Bike Palooza

If I didn’t have to heave my head in the books for my PhD Confirmation paper – I’d be in Bendigo, VIC celebrating Bike Palooza Bendigo! You lucky buggers! NG.


Bike Palooza Bendigo - Bicycles Create Change

In July earlier this year, I met Jac from Bike Bendigo at the National Cycling and Walking Conference (Adelaide).

On meeting, we immediately hit it off.  We had a shared passion for promoting more bikes in our communities. We were both keen to attend each others’ sessions, but we had to present at the same time! Eck!

We swapped contacts and have stayed in touch since. I was delighted to see that Jac, Bike Bendigo, their local partners and what looks like their whole community  – have been super busy because  October is Bike Bendigo’s Bike Palozza month-long festival!

Bike Palooza Bendigo - Bicycles Create ChangeWhat is Bike Palooza Bendigo?

Essentially, Bike Palooza Bendigo is a month long bike festival hosted by Bike Bendigo to celebrate and promote biking, cycling and riding in and around the community of Bendigo, VIC.

Bike Bendigo is a community based organisation committed to getting more people on bikes in Bendigo. They partner with local council to promote the local area as a principal bicycle destination for all types of riders – and they are doing a damn fine job of it too!

They are very activate on social media and have some great little videos uploaded onto Facebook.

Bike Palooza Bendigo has been in the media and it is great to see local businesses getting behind Bike Bendigo and the event and supporting it.

A well thought out event.

Kudos to the organisers as the event has been extremely well thought out, in relation to timing, types of events and locations.

Also, the consistency and originality of the event marketing theme (website, colours, animations etc) is original and distinctive – and there is a limited line of event pennants and T-shirsts and badges available.

This is a wonderful month-long event with over 120+ events to check out- it is very family friendly and definitely something for everyone!

There is the Ride2Work day, the inaugural Bendigo Cycle Classic, the Filmed by Bike International Bike Film Festival, Free Wheeling Fun open shed, Open Streets and heaps of community rides to name a few.

Bike Palooza Bendigo - Bicycles Create Change

Filmed by Bike– Friday 20th Oct @ Bike Palooza 2017

My hot tip event not to be missed is the Filmed by Bike screening.

This free event will be a screening of two of shows from the world renowned international bike film festival from Portland, Oregon: Bike Love and Adventure Shorts. To see these films – head down to: Hargreaves Mall this Friday (20th Oct). 6.30pm for 7pm start of films. Click here for more details. There will be a pop-up bar, plenty of comfy seating provided on the night, so BYO picnic, dinner and ride on it to see the screening.

Mind you – I’m keen to go on any of the community rides as well!!

Bike Palooza Bendigo - Bicycles Create Change

I have been immensely impressed with the amount of work that Jac and the Bike Bendigo crew have put into the Bike Palozoo extravaganza. Amazing!

Congrats on such a brilliant showcase of your region, your town and for creating such a positive dialogue about, and promotion for, bike-friendly communities…and for extending the invitation for more cyclists to come a enjoy your very welcoming and bike-friendly town!

I can’t wait to head down and come for a ride!

Have fun to all those heading to Bendigo to support this awesome event, I hope you have a bikey-blast!

For those who have not yet gone – get on ya bike and get down there!

All images: Bike Palooza Bendigo.

Boys Backyard MTB Track

This post is an interview I had with Xavier and Will, two young friends who live in a Victorian country town about 1.5 hours out of Melbourne. I have been staying with family and happened to spot these two industrious lads out in a yard with shovels ablaze and bikes strewn close by, so I went to see what they were working on. We got chatting and I was impressed with their initiative and thoughtfulness in constructing their own backyard MTB track given their limited resources. The following interview details what we discussed. Thanks to the parents of both boys for permission to publish this story.

Two young friends make their own backyard MTB track

 

How long have you been living in this town?

Seven years ago Xavier moved here from another town. He was already riding up there and had started riding a motorbike when her was two or three. Will was given a pushbike when he was three and still has the same bike and has been riding ever since. We like riding in the street and testing out our new bikes.

How long have you two been friends for?   

Since grade one – which was in 2013. So we have been friends four years.

Boys Backyard MTB Track

Why did you make the mountain bike track?

We did have a few bike tracks but they all got washed away in the floods. So we decided to make our own just for us. We also made it for guests to have fun – and because it is in the backyard and not near the river like the other few before, this one won’t get washed away.

We just used all scraps from here and there are got some shovels and just got started.

How many bike tracks have you made?

We decided to have one main one before we had this area, it went all around the garden.  We did it just to do big holes in the ground and do rallies down and jumps on. Now we’re not really like jumping, we’re doing more skills and obstacle stuff which is more advanced.

Do any adults help you make the tracks? No, only our neighbour does (kid the same age).

Do any other kids ride your tracks or help? Not without our permission, since it is on our property.

How did you decide on the design of the track?

Designing the track meant that we got the ideas from our heads and talked about it.  Then we started playing with ideas and decided what were the good ideas and put those into the track. Then we had something there with the things we wanted and we just keep going. We also used our prior knowledge from magazines and we have experience scootering (riding scooters). We also got some ideas from skate parks. Then we just made it!

How long did it take you to make it?

Well before we were both here we worked a little bit on the track, but we were just mucking around. The next time we really got started. The track has moved a few times, but now it is in Will’s backyard so we don’t have to move it again and we can work on it anytime we want to. When we started, it probably took us two hours to get the main loop in, but we still work on it and change it – like today we spent an hour fixing up the rock garden and making a log bridge. We still haven’t finished and there is still a bit more to come.

The track started happening really when there was the start of a berm and we wanted to have a rough time (make it rougher). So we started using wood pallets then we have some whoops to work the bike’s suspension and then included starting points and finishing points.

What are the skills you wanted to practice? Why did you put those obstacles in? What is that you will achieve? We want to practice our balance, remembering all our manoeuvres and just have fun. We are going to need to practice in case we need these skills for when we go riding on the volcanos nearby. There are a few tracks around the mountains here and they go over and around the volcanos in this area, so you need to be prepared to ride volcanoes with these kinds of skills.

 Why do you like riding bikes? Well to keep fit and generally keep your heart rate up and for just having fun. It can be useful from time to time – say someone needs to get to a bus station or from the train station to another train station. Or just around town. We actually use the bikes quite a bit. Then there are the days we can always go bike riding. Mt Tarrengower has got a really cool bike track. We also do trips down to the shops, so maybe mum needs some milk. So I ride down to the IGA and buy the milk and return it to her.

Here are some key parts of the track

Boys Backyard MTB Track

 

Boys Backyard MTB Track

Sand on LHS is being developed into a berm – lead into the rock garden

 

Boys Backyard MTB Track

The rock garden

 

I love this story. I find it very heartening that young boys are self-initialising such a productive, healthy and creative venture – as adults I think we need to encourage such activities. I love that the families of both boys were super supportive and encouraging of their ventures as well – what great role models for others. This skills track is not only a great way to develop bike skills, keep fit and cement a friendship, but it is also a brilliant example of two young mates working cooperatively to build something original and solely suited to their own needs. I love that materials, know-how and fun were just applied without any limiting self-doubt – and the results more so enjoyed as a result. The origin of having their own ideas melding it with their experience at scooter/skate parks and ideas from magazines demonstrates how trusting and confident they both are – of themselves and each other.

The resilience, creativity and practical application of putting this track together, which may seem basic to some, is a fantastic example of perseverance, following through with an idea and trusting yourself (and/or a mate) to work on a project together and see it through. I like how these boys demonstrate the willingness to put the work into a project –  and to just make it happen.

Now that they have the main part of the track established, Will and Xavier will be able to develop and modify it to suit their skills and interests as they develop. I see this track as a great accomplishment. I don’t know many adults that are this industrious, proactive and collaborative in progressing their friendship and love of bikes. A valuable and quietly inspirational lesson for us all. 

Best of luck to the friendship of Will and Xavier – and for their future track building and bike riding adventures!

Goldfields Track – no joke!

For 5 days, I am in the Goldfields district of country Victoria. I visiting family and friends and recharging before heading back for the start of Trimester One on Monday. While here, I have been marking the final assessments for my Summer Course, as my class just submitted their end-of-course final written assessment. It is worth 45% of their total mark. It is a pretty serious deal – for them writing it, and me marking it.

While visiting my amazing young cousin who lives outside of Castlemaine, I found one of his joke book sitting next to the toilet (where many good books are found). I was delighted to see a sports section with a few bike jokes in it.

It was perfect timing to lighten my mood after a long day’s marking – especially seeing as though it was one of those endless beautiful sunny days when I would otherwise have grabbed my bike to either put out some nice long kilometers along the Pyrenees Hwy and beyond, out to the Macedon Ranges, or to go exploring the magnificent 210kms MTB trails around the local Goldfields mountains and volcanoes (*sigh*).

Goldfields - no jokes!

But as marking currently takes precedence (for a couple of days longer only) – these bike jokes were a light reprieve, so I  thought I’d share some of the better, but daggy cycling jokes I found. Although I cannot account for the quality, as my cousin is very young!

Set the scene

A truck leaves Sydney City at 10:32 am on a Tuesday morning, carrying 8 tons of freight, and traveling an average of 117 kph heading toward Melbourne. Another truck departs Melbourne at 8:47am on the next day, Wednesday, carrying 4 tons of freight and traveling an average of 98 kph toward Sydney. Where do they meet? On the one-lane bridge where the cyclist is.

A motorway and a freeway are enjoying a drink in the pub. A piece of green tarmac with sharrows for side burns walks in.  The motorway whispers: “Come on let’s drink up and go before the trouble starts. He’s a bit of a cyclepath!”

Geez dad! Not in front of my new friends!!

What is the cheapest type of bicycle you can buy? A penny-farthing!

What do you call a bicycle built by a chemist? Bike-carbonate of soda!

Why was Cinderella so uncompetitive at cycling? She had a pumpkin for a coach!

When is a bicycle not a bicycle? When it turns into a driveway.

Why can’t a bicycle stand up on its own? Because it’s too tired! (two tyre-d).

What is a ghost-proof bicycle? One with no spooks in it.

How did the barber win the bike race? He took a short cut.

I went on a long bicycle ride yesterday. It seemed farcical (far-cycle-l).

Did you hear about the vampire bicycle that went round biting people’s arms off? It was a vicious cycle.

 I bought a new wheel from the local bike shop, but it was missing something in the middle. When I complained, they sent me straight through to their spokes-person.

Bike puns

One for 100 climbs – don’t ride upgrades, ride up grades.

Descending Pardknott pass at 80kph, the cyclist tested positive for speed.

My cousin loves his e-bike because he’s really indecisive about money. He likes that it takes charge.

My mate is really good on a unicycle but very socially awkward around alcohol. She can’t handle-bars.

The mechanic who makes my wheels suffers from narcolepsy. He just gets wheelie, wheelie tyred.

A maniac cut someone in half while I was on my bike today. I missed it, but my chainsaw.

Drop bars, not bombs.

I rode my bike 10 miles to safely dispose of some paper, cans and bottles earlier. I was tired on the way back, I had to recycle.

I like cyclists who torque the talk.

Did you know Alfred Hitchcock used to be into downhill mountain biking? He was ‘The master of suspens-ion’.

Goldfield Track- no joke

Goldfields Tracks- no joke!

Oh, will this marking never end!

All jokes aside, it is difficult to be inside working while in such a beautiful part of the cycling world – and so close to the Goldfields Track, yet be relegated to the sidelines.  Aaarggghh! But not long now!

Calling all singlespeeders!

Today I registered for the Single Speed World Championships 2016 (SSWC 2016) to be held in Woodend, Victoria later this year on October 21-23rd 2016. Yahhooooo!

Yes, you heard correctly, the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP for 2016 is in Oz – not just the National SS which I posted about October last year.

From a preliminary count of entrants, there are currently 177 registered, with about 25 women and good peeps from all over the world are decending- so if your keen to ride (and you’ve got a costume in mind), get online and register ASAP as the entries are only available until September 1st – only another 8 days left…. so, calling all single speeders …….. local, regional and international…..

Entry will set you back $140, but if you want all the perks of the full event calendar, but none of the riding, there is also a Party Animal option.

I’m getting very excited and can’t wait. I’m even forgoing a full day HDR Workshop, of which I am on the organising committee of, to attend because this kind of opportunity does not come around very often!

2016SSWCPoster

If you have never heard of the Singlespeed Champs, or have never been to one  – check  it out the videos below…

The clip below is still my favourite SSWC clip – it is from NZ’s race last year – it typifies what the event is all about…

I found the below 7 minute video recently and it gives some good insights into the earlier origins of SSWC. It is hilarious to see what is the same (beards, drinking, tamping with bikes and fun activities, and what has changed (mostly the elaborate nature of the costumes!)

Wesley Hill Weekend Market (Chewton, Regional Victoria)

I’ve been away for four days in Regional Victoria visiting family who live just outside of Castlemaine. On Saturday, we went to the Wesley Hill markets to get some supplies. It was a lovely market – very inviting and really showcasing local products. You know you are onto a good thing when you see this out the front of a local market….

Firebean Organic Coffee
Image: Firebean Organic Coffee

We thoroughly enjoyed the local community market stalls and produce, stocking up on mangos, amazing mini loaves of semi-pumpernickel, rye and soaked seeds (I got 4!) and local Yandoit farmer John who was selling the latest fantastic cherries he harvested from his property. As we were wandering around, I was delighted to see these two young entrepreneurs  (picture below) who were running “The Bike Bar” making cold-to-order drinks. As well as this, the right-hand sign on the table also advertises their other add-on service which is bike building. We stopped to have a lovely chat with these industrious young lads and overall I was very impressed by how bike friendly this market was – it was great to see bikes being integral to the fabric of this market.

Wesley Hill Markets, Regional Victoria
Wesley Hill Markets, Regional Victoria

We also stopped for a coffee at the Firebean Organic Coffee Stall – which, if you order an iced coffee the ingredients are prepared and then ….

Firebean Organic Coffee
Image: Firebean Organic Coffee

…. the customer who made the order gets on the bicycle to blend their own iced-coffee. Not that this a necessarily new invention, but again, just great to be in an environment where bicycles are so productive, valued and indispensable. It was a delight to visit this market and be part of this progressive and bicycle-loving community!

Darebin Shared Paths Etiquette Initiative

A friend who lives in Darebin City Council area in Melbourne sent me through a link to the Darebin Shared Path EtiquetteThis is definitely my kind of community project – fun, positive, effective, low-cost and high-impact community participation, consultation and awareness-raising. I was delighted to see a city council being proactive and engaging the locals.  Appropriately sharing pathways for all users; be they cyclists, pedestrians, dog walkers,  or fitness groups, can be an issue. Such problems need to be recognised and discussed – bringing it to the streets makes this conversation a lot more personal, accessible and immediate – and the free ice-cream was also an added  bonus for some I am sure!

Initiative

This Council Community Engagement Initiative arises from ‘concerns about behaviour [are] raised by the community on a regular basis, which led us to embark on 4 community workshops in November – we are now inviting the community to develop a shared path etiquette that encourages safe, respectful and considerate riding and walking on our shared paths, so everyone can enjoy using them‘ (Darebin City Council Facebook page).

Outcomes

During these community workshops, participants were asked to contribute their ideas and the responses were posted on the council event facebook page (a sample of which I have re-posted below). The input from these consultations and workshops will help inform the Darebin City Council’s Shared Path Etiquette Strategy.

To contribute your own vote to this discussion click here – voting closes January 5th 2016.

Darebin City Council's Shared Path Etiquette Facebook Page
Darebin City Council (Melbourne) Shared Path Etiquette Facebook Page

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Australian National Singlespeed Championships 2015

This weekend was the Australian National Singlespeed Championships 2015  – Dec 5th & 6th  @ Wombat State Forest, Woodend, Vic. HOORAY!!!

I thought I would post some details about this event because I think it is very special, being one of the few cycling occasions, in my opinion, that genuinely brings all kinds of people together with the focus being on fun first and race second. It does so in such a way that the racing aspect is not the central purpose of participating – although it is for some. It is one of the rare competitions where having fun and being social (and wearing a kick-ass costume) is the norm for participation.

 

Australian National Singlespeed 2015
Australian National Singlespeed 2015

 

Event schedule

Friday evening – race briefing at the Holgate Brewery (one of the event’s main sponsors). The vibe was relaxed, friendly and very cool with people catching up and strangers chatting to each other like old friends. It was refreshing to be in an environment where the competitors had no ego. Instead, this motley crew had come from all walks of life, yet had come together out of a common link with bicycles (and beer) which meant that conversations were stimulating, convivial and unique.

Saturday Day Racing – 3 Stage race

  1. Mass start 10 km (1 beer to cut off 2 km) – then rode a short liaison to Stage 2.

Between stages 1 and 2, competitors had 2 hours to self-serve lunch, have a beer and complete the 2nd stage.

  1. 3 – 4 km time trial (with a game of darts included, where the score of your darts throw was your time bonus in seconds – given that it was a 36C day, hot with adrenalin running, so it was deceptively hard to keep concentration to get off a straight shot! If you got no score on the dartboard (which many did), you had to knock back a schnapps shot.
  2. 15-minute window to start 17kms final stage with a compulsory beer at the end.

This stage format worked very well. The timing chips used meant that riders had immediate access to ride times and results (so results could be checked in between stages).

Sunday – Social Rides

Event Highlights

There were about 95 riders – with about 15 women, some came to actually compete (race), but most were there to ride socially and to participate in supporting the singlespeed community (and to dress up), catch up with old mates and make some new ones! Being a 36C day meant that riding was much more challenging – especially for those in costumes – many of which were discarded layer by layer as the riding got hotter and hotter! The trails were fantastic -flowing and technical with at least 90% of the trails being single track. The food supplied for lunch was a real highlight – especially the vegetarian option, which was unexpectedly outstanding, wholesome and exceptionally delicious.

Overall, it was a tremendously satisfying and enjoyable event to be part of – one that truly brought a range of riders, supporters and lovers of bikes together. I would highly recommend people to come and take part in the next Australian National Singlespeed Championships in 2016 – which will be epic as it is also the 2016 WORLD SINGLESPEED CHAMPIONSHIPS!!  What a great opportunity to get amongst it. I hope to see you all there!!!

Further Singlespeed action

For more information, details and photos for this event – see the Australian Recreational Singlespeed Enthusiasts Facebook page.

If you have never seen, heard or know what a Singlespeed National race is like – this clip from the 2015 NZ Singlespeed Nationals will give you an idea – ENJOY!!