The Big Push for Road Safety

Next Sunday (27th August), Space for Cycling Brisbane is hosting The Big Push for Road Safety ride. This is a well-timed event as it coincides with Queensland’s Road Safety Week.

From the information provided online, this event is a proactive, peaceful and family-friendly reminder from all manner of Brisbane cyclists to policy-makers for cycling to be featured  prominently in Brisbane policy and infrastructure development.

What is The Big Push for Road Safety ?

The Big Push for Road Safety Facebook page describes the event as: “Speaking up for road safety’ and riding for Queensland Road Safety Week. Join us as we once again take a ride through the CBD asking for safe streets for people on bikes. Meet at Kurilpa Point Park under the Kurilpa Bridge at 2.00pm for a 2.30pm roll, we will ride over Victoria Bridge and complete a loop around the city before returning to our start point.   Bring your family, bring your friends, bring your neighbours who haven’t taken their bike out of the garage for years….the more people who ride the stronger the message.”

Space for Cycling is an international organization with chapters in many major cities and is a non-for profit cycling advocacy group. This means that the organisation is where ‘Brisbane’s bicycle user groups and community cycling organisations have come together to create and work toward a vision for Brisbane where it is easy, convenient, and safe for people of all ages and abilities to ride a bicycle to their destination’.  Activities undertaken by the Brisbane chapter include campaigns such as writing to your local councillor, attending local council meetings, keeping the general public informed of developments and organising community bike events.

They have also been tracking key cycling measures and progress on locations such as the Sylvan Road trial, Ipswich motorway connection and the Boggo Road Station – all of which are high-volume, high-interest developments for Brisbane cyclists.

Space for Cycling Brisbane held a similar event (of the same name) earlier this year in April. This ride was held on a glorious sunny day and drew a good turn out as seen in the pictures below and more here.

The Big Push for Riding - Bicycles cCreate Change
Source: Space for Cycling (BNE). The Big Push for Riding (April, 2017).
The Big Push for Riding - Bicycles cCreate Change
Source: Space for Cycling (BNE). The Big Push for Riding (April, 2017).
The Big Push for Riding - Bicycles cCreate Change
Source: Space for Cycling (BNE). The Big Push for Riding (April, 2017).

It makes good sense for this event to happen now also to capitalize on the current media interest and publicity surrounding recent road planning, shared road infrastructure and access and the urban cycling agenda.

Queensland Police marketing the Queensland Road Safety Week

It is interesting to see the Queensland Police marketing for the Queensland Road Safety Week.  This week is posited on the offical Police website as begin a  ‘chance for all Queenslanders to get involved in making our roads safer’ and that the initiative is ‘encouraging active participation’ for the weeks central theme of “Speaking up for road safety”. To this end, the police state that they are ‘encouraging the whole community to have their say on road safety. Communities, schools and workplaces are encouraged to support the week by hosting local events or sharing road safety information among staff, students, colleagues, family and friends’.

There are lots of official police and government sanctioned modes to ‘have your say and get involved’ on the offical website, so it makes me wonder just how ‘encouraging of the WHOLE community’ outside of participating int he competitions this week really is-and  to what degree ‘alternative views’ of transportation and those of critics are ‘encouraged to participate’.

I say this as I am still embarrassed about how Queensland authorities/police have previously handled other progressive community cycling events – such as the WNBR, or the Super Sunday Count or even the Ride-to-school Day. In each of these three cases, the police ended up clamping down and responding with such putative measures (Ride-to School) or just flat out refused to even let the event  happen in the first place (WNBR – only city in the world that was scheduled to, but did not participate – shame!!.. or in the case of the Super Sunday Count no mainland Brisbane council has even bothered to be register (only Whitsundays of goodness sake!) that the message for other thriving community driven bike events is loud and clear ….you can have your bikes, but don’t get too vocal, creative, organised or public about it. I am sure nothing of the sort will happen for next weekend’s The Big Push for Road Safety. I mention this here merely to justify my suspicion when faced with the hyperbolic use of marketing catch-phrase expressions such as  the Police saying ‘we want EVERYONE to have their SAY’ and that they are ‘encouraging of the WHOLE community to GET INVOLVED’ …..I think……..mmmmm, REALLY??

Why will this event be great to go to?

I also like that this is a repeat event. It is a great way to piggy-back on the last event and get some of the same people returning- as well as inviting some new people to get involved as well.

With this in mind, I think next week’s event is a wonderful forum to get the pro-cycling agenda out and into the wider public experience..  It is so obviously non-threatening given the normalcy, fun, family, and overall localised and relaxed vibe for the ride. It will also be a great snapshot of Brisbane’s range of riders and a great showcase for the diversity in bikes, ages, skills, confidence, abilities,  purposes and approaches to riding in and around Brisbane.

I’ve always been a big proponent for community ‘protests’ that include colour, fun, kids, dogs, bikes and music. It is hard to get angry, argumentative and putative with little kids in rainbow jumpers sitting happily in bike trolleys, listening to ‘Dancing in the Street’ while holding fluffy white puppies! (Aww bless. Viva la revolution!!)

For these reasons and more, I am very much looking forward to attending this ride with Leki.

If you happen to be in Brisbane – see you there!!

The Big Push for Riding - Bicycles cCreate Change

Bike Week Queensland 2017

This week is Bike Week Queensland 2017.

Bike Week is an annual cycling festival that hosts a range of events in and around Brisbane from Sat 6th May -to Sunday 14th  May.

There were many events, meets, rides, conferences and seminars (as you can see below) that were registered events for this bike festival. You can get more info about the program here.

It is the largest cycling festival in Queensland and caters for a range of cycling disciplines, styles, levels and interest groups.

This event is organised by Bicycle Queensland and has been running since the 1990’s.

Bike Week Queensland 2017

Bike Week Queensland 2017

Bike Week Queensland 2017

Bike Week Queensland 2017
Source: Bike Week Queensland 2017

Bike Week Queensland 2017 – Ride2Work Breakfast.

I attended a few official (and unofficial events). Today I rode in early to meet with the rest of the Griffith University BUGS to participate in the Ride2Work Breakfast Event. I have ridden once before with the GU BUGS from Brisbane city to Uni, but today was extra special. We met at the Law Courts in town and Bicycle Queensland had pavilions set up, the QLD Minister for Main Roads, the Hon. Tim Bailey,  spoke (and it was great to see he had ridden in on his bike as well) and there were stalls, prizes, coffee on arrival, a basic breakfast and lots of cyclists to meet. The police were there offering a service to photograph and log your bike to your license as a theft-protection service, which many cyclists took advantage of.

Bike week – Bike Summit (Friday 12th May).

I would have loved to have attended tomorrow’s Bike Summit, but alas it is my busiest day teaching at Uni. After such a positive experience discussing bicycle policy, programs and advocacy in Melbourne at the Bike Futures Conference earlier this year in Feb, I was keen to hear what the changes, trends and differences are in Queensland.

Although I was a little disappointed with the lack of detail in the program that was distributed – to me it did not give quite enough detail to really explain what each session would entail. I know there were many BUGs groups going in for the afternoon session, but the program scarcely recognised if/how the advocacy and Q & A sessions might be run – didn’t really instil much confidence.

So I stuck to attending the practical and active events this year and had a great time! See Instagram @bicycles_create_change for some additional photos from the day.

Bike Week Queensland 2017
Source: Bike Week Queensland 2017

 

All in all

I had a great day today. I appreciate all the planning and hard work that went into organising the events that were held.

For those events I went to, I made an effort to mingle and make the most of the social and community participation aspects.

It was lovely to be around people who were happy to talk bikes and it was very reaffirming to see so many cyclists in one place.

If only this dynamic could be the mainstay and not only a once a year week-long event!

But, I ‘spose you gotta start somewhere!!

English Australia (QLD Branch) PD Fest 2017

Yesterday I attended the annual English Australia (Queensland Branch) PD Fest.

My ride into UQ, St Lucia on Leki my flower bike put me in a particularly good mood. It was a beautiful morning despite the clean up still happening due to (ex-) cyclone Debbie having passed through. Although I admit to stopping on the bridge to marvel at the state of the Brisbane River (click on the Instagram link at bottom of this post for more photos of Debbie’s impact). Once on site though, I found a great spot for Leki to chill out for the day just near the Conference entrance with all the other bikes. It was lovely to have other delegates come up looking for me and tell me they had seen my bike outside I knew it must have been me. Leki is far better than any name tag!

english-australia

What is the PD Fest?

This event is primarily for teachers who teach English at various levels to people from overseas. Delegates come from a range of organisations all over Queensland. Participants are in various roles (not just teaching), but the commonality is that we all work with International students, migrants, refugees or any other ‘English as a second language learner’.

I presented at this conference two years ago and so can appreciate the effort that the presenters and organisers put into making this event happen. This year I was interested in attending to see if there were any new ideas to experiment with in my class and to see what other projects, practices and approaches other teachers were using. I made an effort to meet a few new people, all of whom were interesting company and had a wealth of teaching (and life) experiences. There was a good array of sessions that were thought-provoking and useful – as you can see from the schedule below.

English Australia (QLD Branch) PD Fest 2017

Here is the full Conference Program book: 2017 PD Fest Program Book

English Australia (Queensland Branch) PD Fest

$6 million Partnership Fund – anyone want some?
I stayed to the very end. I was keen to see the All Star Band play – and all day I been thinking about something that Patrick Mafenstein (Group Manager – International Education and Training Unit, Trade & Investment Queensland) had presented in the morning session. He had outlined the new Queensland state strategy focused on International Students and ELICOS Education – which involves a $6 million partnership fund. One of the stipulations to apply for this funding is that application needs to be a consortium (two or more organisations – to spread the resources, work and results around). Here is an outline of the Strategy and all its details: International Education Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016-2026

International Education Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016-2026
Source: International Education Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016-2026, pg 5.

 

During his presentation, Patrick asked if anyone was thinking of applying for some of the funding and as far as I could see only two hands went up in a full auditorium.

At this stage, one of the PD Fest organisers jumped in good-naturedly to tell the audience that the EA Queensland Branch was in a position to apply (was a consortium) and would welcome ideas on some projects.

Supply bicycles to international students studying in Queensland

So this is my idea for English Australia to apply for a slice of the international student funding.

To address one of the major strategic imperatives (specifically #17, as well as community engagement), I think Queensland should pilot a program where international students are supplied with bicycles for greater educational, employment and recreational mobility.

This idea could go in any number of ways and is only limited by the imagination (and interest and budget of course!). Part of the program could be safety and some riding skills as well as basic mechanical skills (changing a type etc.) needed to get started.

Additional considerations would be things like helmets, lights, reflector and locks.

To my knowledge, there is no ‘educational’ initiative that is specficially addressing international student transportation needs, so it would be ‘innovative’ as well as being sustainable, novel and practical.

The cost of transportation is currently high for international students and the impact of being isolated and unable to ‘get out’ can have serious negative impacts ranging from boredom to depression – but having access to a bicycle is mitigates such issues – it also means students are out and participating in social community life.

Mobility is an aspect of student life that is fundamental to community accessibility and interaction, yet is rarely discussed. Bicycles are a great way for students to also access other livelihood imperatives, such as health, fitness and vocational opportunities.

Queensland has some great weather for cycling, so there is even more of an impetus to get students out and about and enjoying it.

There could be an opportunity to link into other local community groups and programs or develop the idea to meet other strategic imperatives. WOudl be good to link into the local community via canvassing and collecting bicycles and collaborating with local organisations and bike and/or men’s shed to refurbish appropriate bicycles for use.

Anyway, that was the idea I pitched to the organisers at the end of the day – will be interesting to see what (if anything) happens…I’ll keep you in the loop!

Riding some of Melbourne’s Best Bike Trails

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

Instagram project: #Bikes_CISTA

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

Preventing car dooring in NSW

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

Briztreadley

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

Ride on Summer!

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

 

2016 Super Sunday Recreational (Bike) count

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

‘Starry Night’ Bike Path

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