Bike Picnic – Casino Plaza Protest

I’ve been working on my PhD Confirmation submission, officially due yesterday.  A PhD is self-directed research, so I self-directed and gave myself permission to hand in on Monday. It is so close. Rushing it will not cut it – and not handing it now will be subpar. It needs to be done right, but I won’t compromise my work, health, sleep or sanity to meet an arbitrary date. It is really shaping up and will be ready to go in no time! Hang in there!

For the last big editing push, I went to the Queensland State Library to work on my manuscript. I decided to take a break for lunch and pop across the river to see what bikey events were going on. What do you know – a bike picnic protest was underway! The perfect brain break! NG.


Bike Picnic - Casino Plaza Protest. Bicycles Create

Bike Picnic – Casino Plaza Protest

Space For Cycling (Brisbane) was holding a picnic on the site of the future public plaza and events space at the bottom of Queens Wharf Road in protest of the new Casino development.

It is right in the middle of the concrete jungle, between the North Quay Ferry terminal and Queens Wharf Road.

Part of  the protest was, that unlike the final plaza, they weren’t blocking the Bicentennial Bikeway, so riders and people still had a clear thoroughfare. Their event was to the side of the bikeway and utilising the paved areas for family and bike event such as speed out ballets, playing games and

It was all very civilised!!

A quick raw edit 

I threw together a quick hack raw edit (1’30”) while I was there (see below). My brain is struggling with all the fresh air and sunshine after working so much – but it is good to capture a little of the event.

 

Bicycles Create Change: Brisbane Bike Picnic Protest of Queens Wharf Road Casino Plaza Redevelopment from Bicycles Create Change on Vimeo.

So how was the event?

There was music going and it was nice to see people milling about and socialising. Some cyclists stopped to chat, while others passed through.  A few kids and families hung out and drew in chalk on the road, music was playing the BBQ keep everyone happy.

It was a good place for a protest picnic because it was underneath the Riverside Expressway, so the ‘ambiance’ was not your usual outdoor, park-style picnic feel, more the ‘urban, motorway, fumes and congestion’ kind of picnic feel  – which was also kind of the point as the new development it a touting the new soon-to-be plaza as being a social space for people to mingle and hang out….right under the noisy, busy motorway – hilarious!

Click here to get more info about the redevelopment or want to lodge an objection.

Bike Picnic - Casino Plaza Protest. Bicycles Create

 

As the Space for Cycling BNE Facebook  page detailed: The Queens Wharf Casino and Resort Development will put a plaza and events space in the middle of the Bicentennial Bikeway. It’s a recipe for conflict and confusion. It’s simply poor planning! We held a picnic on the plaza to protest.

Old fashioned picnic games

As part of the fun, there were some old-fashioned party games on offer. Aside from being fun, the games were suggestive of the difficulties riders will be contenting with after the development is finished….like:
* Turtle races where the slowest rider won – to indicate how cumbersome the future trip along this stretch will be for riders trying to navigate the sea of pedestrians
* Obstacle courses – simulating having to make your way between stationary and moving obstacles without hitting anything or upsetting anyone
* Bicycle bell ringing championships – very much needed for safety (I was sorry I didn’t get to see this one! its one of my fav bike events!)

Bike Picnic - Casino Plaza Protest. Bicycles Create

Reasoning for the protest

The Spaces for Cycling (BNE) website explains that: According to the group’s spokesperson, Belinda Ward, “The Bicentennial Bikeway is a very busy route for bicycle riders, and this decision will put all of those people on bicycles in a shared zone with pedestrians.”

“We are concerned that this will cause conflict between people who are moving through the area on bikes, and tourists and visitors attending events in the plaza”, she said. “Currently, the Bicentennial Bikeway is a way for people commuting by bicycle to avoid the congested promenade at South Bank, but it could soon end up even more crowded.”

“We decided to highlight the issue by occupying the space to have a picnic with some old-fashioned games for entertainment. But unlike the future casino development which will monopolise this public space, we’ll be ensuring the route is left open for people to travel through.”

Bike Picnic - Casino Plaza Protest. Bicycles Create

 

Bike Picnic - Casino Plaza Protest. Bicycles Create
Bike Picnic – Casino Plaza Protest. Source: Space for Cycling (BNE)

Bike Picnic - Casino Plaza Protest. Bicycles Create

Bike Picnic - Casino Plaza Protest. Bicycles Create

Top List of Infosharing Software

The last post detailed the Advancing SQLR session I attended. At the end, I suggested a couple of design  programs fellow PhDers might look at using to present their data. I got quite a few emails and requests for a full list – so here it is!  If I am missing your favourite program  or you have another suggestion, let me know in the comments below! Happy Designing! NG.


Pedalhistory.com-Bicycles.create.change.com
Source: Pedalhistory.com

As a bike researcher, one issue I wrestle is adequately communicating the dynamicism, embodied and affective nature of people cycling through place, time  and space.

For me, 80,000 typed words, Excel tables and ‘theoretical anchors’ do not quite capture the thrill and rawness of riding a bike …(boring!!!).

I want my dissertation to bring my research to life – the bikes, the environment, the people, their stories and the African locations where my research is based. I want to capture it in all its glory…the sights, smells, topography, climate, risk, colour, activity…the lot.

So, I’m supplementing the written component of my PhD with a healthy dose of images, infographics and diagrams.

Producing these images has meant learning a few creative software packages. This has been challenging, but very rewarding. The design skills I’ve learnt are transferable for many purposes, like this blog!

History of cycling - Bicycles Create Change.com
Source: Infrographiclist.wordpress.com

My top list of Infosharing software programs.

Software Programs that are quick and easy for non-specialist users.
Additional functions (free trial period/ full pay access)

A few scientist mates have shown me simulation and real-time graphics programs they use for presentations. But these are a whole different ball game…I’ll look at them later, maybe for presentations – not so much for dissertations! (Stay focused! Another post!!).

Using the list above can produce more engaging data like:

Sydney bike commuters by gender - Bicycles Create Change.com
Source: City of Sydney Council (n.d.)

Other ideas from Research into Action. Focused purely on communicating complex data, this site provides some innovative ideas to get inspired….their suggestions on this topic are:

  • StatPlanet: this browser-based interactive data visualization and mapping application allows you to create a wide range of visualizations, from simple Flash maps to more advanced infogrpahics.
  • Xtimeline: allows you to create your own timelines of data.
  • Gap Minderthis site created by Hans Rosling allows you to upload data and create an interactive motion charts and graphs.
  • Creately: this is easy to use Online Diagramming software – purpose built for team collaboration.
  • Hohli: this online chart maker is simple to use and allows you to create a range of colourful pie, line, scatter, radar and bar charts.
  • Tagcrowdallows you to upload texts and highlight the most common concepts. The clouds can be exported as images and inserted in a website or power point presentation.
  • Wordle: similar to tagcloud, this application lets you create images out of key phrases and words relevant to your research, great for using in PowerPoint presentations.
  • Tableau: a free Windows-only software for creating colourful data visualisations.

Some examples of researchers presenting work in new innovative and visual ways:

  • Information is Beautiful: David McCandless, an ‘independent data journalist and information designer interested in how designed information can help us understand the world.”
  • Flowing Data: This blog explores how “designers, statisticians and computer scientists are using data to understand ourselves better.”
  • Afrographique: Ivan Colic’s “small contribution to assist the changing perception of Africa and it’s people…This blog aims to collect as much data as possible with the aim of presenting the information in an exciting and digestible format to all.
  • For inspiration and not so much for academic purposes, but shows how info can be presented in a very digestible way for the wider public – see Farming First. They have series of infographics on agriculture and the green economy in the context of international development which are simple and clear.

Next steps

No more boring text-heavy Excel data tables!

Creative visual data is more interesting to create and  far more engaging to read.

Get inspired with David McCandless’s video below and get experimenting to share more bike information!!

Good luck!

A Kick-Ass PhD Lit Review

As I gear up for my PhD Confirmation paper submission on Friday, all thoughts are now academic. My PhD is looking at how bicycles create more positive community change and this post gives a quick overview of an academic skills workshop I attended earlier this week that will help me explain and distribute my research more widely. Viva la bici! NG.


A Kick-Ass PhD Lit Review - Bicycles Create Change.com Source: Prof. Pickering

A Kick-Ass PhD Lit Review

How to write a kick-ass Literature Review? Need a publication? How about conducting a SQLR? Never heard of it?

A SQLR is a Systematic Quantitative Literature Review – it is where the best Lit Reviews are at! The SQLR technique was devised by Prof. Pickering (Griffith University School of Environmental Science) …. and it is amazing!

Here’s a quick snapshot of what it is… On the offical SQLR website it is described as..

A Kick-Ass PhD Lit Review - Bicycles Create Change.com Source: Prof. Pickering

I won’t go into details about what is is here – there are some fabulous resources online here and  a series of very clear step-by-step video instructions here that explains the process better than I can.

Suffice to say that it is a kick-ass way to get a comprehensive lit review completed AS WELL AS  being able to publish it.

SQLR publications are still relatively new and more often used in science disciplines. There are a few SQLR starting to crop up in the social sciences, so it is a good time to get in, as scholarly interest is increasing – and you can leverage the ‘novel’, yet comprehensive contribution it provides to a research field.

For theses, you need to do a thorough lit review anyway, so why not do a super good job of it AND get published?

Don’t get me wrong; it is a serious undertaking and hard work, but… oh so worth it!

My SQLR problem
I did a SQLR as part of my lit review. You need at minimum 15 articles to do a SQLR. Even with the help of librarians, I only found 12 publications specifically on my topic. Crap!

This is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it means my area is emerging and requires scholarly attention (i.e. justification of my PhD!!). But it’s also a curse because there is insufficient evidence and breadth to establish generalizations or to formulate a theoretical framework purely based on previous work.

So I went to the Advancing SQLR session to see what my options were.

Boy, am I happy I did. Prof. Pickering sure packed a lot into the one-hour session!

A Kick-Ass PhD Lit Review - Bicycles Create Change.com Source: Prof. Pickering

Top 4 takeaways from this session.

1. Questions = Answers!
I had prepared questions ahead of time and I didn’t waste any time asking them. My hand was first up, and I was very appreciative that the Prof answered them directly and clearly. I got exactly the info I needed. As well as asking questions directly related to aspects of my project, I was also sure to reiterate the answers back so there were transferrable elements and general practicalities that would be applicable to other students as well.

2. Concrete examples
The PPT and handout provided included heaps of concrete examples of next-generation ideas, explanations/justifications and development techniques to include to maximise publication possibilities. See some of the examples at the end of this post – Unbeatable!

3. Analysis Inspiration
I was inspired by the ‘advanced’ level and types of analysis Prof. Pickering presented. It truly was ‘advancing’ the process on the original SQLR session. It was great to see to what degree, and the types of creative analysis that is being drawn out of SQLR data.

It was at this stage that I got some specific idea on how to meet my minimum source quotas to exceed my current 12, which the Prof. also confirmed in more detail during Q & A– woohoo!

4. The infuriating 3rd Reviewer (or in this case the in-FUHRER-iating)
As the session drew to a close, the conversation turned to getting published. One of the biggest headaches and sources of stress and anger for scholarly authors is the infamous ‘3rd reviewer’.

In response to dealing with the frustration of getting 3rd review feedback, the Prof. recommended the video below – Bloody GOLD!

(The quality is not 100%, but well worth it for the relief it brings!)

Add my own practical visual data 2 cents!

Overall I was very glad that I went to the session.

During Q & A, I offered my top picks of the most useful and relatively easy to use free (or free trial/nominal fee) design software programs that others might want to check out if they want to might want to spice up their text-heavy work and present data in a more engaging way.

Prof. Pickering appreciated the practical suggestions. She asked me to email her what my suggestions were. I also had a few attendees ask me afterwards for the names of the programs.

I felt good that I contributed something valuable for my cohort as well as getting exactly what I needed out of the session!

Now to apply it all!

Now, I need to get back to work and  look at how I’m going to integrate this into my Confirmation paper.

If you are doing any kind of research, I highly recommend checking out SQLR as a lit review methodology.

Best of luck and let me know how you get on with it!

A Kick-Ass PhD Lit Review - Bicycles Create Change.com Source: Prof. Pickering

A Kick-Ass PhD Lit Review - Bicycles Create Change.com Source: Prof. Pickering

A Kick-Ass PhD Lit Review - Bicycles Create Change.com Source: Prof. PickeringA Kick-Ass PhD Lit Review - Bicycles Create Change.com Source: Prof. Pickering

A Kick-Ass PhD Lit Review - Bicycles Create Change.com Source: Prof. PickeringImages: Prof. Pickering Advancing SQLR Handout.

Jakarta Slums Alive with Fold-Out Bikes

In my line of work and research, I hear many stories about community bike projects and bike NGOs working in developing nations. It is always humbling.

This post comes courtesy of Sagita Adesywi, ChildFund’s Indonesian Communications Officer.  It follows 12-year old Aisyah, who is one of 125 recipients of a donated folding bike.  This story is interesting as Aisyah’s experiences echo many of those that rural African girls (where my research is based) also encounter. Also, this project was one of the rare ones I know of, that uses folding bikes.

What a great way to start addressing critical issues like increasing urban congestion and lack of access to services, like schools and health clinics.


Many children who receive bikes through ChildFund’s Dream Bikes program are in isolated communities and face long journeys across rough rural terrain. It’s a little different for children in Jakarta, the huge capital city of Indonesia. Children there live in dense, crowded slums, and to get to school, they have to walk or take the public bus or a motorbike, a big daily expense for families living in poverty.

Because their homes are small, 125 children in Jakarta’s slums received foldable bicycles from ChildFund’s local partner organisation, Perkumpulan Marga Sejahtera, which hosts after-school activities.

“When they fold the bike, it won’t take up as much space,” explains the organisation’s director, Liest Pranowo. “These children walk every day to school and their after school activities. Having a bike hopefully will help them to get to school easier, get in on time and be more active in out-of-school activities. It would save their parents some money too. Usually, it costs about US$2 for a rental motorbike. It is just too much for them. As children are very active, we also provided them with helmets. If they fall, their heads will be protected.”

Let’s meet Aisyah, a 12-year-old girl who likes watching the news and hopes to be a doctor one day. She received a bike and helmet, and it’s making a difference already.

Jakarta Slums Alive with Fold-Out Bikes - Bicycles Create ChangeAisyah. Image: ChildFund

These are her words: “I walked to school and back every day with my younger brother. He’s in the second grade. I leave home around 5am and get to school by 5:30am Often I came late to school, especially on Mondays and Fridays. On Mondays, we have a morning ceremony where we need to be ready a bit early, and on Friday we have group study and exercise that I need to come early for too.

Once, there were other kids in the street from another school who made fun of me. They would say something bad, like “Oh, you are a hobo! Even your school is the school for hobos!” They were boys, four of them. I would tell them to please not say something like that, as they wouldn’t want other people to say something bad in return, right?

Another time, when I came home from school, these boys said something bad to me again. One of them pulled my hair from the back and pushed me down. I fell down and cried. A taxi driver stopped them. When I got home, I told my mum, and she then went to their house, but they still didn’t want to say sorry.

I am not afraid of them, though, and I try hard to ignore them. My brother always says to ignore them.

Jakarta Slums Alive with Fold-Out Bikes - Bicycles Create ChangeAisyah and friends. Image: ChildFund

Since I am in the sixth grade now, there are days where I stay longer in school for extra classes. That’s fine, as I need to be prepared for the exams. I take extra classes in math, science and Indonesian language. But sometimes when I got home, I was too tired from walking under the hot sun to study again or do my homework.

When I finish school, I am going to be a doctor! I want to help people who are sick. But if they don’t have money, I will do it for free. It’s all right. Even though our government has health insurance, it is not enough to cover everything.

One day I saw in the news that a mother had just given birth. The hospital kept the baby longer as the baby was born premature, and the family couldn’t afford the cost for the treatment. That’s why I want to be a doctor, to help people in need like that.

I am really happy I was given the bicycle by ChildFund. I will ride the bike to school. The bicycle lets me get to school on time, and now I have more time to do my homework. I will even take my brother in the back saddle!”

Read about two young girls from Jakarta talking about how their lives have changed since receiving their new fold-out dream bike.


This story was originally posted on the ChildFund Website (15th Sept, 2015).

Reflection on 3DS

Last week I returned from the 3 Day Start-Up intensive.

This event ran 40 Griffith PhD candidates through an entrepreneurial practical intensive on how to develop a start-up business.

I needed a little time between the 3DS event and posting about it to decompress, recharge and digest all that went on – and I am glad I did.

It certainly ‘intensive’. The actual content and structure was well thought out and very useful, the challenge was in the level of input and quality of work you wanted to achieve. This plus an added pressure of going market research, having a round-robin of mentors consult with you as you are preparing a pitch and the overall organising, synthesising and production of a real-time sales pitch with a team that you have never met before – (*phew*).

3DS – 5 Reflections

Rather than giving you everything that happened, here are the top 5 things I got out of the whole experience:

1. Working with a new team on developing my Campus Bike Start-up idea.

After a few warm-up activities, the room was invited to come up and pitch an idea for a possible business. There were about 25-30 ideas. In the spirit of participation, I contributed an idea called Campus Bike. We then had an anonymous vote for the best 6 to carry on developing for the rest of the course through to final investor pitch. There were some great ideas. So imagine my surprise when Campus Bike was voted as a finalist. Campus Bike ended up with a team of 5, of which I was the (un)official manager.

Managing this team (and myself) for the duration of the intensive was challenging, interesting, rewarding and surprising for a number of reasons. I got a lot out of working with my team, and learn a lot about working with new people (what worked and what didn’t) as well as reaffirming some home truths about dynamics, management, goal setting, leadership and individual/group effectiveness.

Bicycles Create Change 3DS

Bicycles Create Change 3DS

 

2. Useful frameworks
The Lean Canvas was a preparation framework that was presented to us on the first night as a way of starting to distill and tease out our start-up idea into more detail. As a structure fanatic and a big fan of using visual organisers to clarify complex ideas and document progress, I liked this model. It is easy to use, comprehensive, helped focus our team and meant that we had a clear out line of considerations. It was a very effective tool and once completed, we received feedback we could the incorporate and develop in next stage ideation.

3DS

Source: Running Lean by Ash Maurya (p18)

3. Environs
I was surprised at how affected I was by the environs. It was held at Griffith’s Gold Coast campus in a large room of 40 people (most I did not know), run by American Facilitators, had long hours (9 am – 10 pm, food was provided, but you work while you eat) and was a very energy/concentration intensive process (including added daily peaks in extra stress for pitch prep and presentation). I was also staying at a colleague’s house, (which was so lovely, but not my normal home and bed), so I did not sleep well at all.

I was away from my usual productive morning routine and was grumpy for not being able to have my bike to go for a ride and release some tension and get some fresh air for three days. Combined with being run down, overtired to start with, having some serious IT issues and complications with PhD and one of my classes back in Brisbane, meant that I was most certainly not in prime form. In recognising this, I made some significant changes to my approach to make sure I minimised stressors and was able to monitor myself physically, emotionally and mentally. But it was a big ask and pretty draining – so I learnt quite a bit about managing myself in challenging and new environs and what was okay and what was not. It was a great reminder and I welcomed the challenge to my character – good to know I can keep it together when I am not 100%!

4. Working the pitches

I gained a lot of insights and ideas watching my group and the others work on – and develop – their start-up ideas as a progression over time. At the end of each day, we pitched. This  meant that you could see the development of the idea and what decisions, changes, embellishments and omissions were made. I found this fascinating to watch.

As a teacher, I am curious about the learning process and seeing how each pitch morphed and changed – sometimes positively, sometimes not. I found these changes to be super revealing. It showed not just about what worked, or how to apply the process/business concepts we were being exposed to, but more interestingly, it divulged more about the team members themselves and how they interpreted and integrated new content.

3DS

Source: Running Lean by Ash Maurya (p18)

5. Motivated to initiate a start up
I was super impressed with the logistic and coordination for this event. Each day we had teams of local business people, entrepreneurs, advisors and mentors streaming in and out – all with super interesting ideas, suggestions, insights and advice. The mentor consultations were invaluable. The quality of guidance and depth of knowledge was excellent. Our discussions were constructive, and the mentor’s input pushed us to consider ideas that we had not previously accounted for.

It reminded me of my time working in business in Sydney and what a buzz it can be working with like-minded passionate entrepreneurial – it was very energising to get a taste of that again. The event also served its purpose of encouraging the PhD cohort present to see start-up business as a very viable opportunity.

I consider this event to be a success. It was hard work but was also a very useful experience. I was impressed with my team and the other teams as well. The organisers did a terrific job of managing the time, content and mentors – kudos and thanks!

As a clincher, I found out after we had finished that 3 out of the 6 teams have decided to go ahead with their business idea that they had been working on and will be actually taking their idea to market. Awesome!!

 

Bicycles Create Change 3DS

National Reconciliation Week 2017 & Indigenous Olympic track cyclists

National Reconciliation Week 2017.

This week, Australia is celebrating National Reconciliation Week 2017.

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) celebrates, reflects and builds on respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other non-Indigenous Australians.

This year is particularly important as 2017 marks 50 years since the 1967 Referendum (May 27th), and 25 years (3rd June) since the historic Mabo decision.

The theme for #NRW2017 is ‘Let’s Take the Next Steps’, and there are many events and activities on offer throughout the week.

Griffith University has a strong commitment to Indigenous issues and positive Reconciliation.

One of my favourite annual events is the Walk and Talk event, which was held this Tuesday. It is a great event to connect, reflect and acknowledge.  I love doing the bushwalk between the Mt Gravatt and Nathan Campus, a trail I regularly walk or ride by myself, with a host of other students, staff and locals – and I always meet someone interesting and learn something new.

Aboriginal participation in cycling

It also gave me pause for thought about how Indigenous riders had opportunities to participate in mainstream Australian cycling culture. This is an area that needs serious concentrated effort and commitment. There are a few rare programs that focus on encouraging and increase access to biking for indigenous riders.

For example, this blog has previously featured the NSW Indigenous Mountain Bike Project as well as for NAIDOC Week 2016, the Aboriginal Bicycle Safety Program in NSW. So to celebrate NRW 2017, I searched for some other cycling program that was creating some positive cycling change for Aboriginal Australians – and this is what I found..

National Reconciliation Week 2017 & Aboriginal track cyclists

 The Indigenous Talent Identification and Development Squad (ITID)

Last year, The Indigenous Talent Identification and Development Squad (ITID) was initiated at the Midvale Speed Dome (Perth) for young aboriginal riders aged 10-14 by Amanda O’Connor (Coach) to help identify and develop Australia’s first Indigenous Olympic track cyclist.

Reports from this time last year indicate there were 8 Indigenous boys and girls riding in the squad.

Just after its conception, the ITID introduced some of the young talents, such as LeMarna Valentine and Rory Charles – as these up-and-coming ITID cyclists were due to participate with their teammates in a junior Pacific tournament in September 2016.

I also found a 3’ 26” ABC segment which gives a little more about the ITID development squad – New ABC Radio: Program in WA to identify the next generation of Aboriginal athletes.

National Reconciliation Week 2017 & Aboriginal track cyclists

More support, access and recognition for Indigenous riders please!!!

It was great to see a forward-thinking program that provides instruction and coaching for track cycling for young aboriginal cyclists. Considering the immense investment in time and effort required to success at track cycling, it is a step in the right direction to provide a safe and encouraging environment for new and younger cyclists to try their hand at track.

Considering the success Australia has had so far in 2017 in track cycling, there certainly looks like there room for fresh new faces to get amongst it – and it would be great to see some aboriginal athletes representing Australia in track cycling in the future.

National Reconciliation Week 2017 & Aboriginal track cyclists
Source: Hills Gazette. Young cyclists in training: LeMarna Valentine, Rory Charles and Jacqualene Williams. Picture: Steve Lloyd

Happy end to 2016

This last year has been filled with surprises, challenges and some very interesting developments – so I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store!

As with last year, my last day of 2016 was warm and sunny – and so was the perfect day for one last ride for the year. I spent my last day  of 2016 mountain bike riding with my husband and mates through the spectacular Whakarnewarewa Forest trails at Redwoods, Rotorua. We spent the day zooming around our favourite trails for 3.5 hours and headed up to one of the Trig stations to take in the view at the summit. Looking out at the panorama, I felt like the 360 view from the top was a perfect metaphor for taking stock of the year that has passed and taking a moment to pause, reflect and enjoy. It was a great way to finish the year.

Thank you to all of you who have supported, read and/or contributed to Bicycles Create Change over the past year. Whether you are new to this blog, or an regular BCC aficionado, I really appreciate you taking the time to see what’s happening on Bicycles Create Change. I wish you well for the next year – and hope that you are able to achieve all that your (cycling) heart desires.

I’m looking forward to sharing more adventures in 2017 where Bicycles Create Change!!

Best wishes for a Happy New Gear and happy and safe riding!!!

Bicycles Create Change - Bikes not bombs (Pinterest)
Source: Bikes not bombs (Pinterest)

Adam’s Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC

This guest blog post is by Adam Harris – Owner of Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC. Here Adam shares his story, biking history, family, inspirations, business development and hopes for a more active and positive future for all on two-wheels.


Bicycles have always been a major part of my life.  As a youngster, my bike was a source of both fun and freedom.  I’d spend hours jumping curbs and laying down big rubber scorching skids.  It was only natural to go in search of fresh curbs to jump and streets to skid, so I began to explore well beyond my neighborhood, finding new friends and new adventure.

One of the great discoveries of early childhood was the three trail systems that I could pedal to.  It inspired me to scratch and save for my first proper bike, a blue Schwinn Sidewinder.  It stoked my passion for bikes and with it I also got my first taste of wrenching on a bike, learning basic maintenance and repair.

As I neared driving age I remember telling my parents that I wanted to buy a Trek hardtail mountain bike, complete with a Rockshox fork no less!  While they believed my interest in bikes would wane due to automobiles and girls, they reluctantly agreed to split the cost for my beloved anodized purple beauty.

 

My Dad

After getting my new bike, Dad was interested in riding more, so he began piloting the trusty blue Schwinn.  He joined me often for dirt time in the woods.  Those rides with my Dad are some of the best memories of my youth.

My Dad is a big inspiration for me and someone I’ve always looked up to.  He was best man when my wife and I were married.  He is also one of the main reasons for pursuing my passion once again as I spin into mid-life.  Angelo Chapman Harris III was a successful athlete and coach.  Track and Field and Cross-Country running were his passion along with the students he taught for the 40+ years of his career, all spent at the one high school!  He was offered opportunities to advance his coaching career many times – some offers for bigger programs and at the university level.  I’m sure he pondered them all, but he always turned them down.  I never understood why as a young man.

My Dad passed away three years ago this past September.  Life can be a cruel lesson, but I finally figured out the “why”.  My Dad knew where he wanted to be and what he wanted to do.  He helped many people along the way.  Passion is the fuel that drove him.  As they say, “you never work a day in your life when you do what you love”.  What a gift.  I am trying to follow his lead.  I want to always feel that satisfaction of being right where I’m supposed to be when I get ready for “work” in the mornings.

 

The family dream

We fulfilled one of our family’s dreams when we moved to Maryville, Tennessee last Spring.  As our lives became more bike-centric and we connected the greenways and neighborhood roads on our frequent excursions about town, the thoughts bouncing around in my head became too persistent to ignore any longer.  I started doing some research and soon a plan was formed to fulfill another dream.

We were going to open a bike shop.  One that would be focused on family and fun and be the ultimate in convenience, a mobile bike shop, and Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC was born.

Too many times traditional bike shops can be intimidating for those who just want to ride their bike and don’t necessarily need or care for the latest and greatest. And frankly, sometimes it’s just hard to find the time.

I’m a father of two young girls and I know how hectic life can get for me and my wife. I value family time and many of our family’s best times involve bikes. I want that for my customers as well – I want to make it as easy as possible. Time is valuable, spend it riding bikes not figuring out the logistics of how to get to the bike shop.  Let the shop come to you!

Adam's Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC

Goldie – the mobile shop

The shop glides along in a customized 1985 Chevy Step Van.  Its former life was spent delivering Golden Flake potato chips, hence the name of the steed.  Goldie!  The irony of driving a diesel step van around while working on and selling man’s most efficient machine is not lost on me.  Despite that, I think the end justifies the means.  It helps me accomplish my mission: more people spending more time on bikes.  I also do my best to minimize my impact on the environment.  I recycle all possible materials, use eco-conscious cleaning and lubrication products, and run the super-efficient LED lights off a power-bank that will soon be set-up to be recharged by solar panels.

Adam's Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC

 

More bikes, more community

Bikes have given me a lot in my lifetime.  Not only fitness, transportation, clarity, and plenty of fun, but comfort and purpose.  I am passionate about the positive impact that bikes have on people and community.  I want to see more kids riding bikes and more families riding together.  I want to be part of the movement.  I want to be involved in my community and get my community involved.

Adam's Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC

Partnerships and Events

I have some great partners that share my vision and passion for bikes, the outdoors, and sustainability.  One such is Mountain Challenge, a group of like-minded, fit, green, and happy dudes and dudettes over at Maryville College, which has been named a “Best in the Southeast” college by The Princeton Review.  Mountain Challenge continues to do great things for the college and the local community in a progressive and inviting manner and are an inspiration for impacting people in a positive way.

Another is Brooklyn Bicycle Co., who have gone out of their way to help me along and are a great model for excellent customer service.  Both were willing to take a chance on me and my business of bringing bikes to the people and for that I am grateful.

Starting a business is a lot like a long climb. Like any long climb, I’m seated and in it for the long haul, turning over the pedals.  It’s been steep – and at times I’ve felt like I’m spinning out on a low gear and only making incremental progress.  But it’s progress and I’m building momentum and shifting up the gears!

 

Contact us and say hi!

Follow my journey on Instagram and Twitter: @1happybike and Facebook:1happybike.

It’s sure to be interesting and I have big plans for the Spring of 2017!

More miles, more smiles!

Adam's Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC


Adam is a lifelong cyclist and lover of all things bicycle.  He worked in the industry previously as a mechanic and shop manager before ultimately pursuing another career, but he never stopped riding or dreaming. When his family moved to the beautiful town of Maryville, Tennessee where the infrastructure allowed a more bike-centric lifestyle, the wheels started spinning, literally and figuratively!  In a world where you can order nearly any product or service online to your front door, why not expert bicycle knowledge, sales, and service?  Adam is the owner (and driver!) of Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC, a completely mobile bike shop, where he does just that.  His mission is to get more people spending more time on bikes and he does that by providing the ultimate in convenience and a completely customized experience right at your doorstep.

National Ride to Work Day 2016

Today is Australia’s National Ride to Work Day 2016.

Last year was my first year registering and it was one of the best things I did since coming to Brisbane. I registered last year thinking I would give it a go, support the event and try something different. I was a little unsure of how I was going to get there, as I find the Queensland roads spectacularly challenging and unsafe – especially when you have no orientation or experience in the area.  So to find the best route, I ended up using the Bicycle Network’s quick and easy Brisbane City Plan my Route  – and it planned my whole trip door to door, while linking up all these backroads and bicycle tracks that I had no idea even existed. I have been riding to work ever since.

This year

So I am excited about the event this year and registered as a co-ordinator for my department. Although many of the teachers are supportive of bicycle riding, very few actually engage with it – so I did as much email promotion and talking to people as I could and looked at it as a awareness raising campaign. The event has a lot of activities and associated initiatives that go along with supporting riders to ride to work on the actual day – and the list of resources, info and details on the Ride to Work website is quite impressive.

 Breakfast BUG

Although I was (regrettably) was unable to ride myself this morning, I met up and joined the Griffith Uni BUG (Bicycle Users Group) for the tail end of breakfast at Nathan Campus. It was lovely to meet some new cycle-minded staff and I felt very welcome.  A number of them introduced themselves and thanks especially to MD who ended up inviting me to join their monthly ride with them all from Brisbane City to campus. I am now on their mailing list and look forward to more potential future cycling adventures with some new faces!  Overall, breakfast was cheap and cheery and I am looking forward to seeing what other groups did for the day – and of course keen to see how the daily stats and results end up. I hope that it was as popular this year as last year. Click here to see some great photos from the fun last year. I know that last year 43% of all new riders who took part are still riding to work – so I am hoping that this statistic will improve.
Happy riding!
ride-to-work-day

Politicians and Prime Ministers riding bikes

Having been back in Australia for a few days now, I was reminiscing about my recent NZ trip. I found myself revisiting the Rotorua Strategic Cycling Plan 2015-2018. Particularly, I have been reflecting on why it is that Australia has not yet implemented any similar clearly worthwhile initiatives. The backing of the local, regional and national governments has been instrumental in the success of NZ’s burgeoning cycling popularity.

For example, here are just some examples of how the NZ government is providing political ordinances and a proactive context for prioritising and promoting cycling in Rotorua and New Zealand:

National: Safer Journeys 2020Transport Demand Management StrategySafer Journeys for People who Cycle 2014NZ Transport Agency’s Cycling Safety Action Plan

Regional: Regional Land Management (RLM) 2011-2041

Local: Rotorua Integrated Network Strategy 2012-2014Rotorua Sport & recreation StrategyRotorua 2030 – Tatou Tatou – WE TOGETHERGrow Rotorua – Rotorua Biking Strategy 2014-2024

After my summer experience and seeing such forward thinking policy-making – it is obvious that Rotorua (and New Zealand in general) is light years ahead of Australia in relation to welcoming and harnessing the positive social and economic impacts that a well-managed and diverse cycling destination with purpose-built infrastructure has to offer. Melbourne has a number of colourful and energetic cycling communities, yet NSW is about to implement some of the toughest cycling fines Australia has seen, which has caused a national uproar. As the Rotorua Deputy Major identifies “These accomplishments don’t happen by chance. It takes amazing collaboration and community contribution to pull off such feats, and we certainly appreciate these continued efforts to boost Rotorua’s appeal as the world’s premier all- year-round mountain biking resort” (Rotorua Lakes Council, n.d.).

Some of the NZ Policies to promote cycling, like the Regional Land Management, are projecting for 2041!! Talk about managing sustainable cycling for future urban development! Where is Australia’s enduring forethought towards providing a safer, more active, more fit and sustainable society? How is it that in Australia, we don’t see our politicians and Prime Ministers riding bikes around our cities?

How is it possible that there are still such major inconsistencies and barriers in Australia for better cycling, when cities like Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Portland are celebrating and (socially and economically) benefiting from honouring and championing cycling as being a normal part of being a healthy, happy and productive citizen?

Simon Bridges, John Key and Todd McClay, on a ride around Government Gardens in Rotorua
Source: Waikato Times – Simon Bridges, John Key (NZ Prime Minister) and Todd McClay, on a ride around Government Gardens in Rotorua, 2015.