Hooray!! UCI World Cup starts this weekend!

I love the UCI World Cup events – in particular, the DH. It is my favorite annual race.

Much to the delight of Southern Hemisphere riders, Cairns has been included on the DH schedule for the last couple of years. For me, that has meant an annual pilgrimage to Cairns for the big event. This year the World Champs round will be in Cairns! So the local tracks need prepping now. So this post is a review of the last two UCI World Cup events – and an invitation to join the Cairns 2017 UCI World Cup Working Bee Team!

This means the local tracks need prepping early. So this post is a review of the last two UCI World Cup events – and an invitation to join the Cairns 2017 UCI World Cup Working Bee Team!

 

Great memories of the last 2 Cairns UCI World Cup Events

Last year I went to the Cairns UCI World Cup with mates and it was an all social affair.

Last year I posted about what a great event the 2016 event was and what blast it was catching up with old friends, making new ones and soaking up the World Cup vibes – here’s a few mates I managed to catch up with…

 

UCI DH World Cup

UCI DH World Cup

UCI DH World Cup

 

Last year was a total contrast to 2015. I worked the 2015 Cairns event, which was epic given that it rained non-stop a week prior to race day.

This turned all the tracks into slick and slippery death-defying shoots covered in thick gluggy toothpaste!

Boy did everyone work hard that round!!! Ahhhh the memories!!!

UCI DH World Cup

(See Instagram @Bicycles_Create_Change for more past UCI DH World Cup pics).

Remember Cairns UCI World Cup 2015- aka ‘Rumble in the Puddles’?

If you need to refresh your memory of how epic the 2015 UCI DH Cairns round was – check out this 2’32” Badass mashup video…

…and yes…that is me in the opening sequence!!

But this year will be a little different. I’ll be watching remotely as I won’t be making the trek to Cairns this year for the big event (*sniff*).

2017 UCI MTB World Cup Calendar

Redbull’s Official MTB website has the follow details outlined for the current 2017 UCI World Cup Calendar schedule:

There are six rounds each for XCO and DH – and the World Cup 2017 is starting this weekend – woohoo!!

The World Championship heads to Australia and Cairns at the end of the World Cup season with a full program of XCO, XCE and DH racing on show.

I can’t wait!!!

The UCI is expected to confirm the calendar in late June and the dates will be subject to change until then so don’t go booking trips to the events until then! Scroll down for all the downhill (DHI) and cross country (XCO) rounds.

  • April 29-30: (DHI) Lourdes, France
  • May 20-21: (XCO) Nové Mesto, Czech Republic
  • May 27-28: (XCO) Albstadt, Germany
  • June 3-4: (DHI) Fort William, Scotland
  • June 10-11: (DHI) Leogang, Austria
  • July 1-2 (XCO/DHI) Vallnord, Andorra
  • July 8-9: (XCO/DHI) Lenzerheide, Switzerland
  • August 5-6: (XCO/DHI) Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada
  • August 26-27: (XCO/DHI) Val di Sole, Italy
  • September 5-10: (XCO/DHI) UCI World Championships, Cairns, Australia

Cairns MTB World Cup Working Bee Shout-out

As a member of Cairns MTB Club, I received this shout-out invitation for World Cup working bee helpers. So if you are keen to be part of the action and for anyone in the area… here are the details as sent to me FYI:

With the UCI MTB World Championships just around the corne, there is a way you can be involved now. The Cairns MTB Club has been asked to construct a new spectator/media trail in the “Vines” section of the Downhill track. We have been offered an incentive to get it done ASAP and we want to pass some of that incentive on to the people that help build the trail.
We need are people to help out on regular Saturday/Sunday morning working bees from 7:30am-10:30 am, for about six – eight weeks beginning on the 10th of June.
We do have a budget to meet so the quicker we can get it done, the less we spend on it, giving the club more funds to put back into trail maintenance and development. The job is to create a 1.5m wide riding/walking trail in “Vines” area running alongside the downhill track. There will be a lot of shovel and mattock digging involved.

The Reward

For every working bee (3 hours long) you can attend and do productive work you will receive a gift voucher to use at the bike shop of your choice.
 You can put it towards that new something you have wanted or you can donate the money back to the club to help fund the Black snake rebuild and extension. The Gift Vouchers will be handed out at the end, once the work is completed and has been approved by National Parks. All workers will need to “sign in” with their details at each working bee so we can keep accurate records of attendance and hours worked.
If this is something you are interested in getting involved with, please email Club President Craig at President@cairnsmtb.com with your expression of interest.

Reminder

The first Working Bee will be held on Sunday 10th of June and then every Saturday and Sunday morning until the job is done.

Happy International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia!!!

 

Officially today is the actual day of celebration (17th May), however there have been a wide range of events happening worldwide for the whole week.

Of particular interest to lovers of life on two-wheels is the Tirana Gay (P)ride March in Albania.

 

Tirana Gay (P)ride MarchSource: Watermark Online

Tirana Gay (P)ride March

The Tirana Gay (P)ride March was first initiated in 2006 has been gaining significant participation and coverage over the last couple of years and is fast becoming one of the most colourful, cultural community-driven events in the Albanian calendar.

This story is great for a number of reasons. Aside from being an awesome international event addition for this weeks general celebrations, it is also great as Albania doesn’t usually make headlines (at least not enough for positive reasons). Also, most people do not usually associate progressive, fun, international bicycle-inspired community demonstrations for gay rights to come out of small Southeastern former Eastern Bloc European nation. But there you go!

So kudos to the Albanians for being such a wonderful and supportive international example.

(Queensland take note!!)

A dual protest for 2017

This year was an extra special event. To mark the international festival, participants in Tirana’s Gay (P)ride Parade rode bikes for one cause, whilst elsewhere in the city two hours earlier (yet overlapping), another protest was being held in response to the country’s political opposition.  The city was inundated with bikers strewn in multi-colored costumes with balloons, flags and pennants flapping the wind as they rode past a protest tent erected in front of Prime Minister Edi Rama’s office to raise awareness and support to pressure the current Albanian government to extend their 2009  anti-discriminatory laws to legalise same-sex marriage and also to recognise trans-gender citizens.

People taking to the streets to protest is not new, but the inclusion of highly decorated bicycles adds an extra element of personality, intimacy, community and creativity which is hard to beat and difficult to ignore.

Best of luck Tirana …our bicycles are with you!!

We hope you have a fun and successful ride to celebrate your 2017 IDAHOT!

Tirana Gay (P)ride MarchSource: Fox News

Below is a 7 minute video of the 2017 Tirana IDAHOT (P)ride March.

More details:

Official International website.

IDAHOT Facebook Page 

Twitter: @may17IDAHOT

Official hashtag #IDAHOT2017

Ever dreamt of having a killer bicycle-inspired tatoo, but aren’t sure of the permanent commitment?

Ever looked at a hot fixi chick and marveled at the bold black ink that decorates and differentiates the owner from all other bike riders?

Maybe you have fantasised of enshrining your love of bikes in some body art way, so that everyone will know how much you love bike and riding.

This blog has previously featured cycle ink and bike tattoos, but for this post, we are delving into the safe, but arty world of temporary bike tattoos.

Temporary tatoos are a great way to signify your love of all things two-wheels, while side-stepping the cost, uncomfortableness and potential problems of a permanent tattoo. Temporary tattoos used to be only reserved for school kids and were originally found in bubblegum wrappers or junk food promoting special deals or the latest Disney movies.

Today temporary tattoos have evolved past the pasty faded old outlines of yore, into some progressive marketing for television programs, sports teams and cartoon characters.

A recent creative development has emerged whereby local artists spruik their designs through a range of products – like homewares, prints, cards, tee-shirts,  and of course, now as temporary tatoos!

To go one step further, there are places like Australia’s Amazing Raymond who offers a personalised service to get your own unique bicycle-inspired temporary tatoo printed and shipped out to you.

So what is the attraction?

As with any tattoo genre, bicycle tattoos vary in shape, size, design and identity associations – both for the owner and the observer.

Admittedly it is does not carry the same dedication and kudos that permanent inkwork does, but at least it provides a happy medium.

Even as in temporary form, these designs are still eye-catching and communicate important messages. I think it is interesting to keep in mind what Mark Bauerlein points out, is that “a tattoo isn’t the Word made flesh, but the flesh made word.” 

May I please have a bicycle temporary tatoo!!!

Tattly

Tattly celebrates art by licensing designs from professional artists and turning them into high-quality temporary tattoos. Our artists get a generous cut of every single sale. We think that’s only fair. We see our tattoos as an experience of play and self-expression, a moment of being a rebel and doing something daring. Wearing a Tattly allows a glimpse into a life where you don’t care about what other people think. Tattly started as a side project by our founder Tina, aka swissmiss and has grown into a healthy, creative business.

These designs are originally from this site – although you will see other providers supplying the Tattly bicycle temporary tatoos elsewhere. These designs are very popular.

Bicycle Temporary Tatoos

Source for above image & words: Tattly

Tazzel

Scared of long-term commitment? We know the feeling. But with 100% customisable temporary tattoos, now you can have your cake and eat it too. Create your own design or choose from thousands of pre-made designs. These temporary tattoos are the perfect fun addition to fancy dress, office parties, fun runs and other special events.

Bicycle Temporary Tatoos

Source for above image & words: Tazzel

Etsy

Etsy empowers artists, designers and curators to start and grow businesses on their own terms. Etsy is an ecosystem that connects buyers around the world to the communities where Etsy shop owners live, work and create. By building and supporting this people-powered economy, we hope to inspire global business practices that are sustainable, responsible and profitable.

They have a decent rage of bicycle temporary tatoos, and in some cases you can custom order your own design.

 

Bicycle Temporary Tatoos

Source for above image & words: Etsy

A few other bicycle temporary tatoos providers -with much smaller ranges

Ali Express has a limited rage

Tats and Tags

For our European friends – there one sweet image available at Happy Bicycle (Portugal)

 

How to DIY bicycle temporary tatoos

If you don’t see anything you like – then feel free to make your own design.

Here is a quick 3 min video on a simple DIY hack to create your own temporary bicycle tattoo.

 


*Please note: the owner of this post and blog DOES NOT receive any financial compensation or incentives from any of the providers contained in this post. In fact we never have for any of our posts!!. The outlets included here are merely provided as a point of reference to start looking for said products. BBC does not take any responsibility for the organisations, services, actions or products contained within this post. Please exercise buyer discretion when purchasing anything online.

If you come across any other bicycle temporary tatoo providers, artists or services you think should be included here – please email me the recommendation via the contact tab.

Thanks CT for recommending this story as a post. This story is the perfect mix of all the good things that this blog celebrates- community, adventurousness and positive people making remarkable changes – but most importantly, how bicycles help people not only come together – but flourish as a result.  Reading about PK and Lottie really lifted my spirits and reminded me to be grateful for all the good things in life – and especially those that come on two wheels!

This post features a heartwarming tale of a serendipitous meeting, creativity, travel, hope, love and the bicycle ride that brought two lovers from opposite sides of the world together (*sigh*)!

For me, it brought up lots of happy memories of riding with family, friends and loved ones, the unique exhilaration, and opportunities that travel provides and how you should never give up on your dreams.

Cycling from India to Sweden for love

You may have heard of this tale; it is about PK (then a young Indian artist) and Lottie (a Swedish backpacker) who met in India while Lottie was travelling here in the mid-1970s. They met by chance and instantly fell in love. This is a picture of them now, over 35 years later.

 

Cycling from India to Sweden for love

Source: The Guardian – PK and Lotta in Sweden, where they live. Photograph: Scanpix Norway/Press Association Images

After a whirl-wind romance, Lottie had to return home. Missing each other terribly, PK decided to take fate into his own hands and embark on an 8,000 kms overland bike ride from India to Sweden to be with her again.

The full story of their initial meeting, PK’s bike journey and what has transpired since, is an epic story in itself- the details of which you can read more about here.

Ultimately, over 35 years later they are still happily married – and still riding bikes!

Love life, love bikes, love lovers

In a world that broadcasts so much doom and gloom, this story was a lovely reprieve. There are so many elements of PK and Lottie’s story that many of us can identify with. For those of us who have travelled overseas, or who cycle, or who have fallen madly in love their life (or all three!) wonderfully reaffirming love story.

I was also really touched by PK’s unwavering positivity and commitment to making their dreams come true. Unfortunately, it is quite rare these days to see a couple exude such genuine joyfulness and love for each other – and for life in general.

Which makes this story even more important.

It is a wonderfully reaffirming love story (for them) and a reaffirming life story as well (for us).

May each of us love well.

And may we all ride courageously

to make happen,

the things that make us most happy.

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

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

english-australia

What is the PD Fest?

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

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

English Australia (QLD Branch) PD Fest 2017

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

English Australia (Queensland Branch) PD Fest

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

International Education Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016-2026

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

 

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

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

Supply bicycles to international students studying in Queensland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the Indian Pacific Wheel Race?

The Indian Pacific Wheel Race is an epic one-stage, unassisted 5,500 km adventure race across Australia. The IPWR website has all in the background and info you need including the route coordinates, so I won’t rehash those details here. This race is well worth taking a look at just to gauge how ‘motivated’ you consider yourself to be as a rider….

The Indian Pacific Wheel Race (also known as the IndyPac or IPWR) also has some specific rules given that it is a long-distance unsupported road ride. It is very well managed and I am impressed with the level of technology used to track riders and how effective the communications and media coverage for this event is – by the race organisers, the riders themselves (see Jackie’s page below) and the race supporters and rider fans.

It starts in Fremantle, WA and ends at Sydney Opera House, taking in 4 main section:

1. The desert (incl the Nullarbor Plain);
2. Rolling hills of the famous wine districts of South Australia;
3. The iconic Great Ocean Road; and
4. The Australian Alps.

Here is an overview of the the course:

Indian Pacific Wheel Race

Source: ABC News

Jackie Bernardi

Jackie Bernardi is one of only seven female riders registered for 2017 IndyPac.

I admit to being completely biased as Jackie has been a dear friend for many years.

It has been amazing watching her transition from rock climbing to cycling and equally inspiring to hear about her rides, adventures and exploits over the years and and to see how devoted she is to riding.

Jackie has been particularly active the last couple of years in Australian long-distance bikepacking adventure races including the Cloudride 1,000km race in the mountains surrounding Canberra and the Great Dividing Trail Race in Victoria, as well as going further afield last year to race the 4,500kms Tour Divide that runs from Banff (Canada) over the Continental Divide through the U.S. and down to the Mexico boarder, where she was one of only 11 female riders out of 191 starters (only 73 completed the race)  and of which she was #1 female for the race in a time of 19 days, 21 hours and 41 mins!!! So she is certainly up for the IndyPac challenge!

Jackie is an inspirational woman and a phenomenal athlete. Her tenaciousness on the bicycle is nothing short of impressive. It has been great to see Jackie’s updates and videos as well as track her progress throughout the race via the Jackie Bernardi IndyPac 2017 Facebook page  – which gives some great insights into the conditions, issues, tips and pure will power required to undertake and push on in a long-haul event like the IndyPac.

Indian Pacific Wheel Race 2017

Source: Jackie Middleton

 

Update below shows Jackie coming in hot to Adelaide and setting a mean pace earlier this week for the half way mark.

Indian Pacific Wheel Race

Source: KO’s Facebook update.

Sad news cuts IndyPac 2017 race short

Today the IndyPac Race was cancelled due to the devastating news that early this morning, a car crash killed Mike Hall, one of the IndyPac cyclists.

At the time of the accident, the race was still underway. Mike was in second position and the lead riders were due to arrive at the finish line in Sydney later today (Friday 31st March).

Mike was a 35-year old British cyclist and well known for being one of the world’s best ultra-endurance racers and holds the record for the fastest completion of the Trans Am and Tour Divide bikepacking races in the US.

The sad news has been difficult for riders, organisers and many of the race’s fans and other cyclists alike. 

Today there were a number of  Mike Hall Memorial Rides in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne, all of which had massive turn outs.

It is such a heartbreaking way to stop any event, especially an international endurance road race.

Our thoughts are with Mike Halls’ family, the IndyPac riders and their support community.

 

Indian Pacific Wheel Race

Source: Sean Conway

The Enduro World Series kicks off today in Rotorua NZ – Horray

This is going to be a great year for Enduro racing and it is awesome to see the first two rounds in the Antipodes – and with heaps of support, media and events going on there is something for everyone.

Here is where the series will be taking us this year –

EWS 2017

Source: EWS

I’m stoked the first round is in Rotorua. It was raining pretty hard for a while, so now the tracks are pretty muddy and slippery – a real physical challenge!

Great to see the full 7 rounds being held at Redwoods – much better than last times liaise over the other side – much better management and track link-up.

Nice to see the new (old) illegal track (now legal) as well as Dodds, and some of Whakarewarewa Forest’s best double black diamond runs being showcased for the event (see map and track overview at the end of this post).

Rotorua is the place to ride

Just 2 months ago I was in Rotorua riding exactly the same trails – it was our second year riding in Rotorua and I have posted previously about how impressed I am with the government, local business and community support that Rotorua has for mountain biking. The local community has some great authentic family-based initiatives, like the Dad’s n Lads project to get more Rotorua locals on bikes as well – so the push for more biking is not just for out-of towners.The infrastructure, encouragement and forward-thinking that Rotorua has for bike-based tourism is brilliant – they are most certainly leading the way.  And rightly so. Securing some big ticket international MTB  festivals such as Crankworx, this EWS round and the  Rotorua Bike Festival sends a very clear message that NZ is a principal mountain biking destination.

Round 1 is anyone’s game

It will be interesting to see what happens for this round – and for the season. Personally, I’m hoping Sam Hill is in superman form and give Riche Rude, Damien Oton and Jerome Clementz a serious run for their money. I’m also hoping that NZ local boys Wyn & Eddie Masters and Matt Walker strut their stuff and show ’em how to ride NZ style on home turf – it would be awesome to see Kiwis on the podium. In the Elite Women’s, Cecil Ravanel, Isabeau Courdurier and Anita Gehrig are set to battle it out with the rest of the field. What a top line-up. If practice was anything to go by many agree it is going to be a very exciting round!

So strap yourself in for a great EWS series full of some awesome racing this season – let’s get it on!!

Source: Pinkbike. Follow Fabien Cousinié down the 7 stages.

EWS 2017 Starts today

Source: EWS

Source: EWS

Tonight my household is part of the international celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Earth Hour 2017. Horray!

Along with millions of other homes in 179 countries and in over 7,000 cities, from 8.30pm – 9.30pm tonight, those homes who have registered are turning off all the power for at least one hour in recognition of worldwide climate, resource and environmental issues.

How bicycles are part of Earth Hour 2017

I am very proud to see this Australian event take off internationally and to see how bicycles have been incorporated more and more into the event – here are just a few ways cycling is featuring this year around the world for Earth Hour 2017.

There are heaps of bicycle-themed events going on this year for Earth Hour. Here are some innovative examples:

Earth Hour 2017

Source: Press Reader. Click here for original article.

 

I was interested to find that in 2014 there was a spin-off version of Earth Hour called ‘Bike Hour’ – a very bicycle-inspired initiative.

Earth Hour 2017

Source: Cycle Space Click here to original

 

If you are interested – the short video below shows some of the highlights and impacts from Earth Hour 2016. If you are not already involved – and even if you are – perhaps you can host your own Earth Hour bicycle event! Good luck and have fun!!

Happy International Women’s Day  – A quiet ride to celebrate.

I have just returned back from celebrating International Women’s Day 2017 (IWD). It is late now, just past midnight in fact, so technically it is the day after IWD. I’m late as I had spent the afternoon and evening going for a wonderful IWD ride. So before my IWD night officially ends, I thought I would put up a quick considerations to mark the occasion.

International Women’s Day Background

For those who don’t know, International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

International Women’s Day has a long history in the West dating back to 1909. In 1975, the United Nations General Assembly made the holiday globally recognized by inviting member states to declare March 8 a day for women’s rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment. Since then, the UN creates an annual theme for International Women’s Day. Today also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity and the theme for this year is Be Bold For Change.

This day is important for many reasons, but  with the World Economic Forum prediction that the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186, the struggles of many women in disadvantaged situations is more acute than ever.

Therefore, International Women’s Day (IWD) is an opportunity to raise positively contribute to

  • celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women because visibility and awareness help drive positive change for women
  • declare bold actions you’ll take as an individual or organization to help progress the gender agenda because purposeful action can accelerate gender parity across the world.

International Women's Day

Two Awesome Historical Stories of Heroic Cycling Women

I got a real kick out of reading Peter Zheutlin’s article about his amazing great great-aunt Annie Cohen Kopchovsky’s ride way back in 1895 and the legacy that this event has had since in helping women to break boundaries – inspirational!

Another historical piece by fellow bike Blogger Nicola from Women Who Cycle offered some insightful comments when considering the impact and connections between bicycles and specifically American women (based on a Wisconsin stimulus).

 

International Women's Day

Source: Bike Penticton

IWD 2017 – Who, what and how?

IWD is not all about women – it is equally important that our brothers and the gorgeous men in our lives are also recognised! In fact some of the most staunch feminists I know are men.

There are many places to find out what is on this IWD. Some people offer ideas such as hosting your own events, for others who might want time alone or to be with friends, there are numerous suggestions on ways you can celebrate and share the day.

International Women's Day

How are riders around the world celebrating International Women’s Day 2017?

For the cycling community, regardless of what gender you are  – IWD guarantees a plethora of events, celebrations, awards and all kinds of reasons to get together for a ride – for example:

  • There were celebrations and rides all over the world, although coverage of these reports varied in detail and depth for example Malaysia, India and  the UK.  There was also a massive march in New York City, which some friends of mine attended and said they saw a large cycling cohort represented – hooray!
  • More locally, the Bushrangers MTB Club celebrated more women registering in the club than ever before.
International Women's Day 2017

Source: Total Women’s Cycling

 

Quiet time to reflect and give thanks

Personally, I celebrated International Women’s Day 2017 in low-key style. This year I wanted to mark the day with simplicity, gratitude and in a way that acknowledged the ordinary and everyday.

Instead of going to a big event, I opted instead to take a solo ride along the coastline and have time to reflect. For me, this was a more honest and personal way to ruminate and commemorate on the processes of womens’ struggles.

As I rode, I thought about my life and the lives of others.

I thought about the current situation of fellow sisters throughout the world, the amazing progress the world has made and areas that still need improving. I thought about how I impact the world, and how I felt I was making a difference and where I though we needed more change.

I took time to stop and gave thanks.

I watched the bay and listened to the lapping of the waves. It was a stunning afternoon. The ocean breeze was cool and reassuring, the sunset spectacular and full of promise for the next day and I was very grateful to be alive and riding my bike.

What did you do to commemorate this day?

What ever it was – Happy International Women’s Day!

How can bicycles impact the lives of Non-riders?

Reflections from a Colombian ‘non-rider’.

 

This guest post is by Diana Vallejo. Diana works at Griffith University as a Client Services Officer. She is originally from Colombia, but she and her husband have been in Australia for a number of years now. I met Diana through work and adore her Latino spunkiness, honesty and vibrant approach to life. I asked Diana to write a blog post about her experience with bicycles after she had described herself very resolutely as ‘NOT a bike rider at all’. I was intrigued. In what way are bicycles represented in the life of a non-rider? Are there ‘invisible’ bicycle connections that non-riders are just not as conscious of, and how far/deep do you have to go before these links are excavated and made ‘visible’. I am always keen to explore a variety of voices and experiences regarding how different people relate to bicycles –and not just bike riders. So I asked her to contribute her thoughts considering her identity ‘as a non-rider’ and challenged her to see how, if at all, bicycles had impacted her life. Following is an excerpt of what she found. – Nina.


Bicycles? I haven’t really thought about them that much…

For me, bicycles are so mundane, so common and simple.

I was not able to see what the great deal is about a mundane bicycle. Until one day I was talking to Nina about how much she loves bicycles and then I found myself very excited just talking about it from some different perspectives.  I would not necessarily have recognised my own connections to bikes (out of sight, out of mind), but during our conversation I was presented with questions like: ‘Well, even though you don’t ride a bike now, you must have some experience with bikes in the past or growing up – what is/was it and how do you feel about them now? How do you remember bikes featuring in your life? How are they being used in your home country?’ I was surprised to be excited about how much I actually had in common with bicycles, despite the fact that I am not at all a ‘cyclist’.

So, to my surprise, I was able to very quickly make three very immediate and reaffirming associations with how bicycles have been linked to me personally, or through my identity – a revelation which surprised me.

  1. My first bike.

Even though I am not crazy about bikes, I can tell you everything about my first bicycle. Funny that! Was it a present from Santa Claus…(or in my case, because of where I come from – a staunchly Catholic community) – was it a Baby Jesus present? Don’t even try to make me explain to you how new born babies bring all the Christmas presents to all those homes! But nonetheless, there was my present – and I remember it vividly.

It is unbelievable how I can still remember every detail of that first bike. I can remember it better that my first doll or my first kiss! It had a green frame and white wheels. It was so beautiful – and fast! I spent some many afternoons on it. I made many friends riding it, and that bike holds for me some of my best memories from my childhood. My first, personal and immediate connection with bicycles.

  1. One bike, one dream, more than one life changed.

But for some other people, this may only be a wish, or even a dream. The second association I can make is through my national identity. I am from Colombia and we have one of the best cyclists in the world, Nairo Quintana. He was raised in a family with economic difficulties where a bicycle was a luxury.  He lived in a small village 16 kilometres from the nearest school. His father saved $30 USD to buy him a used mountain bike. He said once “I treasured it and every time I rode it, I pictured myself racing and winning” – and he did! His best career results are winning the 2014 Giro d’Italia, 2016 Vuelta a España, and 2nd place overall in the Tour de France of 2013 and in 2015. Nairo changed his world thanks to a bicycle. His story and fame gives hope to Colombians and some any others. As an individual he is a national hero, and internationally, he is known and respected. We are proud that cyclists and non-cyclists alike know of his achievements on the humble bicycle.

Nairo Quintana

Source: BBC Onesport

  1. Rough tracks and new beginnings with bicycles for Colombia students

 Postobon partnership Bike Program

On a national level, bicycles are well known in Colombia as being an instrument of social transformation. Another beautiful way Colombians utilise bicycles is through a very well-known bicycle donation program that gets more rural poor children to go to school. This program is via a partnership with Postobon (#1 Soft drink company in Columbia) and World Bicycle Relief – called Mi Bici. I have heard the CEO of Postobon saying that “bicycles are an engine for social transformation, impacting in a positive way”.

This program gives kids bicycles designed especially for the rough Colombian terrain. In some parts of rural Colombia, kids can spend between 45 minutes and two hours travelling to and from school. Sometimes the students cannot afford buses, and the walk can be dangerous and exhausting. Bicycles can reduce most of these trips to about 20 to 30 minutes. But for many of these kids, it is more than just time that is improved by having these bicycles.

More about WBR’s Mi Bici Bike

Why do I believe this is a great program? This is a great program because it is a sustainable program and it allows the kids to have time to rest, exercise, study. This will increase their possibility for a better future. But most importantly for me, this program allows recipients to have more free time to be kids and play!

The Mi Bici Project was WBR’s first foray into Latin America. Just like WBR’s African Buffalo Bicycles, the Latin American bicycles also have a high resistance to environmental forces and tough terrain and a capacity to carry 100 kgs. Also, the seats are ergonomic, frames are reinforced, the wheels are protected, and the breaks are resistant to the weather. This makes the bikes very durable and they are easy to change.

The program also generated jobs for local small businesses and mechanics who are trained to service the bicycles. This has opened up a new employment stream in areas where bikes are distributed, where there is a need for maintenance services and repairs. All this has also been possible thanks to World Bicycle Relief (WBR). WBR were invited to be part of this program because of their experience with similar programs in Africa through their Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Programs (BEEP).

So yes there is no doubt in my mind that bicycles can change the world! Or at least they are for these kids that are receiving them!

This video introduces a girls who has received a Mi Bici Project bike.