Bio Bike SLF 2018

It’s been an exciting last couple of days! After constructing the Bio Bike in Footscray and with Pete and Tom helping me (thanks for being my random lunchtime saviours!), I put the frame on the bike Sarah had procured and all that was left was to put on the finishing touches. Then lunchtime Friday, I set off to ride the Bio Bike the 15 kms from Footscray into the city. I arrived at the Festival site on time, made some adjustments, got changed and then did the Friday night performance solo.  Claire and Sarah joined me for Saturday and Sunday. Here’s what happened…


Bio Bike SLF 2018 -Bicycles Create Change.com. 13 Feb, 2018

Bio Bike SLF 2018

We had a great time performing with the Bio Bike this weekend at Melbourne’s Sustainable Living Festival (SLF) 2018.

Check out our adventures and the awesome people the Bio Bike met on Instagram

Also see what else was on offer at the SLF 2018 on Instagram via:

Bio Bike SLF 2018 -Bicycles Create Change.com. 13 Feb, 2018

So what did the Bio Bike do?

We were mainly located around the food precinct and near the Dome, which was great as there were always people milling about, we had more room to move about and we had much more shade than if we travelled up the guts of the display tents.

We met so many lovely people.

Essentially we asked people three things: 1. why they had come to the festival, or what they had seen at the festival they had liked; 2. what they thought was Australia’s most pressing environmental issue and finally; 3. what were they personally doing to help the environment and be more sustainable.

After chatting about this for a little while, we then said we wanted to award them an Eco Excellence Award for their hard work. We told them the background that each award was upcycled out of bicycles bits, inner tubes and found objects and was totally unique – just like they are! We would give them their award, then get photos with them wearing it.

The response was great.

I loved how different each interactions was.

We made a point of talking to people of different ages (young and old), cultures (from everywhere!), perspectives (some conservative, others super feral), lifestyle choices (urban, rural and some backpackers) – but each interaction was interesting and unique. It was an absolute pleasure.

I got to chat with Bob Brown on Friday just before he went on for the Big Debate. Then on Saturday, Claire, Sarah and I had a great time with Costa from Gardening Australia. (See picture below). Costa remembered Claire and I from our 2014 SLF Leki and the Ova show, and he spent ages with us chatting away, taking videos of us, introducing us to people and taking lots of photos. He is always a delight to catch up with!

Aside from meeting all the wonderful people we met, we got to hear about some amazing projects and ideas.

It was inspiring, humbling and reaffirming.

Claire, Sarah and I worked well together and had a lot of fun.

We wanted our show to be positive because talking about environmental issues can get the best of us down pretty quickly. We also wanted to inject some colour, humour and movement as most of the rest of the festival was stationary (ie stalls and stages), so it was great to have the freedom to roam around and be free to go along the river, up pathways and behind stalls. We found great people everywhere we went!

 

Bio Bike SLF 2018 -Bicycles Create Change.com. 13 Feb, 2018

What needs modifying?

1. After the initial ride in and riding it for Friday’s gig, it became quickly apparent that we needed to make the pod higher. So on Saturday, we raised it and reinforced it where needed. This made being in the Bio Bike much more comfortable.

2. Before I left for the ride into the city, I ended up having to put in a modified splint/brace going from the back wheel to the sides of the tank to give the structure some rigidity and help hold the shape so it didn’t swing.

3. The seat had to be set at a certain height so that the rear of the shell didn’t rub on the back wheel. However, this meant that is was precarious for Sarah and Claire to ride the bike and difficult for them to put their feet on the ground to stop/start riding (we had one serious mishap from this). So an alteration is needed so that we are able to lower the seat as needed.

Bio Bike SLF 2018 -Bicycles Create Change.com. 13 Feb, 2018

What we learnt

1. Make sure any lighting, cable ties or decorations do not infringe on the handlebars turning or gear leavers. On Saturday night, we strung up lighting all over the pod. It looked amazing! I had to do a quick gaffer job as loose cables started catching when I turned the handlebars and it made navigating tricky and potentially unsafe – but it was easily rectified.

2. We had an interesting discussion with one festival-goer who asked us if we recycled the cable ties. We explained that the pod screen was recycled from a previous project and that we did reuse the longer cable-ties. She suggested that we could use wire to link the bottle top pod together instead of cable-ties, which I thought was a great idea. I’m looking forward experimenting with this suggestion.

3. I am so glad we carried extra gaffer tape, cable ties and scissors – lifesavers!

4. People really appreciated the Eco Excellence Awards. It made me so happy to see how stoked they were to find out that each one is custom-made out of recycled bike parts. I was also super happy to hear people talking about the Awards and the Bio Bike while I was not performing. I overheard people waiting for food and in the beer tent chatting about cool stuff they have seen at the festival, showing their mate the Award they had received from us and saying that they had fun interacting with our performance. Best compliment ever!

Would we do it again?

Hells yeah!

Bio Bike SLF 2018 -Bicycles Create Change.com. 13 Feb, 2018

Thanks to all the awesome peeps who made our time amazing!

A massive big thank you to those involved in making the SLF happen, Simon and Andrea in particular. But also all the other volunteers, exhibitors and crew we met.

The SLF crew was so supportive, helpful and encouraging. Thanks so much for having us as part of your team!

To the punters who came up and chatted – thanks, for your energy, stories and time – it was truly a blessing to meet you all, spend some quality time to connect and hear what you have been up to.

And a big salute to City of Melbourne for putting on such an important event. It was great to see the community coming together to discuss such critical issues that affect us all.

Melbourne … you Rock!

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You!

This post shows how we constructed the Bio Bike frame into our second performance model, Your Future Thanks You.

See the last couple of posts for first Bio Bike Model: The Eco T(h)anks.

This is the model we will be using for this weekend’s Sustainable Living Festival.  I can’t wait!

Click here to get the Festival Highlights Program.

Here’s the listing for our performance from the  Festival Program.

Sweet!!!

 

I am super happy we were forward-thinking enough to make the Bio Bike frame modular. And now that we have two different tops that we can interchange, it makes the Bio Bike frame so much more versatile.

Currently, we have two tops we can use for two different performances.

  1. The Eco T(h)anks and the Eco Protection Corps
  2. Your Future Thanks You

So, it has been all action stations to get the Bio Bike frame that we previously constructed as the based for the Eco T(h)anks into the Your Future Thanks You.

Construction started, of course, with our Bio Bike base…

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.

 

Claire had done an amazing job bending the PVC piping to shape the pod shell.

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.

 

We wanted the pod to look a little comical and dinky.

We both agreed that we didn’t want a fully polished piece, we liked the home-made-any-one-can-do-this feel. We also didn’t want to over-engineer, complicate or over-decorate the pod. The whole point was that it was grassroots and fun.

We also wanted people to be able to see that it was clearly made out of recycled materials and that it wasn’t ‘perfect’ – and didn’t need to be to be super fun!

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.

 

Claire had a previous artwork that we refashioned to be the back of the pod. The green section gave it a bit of colour and we decided to let it flop at the front because we liked the odd and unruly look of it – made you think that there is no way this thing could fly – which was perfect!

The pod shell was constructed out of recycled PET bottles attached together. I then lay it over the pod and zip tied it to the pod frame, while Claire was working on the wings.

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.

 

Then, Hey Presto! The wings were ready.

Now, all we have to do is attach the propellers and put it on the bike!

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.

 

I’ll be riding this Bio Bike from Footscray into Federation Square – just as I did for our 2014 SLF roving performance, Leki & the Ova.

I LOVE doing this!

It is a great way for the bike structure to settle in, I get to see if there are any last minute adjustments needed, and it is great to go whizzing by the poor unsuspecting public and see their faces! Honk! Honk!

It makes me super happy to ride our art bikes to the festival site. It gets me in the happy, bikes-are-awesome mood and this awesomeness is carried over into when the performance starts as I am already primed for fun!

Unleash the beast!

Here is the final Bio Bike…

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.

 

 

Here’s our listing on the event program below!

Bio Bike: Your Future Thanks You -Bicycles Create Change.com. 8th Feb, 2018.

See you all there!

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks

I’ve been working on the Bio Bike Project for the last couple of weeks. The Eco T(h)anks is the first of two models that will share a similar frame, but have a different (modular) top that is interchangeable depending on the event. The second variation is Your Future Thanks You, which has a UFO-style top (see next post). Given the sustainable focus of the upcoming SLF, where this project will perform, it looks increasing like we will use the Your Future Thanks You model for this weekend. However, the Eco T(h)anks was the first to be constructed as a prototype. So this post outlines the frame and how the top section of the Eco T(h)anks was made. Enjoy! NG.

See our Instagram for more Eco T(h)anks construction stage photos.


Constructing the Eco T(h)anks

The previous post explained the conceptual background and aims of this Bio Bike model, the next step was to turn these plans into reality.

Stage 1 was undertaken in Coolie’s fabrications workshop in northern NSW (Cheers Coolie!) and subsequent stages completed in my backyard in Brisvegas (Brisbane). Claire did a great job of spray painting, attaching the turret and decorating the outside.

There is still a bit more to do to complete this piece. It is great to have all the main hard work out of the way and get a better sense of what the final structure could looks and feel like. And now, only the fun bits are left to do!

Here’s how it came together…

Stage 1: The Frame

The first stage was to use a general purpose bike to get a sense of dimensions and scale. Then we cut a pattern for the side panels out of 5mm white corflute. This was double layered in alternating directions and the central seam was designed to interlock on the inside to help with rigidity.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two sizes of recycled PVC piping we cut to make the square frame. This frame is what the side panels will had from.

My main concern here was to make the sides easy to flatpack down (for transport in a bike bag) and easy to assemble.

Of course weight, balance and manoeuvrability were key issues.

I didn’t want to the structure to be over-engineered or overly complicated to make. I had limited time, money and access the to workshop – so this meant being productive and innovative to get an outcome with the resources at hand.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

As well as fashioning four custom-made hangers to attach and support the side panels, zip ties and gaffer tape were the order of the day to attach the base to the bike.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

It was important to intermittently take the bike for a test run to be sure that it was still functional as a bicycle as well as relatively easy to use re: turning, overall weight, balance, getting on and off, safety, bump in/out transportability, and the like.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last task was to make the turret and the barrel.

The front piece of the turret needed to be made of a stronger metal/resin material so that it could hold the weight of the barrel.

The barrel was carefully measured so that it did not go out too far (for safety and weight reasons), but far enough so the effect ‘barrel’ was achieved

The next challenge was how to attach this to the handle bars.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stage 2: Eco T(h)ank base structure

Then it was time to head back home to Brisvegas for assemblage.

First step was to reconstitute the frame and the get the front of the turret on the handlebars – this took a little ingenuity. Claire ended up using a wire frame (used in fridges for wine bottles) and attached that to the back so there were points to lash zip ties to the bike – it worked a treat!

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it was time to use 2mm black corflute to wrap around the side panels to simulate tracks (this effect will be developed further at a later stage) and to enclose the front and back of bike, whilst being mindful of how we get on and off the bike.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

A few well placed large cogs of bike cassettes were screwed on meant overlay points were more rigid, helped with stabilising the structure and added a strong recycled aesthetic – which I thought worked really well.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the final basic structure is complete!!!

The wheels turn freely and I can ride the bike unhindered.

The structure is light and versatile enough to be transferred to any kind of bike frame.

It still needs some decorations and external work done, but I’m very happy with the base structure!

Overall it took 3 days to make.

Thanks so much to Coolie, TK and Claire for their direct input, time, ideas and labour!

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed doing this project as I got to use materials and tools that I have not used before. This was one of the main reasons for undertaking their project – to develop my technical skills and be a little bolder in what I envision and can produce – and I am delighted with the result!

The next post will show how we modified this base with a different (modular) top to make the Bio Bike Model 2:  Your Future Thanks You.

See our Instagram for more Eco T(h)anks construction stage photos.

Project Bio Bike & the Eco Protection Corps

Project Eco Bike & the Eco Protection Corps. Bicycles Create Change.com Feb 1st, 2018

Bicycles Create Change’s Eco T(h)ank Concept for the 2018 Sustainable Living Festival.

Project Bio Bike & the Eco Protection Corps

Next week, I will be down in Melbourne for the Sustainable Living Festival (SLF) – Big Weekend.

With two other collaborators, Claire Tracey and Sarah Cole, we are putting on an Bio Bike roving performance for Sat 10th and Sun 11th Feb.

Here’s a little more background and detail about the project.

Initial Concept

The original inspiration came from the old armed forces morale-boosting concerts – and the recognition medals for services, commendable action and extraordinary achievement. Our spin is to boost morale AND award our own Bio Medals (all of which I have personally made out of recycled bike parts, inner tubes, discarded jewellery and other found objects) but these are for services to community members for environmental and sustainability services and action.

Inspiration adaptation

We are the Eco Protection Corps (EPS).

There are three performers – a brunette (me), a blonde (Claire) and a redhead (Sarah) – so the first idea was that there was one person for each ‘armed’ corps – Army, Navy and Air Force.

Each performer would research and give out enviro and sustainability awards and recognition medals that correlated with their ‘Eco Force’.  For example:

  • ‘Army’ for land, soil and rubbish management, flora and fauna, housing, urban and contested spaces, biochar, erosion, gardens, composting, recycling, etc.
  • ‘Air Force’ for air quality, air emissions, atmosphere pollution, acid rain, storms and extreme weather events, climate change/ozone issues, birdlife, etc.
  • ‘Navy’ for water quality, water use and conservation, desalination, plastic ocean pollution, fish and sealife issues, Great Barrier Reef, coral bleaching, oil spills and waste water control, etc.

Project Summary

The Eco Protection Corps (EPC) is a bike-powered, environmentally themed performance taking place at the Sustainable Living Festival in Federation Square. Roving members of the Eco Corps will ride an Eco T(h)ank bike around the festival, handing out medals awarding excellence in environmentalism and sustainability.

The Eco T(h)ank bike and the medals of excellence are made
from predominantly up-cycled and recycled materials.

The aim of the project is to generate positive reinforcement around individual environmental action and to remind the public that ‘an army’ of sustainable frontliners is made up of many individuals creating positive change towards global sustainability.

This project aims to promote, encourage and recognise the thoughtful environmental action taken by local community members.

The Eco Corps Bio bike , or Eco T(h)ank, and performance is a reaffirming, fun and direct way to celebrate with the wider community and array of positive, creative and personal eco action.

It is our aim that this artwork will create interest,  discussion and education around the need for sustainable action and will explore creative and  innovative ways this can be achieved.

The Eco T(h)ank

The idea of the Eco T(h)ank is to use the well-known tank as a motif of the strength and force needed to address these environmental issues – and jell that with the community-based involvement for sustainability theme of the Festival.

The bike is instantly recognisable as a ‘Tank’- but most importantly, we are keen to promote the positivity and ‘green-ness’ of this project.

So we will have modifying the tank shell to be an Eco T(h)ank  – so it is clearly  distinguishable as a representation of the Environment (Eco) thanking (Thank) people who have progressed and ‘fought’ to protect the environment and progress sustainable practices.

Achievement Medals

The performance and distribution of ‘Environmental Excellence Medals’ represent the awarding of present achievements and services rendered, as well as involving the general public in the show and helping to build a sense of unity, pride and camaraderie for our precious community and environment.

Our performance is based on interacting with the general public and discussing sustainability issues with them (participation, education and promotion). During this, we will ask people what they have done to support sustainable living and use that as they basis to present an award to that person.

This way the awards are impromptu, individual and fun. Participants also get to keep a unique trinket from the Festival as a memento.

We hope that doing so will encourage even more positive sustainable practice – as well as discussion and recognition for small acts of environmental kindness that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Project Eco Bike & the Eco Protection Corps. Bicycles Create Change.com Feb 1st, 2018

 

Project considerations

There are a few project considerations, but some of the key ones are:

  • budget
  • collaborating with 3 interstate performers (QLD, NSW & VIC)
  • emphasising the Eco not the militaristic intent/aesthetic
  • being respectful of armed forces personnel and possible issues
  • being sure the bike shell (Tank) can flat-pack down and be transported in a bike bag easily for flights
  • overall size and usability – getting on and off the bike
  • manoeuvring the T(h)ank around a crowd and limited space
  • avoiding damage and wear-and-tear to the T(h)ank during performance
  • storage for the Sat night
  • deciding who/when rides the bike and how the bike stands with/out people

Initial Conceptual plans for the EcoT(h)ank

Here are the three first concepts for the tank. The first idea was to have side wheels (too much space and too much work).

This morphed into having a side brace (part of this idea made it into the final design as the tank side panels).

The third idea was to have a turret and barrel where flowers can burst out of (so Banksy!). One idea for this was to mount only the barrel on the handle-bars so the barrel would swivel to point where ever the bike is pointed. But for safety and stability, this idea ended up being simplified so that the whole section was one piece mounted on the handlebars – the effect was the same, but was much less fiddling around.

Project Eco Bike & the Eco Protection Corps. Bicycles Create Change.com Feb 1st, 2018

 

Once this general plan was decided,  attention turned to how to construct it so it could be flat-packed for quick and easy re/dissembled and so that the whole thing could fit into a bike bag for interstate transportation.

Project Eco Bike & the Eco Protection Corps. Bicycles Create Change.com Feb 1st, 2018

 

After much deliberation and checking of materials and finance, here is an overall plan for the T(h)ank aesthetic, size and design.

Project Eco Bike & the Eco Protection Corps. Bicycles Create Change.com Feb 1st, 2018

The last week has all been about making this structure and see what works and can be do during the construction of this plan.

See how it all turned out in the next post!

Sustainable Living Festival – Bio Bike ACCEPTED

Sustainable Living Festival - Bio Bike ACCEPTED. Bicycles Create Change.com 28th Jan 2018
Image: SLF 2018

Hey, bike nuts! Welcome back!

The last week has been super crazy getting ready, because…

A while back, my regular creative collaborator and friend Claire Tracey and I put together a roving performance idea and application for the upcoming 2018 Sustainable and Living Festival (SLF)- and we got the news it was successful!

Sustainable Living Festival – Bio Bike ACCEPTED

The Festival’s Program Coordinator Big Weekend emailed:

Thank you for your Festival application. We are pleased to inform you that your event application has been accepted!  The team at the Sustainable Living Festival are delighted to have your event as part of our program.

Woohoo!!

So, we are heading to Melbourne to perform the Bio Bike at the 2018 SLF!

Previous SLF adventures – Leki & the Ova

The phenomenal Claire Tracey and I have previously collaborated for the 2014 SLF, where we created the roving performance/art bike Leki & the Ova.

This project used Leki as the basis for a pedal-powered no-money/barter/trade/swap, mobile op shop. It was sooooo much fun!

Leki and the Ova will be very familiar to regular BCC readers, given it is immortalised as the central feature image for the Bicycles Create Change homepage.

We roved the Festival and went out twice a day. We had a brilliant time and were a roaring success – the punters loved being part of it … and so did we!

Projects - Bicycles Create Change.com

 

It was a wicked project to make and present – and Claire and I knew we worked well together and have since joined forces on a number of ventures.

So we threw our hat into the ring for this year with our concept of the Bio Bike … and hey presto! We’re in!

So, no time to waste – we have to get organised!

But first a bit of background.

What is the SLF Big Weekend?

In it’s own words, the Festival’s signature Big Weekend event will be staged between the 9th and 11th of February. Held in the cultural hub of Federation Square and Birrarung Marr, the Festival’s Big Weekend showcases the main attractions of the Festival’s calendar.

Featuring interactive workshops, talks, technology demonstrations, art, film and live performance pieces (of which our roving Bio Bike performance will feature! NG).

One of the main attractions of the Big Weekend is the Exhibitors Market featuring over 100 exhibitors, including vendors showcasing the very best of organic food, beer and wine. Ethically-sourced clothing, sustainable building designs and gardening options will also be on show.

Treadlie and Green Magazine will be back to host the always popular Treadlie Bike Hub, with bikes, accessories and even a test track to help you make the switch from horsepower to human-power.

Click here for a sneak peek at the SLF guide highlights.

Our Bio Bike Project Aim and Overview

As an arts collective, we aim to educate, encourage and empower participants to seriously think about their ability to affect positive environmental change.

Our event is focused on raising awareness about the necessity of transitioning to a ‘below zero emissions’ society and examines creative solutions to creating this widespread societal change as soon as possible.

The Bio Bikes roving performance uses positive reinforcement and humour to create public awareness about climate change and encourages viewers to participate in the performance by interacting with the sculptural bikes when they are stationary. 

Next steps…

So, it has been action stations to get the foundations organised and prepped for the Bio Bike. We already have a clear conceptual plan of what we want the performance to entail, but it is the props and bike itself that requires time, skills, materials and construction. With the Festival fast approaching, the making of the Bio Bike is a top priority.

So, I’ve been away for the last 5 days visiting a dear long-time friend, called Coolie, in northern NSW. (No internet there, hence the delay in uploading this post- sorry!). Coolie’s technical expertise, insight and fabrication workshop was invaluable in constructing a Bio Bike prototype which will be a major part of our roving performance.

The next couple of posts will be tracking our project development as we refine and work on the Bio Bike, props, costumes and production.

Stay tuned to see how it unfolds – and if you are in Melbourne, we’ll be seeing you at the Sustainable Living Festival in a couple of weeks!

Sustainable Living Festival - Bio Bike ACCEPTED. Bicycles Create Change.com 28th Jan 2018
Image: SLF 2018

Vycle – Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th

 

There are some super creative professionals out there producing innovative solutions to urban issues using bicycles as the foundation for inspiration and design.

One example I have previously posted, is the incredible and now readily available Invisible Bike Helmet which is the brainchild of two Swedish Industrial Designers, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin.

Another is the Vycle, which was first designed by Elena Larriba.

Vycle is touted as being a human-powered vertical transport solution to address increasing urbanisation.

What is Vycle– Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower?

Elena Larriba is a qualified architect (MArch) and an Imperial College and the Royal College of Art (MSc & MA) alumni.

Her work is concerned with responding to increasing urbanisation and migration.

Most densely populated urban environments and cities utilise vertical spaces. Therefore innovate methods for vertical transportation are being investigated – and harnessing the functionality of cycling is Elena’s answer!

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th Dec, 2018

 

Elena’s website explains that her design is inspired by bicycles, in that “Vycle is a system powered by continuous cyclical movement. Its benefits are twofold: firstly, it will give stakeholders a more efficient and sustainable option to ascend, and secondly, variable energy selection will be able to cater to people of varied ages and abilities, whilst creating a personalised experience”.

The two choices of moving about between building levels: elevators or stairs – and both have some serious drawbacks. Elevators require a lot of energy and encourage laziness, whereas stairs encourage physical activity, but that for some, this can be onerous or too strenuous.

In a nutshell, Elena believes “that stairs require a lot of effort for a person to go up whereas lifts are 100% powered and that this carves out an area of opportunity that sits between the two.”

Comparatively, using Vylce appears to alleviate these concerns by being compact and space efficient, easy to physically propel, as well as removing any reliance or use of precious energy and thus is incredibly environmentally sound – go bicycles!

Concept Development

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th Dec, 2018

 

The Vylce is currently only a working prototype. Further testing is required to take this product to market and comply with regulation level safety measures for implementation.

How does it work?

The Vycle team explain that this device operates by allowing “people to cycle up in an effortless and enjoyable way. The system is balanced with counterweights leaving the user body as the only weight to overcome. Using a gearing system similar to how bikes work, the user can decide how much effort they want to put to ascend or descent”.

You can see how Vcyle works in action in the video below.

Here is a possible future that Elena hopes to provide – pretty inspiring stuff!

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th Dec, 2018

 

I love the visionary and inventive ways bicycles are being utilised, modified and adapted to help provide productive and resourceful solutions to growing social, environmental and technological issues.

I can’t wait to see more ways where bicycles are being used to create a more positive future for all.

Images and video courtesy of ycle.co.uk

Forbidden women riding bikes in Iran

Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 11th.Women riding bikes in Iran
Source: cyclists_boj

Forbidden women riding bikes in Iran

In September 2016, the supreme leader of Iran Ali Khamenei, issued a fatwa (which is a legal ruling issued by an Islamic religious leader) that prohibits women from riding a bike in a public place.

Mr Khamenei explained via the state media, that the fatwa was issued because “riding a bicycle often attracts the attention of men and exposes the society to corruption, and thus contravenes women’s chastity, and it must be abandoned.”

As recent as November 28th, 2017, national public radio reminded all of Iran of Khamenei’s fatwa that prohibits women from riding a bike in public as they are ‘exposed to unknown people’.

Despite this, women in Iran are uploading videos of themselves riding their bikes in defiance of the fatwa that bans female cycling for “contravening women’s chastity”.

Since then, a number of women and groups of riders are refusing to adhere – and more so,  are encouraging others to take a stand too.

This movement has been covered over the last year by a small number of online and social media as well as through news outlets such as:

Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 11th. Women riding bikes in Iran
Source: versionvintage

 

1 My Stealthy Freedom

My Stealthy Freedom is a online movement that was started in 2014 by the activist/journalist Masih Alinejad. It is an online movement that began by sharing images of women wihtout their scarves, and has since evolved to draw international attention to a range of Iranian women’s rights and issues.

Such as not being allowed to ride a bike.

My Stealthy Freedom has been availtly promoting and sharing images of female bike riders on various social media outlets – many of which are shared using #Iranianwomenlovecycling.

2 #Iranianwomenlovecycling

This social media hashtag is used on Instagram and Twitter as a forum to publicly defy the fatwa, raise awareness and as an unregulated avenue for local female riders to show their love of riding.

Talk about locally-driven social and gender activism!

It is very inspiring to see this kind of movement – and being supported so many cyclists (and others) overseas who understand and value the importance of bike riding for all.

It is also great to see that bicycles really are universally loved.

It also makes me very humble to be living and riding in Australia.

It begs the question: How is your bike riding contributing to making society a better place for all?

Happy riding!

Here’s a few pictures from Instagram’s #Iranianwomenlovecycling.

Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 11th. Women riding bikes in Iran
Source: leyla.lotfy
Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 11th. Women riding bikes in Iran
Source: chs_internationalclub
Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 11th. Women riding bikes in Iran
Source: vahid.nasseri

Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 11th. Women riding bikes in Iran

 

Counterview and Critique of Bicycle Network’s Helmet Survey Results

On Nov 21st, I posted the results of the Bicycle Network’s Helmet Law Survey. I was delighted this week to see some topical debate about the results taking place amongst the wider Australian cycling community.  I was most impressed by the active, critical engagement and points raised by the Freestyle Cyclist Editor, who yesterday posted a very interesting commentary about the Bicycle Network itself and it’s handling of the Helmet Law Survey. If you haven’t see it yet, here it is. Always good to hear differing points of view and advocates pushing for more thoughtful approaches of key issues for further positive action! You can add your voice to the Helmet Law Reform here. Enjoy, NG.


Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 6th, 2017- Counterview of Bicycle Network's Helmet Survey Results

Will Australia’s largest bike riding organisation be influenced by the majority of submitted participation/injury evidence and surveyed public opinion when it decides over the next few months whether to continue supporting Australia’s mandatory bicycle helmet laws?

The Bicycle Network has published the results of its open survey during August and September on public and membership opinion of the helmet laws.
  • The survey was completed by 19,327 respondents
  • Respondents were mostly Bicycle Network members and people who ride bikes with varying regularity.
  • 2.6% of respondents were from overseas, and 1.9% of respondents said they never ride a bike.
  • 58.3% of respondents said there should be a change to helmet laws, while the remaining 41.7% said helmets should be mandatory all the time
  • 40.7% believe helmets should only be mandatory when the risk is high, for example, when racing, on road or for young people
  • 30.4% would ride more if helmets weren’t mandatory
  • If laws changed, almost all people who currently wear a helmet when they ride would continue to do so and the number of people who never wear a helmet when riding would only increase by 3.7%
  • As expressed by the Bicycle Network’s media releaseA survey of almost 20,000 people has found that nearly two-thirds don’t believe you should have to wear a helmet every time you ride a bike in Australia.
Which sounds similar to what Freestyle Cyclists has been saying for the past decade.
 
Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richard says the network will use the membership and public responses when evaluating its position on helmets, along with literature and expert opinions, with a decision expected in April 2018. “It’s great to get such a large amount of public opinion about bike helmets. It’s something people are clearly passionate about and it’s helpful to see how Australia’s helmet laws may impact people’s decision to ride,” said Mr Richards. “The opinion of our members and people who ride bikes is important and will help inform our policy on Australia’s mandatory helmet law. Along with academic research and information from experts, we will be able to make a fully informed decision.”
 
The Bicycle Network has about 50,000 members. Its influence could force media and political consideration of the helmet law issue if its policy review objectively considers the mountain of evidence proving Australia’s helmet law failure and if it does the right thing in April by recommending repeal.
 
A majority of Bicycle Network members are lycra cyclists who always wear helmets and it is interesting that 38.9% wanted some form of repeal in their survey responses. Among the network members, 70.4% would continue to wear a helmet every time they ride.
 
Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 6th, 2017- Counterview of Bicycle Network's Helmet Survey Results
 
Among all respondents to the Bicycle Network survey, 17.6% believed that bicycle helmets should never be mandatory, in line with the Freestyle Cyclists opinion that they should be voluntary among all ages. Only 1.9% of survey respondents said they never ride a bike and 30.4% of all respondents said they would cycle more if helmets weren’t mandatory.
 
Of course, the survey wasn’t measuring the hundreds of thousands of people who would actually ride a bike in the first place if not threatened with police punishment for cycling without a helmet.
 
The public health and traffic safety benefits would be enormous with both more cyclists and a 30% increase in current cycling duration. All the newly participating riders would otherwise probably be driving a car and the hospital data suggests fewer cyclists will be crashing and injuring some part of their body. 
 
The Bicycle Network is under pressure from many within its own membership, from Australia’s pro-law academia and from the media to make no change to its long-standing position of support for mandatory bike helmet laws. Most mainstream media such as in Western Australia continue to ignore any reference to the Bicycle Network’s helmet policy review, let alone the survey results. 
 
The few media outlets that have published stories online or in press about the survey results have highlighted the medical community’s opposition and/or quoted one of the many helmeted cyclists who so frequently crash and are convinced it has saved their life.
 

It’s likely that well over 99% of Australians are unaware of the review or survey, adding weight to the 19,327 who did know and let their majority helmet law opposition be known in the Bicycle Network survey.

Freestyle Cyclists urges the Bicycle Network to objectively evaluate the real world evidence of Australia’s mandatory helmet law failure and accept that its own pro-repeal survey results support the mountain of submitted evidence that the laws discourage a huge number of people from riding a bike, and with highly questionable injury results.

Readers are urged to read the expert opinions linked at the bottom of the Bicycle Network’s policy review page.

All 32 opinions are worth reading but we recommend those submitted by Freestyle Cyclists, Professor Chris Rissel,  and researcher Chris Gillham.

Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 6th, 2017- Counterview of Bicycle Network's Helmet Survey Results

 This post was originally posted on Freestyle Cyclist (5th Dec, 2017) and the full text has been reprinted here as per the original. Text emphasis is my own. Images my own sources.

Bike-sharing fiascoes

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


Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

Bike-sharing fiascoes

Bike-sharing schemes are a fast-growing transport trend, with almost 1,500 operating around the world today. To governments, they’re a novel tool to help ease the burden on public transport systems and reduce congestion in cities. To people, they’re an affordable and green way to get from A to B, without having to actually buy a bike.

Inspired by the principles of the “sharing economy”, bike-sharing schemes aim to make efficient use of resources by providing affordable, short-term access to bikes on an “as-needed” basis.

These schemes have been one of the most distinctive and user-friendly means of inspiring people to change their mode of travel, largely because they blend the sustainability of cycling with the speed and convenience of public transport.

But as striking photographs from China reveal, these bold principles don’t always play out in practice. To prevent thousands of bikes literally piling up in need of repair or retirement, cities and bike-sharing businesses need to swerve around a few obvious potholes.

Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

An uphill effort

Certain features can make cities hostile places for bike-sharing schemes; for example, overcomplicated planning procedures, strict cycling laws (such as compulsory helmet use) and political friction over giving up parking spaces to bike docks.

Inadequate infrastructure – such as limited bike lanes and unprotected cycle paths – together with traffic safety concerns, bad weather and hilly streets can also put off would-be cyclists. And if schemes suffer from poor promotion or sluggish expansion, the bikes can languish for lack of use.

Traditional bike-sharing schemes enable users to rent and return bikes at special hire stations, but they don’t provide a door-to-door service. So, for them to work, convenience is crucial. Schemes such as Seattle’s Pronto paid the price for having sparse and poorly placed docking stations, ceasing operations in 2017.

Over the last two years, Chinese bike-sharing start-ups such as Mobike and Ofo – funded by internet giants Alibaba and Tencent – have rushed to address this problem, by providing stationless smart bikes, which users can lock and unlock using a mobile app.

With lightning speed, hundreds of door-to-door bike-sharing schemes have spread across China, throughout other Asian countries and finally into Europe – the homeland of conventional public bicycle programmes. This new model has in theory the capacity to transform the world of cycle hire, just as Uber and Lyft have done for cabs.

Fatally flawed?

But amid the rush to embrace this new technology, there have already been a fair few fiascoes. China’s third-biggest bike-sharing company, Bluegogo, has run into financial trouble, despite having 20m users and £226m in deposits at its zenith. With so much competition in the market, there are too many bikes available at very low prices, with insufficient demand from consumers.

Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

Of course, some of these mistakes are easily avoidable. Wukong Bicycle, a minor Chinese start-up which placed 1,200 bikes in the notoriously hilly Chinese city of Chongqing, went out of business after only six months in operation, with 90% of its bikes presumed missing or stolen. They made the fatal error of not installing GPS devices in their fleet.

Beijing-based bike-sharing firm 3Vbike also went bankrupt in June 2017, after losing more than 1,000 of its bikes in just four months. The scheme relied on location data from WeChat, rather than building its own app, making its tracking functions ineffective. Worse still, the owner had to purchase the bikes himself, for lack of other investors.

Manchester’s Mobike scheme – the first of its kind in the UK – is still going strong, despite facing teething issues during its first three months. Bikes were vandalised, dumped in canals and bins and stolen outright, leading the company’s spokesperson to suggest that the system has been “misundertood”. Bikes have since been taken in for repair, and will be redistributedacross a smaller area in the city centre. The oBike scheme in Australian cities faced similar problems.

Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

Survival guide

So, even with the right technology, dockless schemes are prone to misuse. If this new model of bike-sharing scheme is going to survive, operators will need to take note of these pitfalls, and adapt to the specific needs of their cities. Here are a few measures which can help to ensure the success of a bike-sharing scheme:

  • Stationless bikes might work where traditional bike-sharing schemes have failed, provided there is enough demand for these services. But free-floating bikes must have GPS systems attached – not doing so is a recipe for failure.
  • Fair fares, flexible membership options and ease of access all help to make schemes more user-friendly. And each scheme should have its own purpose-built app – no substitute is good enough.
  • Protection mechanisms and penalties for vandalism and theft should be in place from day one, to help minimise misuse. Market and education campaigns can be used to promote bike-sharing culture, and encourage people to take a positive attitude towards these bikes.
  • Too much competition within a city is a problem – an oversaturated bike-sharing market can be a fatal trap, especially for smaller schemes. Once they’ve assessed the market, operators need to make a city-specific plan for methodical and incremental growth. Rushing things through will lead to disaster.
  • City authorities should enthusiastically support bike-sharing and invest in cycling infrastructure to help schemes succeed; having a champion for the scheme, such as London’s former mayor Boris Johnson, guarantees long-term viability.
  • Very aggressive expansion can doom even the strongest dockless bike-sharing initiatives. Bike-sharing might not be an extremely profitable investment, so it’s important to manage investors’ expectations.

Bike-sharing is still, in many ways, a revelation and a positive addition for many cities which are battling the ill effects of car use. But at the same time it should be realised that not every city is destined to become a paradise for cyclists.


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

Village Bicycle Project

Village Bicycle Project - Bicycles Create Change.com

Village Bicycle Project

Village Bicycle Project (VBP) is a completely volunteer-run organization that collects and sends second-hand bicycles to community partners only in Ghana and Sierra Leone.

VBP has been in operation since 1999 and has its base headquarters in Seattle, USA.

It was originally founded to provide transport options of Ghana’s rural residents and farmers and has since expanded on this aim.

VBP facilitates the on-the-ground distribution and sales of bicycles that are either sourced through direct donation or via collection drives undertaken by local partner organisations based in the USA, Canada and Europe, such as Bike Works (Seattle), Recycle-a-Bicycle (New York City) and Bikes not Bombs (Chicago).

Their motto is Affordable and sustainable transportation to Africa and Changing lives in Africa.

Village Bicycle Project - Bicycles Create Change.com

The core philosophy framing all VBP policy and practice is not to give bicycles for free.

A clear statement on the VBP website explains the justification for this ideology as being threefold. They believe that supplying free bikes will flood the local market which undermines local bike enterprises and associated livelihoods, that free bikes do not remain in possession of those who need it most and that it devalues the bicycle as well as precipitates a reliance on aid.

Once the bikes are sourced, they undergo rigorous condition checks to ensure that only second-hand bikes of excellent quality are included, while the rest are stripped for parts.

When collection reaches distribution point, a 40” shipping container is filled with 450 bicycles and is shipped over to distribution partners in Africa.

Village Bicycle Project - Bicycles Create Change.com

Each shipment is divided into three streams on arrival, 150 bikes are reserved for VBP one-day maintenance workshops, a quota is reserved for other partnership initiatives (such as supplying bicycles for rural teachers). The rest of the bicycles and extra parts are sold to local bike retailers to pay the $5000 cost of shipping the container to Africa.

VBP ships about 20 containers to Africa each year.

Village Bicycle Project - Bicycles Create Change.com

As well as supplying bicycles, tools and spare parts, VBP provides access to mechanics for assistance and runs a number of programs. Programs include bicycles with maintenance workshops, learn to ride, bicycle mechanic training and bicycle collection and distribution.

The one-day maintenance workshop is free for anyone who has purchased one of their bikes. This course shows new owners how change flat tires, check gears and brakes and provides advice to increase biking confidence and safe riding practices.

 

Village Bicycle Project - Bicycles Create Change.com

Girls-only riding and bicycle programs

VBP specifically targets women and girls for inclusion to help begin to address the gender inequalities that limit accesses to bicycles (VBP, 2015).

The VBP website states that as of 2017, they achieved: 106,000 bikes supplied to Ghana and Sierra Leone, 3500 girls and women have learnt to ride a bike through one of their programs; 18,000 people have been trained in bike repairs; and 60,00 tools have been distributed to support the increase of bicycles in communities (VBP, 2016).

Village Bicycle Project - Bicycles Create Change.com

In 2014 with the help of Clara Matthews, VBP launched their girls’ only after-school month long ‘learn to ride’ classes in Lunsa, Sierra Leone. These classes were held in community parks to capitalise on being open air, friendly and socially inclusive programs within the community and were used to try to improve community acceptance of more girls riding bicycles.

VBP features in Laurens Hof’s (2016) Master’s Thesis entitled Teaching girls how to ride a bicycle: gender and cycling in Lunsar, Sierra Leone, and as a case study in Jack Furness One less car: Bicycling and the politics of automobility, but has so far not been included in any empirical academic publications beyond being mentioned in passing.

Village Bicycle Project - Bicycles Create Change.com

All images from Village Bicycle Project.