For the last four days, I’ve been riding a bike around Melbourne.

Each day I’ve started out early and taken a different direction to scout out some of the iconic and most beloved bike routes in and around Melbourne. It was not only a great way to get around town but I also wanted to see some of the changes that had been discussed at the

Each day I’ve started out early and taken a different direction to scout out some of the iconic and most beloved bike routes in and around Melbourne. It was not only a great way to get around town but I also wanted to see some of the changes that had been discussed at the Bike Futures Conference last Friday – and relive some of the old glory days spent whizzing around town.

If you are keen for some similar riding – here’s a full list of Melbourne city and regional bike trail systems or conversely, use some of these helpful Map My Route resources and plans to get from A to B or go for an explore like I did.

Riding some of Melbourne's Best Bike Trails

Yarra Trail
The first day’s ride took me along the banks of the Yarra on a beautiful sunny early morning. I used the Captial City, Main Yarra Trail and Kew Boulevard trails. I headed out to Kew one way and did a big loop to head back into town over the other side. It started out quiet, but as I headed back into town, it got very busy with commuters from the Easters suburbs riding in. Some of the pathways still need some work, some areas have stairs, but overall the shadiness of the trees and the sheer delight of riding alongside the area river was a really glorious thing to do in the morning. It was great to see all the rowers, joggers, mums-and-bubs groups and all manner of people out and about on the Yarra Trail. It was a stunning day and the city looked beautiful (below). What a great way to spend a day on two wheels.

Riding some of Melbourne's Best Bike Trails

Maribyrnong
On my second day’s ride, I headed out West – from Melbourne city along South Wharf to Footscray. I’ve done this ride inbound ride once before, but I wasn’t 100% sure of where to turn off to get to the heart of the city. But this time – it was much easier going from the city and heading out west. It is super direct, quick and easy. I took advantage of the peak hour bicycle commuters riding out from the city, and just follow their tails. It ended up being about 20-25 minutes from Flinders Street station safely all the way into Footscray on wide fast and smooth paths. It was also very well signed and used. When I got to Footscray, I ended up jumping on the trails going along the Maribyrnong River Trail (below) heading towards Victoria Uni and Flemington Racecourse. I passed under and over many bridges, past the Buddhist temple and rode out as far as I dared. Then I had a coffee and rode back to Footscray. From Footscray, I followed the trail out towards Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail to see where the entry and exit points were along the way as the main track led under the Westgate Bridge. From there it is easy to do a full loop of Williamstown for a solid return trip– what a beautiful ride.

Riding some of Melbourne's Best Bike Trails

Darebin
On my third next day, I went out to explore the Darebin bike trails. I started by joining the commuters from Footscray (where I was staying the night before) into the city. From the City to Brunswick Street for a coffee and then I headed out St Georges Road bike path out to Reservoir. It was interesting to see some of the infrastructure changes and remodelling that had been undertaken to the path in the centre of St George’s bikeway. I was impressed with the signage and how easy it was to get around on this bike path.  I spent the afternoon exploring various Merri Creek trails. I rode out to Reservoir and ended up at Broadway at the Olympic Park Village and the outdoor velodrome there (below).  I got chatting to a few cyclists who were passing and thoroughly enjoyed my ride on the beautiful warm sunny day. After that, I spent the afternoon exploring various Merri Creek trails exploring where they entered and exited and marvelling at the extensive network out this way.

Riding some of Melbourne's Best Bike Trails

Hampton & Beach Road
My fourth day saw me doing a long, but very satisfying bike ride from Reservoir to Hampton. This time I went from Reservoir (where I stay the night before) back into the city via St George’s bike path, then out St Kilda Road to Albert Park – making sure to take in a ride along with the FI Grand Prix track (I had to do it again after last week, I just couldn’t help myself. Woohoo!). When I got to St Kilda, I scouted out the ‘inland’ route up Inkerman Road to Hotham Road and then scooted across to Hampton. This route was great to get a feeling of what it’s like to ride on the road and to see the difference in bike infrastructure in certain areas and roads. When in Hampton, I visited some old mates Rumbo and Damo at Hampton Cycles and it was good to have a catch-up and a gasbag. For the way home, I headed out on the Bay Trail. For this ride, you can either take Beach Road or ride the parallel Boulevard bike trail from Hampton all the way back into the city. Either way, it is a stunning ride! I took a few photos on the way and enjoyed checking out the Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes, Elwood and St Kilda beach.

Riding some of Melbourne's Best Bike Trails

Cruising around Melbourne.

Over the course of these four days, I’ve pretty much been in all the main four directions of the compass on my bike. I got a real taste for the different city council approaches to biking and how accessible and convenient biking now is in Melbourne. It was both exhilarating and very enjoyable exploring new parts of, and revisiting my favourite haunt and coffee shops in and around town. Where ever possible, I chatted with fellow bike commuters and asked them about their biking experiences.

It felt great to be back on a bike.

It was also great to be out and riding longer distances and exploring the trails – getting sweaty, seeing the sights and having the whole day to really explore and fully enjoy every moment.

It was a real pleasure having five days completely off to go riding on such beautiful Melbourne summer days – I highly recommend it!

Not sure what trail to try?

 Try Bike Paths.com maps of Melbourne trails – or check this article out for a list of a few of Melbourne’s most scenic bike rides – many of I tried in the last couple of days. I hope have as much fun as I did riding these trails!

Riding some of Melbourne's Best Bike Trails

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

 

 Cycling Interspecies Team of Awesomeness (Bikes_CISTA) Project

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

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

 

Bicycles Create Change.com

Bicycles Create Change.com

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

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

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

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

Bicycles Create Change.com

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

Bicycles Create Change.com

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

Who have you met?

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

Bicycles Create Change.com

Celebrate the best of you locality and positive lifestyle

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

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

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

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

Bicycles Create Change.com

This morning I am heading interstate to NSW for a week.

After registering for the upcoming Bike Future 2017 Conference in Melbourne, I find myself wanting checking up on the some of the latest urban bike programs and initiatives being undertaken south of Queensland’s border. So I started looking into some key current cycling issues, changes and policy directions happening in NSW and Victoria.

 

Think of the Impact – Car Dooring Awareness Program  – New South Wales (NSW).

In investigating all sorts of programs, one Sydney program that caught my eye. It focuses on the issue of car dooring and the program is called Think of the Impact. It turns out that the major hot spots for car dooring in Sydney are Kings Cross, Newtown and Surry Hills. After recognising the obvious increase in people cycling, having seventy-four car-dooring incidents reported and under pressure from local cycling advocate groups, the Think of the Impact initiative was created.

This project was undertaken as a Sydney Cycles Ways project in collaboration with City of Sydney and NRMA Insurance. It was in response to the increasing levels and problems of cycling in Sydney. I’m not going to rehash the background of this program because if your keen to read more  about this NSW project and its origins – you can find it here.

 

Car dooring of cyclists is an issue in major cities

I had not seen this particular program before. It rally struck an immediate cord with me as car dooring was an ongoing and critical issue when I was commuting every day to work by bike when I was in Melbourne. I had a few near misses myself and I saw many others car dooring situations as well, with various outcomes. It was a very challenging – and was a very real clear and present danger.  It was something that many Melbourne cyclists talk about as well. It was interesting to hear that the issue of car dooring and urban cyclist safety is a similar and prevalent concern in Sydney (NSW) as it was in Melbourne (VIC).

In NSW, car drivers can be fined $319 and lose 2 demerit points if they pass too close to cyclists.

As of 2012, Victoria increased penalties so that car dooring fines now incur a maximum of ten demerit points, and fines have since increased from $423 to $1,408.

I’ve noticed that in Brisbane (and Queensland in general), there is a clear media reticence about reporting car dooring and cyclist safety in general. It is certainly not a key media or community issue or nowhere near mentioned as often in the media as it is down south. Car dooring is definitely a bike safety issue in Brisbane, but local media reports of cycling in Brisbane do not highlight car dooring as a major traffic or cycling issue. In fact, most Queensland media reports on road/urban cycling in Brisbane detail fatalities. Fatalities are the most reported cycling safety issue in Brisbane given the lack of bike lanes or shoulders, heavy reliance (and love) of large motor vehicles such as 4WDs, trucks and utes with boat trailers, minimal bike infrastructure and heavily congested road traffic.

 

Why this particular program?

Sydney Cycles Ways is responsible for this program and decide to run the program based on compelling data of local cyclists’ car dooring experiences. As a quick check in with the cycling community Sydney Cycles Ways, mid last year did a quick online survey via Twitter to get some feedback re car dooring occurrences, and this is what they found:

Source: Think about the Impact

Free stickers to promote awareness of urban cyclists

Another reason why this NSW program is particularly interesting and proactive – is that it offers free stickers for cars to remind and promote other road users (car drivers specifically) about car dooring – hence the name of the program.

The idea is to get more car users actively checking for cyclists before opening doors.

Here are what the smaller stickers and larger (car) stickers look like:

Source: Think about the Impact

 

Source: Think about the Impact

 

I have not seen these stickers before, but then again, I don’t live in Sydney. I wasn’t aware that this program had been launched in NSW and so I missed out on knowing that the public could order sets of 4 small rear mirror stickers and/or larger car door sized stickers in two colour choices – for free. Apparently making merchandise available for free to the general public as part of an awareness-raising campaign is a pretty effective strategy to get more people participating and publicly sharing the message.

This was especially the case for this program, where the response to these free stickers was very encouraging. By halfway through 2016, there had been a great community response to the program and 20,000 stickers had been requested.

I went online yesterday and ordered 4 sets of the small stickers and one large car sticker. I’m keen to see what they look like.

I can immediately see the attraction of the smaller stickers, but I’m not sure about the car door stickers – realistically how many people would put the large sticker on their car door – would you?

If you would like to order a free set of stickers that will be posted to you – click here.

 

Source: City of Sydney

 

For more information about this program, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Bridget Ahern, phone 0423 505 854 or email bahern@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

I like listening to podcasts.

I listen to podcasts on a range of topics – including trying some lesser known bike podcasts – just to see what is out there and what other bike nuts are up to.

But as with any podcasting topic, biking podcasts can be hit and miss. It is a fine line between hosts providing enough detail in content to be valuable and engaging, versus too much variety in content so that it lacks depth or worse includes so much techie/gear/personal talk that it totally alienates general punters.

Having been interviewed by Caroline Jones (Community Reporter) and included in an ABC radio segment earlier this year for Brisbane’s Bike Week Style Over Speed event,  I was reminded that I love listening to audio and the it is an often overlooked medium of communication (especially in todays’ hyper visual world). It also reminded me to check out other more locally produced bike-based audio productions, radio segments and podcasts.

Call me crazy

I think listening to a variety of lesser known biking podcasts is a worthwhile activity to do, and I’ll explain why. Most not-as-famous bike podcasts are produced by people as a labour of love. These hosts are investing their most precious resources into promoting more biking, so no matter how terrible the sound quality or personality of the hosts are, I will always appreciate the effort that people put into producing podcasts – it is not an activity most people are brave enough to try, let alone undertake on a regular basis.

Also due to budget and time constraint, content is often more personal, more approachable and more immediate. So hosts often provide unique trip reports, reviews and interview their mates- which for me has a sense of authenticity and genuineness about it. It also means that content is often more localised to the immediate region of the producer and are usually advertisement free, unlike more popular sponsored shows.

The Problem

The problem is cases of lesser known biking podcasts – it can be like playing Russian Roulette – you never know what you’re in for until your download and start listening to that first episode. You find out pretty quick if the production quality is low, the content is irrelevant or worse, the host/s are not professional, structured, interesting or on-topic. What an instant turn off!

Briztreadley podcast

I decided to give the bicycle podcast called Briztreadley a go. This podcast is produced by Andrew Demack, who works for as the  Development Officer for Bicycle Queensland.

So this is what I did

I’ve had had a few misses with other bicycle podcasts in the past, so it was with a little trepidation that I downloaded my first ever episode of Briztreadley as I was not sure what I was going to get.

I was keen to support local bike enthusiasts and my local region and to hear what the show format was. I had heard about this podcast about six months ago and only in passing, but had yet to take action and listen to it. I have quite particular ideas about interviewing style and content selection (I think it is the teacher and researcher in me that makes me so particular about quality, clear, consistent and well managed audio communication,  so I was a little picky with which episode I chose for our maiden date. I resisted the newest episode and opted instead for the episode uploaded this time a year ago.

So the episode I listened to was Briz Treadley Podcast 2016 Episode 1: Finishing off the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail with regular hosts Andrew Demack, Chris Welsh and Jordana Blackman (released 21 January) 2016. I chose this episode because I wanted to see what was happening in the local area around this time and also I like listening to some earlier work on podcasts and then compare with more recent episodes to see the development over time and what has/not changed.

So how was it?

I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the show. I found the 27 minutes easy to listen to, well-paced and interesting. IT touched on a few different riding genres and provide a thoughtful snapshot of a selection of cycling news and events.

What I liked about it – among other things:

• Local and community focused
• Variety of skills and thrills
• Not too long (just under 30 minutes)
• Short, simple sound bites of variety and interest, no ego.
• Balanced, normal, not too techie
• Great to have a competent and engaging female voice/host

I was delighted to hear early on in the podcast the hosts discussing NZ MTBing at Rotorua. IT was pretty much this time last year we left for a 10 day MTB trip to Rotorua last year, which we are doing again this year, leaving next Thursday for 11 days this time (I can’t wait!!).

So it was great to hear Whakarewarewa Forest being featured – and also to hear it correctly referred to and pronunciated – it still makes me smile, and I still don’t dare say the local version (tee hee).

I like that this episode also covered a few aspects without wearing glossing over the topics superficially. So some comments on things like newbie MTB riding at Mt Cootha, NZ Rotorua MTB riding at Redwoods and the new jumps set for Crankworx 2015. The main segment is based on a phone in interview with Paul Heymans discussing the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail $1.8 million investment announcement. (*Since this episode aired, the Brisbane rail Trail has already had a few updates* )

There was also some discussion about some upcoming cycling events in RAdelaide (or when the episode went to air ‘upcoming’ events) such as the Women’s Santos and Tour Down Under and Bridie O’Donnell’s 2016 1-hour World Record attempt. Some interesting little tit-bits that were raised – from Bridie’s interview re doping issues, micorsurging, mental training, aero positioning and other people’s doubts of her world record attempt at 41 years old.

 

So what now?

Overall, I was happy I took a chance and listed to Briz Treadley Podcast. I was pleasantly surprised with the variety of content and warmth of the presenters. I appreciate the labour of love that it is. I though it showcased Brisbane and its surrounds very well and achieved its aim of informing and motivating people to get out on bikes more. I will certainly be downloading a few other episodes to take with me next week on the plane to NZ.

So if you have not already done so, either check out Briz Treadley and let me know what you think – or find another bike podcaster in your region and give them a go.

After all, these podcasters are making the massive effort and commitment spreading the bike word, love and community – so why not give a couple of episodes a try?

You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find!

Briztreadley

Hooray!! Today in Australia it is the first day of summer!! Woopee!!

Summer is especially exciting living in the Brisbane bayside area. I can’t wait to ride on summer! For me it means long afternoon rides along the foreshore with everyone out and about. I love going for a cruise along the boulevard in the late afternoon after a stinking hot day –  the sun ever so slowly setting, warm breezes off the ocean, families starting to pack up after a day in the park, runners weaving in and out of couples strolling arm-in-arm and dogs getting their leashes tangled enthusiastically as owners apologise to each other for the happy mayhem.

Ride on summer!

I get my bike Leki – with flowers resplendent, grab a mate and go for cruise along the foreshore.

I ring my bell cheerily, smile at strangers and say hi as we whizz by in a flash of colour and happiness. I love seeing the kids playing at the water park, girls in bikinis, men chatting on seats, the elderly relaxing under trees and families bustling along.

I love riding my bike and being part of our vibrant seaside community.

So for those who also want to celebrate their love of all things two wheels, summer and community – here are 5 things you could do this summer to promote bicycles and positive social interactions:

1. Organise a social ride for a day. Invite another family/mates/others to go on a picnic bike ride. Make a day of it. For example in Brisbane, there are lots of family-friendly bike tracks to try. Load up the bikes and go for an explore. Take your swimmers, some shade and some games to play. Explore a rail trail, link you own riding winery tour, cruise down to the beach – whatever. You could even make a theme for the day! Just head down on your bikes with some others and enjoy the beautiful sunshine.

2. Join a Cycling Meet Up group. Find a bike/cycling group and get on two wheels for a social ride or a pack road ride. Go ride at a location you have not been before, meet some new people and do something different.

3. Go visit someone who can’t get out for a ride – bring a bike to them! Go to a Nursing Home or Aged Care facility in your area. Ask the reception desk who needs a visitor for half an hour. Take a copy of the (picture book or poem) Mulga Bill’s Bicycle –  make a new friend and read them the story. Ask them about their past riding experience, favorite bike ride or anything else and take the time to be good company for someone else.

4. Be the best volunteer at a local MTB event.  Find a local community mountain bike event in your area and volunteer at their next event. Encourage the junior riders and chat to the families and support crew. Be the best track marshal they have ever seen. Cheer on every rider that passes you and wear a big smile all day.

5. Collect bike for charity donation. Find a local bicycle recycling program, like Bikes4Life or Bicycles for Humanity  – or any others –  there are many bike organisations in other cities. Letter drop your street with a note like below. Even if you haven’t got bikes to donate at your place, canvass your local street/s and do it any way.

Bring on Summer

 

This way you will start the summer on a super positive note and set the intention for a wonderful summer. You don’t have to do these activities – make up one/s that suit you best – find your own ways to spread the summer sunshine, give a small bit of your time and energy to the community you live in and share your love of bicycles.

Happy first day of Summer!

 

Bring on Summer 2

 

In a couple of days, on Sunday 13th November, Australia’s Bicycle Network is undertaking its  annual bike path user audits. These counts are done each year to collect bicycle use data that help local councils accurately monitor and plan for current and future bicycle path use and infrastructure. This week will be the Super Sunday Recreational Bike Count.

Each year nationally, there is a Super Tuesday Commuter Bike Count (usually held in March) and a Super Sunday Recreational Count. These counts contribute to informing and guiding bike riding investment and initiatives across Australia and local councils self-nominate to participate. It is always interesting to which are the progressive councils that opt in and see the value and necessity of investigating urban bike path use (ideas to consider when you are looking at buying your next property?). It is great to see a rise in the number of local councils participating in this initiative, but yet again, not bloody enough interest or effort from QLD authorities to support ANY type of bike use!

As a research and activist working at the intersection of bicycles and community development – these kinds of initiatives are right up my alley. Although they may seem lame to some, the political and policy making power that this kind of data can leverage would be surprising to the average joe.

If you have ever found yourself muttering about the condition or lack of bike paths, or about the absence of council support and understanding for your particular bike riding needs – this is a small, but proactive and immediate action you can take to effect sustainable and positive change in your local area.

 

Specifics about the 2016 Super Sunday Recreational Bike Count.

This particular audit is being held in various locations in Australia this Sunday 13th Nov from 9 am – 1 pm (7-11am in NT & QLD) to ascertain:

  1. numbers of uses on trails and paths
  2. Which trails and paths are being used
  3. When trails are being used and by/with whom

To collect this qualitative data, a visual count of recreational bike riders and other users of the bike paths is required. To this end, the Bicycle Network has sent out an invitation for volunteers to help count and monitor selected sites to count rider (and other user) movements through particular sites. All equipment is provided.

 

What do I get out of it?

Although you do not get paid as an official ‘volunteer’, each data site is allocated $120 to go towards a charity or NGO that you can nominate. as well as contributing to supporting and informing productive bicycle use in your local area.  It is not a particularly taxing activity, on the contrary, it is a great day out. As a data collector, you get to see and meet lots of like-minded people in your area, brag to your mates that you were out making a difference to make their daily rides better – and there is also the bonus that you are actively contributing to generating data and outcomes that are integral to the maintenance and sustainability of future bicycle use for everyone Australia wide.

 

Get involved!

I STRONGLY urge you to get involved.

If you have not already registered to count, please consider doing so – take a mate or the family and make a morning of it.

Or conversely, make and extra point this Sunday to get out on your bike and ride paths in the locales listed below to get counted as many times as possible to add your “voice’ to increase investment in urban bicycle facilities.

The paths most focused on for these counts are key recreational paths, particularly along waterways, beaches and parks – so get out there on your two wheels!

 

Register here

For more info, check out the Super Counts – see the Bicycle Network.

Source: Bicycle Network

Source: Bicycle Network

Areas involved for the 2016 Sunday Super count

NSW

  • Canterbury- Bankstown
  • Inner West
  • Lake Macquarie
  • Northern Beaches
  • Parramatta
  • Randwick
  • Southerland Shire

NT

  • Darwin

QLD

  • Whitsunday

SA

  • Mitcham
  • Norwood Payneham St Peters

VIC

  • Ballarat
  • Boroondara
  • Frankston
  • Greater Bendigo
  • Greater Dandenong
  • Greater Geelong
  • Hobson’s Bay
  • Maribyrnong
  • Melbourne
  • Monash
  • Moonee Valley
  • Nillumbik
  • Stonnington
  • Whitehorse
  • Wyndham
  • Yarra
  • Yarra Ranges

WA

  • Perth
  • Cockburn
  • Cottlesloe
  • Fremantle
  • Mandurah

 

Source: Bicycle Network

Source: Bicycle Network

I am often equally baffled and concerned riding bikes around Brisbane. It is not a city designed for easy bike use. There are areas and bike path networks dotted around, but the amount and ferocity of the road traffic is of leviathan proportions. Finding and linking the Brisbane bike paths to ride to work has had a remarkable positive impact. Which is why this new Polish bike path not only useful for urban mobility and to promote bike use, but I also see it as an fantastic aspirational challenge to other cities worldwide to lift their game and invest in more infrastructure to support cycling and walking. It serves as a wonderful precedence for other urban developers, city councils and political lobbyists to use as an example of what is possible – not just for resident use, but also as a tourist draw card and showcase of national technological advancement.

 

Starry Night  Bike Path

This is the new glow-in-the-dark bike path that was unveiled this month in Poland (near Lidzbark Warminiski). This bike path is revolutionary in that it made of synthetic particles call ‘luminophores’, which charge in the sunlight during the day, and glow at night. Luminophones can emit an arrange of colour, but designers decided on blue for visibility and to blend into the surrounds. Once charged these luminophones can radiate light for up to 10 hours – making it a beautiful and safer ride home at the darkest time of night.

This next offering in the evolution of safer, more eco-friendly and cost-effective bike lanes drew on inspiration from the Dutch solar-powered TPA Instytut Badan Techniczynch Sp. Z o. o bike path from 2014, however, unlike the Dutch path by Studio Roosegaarde, this Polish contemporary requires no external batteries or power – which really steps up the innovation and utilisation factor. Find more info about the Polish Starry Night Path here.

I hope that having such beautiful, productive and eco-friendly developments such as these, that promote city bike riding will go far to set the scene for other major cities as a means to inspire and stimulate policy discussion about encouraging and supporting increased urban bike use.

 

Source: Inhabitat

Source: Inhabitat

Source: Inhabitat

Source: Inhabitat

Source: Inhabitat

Source: Inhabitat

Source: Inhabitat

Source: Inhabitat

For the last two or three weeks, I have been totally immersed in conducting workshops, teaching and marking my tutes (now in their last two weeks thank goodness), working on my Lit Review and trying to put in some distance into my legs for my first upcoming marathon. It feels like every time I get on the bike recently because I have been inside and working so much, that I have this unusually heightened sense of freedom and release.

I put my strange reaction down to just being too busy during this phase of the semester, then realised yesterday that I have not recently participated in many (any!) social, pubic or community bicycle related events which are when I usually get my fill of social interactivity with other cyclists. I reasoned that this is probably why I was feeling so insular and separated and what I have been missing for the last few weeks, hence the magnified sense of emancipation when riding.

To remedy this, I went online to check out any upcoming bike events – having an inkling that it was about time for some big event (surely!) and yes … there it was … Queensland Bike Week!

What’s on Queensland Bike Week 2016

I felt both relieved (yes, something to do!) and sheepish (how did it creep up without me realising?). Either way, I went online to see what events were on and what the program had to offer this year. I usually know about these kinds of big events in advance – even plan or/and contribute to them – but this year was different, so it was a case of perusing and seeing what took my fancy. There seems to be enough on offer with events mainly in and around Brisbane. There has been some thought given to catering for an array of skills, interests and styles.

A few things that look interesting are:

Friday Night Style Over Speed

But for me and my limited time, this year I’m going for the Friday Night Style Over Speed event. I make a point of not going into Brisbane city on Friday nights, but, as this is my one social gathering for this event and that it starts and finishes early, I’m going to make the effort to dust off Leki, get dolled up and cruise for a slow ride around town. Perfect medicine for a crazy end to the uni semester.

 

The more I think about it, the more I am looking forward to it – who knows, I might even see you there!

 

Source: Brisbane Bike Week

Source: Brisbane Bike Week

What is Fleet Farming?

– A community-driven, low emission distributed urban farming model
– Build home gardens less than .25 acres throughout the community
– Use bike-powered transportation for maintenance and harvest of produce
– Sell produce at local farmers markets, food trucks, and local restaurants

Fleet Farming

The ‘Fleet Farmer’ name refers to ‘Farmers’ on a ‘Fleet’ of bicycles, helping to manage the grow-to-harvest process of urban farming. These Farmers will be made up of members of the surrounding community and members from partnering organizations. Each Farmer will sign-up for a scheduled bike ride once per week, traveling an average of 8-10 miles from the Winter Park Urban Farm to East End Market, and back.

Throughout the ride, the Fleet Farmers will stop at various home gardens participating in the program. Each garden will be regularly maintained, including tilling, watering, removal of weeds and pests, application of organic fertilizer, harvesting of the fruits and vegetables throughout the year, and distribution of the local produce to local venues using pedal power.

In Phase 2, the Fleet Farmers will also help in collecting compost from the restaurants in route that are interested in providing pre and post-consumer food waste to develop the final piece of the closed-loop system.

Sunday was the revealing of the Bicycles Create Change Summer Program Art Bike Project – and what a success it was!

It was a relaxed, colourful and highly informative session and not even the small amount of rain that came could dampen our enthusiasm. I picked the team up early and everyone was in good spirits as we headed to the Community Gardens. Then the heavens opened and a few worried looks were exchanged. Nevertheless, as always, the sun shone through intermittently and then we had a burst of beautiful blue sky, right on cue as we had our bikes in hand and were rolling out to go and set up. As we walked our ART BIKES down to Bethania Street Community Gardens, we received a few locals honking and shouting out well wishes for our presentation. We arrived in plenty of time to set up and get ready.

The proceedings

We had nine attend, which was perfect (I was aiming for between 5 and 15 for the audience) so there were enough seats. It also meant that when it rained a little at the start, there was enough room for the audience, presenters and all the bikes to fit comfortably under the pavilion. Quickly after that, the weather turned it on and we had gorgeous sunshine for the rest of our time there. After a quick welcome, the order of proceedings and topics for the Art Bikes were:

Sachie – Gender Equality

Juliet – Women’s Emancipation and changing roles

Gabriel – The importance of bicycles in Cameroon Culture

Mauricio – Corruption

Nina – Child Labour

The presenters introduced themselves, their topic/issue and their bike, then discussed how their bike was symbolic of the issue they had chosen. At the end of each bike, the audience asked questions and gave feedback – which was fantastic as there were some very interesting insights and ideas raised.

We then had a brief close and thank you. It was great to see people milling around and making the effort to go and speak to each art bike artist to discuss their own reaction, interpretations and feelings about some of the issues raised during the presentations. It was very relaxed and friendly, with lots of jovial chatting. Conversations that were more profound emerged later on. Thank you very much to the locals and friends who came on the day to participate – your good company and input were very much appreciated.

Garden Butterflies

It was also heart-warming to see people drifting off into the garden to look at what was in bloom and finding something to munch on. I was especially pleased to see how excited Gabriel was to spot cassava growing there – he was delighted to see such a familiar staple food from Africa there, what made it even more awesome was that he had not idea it grew here – GOLD!

Congrats to all!

I was very impressed by the thought, effort and research that each team member had put into their bikes. The symbolism, motifs, creativity and explanations that were demonstrated showed a depth of critical thinking and careful judgement that surpassed expectations and made for a very enjoyable and stimulating morning. The presentations themselves were witty, engaging and well structured. I was incredibly proud of our team and was thrilled to be part of such a meaningful, worthwhile and illuminating event. We plan to have each artist share their bike creation and development process in a guest post on this blog.

Congratulations to the wonderful team members who have worked so hard for so long – I am so proud of you!