a very welcome reprieve. When the bike stopped, people were encouraged to sit on the float to rest and cool off – the kids loved it!

There were seven operators, all in various costumes who took it in turns to ride and/ore entertain as needed.

A very effective and impressive roving performance!

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

The Woodford Postal Service

This roving performance also served a legitimate service.

Within Woodfordia, there is the Post House, from which there is a team of Posties on bikes whose job it is to rider around, interacting with festival goers by ‘delivering letters’.

The idea is that you can stop a Postie (or they might ask you) to ‘send’ a message or letter to someone throughout the day/festival.  It can be any message you like and you give a description to the postie and their job is to deliver it – which makes for some hilarious interactions as some of the descriptions are quite vague, so there are many posties going up to people asking them if they are so and so in an attempt to deliver a message.

In an age of instant text messaging, this kind of audience participation activity was inventive, creative and so much fun to be part of.

Everyone was getting into it and the posties did a great job!

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Out the front of ‘The Post House’

Festival-goers on wheels

Woodfordia has a great path network and the access is well thought out, so it was great to see a higher number of many festival visitors on wheels getting around.

There were a few wheel chairs, but far more hand-driven chairs and recumbents and a few scooters.

Most notably, there was a very popular trolley stall which hired out wagons for families to wheel their tired kids around. This a great idea for storage, sleeping kids, having some shade, reserving some space and being able to find your people at a distance – GOLD!

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Image: Rock n Roller Wagons

Bike Refreshments Stall

Throughout the day, I kept seeing Jeremy and his gorgeous pedal-powered refreshments stall rinding around. I had to go up and chat to him. He is a genuinely beautiful man and was so happy to be out and about. His happiness was infectious. Great shoes and what a smile!

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

Unknown Pink Bikers

These guys had a compound that was open at certain times and they were entertaining people with tricks, magic and activities.

Later on, I saw them riding around interacting with punters and generally adding to the overall cheer and colour.

Great to see more bikes getting around, but some of the older guys in glitter glam hot pink Barbarella-style costuming might have scared a few of the kids.

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Opening Ceremony

I’m sure you will be able to get a hold of some footage of the official opening ceremony for the festival. There were massive puppets, fire work, a latern parade, an aboriginal welcoming ceremony and dancing, various singers to name a few.

Of most interest for this post was the use of bicycles during the later parade to help move the larger lantern around as needed – it was only when you looked closely could you see that bikes were instrumental in the latern below in particular.

Bikes at Woodford Folk Festival. Bicycles Create Change.com 29th Dec 2017.

 

Overall – a wonderful time!

Whether you are going for bikes or the music or the culture – Woodford has it all.

It was great to see so much wonderful music, vibrancy, creativity, colour, energy, care and community.

What a great was to end the year!

See you in 2018! Happy and safe riding all!

Bike T-shirt Champions

Following on from the last post looking at where to get cool, original, and good quality bike t-shirts, this post is looking at some that I have already seen out and about. This has inspired me to start an Instagram photo collection called #biketshirtchampion.


Bicycles Create Change.com -20th Dec. Bike T-shirt Champions
At St Andrews Market (VIC).

Like most other rider, bikes are very central in my life.

As with anything that is at the forefront of your attention or your major passion, this means I see bikes everywhere.

Which I think is awesome!

It is easy to pick riders when they are with their bikes. Conversely, when most riders are not on their bikes, many wear bike-related clothing.

At most bike events, races and festivals you get to see some pretty cool bike designs getting dusted off – I know I always wear one of mine to events.

Going through my photo albums recently, I realised that I have heaps of pictures of people in bike t-shirts.

For example, when I was in Cairns last year for the UCI World Cup, I deliberately wore my ‘tandem t-shirt’. It was a great way to start conversations and people really got the quick humour of it.

While I was there, I saw heaps of other people walking around in bike t-shirts as well …it was awesome! I remember going up to a few strangers who had particularly funky bike prints and having a chat about where they got it and asking if I could take a photo.

As many regular readers know, since February, I have been building up my Instagram #bikes_CISTA project.

Starting a Bike T-shirt Photo Collection.

In a similar vein to the #bike_CISTA approach, I’m going to experiment with the idea that if I see a bike-themed t-shirt, I will make an effort to introduce myself, have a chat and ask if I can take a photo to add to a community bike t-shirt collection.

For the moment, I’m going to call it The Bike T-shirt Champions.

I’ll be using #biketshirtchampion to add to the collection.

My working premise for Bike T-shirt Champions photo collection at the moment is similar to #Bikes_CISTA

Eligibility for a Bike T-shirt Champion photo invite requires:

  • my own t-shirt collection is not included
  • needs to be someone I do not know
  • have at least one person
  • have at least one bicycle-themed t-shirt (not ride kit)
  • subjects are happy to stop and have a chat with me
  • subjects give their verbal permission for me to take and post their photo (up to them if they want to be identified or not – not means no face int he photo).

For the beginning, I’ve included my own bike t-shirt Instagram photos into the #biketshirtchampion collection, although I won’t be including them in the final collection – they have to be other people’s bike t-shirts!

Over the Holiday break, I’ll go back over my Instagram account and look for photos I have already uploaded that included a Bike T-shirt Champion. And from now on I’ll be keeping my eyes open for people who are happy to contribute!

Doing this project is my small way of documenting, collating, sharing and celebrating some of the awesome bike t-shirts I see in and around my community.

Its an experiment – so we’ll see how we go! I’m looking forward to seeing what may eventuate from this.

Check out bicycles_create_change on Instagram for more!

Here are some I already have that work as Bike T-shirt Champions… and I’m looking forward to adding some more and meeting some more lovely cycle-crazy, t-shirt-wearing bike riders!

Bicycles Create Change.com -20th Dec. Bike t-shirt Champions
Sebastian @Northey St Organic Markets
Bicycles Create Change.com -20th Dec. Bike t-shirt Champions
One of the Chains & Bottle riders from Tassie (do hoodies count?)
Bicycles Create Change.com -20th Dec. Bike t-shirt Champions
Patrick & Darby the dog. South Bank, Brisbane.
Bicycles Create Change.com -20th Dec. Bike t-shirt Champions
Some of the sweet lads at SSWC 2016
Bicycles Create Change.com -20th Dec. Bike t-shirt Champions
Me with Lizzie and her dad Pierre in La Thuile, Italy for the World Enduro.

 

Bicycles Create Change.com -20th Dec. Bike t-shirt Champions
Larry ( & Harry) at the Kurilpa Derby
Bicycles Create Change.com -20th Dec. Bike t-shirt Champions
Jill Kintner warming up. Cairns 2015 UCI World Cup
Bicycles Create Change.com -20th Dec. Bike t-shirt Champions
In the pits at the 2015 Cairns UCI World Cup
Bicycles Create Change.com -20th Dec. Bike t-shirt Champions
I see these classic Space for Cycling t-shirts at pretty much every cycling event in Brisbane
Bicycles Create Change.com -20th Dec. Bike t-shirt Champions
Mates wearing MZO and Obey t-shirts

 

 

 

 

Where to get awesome bike t-shirts

 Bike t-shirts have been on my mind lately. I’ve been seeing more and more of them around. So, the next couple of posts will be exploring bike t-shirts. To get us started, this first post is looking at where to find unique bike-inspired-t-shirts.

Bicycles Create Change.com -16th Dec. Where to get awesome
Source: Bisikleta

Where to get awesome bike t-shirts

How many bike t-shirts do you have?

Cycling t-shirts are a quick and easy way to identify yourself, and others, as a lover of all things two-wheeled.

Some people wear them to promote their particular cycling code (road riding, MTBing, BMX etc) or their favourite era of riding (1970s, 1980s, Klunketz) or their favourite rider (Eddie Mercx, Kelly McGazza), favourite bike shop, or bike brand (Campagnolo, Rapha, Castelli, Specialized).

Others have commemorative bike t-shirts of special places they have ridden, special bike races (Tour de France) or events they themselves have participated in – like the t-shirts you find included in event registration packs.

Some riders are part of a team that produce their own t-shirts, others like new bike t-shirts, or one-off, limited editions, others inherit, swap, find them in op-shop and few even design their own.

Over the years I have scoured op-shops, been given bike t-shirts as gifts or won them as prizes.

Regardless of where you source your bike t-shirts, it is a clear signifier of your cycling passion, identity and community.

There are some very cool designs floating around – the more unique the better!

Bicycles Create Change.com -16th Dec. Where to get awesome bike t-shirts
Design: @ilovedoodle

Not all bike t-shirts are created equally

I’ve always got my eye out for bike t-shirts when I am out and about. I especially like the unique and funky designs.

Bike t-shirts with crappy graphics, cheezy memes or that are heavily branded are by far my least favourite.

Like many other cyclists, I wear bike t-shirts a lot.

It is a great ice-breaker when out and about, as strangers who are cyclists will often strike up a conversation knowing that you have something in common.

I’ve had some lovely random conversations and met some wonderful people that I would not have otherwise had a chat to if one of us had not been wearing a bike-shirt.

Conversely, I always make an effort to acknowledge other people who wear bike t-shirts.

So, where do you get your funky bike t-shirts from?

If you are looking for some new ideas – here are my top 4 online places to get some funky bike t-shirts.

Top online awesome bike t-shirts sources

1. Cycology

2. Etsy

3. Redbubble 

4. Threadless

5. Spreadshirt

Or use Instagram and check out your favourite hashtags like #cyclingtshirt to see else is out there.

Bicycles Create Change.com -16th Dec. Where to get awesome bike t-shirts
Source: Rouler The Tom
Bicycles Create Change.com -16th Dec. Where to get awesome bike t-shirts
Design. Kneil Melican

 

Bicycles Create Change.com -16th Dec. Where to get awesome bike t-shirts
Source: Endo: Wearendo the Yellow Giant Tricycle
Bicycles Create Change.com -16th Dec. Where to get awesome bike t-shirts
Source: Bilenky Cycle Works – Born to Sweat
Bicycles Create Change.com -16th Dec. Where to get awesome bike t-shirts
Design: BurnTheBeans

So, you cool cycling cats..Happy shopping!

And be sure to say hi to the next person you see wearing a bike t-shirt!

Bike-sharing fiascoes

This post come courtesy of Senior Lecturer in Transport at the University of Huddersfield.  This article is an extension to a previous bike sharing article he wrote last year. A lot has changed since then! Thanks for giving permission to share this article Alexandros!


Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

Bike-sharing fiascoes

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.

Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

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.

Fatally flawed?

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.

Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

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.

Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

Survival guide

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.


This is most recent article on bike sharing. He has written two previous articles for The Conversation about the (then) burgeoning global bike sharing expansion phenomena (Feb 2016) as well as how cars are killing us and what we can do to wean ourselves off them (from Sept 215). This article and all  images was originally published earlier this week on The Conversation website and then on subsequently on SBS

Kurilpa Derby

Last weekend was the 10th anniversary of the Kurilpa Derby in Brisbane.

It is a fantastic annual community celebration of life on wheels.

The Kurilpa Derby is a major social and community event where the main street of the West End (Brisbane) is  blocked off for the afternoon and taken over by all things colourful, fun, family and related to bikes…and other environmentally-friendly people-powered mobility, such as skateboards, scooters, roller-skates, trolleys, prams and everything in between!

The Derby is hosted by West End Community Association and is open to the general public and showcases the best that the West End has to offer in terms of business, community and lifestyle.

I have not previously been to the Derby before and this year it came highly recommended. Boy and I glad I went.

I had a brilliant time.

Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com

 

What happened at Kurilpa Derby?

The event is a much loved, anticipated and popular event.

It was a stunning, sunny day – and there was a great turn out.

Leki was at her floral best and I went as a jokey to pay homage to the ‘derby’ theme and also for the upcoming Melbourne Cup.

Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com

Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com

Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com

The day started with the Kurilpa Derby Street Parade.

Leki and I joined in the street parade along with all the other participants floats, families and locals.

The Parade was colourful and noisy and a lot of fun. We were surrounded by colour and energy and lots of locals, families and community groups participated.

The effort and thought that people had put into decorating whatever parade mode they had and their costuming was impressive.

There was so much to see in the parade, like the Brazilian dancing girls, a ‘public pool’ (float), beautifully decorated rickshaws, couches on wheels, unicycles, a tall bike, lots of environmentally-themed mobile displays and a number of killer drumming troupes who keep the parade bopping along.

An amazing oversized water rat ended up winning the float first prized prize.

My personal parade favourite was the beekeeping team-theme float. This was an understand, but well executed exhibit that had  a spunky lady dressed as a bee inside a box decorated as the ‘hive’ as their float. This hive float was pulled by two fully equipped bee keepers (in full bee keeping suits including smoke cans). This crew handed out ices-poles anyone who wanted them the whole time – brilliant!

After the Parade,  the road remained closed and there were a  range of activities,  demos, novelty races and entertainment, such as a Pet Parade, a cocktail race, skateboard demonstration and heaps of other novelty races.

It was brilliant to see so many visitors and families out and about. Kids were roaring up and down the street in between races enjoying the freedom, safety and fun of having an allocated street to roam free and go wild.

It was such a delight to see the community – all locals and visitors alike – come together in such a celebratory and inclusive way.

As the sun went down the festivities continued. The bars, shops, cafes and restaurants did a roaring business and were keep buys all day and night.

Many people stayed on after to attend the Kurilpa Beggars’ Banquet, which is a brilliant community potluck dinner extravaganza.

If you have never been to the Kurilpa Derby before, be sure to put it on the calendar for next year. It is well worth it!

Below are a few pics from the day. See more photos at local Greta Pavlova’s Album.

Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com Kurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.comKurilpa Derby - Bicycles Create Change.com


Images my own, from Kurilpa Derby FB, @imogenbunting & @brisvagueness. Montage from The West End Magazine.

Mala Bruja Alleycat

For this blog post, we are heading to the U.S. -not for Halloween, but the night before – Witch’s Eve! I’ve been keeping my eyes open for one event in particular. I’ve been waiting in earnest to see what happened this year for Mala Bruja NYC Alleycat Race. This is an all-female charity Alleycat Bike Race.  But alas, it seems like it didn’t go ahead this year.  I’m still posting about this awesome race as I think it is important more people recognise, appreciate and celebrate the wonderful diversity of urban riding culture – and nothing does that more than Alleycats. I’m sad it didn’t go ahead this year, but these events can be challenging to organise, so maybe next year. Either way, kudos to those who did make an effort to make it happen for the last couple of years. We salute you! We definitely need more events like this one- and most critically in Aust!! Enjoy! NG.


This weekend most Americans are celebrating Holloween.

The night before Halloween is Witch’s Eve.

For the last two years, an ultra-cool crew headed up by Caro and Kenya have put on an all-female charity Alleycat bike race in NYC on Witch’s Eve.

I have been following this event. I think it is a great initiative and I wish there were more like it! Reminds me of the good olde days when I helped out at Melbourne Alleycat races – what a blast!

Earlier this year, BCC reported on the Melburn Roobaix, which is  an annual urban bike race through Melbourne’s cobbled laneways.  Melbourne Roobaix is always a smash hit with local riders – and they had an impressively high number of female riders this year.

So , I got super excited for this year’s ride after seeing KymNonStop’s video of the NYC ride from last year (see below).

KymNonStop also has a solid Mala Bruja Alleycat Recap blog post that is worth the look to see what happens at such events.

What is an Alleycat bike race?

Alleycat bike races are something to behold. They are informal race bike held in cities where riders need to navigate local streets and traffic to make check points and get back the fastest. It is also a massive social get together, have some fun and ride bikes with your mates.

Alleycats are well known for having a strong participation and fun focus. Some ride to compete, others just to be part of the fun.

Race formats for Alleycats can vary – but usually, there is not official race course that riders must take, but there are check points that need to be met. Riders get a map of the check points just before heading off and are free to make their own way there and back.

The fastest rider to meet all check points and get over the finish line is the winner.

Mala Bruja Alleycat- Bicycles Create ChangeImage: KymNonStop

Alleycats races are unsanctioned and can be run during the day or night. Riders race through city streets and have to navigate normal traffic and vehicles while the race is going on. This is why Alleycat races are often perceived by many to be quite dangerous.

Meeting check points must be authenticated in some way. This varies depending on the race, but is often something like a stamp, badge, signature, or some other object that must be gathered at each check point as evidence.

Mala Bruja Alleycat- Bicycles Create Change
Source: Bike your City

Often there are activities and/or obstacles at each checkpoint. These can fun, entertaining, challenging and range from easy to hard. Activities could be beer-drinking, eating dry Weed-Bix, doing exercise (like 20 star jumps) or some bike skill –  like track stands, monos or jumps. They are designed to add a little more variety and fun to the race – as you can see in Dave Gustafa’s video below, which was posted on the Alleycat Facebook page.

The map of race checkpoints is usually provided right before the race starts, so riders who know the city well have a hometown advantage – hence the attraction for bike couriers. Participants can pretty much ride anywhere they need to to make the checkpoints – on or off-road, through buildings,  parks, uni campuses, between houses – where ever and however is needed.

Alleycat races can be ‘sticky’ (official vs. unregulated), dangerous and controversial. They are not for everyone, and it can be hard getting one organised.

Mala Bruja Alleycat- Bicycles Create Change
Source: Meg Watcher

What is the Mala Bruja Alleycat Bike Race?

It is an all-female dress-up charity bike race around New York City. The event has been running the last two years and has had a great turn out. It is well supported by entrants as well as spectators and support crews and family, friends and fans.

It costs $10 to enter the race, with the money going to charity.

All bikes are accepted (not just fixes) and costumes are highly encouraged.

Two years ago was the inaugural Mala Bruja ‘Hellcat’ race. With short notice and planning, the event still managed to pull over 70 female riders on the night. If you want to find out more details of this event, of which there were over 70+ women- lots of ace photos too!

See more pics from the 2015 Male Bruja Alleycat thanks to Bike Your City Photo Essay of the event.

Last year the event was held again and was also a spectacular success. It was called the Mala Bruja Alleycat Revenge.

Australia does not have a massive bike courier culture like NYC or San Franciso. However we do have a dedicated and cool crew in all major capital cities.  Personally, I’d love to see some more events like this happening in Australia.

Mala Bruja Alleycat- Bicycles Create Change
Source: Bike your City

Races like this show the awesome diversity and variety in bikes, riders and lifestyles – and is a great way to bring people together.

Even if you are not up for riding in an Alleycat, helping out at one of the races (or checkpoints), or going to spectate is a brilliant way to support the event.

As the world heads more for mainstream and conservative conformity – events like the Mala Bruja Alleycat are so important.

Although these events are often secretive when unregulated (so you need to know the organisers, riders or bike messages who are part of it to know of the race) yet they still contribute much mystique, diversity and spice to our current urban cycling milieu.

Love them or hate them, Alleycat events like the Mala Bruja ticks many boxes: they are social, healthy, recognise bike skills , promote inclusion, have strong participation females urban rides, raise money for charity, bring community together and nurture our valuable, unique and much-needed sub-cultures.

 

General Public – Think outside the bike!!

Personally, I think there is incredible value in recognising and celebrating the uniqueness and variety in the biking community. It disturbs me that the vast majority of the general public view ‘cycling’ as being the lycra-clad road riders and that essentially this is the pervasive stereotype of what a rider or cyclist is.

Such views negate the massive diversity in styles and types of riding – both urban and track like: MTB, fixi, singlespeed, trials, Enduro, fat bikes, Tall bikes, Unicycles, tricycles, e-bikes, Cyclocross, Crits, bike packing, BMX, DH, Cruisers, Communters, cargos….and the list goes on and on. Each of these styles has their own rich and vibrant communities.

I think all these bike ‘sub-cultures’ need to be valued and recognised as being part of the awesome variety and character that form our current biking community.  I can only hope people look beyond the the lycra to see how amazing, distinctive and fertile our biking and cycling communities are. Viva la Alleycats!

Get-A-Grip (Pedal Pushers BC)

Are you a bike lover and in Brisbane tomorrow (Sat 16th September)?

Want to see some kool bikes?

Like Low-riders? Kustoms? Vintage? Rusty Rats? Something a  lil’ different?

If so, grab ya bike and a mate and head down to this event!

Below are a few details to get you started.

Leki and I’ll be attending.

The next post will let you know how it all went.

Find out more at Pedal Pushers BC  Facebook.

See you there – crazy kids!

Other details from the Pedal Pushers BC are:

Schedule

10am         Registrations start
10:30am  Quick speech on details ect
11:30am   Registrations close
1-1:30pm  Peoples choice closes
2pm           Trophy presentations

These are approx. times as its our first show and we’re still getting into the swing of things.

Between these times we can mingle and meet others and talk bikes for the day.

Few key points to keep in mind are:
*when you arrive just come over to the rego marquee and fill out paperwork and we’ll give you all the info you need
*if you arrive after rego closes you are still welcome to display bikes, but they wont be eligible for trophys
*all trophy winners must be present to win,  if not it will go to next in line!!
*please use your peoples choice to vote for a bike you like and not your own as if everyone votes for there own bike then no one wins.
* judges bikes will not be up for any awards as its a conflict of interest.
* any questions on the day, just come up to one of us wearing a pedal pushers shirt and we’ll help out as best we can.
*its a public park so we can’t be held responsible for any damages to property but if we all show some respect for others property and keep a look out then there won’t be any problems.
*please use bins provided
*most of all….enjoy the day and meet some like-minded people!!

See you there!

Images: Pedal Pushers BC Facebook.

Granny, Wait for Me!

Granny, Wait for Me! is a beautifully illustrated children’s book.

I first saw this book while at an independent publishing/meet the author book event at  Little Gnome – my awesome local bookshop. This book is written by Sarah Owen and illustrated by Anil Tortop.

It immediately caught my eye because of the bicycle on the cover – and the delightful energy that the illustration exuded.

Granny, Wait for Me - Bicycles Create Change.com

I flipped through the book and instantly fell in love with it.

What makes Granny, Wait for Me! so good?

There are many children’s books about riding bikes. But this one is a little different.

The story follows a young boy and his grandma who take their bicycles on an outing. In this book, the usual stereotypes are reversed, and it is ‘Granny’ who is speeding around,  whizzing to-and-fro, racing and doing death defying tricks and the young boy who is struggling to keep up.

Granny, Wait for Me - Bicycles Create Change.com

Granny, Wait for Me - Bicycles Create Change.com

The pair have a day of grand adventures. It is lovely to see Granny in the position of being the strong, confident, fit, happy and able protagonist in this story. I see incredible value in children’s books presenting different ways of looking at life and in showing diversity in people, lifestyles and choices – and this book certainly sheds some new light on perceptions of what a Granny ‘should’ be, and do.

Books like these also help progress discussions about family, relationships, assumptions, social expectations and not judging a book by its cover (oh dad!).

The added bonus of the bike means discussions about positive impacts of riding,  how cycling is wonderful for all people, regardless of age or ability – and that you can never really tell a people’s ability or history with bikes just by looking at them. With such a predominance in current society of cycling being associated with young, fit, male road-riders, this book provides a wonderful alternative perspective.

I have lamented elsewhere on this blog, that I find the lack of inclusion,  appreciation or unconscious negative associations of older people and riding,  to be serious social issue – as evidence in previous posts such as  Cycling without Age and my meeting with the formidable Hubert and his tricycle.

But it is good to know that there are awesome parents (and others) out there who are actively engaging our next generation by reading these kind of stories.

This book comes with a warning!

In a review of this storybook for Reading Time, Heather Gallagher wrote: This beautifully illustrated picture book is told in rollicking verse. The story is a simple one, a boy and his granny go for a bike ride and picnic at the park. The Granny is no tea-sipping, knitting gran – she’s one who likes to swing on the monkey bars and speed off on her bicycle. In a reversal of roles, the boy is shown as the reticent one, while Granny craves adventure. This book could be used in a classroom setting to discuss different kinds of grandparents and what they like to do. It would be a good one to read on Grandparent’s Day. Just one word of caution, while the illustrations do depict a warm relationship between Granny and the boy, in practice she speeds off on her bicycle, leaving him in her wake – hence, the title. (Emphasis my own).

I really like that this book comes with a warning – that this seemingly harmless ‘whimsical and fun-filled story’ could be ‘misconstrued’ and need to be explained.

I understand how some children might find it challenging that Granny is so active that she could roar off on a bike (being abandoned).  Of course this would need to be explained to a little kid who need  reassurances of not ‘being left behind’ – but this is not made clear in Heather’s review. Although I am sure this is what she was implying, my mischievous brain also likes to think it is the notion of Granny ripping on a bike that is also challenging!

I like that this book is presenting Granny in a light other than being a stereotypical, gentle, frail and caring …… non-bike rider. The image of her enjoying a fast, fun and furious ride is a great equaliser for talking about any other rider gearing up for an MTB race, criterion and any other cycling event where the whole point is to ride hard, be adventurous and get ahead! What… older people don’t ride bikes? Like hell….Go, Granny Go!!

What a great conversation to have with children!

That in itself makes me love this book even more!

You don’t need to ride fast and furious to have my vote – you just need to be on a bike and going at whatever is your speed. Whatever age you are, whatever speed you go – just that you are riding a bike is what makes it awesome in my book!

More happy elders riding bikes, please!

So next time you see an elder out on their bike – be sure to give ’em hearty wave and a word of support.  Heavens knows we need more like them reminding us all that biking is a wonderful activity for everyone in our communities.

Granny, Wait for Me! – cover illustration / time-lapse from Anil Tortop on Vimeo.  Images in post courtesy of Anil’s Behance

Farewell to The Squeaky Wheel

Farewell to The Squeaky Wheel

A few days ago, Melbourne’s beloved community bicycle engagement project The Squeaky Wheel announced it is closing after 6 glorious years in operation.

The Squeaky Wheel was a much loved proponent in progressing Melbourne’s bicycle community.

For those who do not know about this organization, it is well worth the effort to check out the creative and popular events, rides, initiatives and programs that were organized by The Squeaky Wheel –  a very impressive and influential range!

Leaving behind a wonderful legacy and example for others

So this post is a homage to the amazing work that Pip Caroll and the whole Squeaky Wheel team (and their partners) have achieved over the years.

This venture was truely a community-driven organisation that had community and positive cycling for all as its core.

Although it is sad to see The Squeaky Wheel  close and I will miss supporting their events (as will thousands of others), The Squeaky Wheel leaves behind a wonderful legacy and example for others to follow.

Farewell to The Squeaky Wheel

A massive range of community participation and bike-inspired projects!

Over the last 6 years, The Squeaky Wheel has managed and produced an impressive array of bicycle participation, projects and advocacy campaigns. Their volume, scope and range speaks to the passion and commitment of those who made it all happen – events like …

Even though the main umbrella is retiring, a number of their popular projects will still be operational – hooray! I am delighted to see that a number of their projects will still continue such as Roll Up (who have also taken over Bike ‘n Blend) and the sensational Pushy Women annual event is also set to continue. Pushy Women is a great event where a panel of well-known women tell their stories about bikes, bike riding and cycling. This show is always peppered with moments of empowerment, hilarity, poignancy, nostalgia and thought-provoking experiences – always a top event. I’m happy to hear that this event will continue.

But others will not continue. So in memorandum, here is reminder of the plethora of The Squeaky Wheel events, rides and tours that have been put on over the years – incredibly prolific community engagement!!  I’ve listed the events below (you can find out more about each event at their website), to get a visual gauge  of how productive this collective was – and to showcase the range, dedication and scope that The Squeaky Wheel is revered and loved for. Their events list is humbling.. check these beauties out….

Farewell to The Squeaky WheelFarewell to The Squeaky WheelFarewell to The Squeaky WheelFarewell to The Squeaky Wheel

Farewell to The Squeaky Wheel

Adios The Squeaky Wheel!!

As a final adios to The Squeaky Wheel – below is a 4′ 39″ video of their 2012 (3 week) Melbourne BikeFest- which was just one of many of their amazing events over the years – but one of my personal favourites!

For all those involved with The Squeaky Wheel will miss you, thank you for all your amazing work over the years. We wish you luck for your next riding adventures!

See more videos of The Squeaky Wheel events here.