Get-A-Grip (Pedal Pushers BC)

Are you a bike lover and in Brisbane tomorrow (Sat 16th September)?

Want to see some kool bikes?

Like Low-riders? Kustoms? Vintage? Rusty Rats? Something a  lil’ different?

If so, grab ya bike and a mate and head down to this event!

Below are a few details to get you started.

Leki and I’ll be attending.

The next post will let you know how it all went.

Find out more at Pedal Pushers BC  Facebook.

See you there – crazy kids!

Other details from the Pedal Pushers BC are:

Schedule

10am         Registrations start
10:30am  Quick speech on details ect
11:30am   Registrations close
1-1:30pm  Peoples choice closes
2pm           Trophy presentations

These are approx. times as its our first show and we’re still getting into the swing of things.

Between these times we can mingle and meet others and talk bikes for the day.

Few key points to keep in mind are:
*when you arrive just come over to the rego marquee and fill out paperwork and we’ll give you all the info you need
*if you arrive after rego closes you are still welcome to display bikes, but they wont be eligible for trophys
*all trophy winners must be present to win,  if not it will go to next in line!!
*please use your peoples choice to vote for a bike you like and not your own as if everyone votes for there own bike then no one wins.
* judges bikes will not be up for any awards as its a conflict of interest.
* any questions on the day, just come up to one of us wearing a pedal pushers shirt and we’ll help out as best we can.
*its a public park so we can’t be held responsible for any damages to property but if we all show some respect for others property and keep a look out then there won’t be any problems.
*please use bins provided
*most of all….enjoy the day and meet some like-minded people!!

See you there!

Images: Pedal Pushers BC Facebook.

Bikes in Libraries

 

Bikes in Libraries - Bicycles Create Change.com
CB Regional Library

More bikes in libraries, please!!

Public libraries are a major hub for many communities.  When I presented at the Australian National Walking and Cycling Conference in Adelaide in July, I suggested local libraries are an ideal location to integrate bicycles more into the daily community experience.

My approach was slightly subversive.

Instead of building massive expensive road transportation infrastructure to try and get more people cycling (Herculean effort!), smaller actions could be taken to ingratiate bicycles (not cycling) more into the everyday community experience. This kind of low-key familiarity and regular exposure to bikes would be ‘just part of the everyday experience’ for people. That is where I see bicycles become more socially accepted, especially by non-cycling people. This is where positive social change and greater community acceptance of bikes could be made.

So how can you start with libraries?

My suggestion was to decorate a series of bicycles in book genres. As an example I used my art bikes to help explain.

This is easily done. Decorate one bike as Romance, another with Cooking, another as Sci-Fi, Crime, Thriller….well…..you get the picture! Alternatively, you can use another theme, event or ‘International Day of the X’ ….or the library can come up with their own idea.

In any case, once decorated, each bike has a rack (bookshelf) hanging from it that offers books in the genre/theme.

There are add-on bonuses you can apply as well, like host a preceding community event to theme decorate the bikes.

As a case in point – I was delighted to see a variation of this suggestion already being enacted during the last fortnight as it was  …

Australian Children’s Book Week 2017.

The last week in August was Australian Children’s Book Week 2017.

One of the winning books this year is called The Patchwork Bike by Van T. Rudd.

Bikes in Libraries - Bicycles Create Change.com
Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Winners 2017

That means more bikes were in libraries! Woopee!

I was delighted to see a full bike related promotion featuring this event and The Patchwork Bike at my local library. This is what you saw as soon as you entered the main front door:

Bikes in Libraries - Bicycles Create Change.com
Wynnym Library, QLD.

I love the bike and books – it is such a great combo.

It was a total coincidence that the children’s book Granny, Wait for Me! was featured on this blog in a recent post.

I saw some posters used by various Queensland schools promoting Children’s Book Week 2017 that also featured  bicycles – this one is my special favourite as it also had a spunky redheaded rider (more redheaded bike riders, please!! See Ginger Rally here):

Bikes in Libraries - Bicycles Create Change.com
Saint Andrews Anglican College QLD

Some super progressive libraries have gone one step further.

At some rare University libraries, you can find reading bikes (below) where you can study and cycle. To date I have not seen these in any Australian libraries – if you have, please let me know!

These bike instalments have scientifically proven to significant positive impacts in learning/academic results, health outcomes and future livelihoods. A brilliant foray into this is the first chapter of John Matey’s  book SPARK. It is an incredible read about how bicycles and exercise is having a significant impact on turning around the lives for hundreds of US students – especially those from low-socioeconomic schools. Awesome stuff!

Grab a copy of Spark from your local library – and ask them when they are installing a bike reading station while you are there!!

Bikes in Libraries - Bicycles Create Change.com
Troy Uni Library, USA.

There are so many ways that bicycles can contribute and add value to readers, students and the general public.

Whether it is Children’s Book Week or not, it has been great to see bikes having a greater presence in libraries. It would be great to see bikes become a regular fixture within libraries, not just for special events.

I hope that there will be more creative and progressive integration of bicycles in more local, university and state libraries.

Until then – I have enjoyed seeing more bicycles being happily displayed in libraries to celebrate Children’s Book Week 2017.

Congrats to The Patchwork Bike for being one of this year’s winners!

Riding ‘The Big Push’

This time last week, I headed in the afternoon with Leki into Brisbane city to participate riding ‘The Big Push for Road Safety’ event hosted by Space for Cycling (BNE).

It was an awesome event!

All the riders gathered in town where there were some speeches and time to socialise. It was great to see so many different types of bikes, and there were lots of kids, dogs in baskets, colours and smiles abound.

Then we had a lovely slow roll around town.

What happened while riding ‘The Big Push’?

There were constantly bells ringing happily, often punctuated by laughter and the constant ripple of riders chatting. I made sure to have a chat to the people I found myself riding alongside.

As we rode, I saw riders introducing themselves, passing compliments and sharing a few jokes. I saw pedestrians stop to wave and cheer encouragement. I saw riders trying to coax people out of cars with a laugh as we waited for red lights to change.

When we stopped, you could see the bike column snaking away ahead and behind – it looked amazing!

There were many active souls there that had upcoming bike related events- it was a wonderful opportunity to hear what was going on and link to the Brisbane bike scene.

I rode most of the way home next to an awesome couple on a tandem. It just so happened I was wearing my ‘I love tandem’ t-shirt! They were great company and had rigged up a massive speaker on their back wheel and were cranking out some funky riding tunes to keep us all bopping happily along! GOLD!

What a relaxed, fun and a social way to advocate for better urban cycling!

The Big Push for Road Safety - Bicycles Create Change.com

 

The Big Push for Road Safety - Bicycles Create Change.com

During our ride stopped off for a quick photo out the front of Parliment House, Brisbane.

The pubs were filled with Mayweather vs McGregor fight fans, so it was an added bonus passing open windows and hearing the cheering emanating from inside. Once the fight concluded, the pubs we passed were still packed, so we have a very jovial and supportive audience as we rode past.

I had to ring all my bells extra hard to match their happy cheering!

The Big Push for Road Safety - Bicycles Create Change.com

The Big Push for Road Safety - Bicycles Create Change.com

The Big Push for Road Safety - Bicycles Create Change.com

The Big Push for Road Safety - Bicycles Create Change.com

One of the highlights of the day for me was sticking around after the ride.

As others filtered away, it was an opportunity for me to chat with the custom low-rider crew (see photos below).

The range and style of their fleet is impressive and their owners happy to chat bikes. Each bike is personalised to suit the owner and it was great to see the multicultural, multi-age mix of low riders.

I accepted an invitation to ride one and was immediately smitten!

These low rider bikes are so comfortable and very cool to ride.

We chatted for a while, and they told me about an upcoming bike event they are hosting next month, which I am very keen to attend.

We exchanged contact details and am looking forward to spending some more time with these Kool Katz! Meeting them was an even better bonus on the day.

The Big Push for Road Safety - Bicycles Create Change.com

The Big Push for Road Safety - Bicycles Create Change.com

The event made the TV news on various channels, which was great for spreading the word. An unfortunate, but timely reminder given that  five cyclists were involved in a road accident just two days prior.

The day was a success and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Congrats to all who made an effort to go and big kudos to the organisers!

Images: Taken on the day are either my own or from Space for Cycling BNE Facebook page.

Chicks in the Sticks 2017

Yesterday was a very busy biking day! Early morning saw me visiting the Chicks in the Sticks 2017 (all-female MTB event) at Mt Cotton, followed by The Big Push for Road Safety social ride in Brisbane city in the afternoon. This post is a brief run down of the Chicks in the Sticks event – Big Push post will be next!


Chicks in the Sticks 2017.

This event is Australia’s largest “Women’s Only” 3hr Mountain Bike Endurance race. It is hosted by the Rats Cycling Club and was held at Karingal Scout Camp (Mt Cotton, QLD). Last year I rode in this event and had an awesome time, this year I went as support. This event is one of my favourite in the riding calendar, and I always make an effort to go.

Why? Because it is ALWAYS a good day!

It was a beautiful morning and there was a great turn out. When I arrived at the race village, it was full of colour and bustling with the movement of families, kids and riders milling about, people catching up, preparations being made and checking bikes over.

The race village has a few extra additions this year, like a designated kids pop-up nature play area that was filled with games and activities for the families and kids that had come along for the day.

It was a great opportunity to catch up with mates, take some photos and wish the riders well.

Chicks in the Sticks 2017 - Bicycles Create Change

Chicks in the Sticks 2017 - Bicycles Create Change

It was great to see so many riders. I was particularly excited to see the range of ages. When I used to ride Enduro, one aspect that was most lacking for me what the low female participation rates in general, but particularly for women over 35. So I was thrilled to be in an environment where, for one MTB event at least, that this category was well above the norm! Hooray!

There were also lots of random giveaways and some great podium prizes. I  appreciate that this event encourages participants to dress up if they want to  – which adds an extra flair, colour and enjoyment to the ride.

Here were a couple of my favourites:

Chicks in the Sticks 2017 - Bicycles Create Change

Chicks in the Sticks 2017 - Bicycles Create Change

Chicks in the Sticks 2017 - Bicycles Create Change

Chicks in the Sticks 2017 - Bicycles Create Change

Chicks in the Sticks 2017 - Bicycles Create Change

The first event of the day was the Little Chicks in the Sticks ages 5-11 and 12-16 who had their own race before the main field took off at 9 am. As I was not riding this year, it was an opportunity to take some photos and videos, which was a new experience as I am usually in the ride, not watching from the sidelines! See my race start video at the end of this post.

Although I didn’t stay til the end, I had an awesome morning soaking up the colourful, happy vibe. I cheered on the riders, chatted to families who had ‘come to support mum’, checked out some of the new stock at the team tents and had a thoroughly lovely time.

A good day was had by all!

I was really inspired by the riders who participated ‘up the back’ of the pack – those who were being brave and gave MTB a go – some of them for the very first time. It was great to hear how many people had come after being ‘invited by a mate’ to come and try – people who would normally not have tried riding off-road being encouraged my a female rider-friend to give it a go. They were my favourite stories to hear. It takes a lot of guts!

This event is a wonderful example that it is possible to run a competitive MTB that caters for serious racers, as well as for those who are just starting out, want more off-road experience or who are there just to have fun. 

If you are keen to give it a go for next year, or know of someone you think might be interested, there are many different categories to participate in..

Chicks in the Sticks 2017

I tip my hat to the organisers who worked incredibly hard to make this day such a success.

A big congrats to all the riders who participated – you all did so well!

All the families and supporters who came as well made the day even better!

It was a brilliant event and I can’t wait to do it all again next year!

See you there!

Conference Presentation: creating memorable community bike projects

Hi bike nuts!

Earlier this week I returned from Adelaide (SA) after presenting a roundtable session at the national Australian Walking and Cycling Conference (AWCC).

I put together a kick-ass abstract to present a workshop earlier this year and in May I was accepted to present.

It was awesome!

I had a great time and made the most of my time there networking and getting the low down on current issues, debates, research and trends in urban and rural cycling.

There were so many great sessions it would be difficult to cover them all, so  I’ll give some event highlights in the next post. I was super  impressed by the range and scope of the cycling (and some walking) presentations.

My session was entitled:  Bicycles Create Change: An innovative guide to creating memorable and meaningful engagement in community bike projects.

Basically, my roundtable session used some of my community bike projects as case studies to explore a number of key aspects I think are important to consider when planning, managing and running community bike events.

I undertook each of these ‘case study’ events as a private, individual community member, which means that I did not get paid for them, but I also didn’t get any money from the events either – it was purely for the love.

I had  4 classifications to present 6 case studies, some of which you can see more of on the PROJECT page.

The classifications (and case studies) were:

  • Individual (Leki, and Art Bikes)
  •  Pair collaboration (Leki & the Ova)
  • Group (Bicycles Create Change Summer Internship)
  • Wider community (Recycled Dreams Community Storybook and #Bikes_CISTA)

Here is my full PPT and notes of my presentation: Nina (Bicycles Create Change) Australian Walking and Cycling Conference 2017 presentation

Essentially, I was arguing for these key points:

  1. Create the community you want to live in
  2. Create opportunities to ‘talk to a stranger’
  3. Create community bike events where the focus is NOT on the actual ‘riding’ of bikes. This is because I think there will be better acceptance of bikes in general if the general public have more every day, positive and fun interactions with BIKES (in general) and not just see them in relation to RIDING – so create events that doesn’t rely on fitness’ access, confidence, age, or even having a bike, etc. This will mean that bikes are normalised into daily community life and are more readily accepted.
  4. Not to see cycling/biking only as a ‘sport’.
  5. Create ‘Bike events’ that cater to non-riders – create positive bike exposure
  6. If they don’t come to you – you need to go to them! Bike events need to go into the community- no more  events where the riders are (physically or otherwise) separated from the general public
  7. Debunk the ‘road-riding-is-the-only-type-of-cycling-I-see-in-my-community-and-that’s-not-me’ myth – create events where the focus is not on the type of riding, but that it is fun and anyone can use a bike for all kinds of things
  8. Seeing bikes as an object other than just for riding – better integration of bikes into our communities in ways that are not solely about riding
  9. creating events that invite participation, celebrate ‘local heroes’ and local surrounds
  10. Creating events that have a zero-waste policy. No more cycling events with plastic cups, copious amounts of advertising flyers in musettes or crappy McCrap-crap that goes along with far too many cycling events – better still, how about bike events that have a reverse-rubbish feature and turn any waste brought into the event into something more positive?
  11. ….and I’m sure you can’t think of your own ideas as well. I’d love to hear them!

I presented 3 x 10 minutes, each followed by 15-minute discussions.

To add a little interest, spark and creativity, I presented in a custom-made outfit made out of recycled bicycle tires and parts. I had the idea for this outfit as a prototype for a series, and as I was busy getting the presentation prepared, so my collaborating partner Claire Tracey made the outfit and hat based on my requirements and infused a little of her own magic. (Thx CT!) I made the accessories. This ensemble was the prefect compliment – and reflection – of precisely the points my presentation was making – Hazah!

 

 

I was very interested to hear what people thought of the ideas and projects I presented – and the questions and discussions that ensued gave me a lot to think about.

One of the best outcomes? Following the presentation I was approached by a group of young marketers who are working on a behaviour change project to get more local people aware of – and riding – bikes. They want me to bring the Bicycles Create Change perspective to their project and consult! A wonderful presentation result. Whoopee!

Melburn Roobaix 2017

This in-depth, insightful interview and event guest post comes coutesy of the every effervescent and thoughtful @BettyLillowaltzen. Betty is an Artist, Educator, Keynote Speaker and all round amazing soul. This is a wonderfully comprehensive and enlightening discussion of one of Melbourne’s most loved (sub)cycle-cultural ‘bumpy’ urban rides – the Melburn Roobaix. Thanks to Betty Lillowaltzen for her time and effort in painstakingly interviewing all the key stakeholders, event organisers, riders and participants that went into producing this post – the extra details make this piece an extra rich and wonderful read! Mwah BL!


A quick survey of the Melburn Roobaix crowd and there is something immediately obvious: women!

Why does this adventure around Melbourne’s laneways enjoy the most gender diversity of all bike events in Australia?

“I’m in!”: my response to Zane Alford’s invite to join him and Wookie in the 2017 Melburn Roobaix. I hadn’t needed to hesitate as I knew that my complete lack of bike fitness was in no way a barrier to fun in the famously costumed ride, nor was my 1980s chevvy heavy stainless steel Malvern Star. Roobaix skills are seemingly more centered around an ability to decorate oneself and bike, eat and drink and look really silly; I’d be a natural.

That Melburn Roobaix was not going to be (in Andy’s words) “a sausagefest” as so many other bike events are, but instead a celebration and a great day out void of competitive elitist vibes I was certain of, but what I wasn’t so sure of was why? Inspired by the rise of women’s sport and, better yet, the rise of women within sport, I wanted to know how the Roobaix has evolved to be the most gender inclusive cycling event in the country (according to a recent survey by Cycling Australia).

Two questions burned: were the organisers conscious about involving women? and if so, how did they go about getting women involved?

Melburn Roobaix

Melburn Roobaix is a creation of Fyxo, the family company run by Melodie and Andy White. I knew Andy from back in the ol’ days when I worked for messenger bag company, Crumpler. I met him 15 years ago after an Ally Cat at The Public Bar: two years after the lock on the womens’ toilet door broke and at least nine years before it would get fixed; in the days of $1 pots of Geelong Bitter on a Monday, Punk bands and bestickered fixies piled along O’Connell Street. Andy was fancy dressed but still sporting his ‘Ask me about the weather’ badge, and talking with some couriers and female riders – even back in 2003 he was recruiting women to ride. He suggested that I ride in the next Ally Cat and I felt momentarily convinced that this would be a good idea but didn’t think I was up to splitting traffic on a fixie to keep up with Melbourne’s maddest riders.

Melburn Roobaix 2017

 

Melburn Roobaix 2017

Encouraging people to get on a bike has always been a talent of Andy’s, as is having a yarn, so I felt comfortable picking up the phone, not having seen each other in 8 years, to ask him some pretty pointed questions about women in cycling, race, LGBTIQ+ inclusion, men’s clubs and elitism in sport. He answered all my questions with grace, humour, references to anti-establishment, mutual outrage and added some radical plans.

Melburn Roobaix 2017

I was not surprised at all that encouraging the participation of women in the Roobaix was intentional, or that this year’s event also took place during World Pride – though this was underplayed, Andy reflected on being really quite chuffed that there was a turnout of transgender people this year and that as the ride becomes more community oriented it increasingly represents our whole community (though the lack of racial diversity is still quite apparent at all bike events and a challenge for the future).

So how did they do it? Andy reflected on the first year of the Roobaix, explaining how “a guy showed up with all the gear, he had a Garmin and had worked out the fastest route which was mainly on roads and which was pretty unsafe.” He and Melodie wanted to make it less of a race and move away from the tricked out, almost exclusively male lycra crew, so they just eliminated a first place prize. “We are more excited about the costumes and the turnout and having someone show up dressed as a banana”, he explained.

Melburn Roobaix 2017

It’s important that everyone is safe. A sad reality of bike events around the globe is the inherent risk of traffic and obstacles, though organisers are always looking for ways to make cycling safer for everybody: as Andy says, “every event where no one dies is a good event”. The dangers of riding are all too familiar to the White family, as in 2007 Andy suffered a broken neck. Though he was lucky to be able to be back on the bike within a week of removing the halo, they had developed a new appreciation of the risks of riding. Andy was emphatic that making an event less competitive did help to attract a broader demographic, but that he in no way considered female riders to be non-competitive. While for many people the Roobaix is the first organised ride that they participate in, there are plenty of female riders who go on to compete in timed events and women who are already riding competitively.

Melburn Roobaix 2017

Bike racer, writer and blogger Verita Stewart is one such rider. Verita had been a regular bike commuter, but it wasn’t until moving to Melbourne from country Victoria a few years ago that she joined other riders and started to compete. Verita was able to identify other reasons that the participation in the Roobaix was so high and diverse: “You can ride on any bike. This weekend is the Grand Fondo and you can’t just rock up on a mountain bike or a cruiser or BMX or tandem or recumbent or folding or narrow bar fixie or adult trike or city bike or hybrid. Each event requires a really specific bike and kit and for many people that’s a barrier. Wearing lycra is also enough for some people to say ‘that’s not for me’, and I know that some of my friends have not participated in other events because of that”. Melburn Roobaix was one of the first events that Verita rode in and each year she met more people in the cycling community and brought more friends along, many of whom wouldn’t identify as bike riders. “I know that tennis isn’t for me. I can’t hit a ball to save my life. Cycling as a sport isn’t for everybody either. The Roobaix is more of a community event than a race though, it’s more about being in a big community and maybe putting on a cossie and exploring places you haven’t been before, and that’s why so many people say ‘I could do that’.“

The types of costumes that people wear are usually naive and silly and we don’t see the kinds of sexualised costumes that people wear to other fancy dress events. I asked Verita how she thinks the Melbourne Roobaix has developed its particular style? “Well, it’s a really family and community event so I think that if you showed up dressed in a French maid’s costume you’d just feel like a bit of a twat”. Not many of the other bike scenes have been as progressive, and we spoke for some time on what we thought caused some of the costs, perceptions and gender inequality that are still so prevalent at other events and which form real barriers for people entering cycling as a sport in all its various forms.

Personally, now in my mid-thirties, I’m more active than ever: not the most fit that I’ve ever been necessarily, but I find myself enjoying a greater variety of sports than I ever have before and participating with less and less trepidation. I regularly surf with other women and it’s been exciting to paddle out each weekend and see sisters lined up along a break. It’s more than just exciting, it’s inspiring and exhilarating. We often joke about approaching middle age and just starting to have the childhood we wished we’d had if we hadn’t felt so discouraged from having a go. Imbued with the excitement of events like the Roobaix, WAFL, surfing and the power of staunch advocates and idols such as Serena Williams, I am excited for a new generation of women.

Melburn Roobaix 2017

We still have such a long way to go but already the surge of excitement around women in sport has had a distinct effect upon me.

Where I may once have said “I’ll get back to you”, I now say “I’m in”.

 

Melburn Roobaix 2017

Melburn Roobaix 2017

For a great collection of event pictures see FYXo’s Melburn Roobaix Flickr Album.

Or see up to 342 great images from event photographers Michael Christofas / Peter Tsipas 2017 Melburn Roobaix Flickr.

Thanks for the invite @ZaneAlford. See you all at #MelburnRoobaix2018 !!

*All images coutesy of photographers as per watermarks. All pictures included with Fyxo permission.

Farewell to The Squeaky Wheel

Farewell to The Squeaky Wheel

A few days ago, Melbourne’s beloved community bicycle engagement project The Squeaky Wheel announced it is closing after 6 glorious years in operation.

The Squeaky Wheel was a much loved proponent in progressing Melbourne’s bicycle community.

For those who do not know about this organization, it is well worth the effort to check out the creative and popular events, rides, initiatives and programs that were organized by The Squeaky Wheel –  a very impressive and influential range!

Leaving behind a wonderful legacy and example for others

So this post is a homage to the amazing work that Pip Caroll and the whole Squeaky Wheel team (and their partners) have achieved over the years.

This venture was truely a community-driven organisation that had community and positive cycling for all as its core.

Although it is sad to see The Squeaky Wheel  close and I will miss supporting their events (as will thousands of others), The Squeaky Wheel leaves behind a wonderful legacy and example for others to follow.

Farewell to The Squeaky Wheel

A massive range of community participation and bike-inspired projects!

Over the last 6 years, The Squeaky Wheel has managed and produced an impressive array of bicycle participation, projects and advocacy campaigns. Their volume, scope and range speaks to the passion and commitment of those who made it all happen – events like …

Even though the main umbrella is retiring, a number of their popular projects will still be operational – hooray! I am delighted to see that a number of their projects will still continue such as Roll Up (who have also taken over Bike ‘n Blend) and the sensational Pushy Women annual event is also set to continue. Pushy Women is a great event where a panel of well-known women tell their stories about bikes, bike riding and cycling. This show is always peppered with moments of empowerment, hilarity, poignancy, nostalgia and thought-provoking experiences – always a top event. I’m happy to hear that this event will continue.

But others will not continue. So in memorandum, here is reminder of the plethora of The Squeaky Wheel events, rides and tours that have been put on over the years – incredibly prolific community engagement!!  I’ve listed the events below (you can find out more about each event at their website), to get a visual gauge  of how productive this collective was – and to showcase the range, dedication and scope that The Squeaky Wheel is revered and loved for. Their events list is humbling.. check these beauties out….

Farewell to The Squeaky WheelFarewell to The Squeaky WheelFarewell to The Squeaky WheelFarewell to The Squeaky Wheel

Farewell to The Squeaky Wheel

Adios The Squeaky Wheel!!

As a final adios to The Squeaky Wheel – below is a 4′ 39″ video of their 2012 (3 week) Melbourne BikeFest- which was just one of many of their amazing events over the years – but one of my personal favourites!

For all those involved with The Squeaky Wheel will miss you, thank you for all your amazing work over the years. We wish you luck for your next riding adventures!

See more videos of The Squeaky Wheel events here.

 

Knitted bike seat covers

 

It is now winter in Australia.

We have had a few particularly cold and frosty mornings.

If it keeps chickens warm, it can work for cyclists!

On one of the more colder mornings in the last fortnight, I was heading to work listening to ABC Radio National. There was a lovely short feature segment about a group of Gold Coast locals who meet regularly in a café to knit jackets for a flock of ex-battery hens who are residents at Storybook Farm – a refuge for rescued animals and animals with disabilities.

The jackets were knitted for the chickens to keep warm during the cold wintery season. For these rescue chickens with little feathers left, these kitted jackets can save their lives. It is a fantastic little story about a community coming together to help those less fortunate and is, and well worth the listen at the link here.

It got me thinking about the link between knitting and bikes – and I especially wanted to take inspiration from the chicken’s knitting approach for keeping warm in the winter months….so….

Knitting, croqueting and needlepointing bike accessories

Many people have seen bikes that have been yarn/stitch bombing and can appreciate how colourful happy and creative the final bike can be.

But what about knitted bike seat covers?

I’ve noticed the range of practical knitted bike accessories online has expanded with places like Crochet Concupiscence providing crafty folks with new ideas and patterns on how to apply croquet (as well as knitting and needlepointing) to bikes.

Knitted bike seat covers

If you are up for adding a little bit of ‘personality’ to your bike, then a knitted bike seat cover is a this is a great way to do it.

There are many good reasons to have a personalised knitted bike seat cover….. here are just a few….

  •  It is a great way to keep warm
  • People will start a conversation with you about your unique bike style
  • Shows you are a creative, cool and colourful person
  • Support local artisans and handcraft skills
  • It a small-scale knitting project for beginners to start practising on
  •  Supporting DIY, recycling and refashioning of materials for innovative purposes
  • Great way to share your (or friends) knitting skill
  • Indicates interest areas (pets, hobbies, depends on what you design you have, etc.)
  • Helps you find your bike quickly and easily at a filled bike rack
  • Added cushioning support for your tush
  • Imbue your community with a little more style and fun when riding around
  • Be a role model for others to be have a more creative approach to bikes
  • Great for your mental health and happiness – will keep you smiling
  • They are personalisable – so can be made more playful, cheeky, unusual or unique to suit your taste, aim and styles
  •  If bought, helps support income-generating opportunities (pattern-makers and artists)
  • Help deter bike theft

 

Pinterest is full of amazing knitted bike seat designs, colour and ideas (just use keywords as per below)– and you can find all manner and types of bikes seat covers to suit all kinds of styles. Just check out these keywords…

Knitted bike seat covers

As a sample representative of that vast array of styles available, here is a quick handful of some of the more distinctive bike seat covers to show here… all manner of shapes, patterns and motifs to suit any cycling persuasion or interest.

 

 

 

They may not be for everyone.

But at least the are a great indication that you are a person of humour, style and confidence!

And that you don’t take yourself – or your riding – too seriously (*heaven forbid!*).

So how every you choice to do it – happy warm bums on bike seats!

Bicycle Film Festival 2017

I love Bicycle Film Festivals (BFF)!

You get to go with your bike mates to see films about bikes, made by people who love bikes.  BRILLIANT!!

BFF contributions can be quirky, inventive, sweet, hilarious, poignant, thoughtful, exciting, through-provoking, suggestive – and everything in between!

I’m bring up BFF now as we are nearly halfway through the year.

This means there is 6 months left to get to a BFF – if you have not already done so.

This post will help get you inspired with 2 Bike Film Festivals – one Aussie and the other is the Bicycle Film Festival (World) which has just launched and is currently on in NYC.

1. Upcoming 2017 Australian Bike Film Festival

I’ve not yet been able to find any BFF dates or info for Hobart, Perth, Canberra or Darwin. (If you hear/see of any please let me know!). Melbourne and Sydney have yet to release BFF 2017 dates (maybe later this year when the NY BFF goes overseas – fingers crossed). Brisbane BFF was held in March 2017. So, to date, only Alice Springs has an upcoming confirmed BFF.

Alice Spring Bicycle Film Festival

This BFF will be held on Friday August 11th, 2017 at Olive Pink Botanic Gardens. Film submissions are free to enter and are due on August 3rd. requirements are the film must have something bike/cyclist related in it – but other than than you have tree reign! All local films are in the running for the People’s Choice Award.
To enter for the Best Film Award (awarded via judging panel) email ASBFF for what you need to do and criteria. Entrants must be in .MOV format and be under 10 minutes (inc credits).  Family friendly BFF.  For more info call Don on 0415 361 392 or Phil on 0438 887 952. Details: alicespringsbikefilms@gmail.com.  www.alicespringsbicyclefilmfestival.com

 

Bicycle Film Festival 2017

Source: Alice Springs Bicycle Film Festival 2017.

2. Bicycle Film Festival (World -New York) 2017

This Bicycle Film Festival tours internationally and was established in 2000 by Brendt Barbur after he had an accident with a bus while riding his bike through New York City. 2017 will be this festival’s 17th year and it has gained traction locally and overseas. As the official FB page states:

The Bicycle Film Festival celebrates the bicycle. We are into all styles of bikes and biking. If you can name it – Tall Bike Jousting, Track Bikes, BMX, Alleycats, Critical Mass, Bike Polo, Cycling to Recumbents – we’ve probably either ridden or screened it. What better way to celebrate these lifestyles than through art, film, music and performance? We bring together all aspects of bicycling together to advocate its ability to transport us in many ways. Ultimately, the Fest is about having a good time.

So basically this BFF covers all bike genres and is incredibly popular.

Which is what these events are all about!

At BFFs you get such a smattering of ideas, lifestyles and insights.

I like not knowing what films are on offer before going in and just letting each film speak for itself.

If you can go – GO! If you cannot, advocate you local cycling group to push to get your national city added to the tour dates (??) and watch the trailers – and maybe even host your own BFF!!

Preview the trailers! The BFF (World) 2017 program has heaps of awesome bike short films – click here to see some of the trailers for Bicycle Film Festival (World) 2017.

Find out more about the BFF (World): @BicycleFilm Festival, or on Twitter @BFFWorld or Facebook: Bicycle Film Festival

Bicycle Film Festival

 

I’m a little concerned about the BFF (World) schedule (as shown above for the offical website) as there are no Aussie dates this year and the international tour looks VERY limited compared to last year!

Baisikeli – BFF (World) 2017 Short Film

One of the entrants this year is the Baisikeli Trailer (Director: James Walsh).

This short film documents the origins of the Kenyan National Cycling Team as they work towards gaining similar successes to their marathoners.

For me this short film is of particular interest as Kenya is one of the possible locations for  where my PhD community bike intervention research project maybe located. Even though this film is based on elite men, it is still heartening to see increased interest, investment, effort, promotion and more cultural acceptance for bicycle use in Africa. I’m looking forward to seeing how this bike advocacy and acceptance can be harnessed to enable females in  rural communities to use more bicycles for mobility, employment opportunities and to increase access livelihood services (like health clinics and education).

One step at a time I suppose!

Yoga for cyclists

This last week I returned from an (informal) 3-day ‘yoga for cyclists’ retreat.

I say ‘informal retreat’ because we actually to visit an old school friend of husband’s and his gorgeous partner at a spectacular property in Dunoon, NSW. And I say ‘for cyclists’ because both husband and I have been riding bike recreationally and competitively for a number of years now.

Luckily for us, our delightful host couple have just recently returned from an extended stay in India, where they were living in a yoga ashram to undertake their yoga instructors course (hence ‘retreat’!).

It goes without saying that staying with them was blissful, gentle and wonderfully restorative.

Yoga for cyclists!  Start the day right!

We were up at 5 am for an hour of meditation, then two hours of yoga followed by some more meditation – all before breakfast.

What a way to start each day!

Although I still did some reading for my PhD, I did not ride during this trip as I just wanted to invest in some quality rest and relaxing downtime. To this end, I was really just a love sponge for the amazing views, good company, scrumptious veggo food and stunning campfire-under-an-endless-night-sky vibes (*sigh*!).

Best of all, we did yoga every day – and I mean good yoga!

We did all the yoga poses you would get in classes, but also held some for considerably longer. Plus, we did a variety of yogic purification breathing techniques that I have not tried before – super interesting!

An additional bonus was that both our hosts team-taught each session, which was brilliant for the balance of yin/yang – male/female energies.

However!

Given years of competitive and recreational mountain bike riding, this daily yoga practice really drove home how tight my thighs and hips were – and how important regular stretching is.

A month of yoga (for cyclists) challenge

Since returning, I have committed to a month’s yoga challenge – with a focus on unlocking and releasing the years of stored up cycling tension (it might take a while!). After my initial month trial ends,  our two yoga hosts suggested to check out their ashram’s online yoga practice.

Their ashram, Akhanda has a number of yoga classes free online as well as a private youtube channel, which for $10 a month, you are able to access to a series of yoga sessions (5 x 30 mins per week, or 5 x 60 mins per week, etc.).

Overall impacts thus far?

I am feeling so much better for doing daily yoga and will definitely continue.  I have really enjoyed the progress I have made in the last eight days and can feel the difference in my legs, hips and torso. I feel a lot stronger, more centred and have noticed a considerable improvement in the range of movement in my hips.

This month’s yoga for cyclists challenge serves as a timely reminder to slow down and to explore alternative approaches to getting stronger.

Maybe some days, if it is raining outside and you are not up for a ride, you can work in, instead of work out! (Oh no, dad!).

So if you have not done yoga lately, here is one of the better of many popular yoga classes designed specifically for cyclists to get started.

I hope you have fun and get as much satisfaction out of it as I am! Enjoy!