Urban Cycling World Champs

2017 UCI Urban Cycling World Champs - Bicycles Create Change.com

Urban Cycling World Champs

The Urban Cycling World Championship is a relatively new format that blends a selection of biking and cycling events into one ‘festival of urban biking’ showcase.  The  UCWC is in held in major cities around the world so more people can get to see, and experience, the new and unique skills and thrills of urban biking.

The 2017 Urban Cycling World Championship was held this week in Chengdu, China.

This year the event included Mountain Bike Eliminator (XCE), Trials and BMX Free Style Park – each of which is sure to inspire even the most unimpressed general public be more interested in bikes!!

What are ‘Trials’?

Trials is the event where you see bikers hopping and jumping across, between and over boulders, planks and other obstacles.  Bikes are 20″ and 26″ and riders need mad balancing, agility, strength, timing and track standing skills to be competitive. Essentially it is a time-based routine where riders are allowed a maximum of five dabs allowed in any section.

Why is Trials so interesting this year?

Trial events have been a UCI World Champs event since 2001. However 2017 is the first year that Trials is being run as part of the Urban Cycling World Champs, whereas previously Trials has been run in conjunction with other mountain-biking disciplines as part of the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships.

Most importantly because J-Mean (Janine Jungfels), who is a local Brisbane rider and Australia’s Women’s Elite Trials entrant – is hoping to kick ass!

Go Janine, Go!

Janine was the 2015 UCI BIU World Champion and she is a great ambassador for the sport. If you don’t know much about J-Mean, check out her Facebook page.

No matter what the final results are for this event, I think Janine is already a champ, given her dedication to training and promoting the sport.

She is a great role model to encourage more women and girls to see and experience a wider range of biking styles outside of the ‘mainstream’ road riding and MTBing.

I was super pumped after I saw this interview (see below) with her earlier this month at the Trials Park at Underwood Park, Brisbane.

I wanted to post on Janine and Trials to acknowledge and promote the hard work and dedication of many unknown riders in less popular cycling disciplines.

There are a handful of cycling styles that when someone saying ‘cycling’ immediately spring to mind (like the Tour de France). As I have argued elsewhere, the hyperfocus on such events is parochial and highlights the inaccurate, limited and inadequate representation within society of what cycling is – and this kind of view that negates an appreciate and support for the diversity and range of other types of riders, styles, skills and bikes that make up our amazing cycling communities.

So regardless of who actually wins the event – Viva La Femme Trails!

I hope events like the Urban Champs will help more people who would otherwise not have seen events like trails have a greater appreciation of the unique skills needed – and hopefully get more people interested in bikes!

Best of luck to all the 2017 Urban Champ riders – it will be a great event!

2017 UCI Urban Cycling World Champs - Bicycles Create Change.com

Here is the event list for this year’s Urban Cycling World Champs.

2017 UCI Urban Cycling World Champs - Bicycles Create Change.com

Don Kuson Community Bike Shop

While looking for community bike projects in Thailand, I came across the Don Kuson Community Bike Shop in Bangkok. It reminded me of a previous post from Cass about Ben’s Bici Cooperativa in Peru. The Don Kuson shop offers a range of bike services and programs as well as hosting live music gigs and other events. This report comes courtesy of Bicycle Thailand. Enjoy! NG.


Don Kuson Community Bike Shop - Bicycles Create Change.com

Possibly the only bike shop in Bangkok running on the support and donations of local bicycle lovers, the Don Kuson Community Bike Shop started as the answer to a need noticed by Alexander Martin. As an avid bicyclist in the US, he was involved in bike co-op organizations for years until he moved to Bangkok and saw that there wasn’t anything similar.

Don Kuson Community Bike Shop - Bicycles Create Change.com

Located deep in Charoen Krung Soi 57, Don Kuson offers the typical services that you would find at most bike shops around the city. They help customers find new or used bikes, they can help fix a bike malfunction, or they can just help beginners understand the basics.

But that’s also the difference between Don Kuson and other bike shops—they want to work with their customers, not just do it for them. It’s this kind of cooperative spirit that Don Kuson is known for and wants to push further into the neighborhood.

Don Kuson Community Bike Shop - Bicycles Create Change.com

Besides maintaining an open shop for the community, Don Kuson also organizes a few other bike-related activities. They host free city night rides, taking cyclists of all skills and ages on a tour around Bangkok after the heat of the day has subsided. They’re happy to help find bikes (and lights) for those who wish to participate but don’t own their own wheels.

Don Kuson Community Bike Shop - Bicycles Create Change.com

Don Kuson also has a volunteer program for the local kids called Earn-A-Bike. Any kid that completes 10 hours of volunteer service for Don Kuson will get their very own refurbished bike. Alex hopes that by working for their bike, it’ll add a level of value and pride to it.

Don Kuson will have been open for a year at the end of August 2017. But in that short time, they’ve been able to repair around 300 bikes, an impressive feat for a shop that’s only open 3 days a week and run only with volunteers.

Don Kuson Community Bike Shop - Bicycles Create Change.com

Generous individuals and supportive bike shops have donated all the bike parts that the shop has. They welcome and work with all bikes and riders of any skill level. It’s also free to use and runs on donations.

Don Kuson Community Bike Shop - Bicycles Create Change.com

In the future, Alex hopes that he’ll eventually be able to work with other organizations to promote bike safety, advocate better bike infrastructure, and, in general, make Bangkok a better place for everyone to bike.

If you want to help Don Kuson and you’re interested in volunteering, donating parts and/or money, or just want to talk to the man himself, the easiest way to contact Alex is through the Don Kuson Community Bike Shop Facebook Page.

Don Kuson Community Bike Shop - Bicycles Create Change.com

However, the best way is to just come by the shop. It’s open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 3:30PM – 7PM. You’ll get to see the community and understand, first hand, why this is such an important place to support.

Don Kuson Community Bike Shop - Bicycles Create Change.com

Don Kuson Community Bike Shop
402/33 Soi Don Kuson (Charoen Krung soi 57)
Khwaeng Yan Nawa, Khet Sathon
Bangkok 10120
ภาษาไทย [+] Tel. 087-971-6613
[Bangkok’s First not for profit Bike Co-Op]
GPS – N 13.71443, E 100.5163906


All Images: Don Kuson Community Bike Shop Facebook page & Bicycle Thailand. This post was first published at  Bicycle Thailand on Aug, 17th, 2017.

Xiaosa – the intrepid Chinese dog

Although this story is a blast from the past, it is still such a great story – hence it’s addition here.

There are some rare events were adventurers and dogs can travel, race and tour together, but not enough. There are a few, rare remarkable stories of stray dogs joining teams of travellers, like Arthur who joined Swedish Team Peak Performace Adventure Race Team in Equador and the story below fits into this category.

As a bike enthusiast and trail dog owner, I am a big fan of riding with dogs and have often lamented that there is such a restriction about dogs on trails. I have long argued for a mixed species MTB event that is made up of a rider, bike and dog as a team for MTB festivals (mixed species teams – and then as the attendance grows, move into new divisions such as same sex and/or mixed gender species events … to cater for the understandable and obvious growth in popularity of such events!).  Anyhow, until such events eventuate become mainstream, international newsworthy stories such as this gem are certainly welcomed for its positivity and feel-good vibes promoting the unique bond between dogs and their riders.

 

The Xiaosa Story

This is a story of a stray dog that joined a band of cyclists on their epic 20 day, 1,833km graduation ride across China from Sichuan province to Tibet. There are many links to this story as it was quite a hit, but many of the English-speaking print media just gave perfunctory details, whereas this news report went the extra mile to present some interesting facts and a few extra pictures – it is well worth the read.  Having lived and travelled through China for a couple of years, I also find this story particularly heart-warming as I very challenged during my Chinese travels about the way I saw most dogs treated – so this story is doubly positive for me – an encouraging cycling trip and an affirming dog story.

 

The cycling trip across China

The cycling trip was arranged as a graduation get together. Very early on, the group had stopped for lunch, and one of the cyclists took pity on first seeing the poor wretch, lying forlornly, tired and hungry-looking in the street, so he fed her. From that moment on, the dog joined the group, running alongside them and ending up as the team mascot due to her feisty nature.

The little pup, named Xiaosa or ‘Little Sa’ made a big impression keeping up with the 60 km per day, over 12 mountain ranges, (some of which were over 14,000 m high) and outlasted some the cyclists (who opted for buses) to complete the rest of the trip. She also protected the cycling group from being attacked by other dogs, as well as keep up the group for the entire trip – no mean feat off the couch and on such little legs.

One of the cyclists started a blog about her exploits, which attracted over 40,000 people and comments, including other cyclists who had travelled the region who said they had also seen Xiaosa on their travels as well. The pup turned into a national celebrity. It was also great to hear that Xiaosa has since been adopted by one of the cyclists.

Either way, it is a  great story about cycling trips and the friends you make along the way.

The best English speaking video I’ve found so far about this story is from the BBC, but the below video is a British version from youtube so it embeds into the blog easier – but it is interesting to see the change in facts from Chinese news report to British.

To see just how popular Xiaosa and ‘her’ bicycle trip became, Google her name and see the extensive list of news stories and posts about her. It is interesting to see how the story changed depending on what source you get it from – in some reports Xiaosa is male, in others the cycling trip was a bike race with 300 competitors and so on. I am certainly not the definitive source of accurate facts for this story, I am merely synthesising the most common reported facts here.

Source: ibtimes.com
Source: ibtimes.com

Japan: Bicycles that expand children’s potential in Cambodia

by Sachie Togashiki

 

In my research about the positive contribution of the use of bicycles to children’s education in developing countries, I found CBB Cambodia. This is a Japanese NGO (non-governmental organisation) consisting of about 20 university students who support Cambodian children by providing bicycles. In spring and summer 2015, the CBB Cambodia devised and managed microfinance to provide Cambodian children with bicycles. A member of the organisation engaged in this project recorded her experience in the organisation’s blog.

The writer, Kumi Sakahashi, realised the influences of bicycles on Cambodian children’s dream job. This is because she encountered a Cambodian boy, Kea, who was about to drop education in his elementary school to support his parents. After CBB’s intervention, Kia did not have to leave school and went to a junior high school. It was because, in spring 2015, CBB Cambodia provided 33 people including Kea with a bicycle. This helped Kea to reduce his commuting time to the school and spend more time on housework and his study. This experience enabled Kea to raise his expectations from becoming a teacher to a doctor. Ms. Sakahashi heard this from Kea in summer 2015. She concludes the blog post by stating that the use of a bicycle enabled Kea to go further places where he saw many different people, resulting in a change of his dream job.

This blog post is significant because it shows the importance of bicycles in terms of widening children’s future possibilities. Ms. Sakahashi explains that without access to advanced education opportunities, children in Cambodia can only be a teacher or a farmer. Jobs requiring far more training such as being a doctor, require much greater opportunity. However, most children in Cambodia give up to go to a junior high school. This is because, according to a crowdfunding website that CBB Cambodia devised in 2014, although there is an elementary school per a village, there is only one junior high school per 3-4 villages, which makes it difficult for children to go. Ms. Sakahashi also argues that, however, with a bicycle, they might be able to continue their education and to aim to get their dream job because bicycles save the time. The children can save money as well as time by helping their parents work. Therefore, bicycles might play a significant role to help children get an education.

 

Source CBB Cambodia: Ready for Japan - Bicycles beyond borders
Source CBB Cambodia: Ready for Japan – Bicycles beyond borders

 

Sakahashi, K. (2015, September 4). A bicycle that expands children’s potential [Web log post].Retrieved from http://cbb-cambodia.org/a-bicycle-expands-possibilities-of-kids.

CBB Cambodia [NGO] (2014, November 28). 100 bicycles for children in Tomato who cannot go to their school. Retrieved from https://readyfor.jp/projects/cycle_beyond_the-borders.

Sachie Togashiki is our Guest Blogger, unveiling some of Japan’s bicycle culture for the fortnight from 11th April to 24th April.

Japan: Bicycles – A way for disarmament

by Sachie Togashiki

 

This online news article that I found is about the exhibition Change from Arms to Arts: Peace-building in Mozambique held in the art gallery of Tokyo University of the Arts. In this exhibition, audiences can see art objects which are made of materials which used to be guns.
After Mozambique became independent in 1975, a civil war occurred and lasted until 1992, after which many weapons used in the civil war were still left without proper removal. Then, the Christian Council of Mozambique (CCM), started the project Transforming Guns into Hoes, which was instructed by Dinis Sengulane, General Secretary of CCM. In this project, guns were exchanged with agricultural implements, bicycles, or sewing machines. Bicycles in Japan were donated to this project. Thanks to the project, about one million guns have been collected and most of the weapons collected were safely destroyed and others were used for making art objects, which are exhibited in Change from Arms to Arts: Peace-building in Mozambique.

 

Bicycles – a way for disarmament
Source: Tokyo University of the Arts – Change from Arms to Arts: Peace-building in Mozambique

 

This article expresses the necessity of bicycles. Because bicycles are needed by people in Mozambique, CCM members were able to exchange weapons for bicycles and other useful implements. This means bicycles might make the world better in terms of disarmament strategy. The issue of leftover weapons can be better solved, partly thanks to bicycles. In this way, bicycles can be used for maintaining peace – as seen in this exhibition.


Sachie Togashiki is our Guest Blogger, unveiling some of Japan’s bicycle culture for the fortnight from 11th April to 24th April.

Japan: Medical Use of Bicycles – enjoyable rehabilitation

by Sachie Togashiki

 

I found an interesting article about the development of bicycles for rehabilitation for hemiplegic patients. Sufferers of apoplexy, a percentage of which is overrepresented in mortality rate in Japan, tend to have a secondary disease, which is hemiplegic, after surgery. In order to recover from hemiplegia, rehabilitation is needed, but it usually bores patients or needs someone’s help. To solve this problem, two authors, Hiroshi Shoji and Takeshi Aoki at Chiba Institute of Technology, are trying to develop bicycles for easier and more fun rehabilitation.

How does it work?

The attraction of using bicycles as a rehabilitation tool is its sustainability, non-boringness, and refreshing feeling which comes from outside exercise. Although there is the attraction which the authors can make use of, they also need to cover some anxieties such as safety and uneasiness when pedaling. In order to guarantee safety, a foot which is not paralysed is applied a load to, so that a rider cannot pedal too fast, which results in a stable and low pedaling speed. In addition, a load is applied also to reduce patients’ uneasiness caused by a feeling of unbalanced heaviness depending on feet. The authors used an electrically-powered tricycle made by YAMAHA for an experiment and succeeded in keeping a low pedaling speed by applying a load to a healthy foot. They are going to conduct an experiment to mitigate patients’ uneasiness and to develop a smoothness when pedaling.

Significance

The article is crucial because this is an academic article which was published as a documentation of JSME (The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers) Conference on Robotics and Mechatronics and it shows a new significant way of using bicycles. Because riding on a bicycle is lots of fun and can be done without any permanent help, the authors suggested using bicycles for rehabilitation for the hemiplegic patient, which means bicycles can be used not only for town development and disarmament, which I will report on in two upcoming posts, but for medical uses. The use of bicycles as a rehabilitation tool might enhance patients’ motivation to recover from hemiplegia and contribute to a more positive future.

Additionally, in order to get the article, I paid for it, while most of the Australian articles are available for free. This made me think about freedom for students to research in Japan, which might be a little poorer than Australia.

 

Shoji, H., & Aoki, T. (2014). Development of rehabilitation bicycle for hemiplegic patients. Proceedings of the JSME Conference on Robotics and Mechatronics, 14(3P2-G03), 3P2-G03(1)-3P2-G03(2) Retrieved from http://ci.nii.ac.jp/naid/110009967356

 

Sachie Togashiki is our Guest Blogger, unveiling some of Japan’s bicycle culture, from 11th April to 24th April.

Japan: Bicycles for healthy and environment-friendly town development

 by Sachie Togashiki

In looking for evidence to show the social changes made by the use of bicycles, I found an interesting video. In the video, a Japanese man, Satoshi Hikita, who works for a television station, and who commutes by bicycle for 24 km, delivered a lecture about using bicycles for environment-friendly and healthy town development. The video contains the interview Mr. Hikita gave after his lecture. The lecture was delivered in Nichinan, Miyazaki prefecture, where he was born, on 8th July 2011. Mr. Hikita gave interesting arguments to explain how bicycles contribute to town development.

Main arguments presented

He claims that using bicycles has benefits for both individuals and society. Individual benefits are: promoting fitness, saving money, and furthering familiarity with local town environs. On the other hand, the social benefits are mitigation of traffic jams, reduction of traffic fatalities and medical expenses, and eco-friendly traffic. He also argues that these benefits cannot be achieved by using cars because they emit carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming; people don’t exercise when they drive a car, which is not healthy, and using a car might be more expensive in the longer term because oil prices will rise more and more.

Mr. Hikita argues that town development can benefit by promoting bicycles because the immediate appeal of the local environment can best be felt on foot or on a bicycle. This means the more people use bicycles in the town, the more they can personally and directly feel the attraction of the place. He cites the examples of Tokyo in Japan and cities in the United States; where young people prefer to go, enjoying the city on foot or a bicycle, not a car and have been developed through people’s interaction and communication. Mr. Hikita maintains that riding bicycles encourages us to interact with people and to fully appreciate our local environment, as well as being a convenient mode of transport.

Comment

After watching this video, I was intrigued by Mr. Hikita’s idea of how the planning of cities and towns was influenced by the use of bicycles. Even though I lived in Tokyo before coming to Australia, I didn’t notice that people best enjoy in the city on foot or a bicycle. I agree with Mr. Hikita when he says that cities can’t be enjoyed by cars because so many interesting places are missed, such as lots of interesting and mysterious shops or galleries on narrow streets where cars can’t go through. As he insists, a town’s attraction can be found not by cars, but by bicycles. If town planning includes promoting the use of bicycles, not only can people have an enjoyable town, they have healthy and eco-friendly lives today and tomorrow.


Sachie Togashiki is our Guest Blogger, unveiling some of Japan’s bicycle culture for the next fortnight from 11th April to 24th April.