This last year has been filled with surprises, challenges and some very interesting developments – so I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store!

As with last year, my last day of 2016 was warm and sunny – and so was the perfect day for one last ride for the year. I spent my last day  of 2016 mountain bike riding with my husband and mates through the spectacular Whakarnewarewa Forest trails at Redwoods, Rotorua. We spent the day zooming around our favourite trails for 3.5 hours and headed up to one of the Trig stations to take in the view at the summit. Looking out at the panorama, I felt like the 360 view from the top was a perfect metaphor for taking stock of the year that has passed and taking a moment to pause, reflect and enjoy. It was a great way to finish the year.

Thank you to all of you who have supported, read and/or contributed to Bicycles Create Change over the past year. Whether you are new to this blog, or an regular BCC aficionado, I really appreciate you taking the time to see what’s happening on Bicycles Create Change. I wish you well for the next year – and hope that you are able to achieve all that your (cycling) heart desires.

I’m looking forward to sharing more adventures in 2017 where Bicycles Create Change!!

Best wishes for a Happy New Gear and happy and safe riding!!!

Bicycles Create Change - Bikes not bombs (Pinterest)

Source: Bikes not bombs (Pinterest)

This guest blog post is by Adam Harris – Owner of Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC. Here Adam shares his story, biking history, family, inspirations, business development and hopes for a more active and positive future for all on two-wheels.


Bicycles have always been a major part of my life.  As a youngster, my bike was a source of both fun and freedom.  I’d spend hours jumping curbs and laying down big rubber scorching skids.  It was only natural to go in search of fresh curbs to jump and streets to skid, so I began to explore well beyond my neighborhood, finding new friends and new adventure.

One of the great discoveries of early childhood was the three trail systems that I could pedal to.  It inspired me to scratch and save for my first proper bike, a blue Schwinn Sidewinder.  It stoked my passion for bikes and with it I also got my first taste of wrenching on a bike, learning basic maintenance and repair.

As I neared driving age I remember telling my parents that I wanted to buy a Trek hardtail mountain bike, complete with a Rockshox fork no less!  While they believed my interest in bikes would wane due to automobiles and girls, they reluctantly agreed to split the cost for my beloved anodized purple beauty.

 

My Dad

After getting my new bike, Dad was interested in riding more, so he began piloting the trusty blue Schwinn.  He joined me often for dirt time in the woods.  Those rides with my Dad are some of the best memories of my youth.

My Dad is a big inspiration for me and someone I’ve always looked up to.  He was best man when my wife and I were married.  He is also one of the main reasons for pursuing my passion once again as I spin into mid-life.  Angelo Chapman Harris III was a successful athlete and coach.  Track and Field and Cross-Country running were his passion along with the students he taught for the 40+ years of his career, all spent at the one high school!  He was offered opportunities to advance his coaching career many times – some offers for bigger programs and at the university level.  I’m sure he pondered them all, but he always turned them down.  I never understood why as a young man.

My Dad passed away three years ago this past September.  Life can be a cruel lesson, but I finally figured out the “why”.  My Dad knew where he wanted to be and what he wanted to do.  He helped many people along the way.  Passion is the fuel that drove him.  As they say, “you never work a day in your life when you do what you love”.  What a gift.  I am trying to follow his lead.  I want to always feel that satisfaction of being right where I’m supposed to be when I get ready for “work” in the mornings.

 

The family dream

We fulfilled one of our family’s dreams when we moved to Maryville, Tennessee last Spring.  As our lives became more bike-centric and we connected the greenways and neighborhood roads on our frequent excursions about town, the thoughts bouncing around in my head became too persistent to ignore any longer.  I started doing some research and soon a plan was formed to fulfill another dream.

We were going to open a bike shop.  One that would be focused on family and fun and be the ultimate in convenience, a mobile bike shop, and Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC was born.

Too many times traditional bike shops can be intimidating for those who just want to ride their bike and don’t necessarily need or care for the latest and greatest. And frankly, sometimes it’s just hard to find the time.

I’m a father of two young girls and I know how hectic life can get for me and my wife. I value family time and many of our family’s best times involve bikes. I want that for my customers as well – I want to make it as easy as possible. Time is valuable, spend it riding bikes not figuring out the logistics of how to get to the bike shop.  Let the shop come to you!

Adam's Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC

Goldie – the mobile shop

The shop glides along in a customized 1985 Chevy Step Van.  Its former life was spent delivering Golden Flake potato chips, hence the name of the steed.  Goldie!  The irony of driving a diesel step van around while working on and selling man’s most efficient machine is not lost on me.  Despite that, I think the end justifies the means.  It helps me accomplish my mission: more people spending more time on bikes.  I also do my best to minimize my impact on the environment.  I recycle all possible materials, use eco-conscious cleaning and lubrication products, and run the super-efficient LED lights off a power-bank that will soon be set-up to be recharged by solar panels.

Adam's Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC

 

More bikes, more community

Bikes have given me a lot in my lifetime.  Not only fitness, transportation, clarity, and plenty of fun, but comfort and purpose.  I am passionate about the positive impact that bikes have on people and community.  I want to see more kids riding bikes and more families riding together.  I want to be part of the movement.  I want to be involved in my community and get my community involved.

Adam's Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC

Partnerships and Events

I have some great partners that share my vision and passion for bikes, the outdoors, and sustainability.  One such is Mountain Challenge, a group of like-minded, fit, green, and happy dudes and dudettes over at Maryville College, which has been named a “Best in the Southeast” college by The Princeton Review.  Mountain Challenge continues to do great things for the college and the local community in a progressive and inviting manner and are an inspiration for impacting people in a positive way.

Another is Brooklyn Bicycle Co., who have gone out of their way to help me along and are a great model for excellent customer service.  Both were willing to take a chance on me and my business of bringing bikes to the people and for that I am grateful.

Starting a business is a lot like a long climb. Like any long climb, I’m seated and in it for the long haul, turning over the pedals.  It’s been steep – and at times I’ve felt like I’m spinning out on a low gear and only making incremental progress.  But it’s progress and I’m building momentum and shifting up the gears!

 

Contact us and say hi!

Follow my journey on Instagram and Twitter: @1happybike and Facebook:1happybike.

It’s sure to be interesting and I have big plans for the Spring of 2017!

More miles, more smiles!

Adam's Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC


Adam is a lifelong cyclist and lover of all things bicycle.  He worked in the industry previously as a mechanic and shop manager before ultimately pursuing another career, but he never stopped riding or dreaming. When his family moved to the beautiful town of Maryville, Tennessee where the infrastructure allowed a more bike-centric lifestyle, the wheels started spinning, literally and figuratively!  In a world where you can order nearly any product or service online to your front door, why not expert bicycle knowledge, sales, and service?  Adam is the owner (and driver!) of Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC, a completely mobile bike shop, where he does just that.  His mission is to get more people spending more time on bikes and he does that by providing the ultimate in convenience and a completely customized experience right at your doorstep.

Today is Australia’s National Ride to Work Day 2016.

Last year was my first year registering and it was one of the best things I did since coming to Brisbane. I registered last year thinking I would give it a go, support the event and try something different. I was a little unsure of how I was going to get there, as I find the Queensland roads spectacularly challenging and unsafe – especially when you have no orientation or experience in the area.  So to find the best route, I ended up using the Bicycle Network’s quick and easy Brisbane City Plan my Route  – and it planned my whole trip door to door, while linking up all these backroads and bicycle tracks that I had no idea even existed. I have been riding to work ever since.

This year

So I am excited about the event this year and registered as a co-ordinator for my department. Although many of the teachers are supportive of bicycle riding, very few actually engage with it – so I did as much email promotion and talking to people as I could and looked at it as a awareness raising campaign. The event has a lot of activities and associated initiatives that go along with supporting riders to ride to work on the actual day – and the list of resources, info and details on the Ride to Work website is quite impressive.

 Breakfast BUG

Although I was (regrettably) was unable to ride myself this morning, I met up and joined the Griffith Uni BUG (Bicycle Users Group) for the tail end of breakfast at Nathan Campus. It was lovely to meet some new cycle-minded staff and I felt very welcome.  A number of them introduced themselves and thanks especially to MD who ended up inviting me to join their monthly ride with them all from Brisbane City to campus. I am now on their mailing list and look forward to more potential future cycling adventures with some new faces!  Overall, breakfast was cheap and cheery and I am looking forward to seeing what other groups did for the day – and of course keen to see how the daily stats and results end up. I hope that it was as popular this year as last year. Click here to see some great photos from the fun last year. I know that last year 43% of all new riders who took part are still riding to work – so I am hoping that this statistic will improve.
Happy riding!
ride-to-work-day

There are a number of things I love about this 3.30min Invisible Bicycle Helmet video. It is primarily about bikes, and most certainly about creating positive (and safe) change, it is a reinvention of the normal, it is NOT in English, it took the two inventors sooo long to get the research (seven years!!), their overall commitment, passion and teamwork and most importantly, Anna and Terese are two Swedish female Industrial Designers leading their field–and kicking ass.

How the hell…

I like the revolutionary, and stylish I might add, innovation they have come up with. It directly responds to current changes in urban biking as well as being understated and no fuss (the model only comes in black). I’m still in awe of the actual engineering behind how it is deployed and works and I think the actual concept is magnificent. The speed and responsiveness of the sensors and algorithms they have used are quite remarkable.

In Australia?

It is tempting to look into the legality of wearing one in Australia. I know you have to have a registered Australian Safety Approved helmet here – but let’s face it Australia is so behind the times and considering this is a recognised international safety and protection device…. the larrikin bugger in me would love to use it and see what happens!

The company who is producing it, Hovding have them currently retailing for €299 and they are up to their second model already, have won an European Patent Office Award (2016) patent and models can come with stylish personalised covers. Sign me up!!

“Cars are so yesterday, bikes are the future.”

 

Having been back in Australia for a few days now, I was reminiscing about my recent NZ trip. I found myself revisiting the Rotorua Strategic Cycling Plan 2015-2018. Particularly, I have been reflecting on why it is that Australia has not yet implemented any similar clearly worthwhile initiatives. The backing of the local, regional and national governments has been instrumental in the success of NZ’s burgeoning cycling popularity.

For example, here are just some examples of how the NZ government is providing political ordinances and a proactive context for prioritising and promoting cycling in Rotorua and New Zealand:

National: Safer Journeys 2020Transport Demand Management StrategySafer Journeys for People who Cycle 2014NZ Transport Agency’s Cycling Safety Action Plan

Regional: Regional Land Management (RLM) 2011-2041

Local: Rotorua Integrated Network Strategy 2012-2014Rotorua Sport & recreation StrategyRotorua 2030 – Tatou Tatou – WE TOGETHERGrow Rotorua – Rotorua Biking Strategy 2014-2024

After my summer experience and seeing such forward thinking policy-making – it is obvious that Rotorua (and New Zealand in general) is light years ahead of Australia in relation to welcoming and harnessing the positive social and economic impacts that a well-managed and diverse cycling destination with purpose-built infrastructure has to offer. Melbourne has a number of colourful and energetic cycling communities, yet NSW is about to implement some of the toughest cycling fines Australia has seen, which has caused a national uproar. As the Rotorua Deputy Major identifies “These accomplishments don’t happen by chance. It takes amazing collaboration and community contribution to pull off such feats, and we certainly appreciate these continued efforts to boost Rotorua’s appeal as the world’s premier all- year-round mountain biking resort” (Rotorua Lakes Council, n.d.).

Some of the NZ Policies to promote cycling, like the Regional Land Management, are projecting for 2041!! Talk about managing sustainable cycling for future urban development! Where is Australia’s enduring forethought towards providing a safer, more active, more fit and sustainable society? How is it that in Australia, we don’t see our politicians and Prime Ministers riding bikes around our cities?

How is it possible that there are still such major inconsistencies and barriers in Australia for better cycling, when cities like Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Portland are celebrating and (socially and economically) benefiting from honouring and championing cycling as being a normal part of being a healthy, happy and productive citizen?

Simon Bridges, John Key and Todd McClay, on a ride around Government Gardens in Rotorua

Source: Waikato Times – Simon Bridges, John Key (NZ Prime Minister) and Todd McClay, on a ride around Government Gardens in Rotorua, 2015.

 

What a change – from riding endless breathtaking mountain bike trails with good mates every day to the sharp jolt back into the hot seat and the office *OUCH*!! First day back at work and it has been very interesting managing a new timetable and new class responsibilities with continuing commitments for research, work and riding. Returning from such a great riding trip has left me feeling recharged and content, but physically quite tired so it will take a little while to restablize back into office mode after being outdoors and riding every day – although finding author Anna Brones‘ image below made me smile as I donned my formal office wear.

 

Bicycles Create Change

Source: Biking to work is sexy – Anna Brones

 

I am still trying to get into a rhythm of regular blog posting and the holidays have thrown up myriad challenges. These have given me some very interesting insights into how some of my current choices and routines, either work – or in some cases, don’t work! Such insights inform what I will need to implement to be more strategic with time, tasks and output so I can be more organised and productive.

I have a number of big projects ongoing at the same time. I am conscious that I need to manage my time better so I can give focused, constructive and deliberate input into each of the projects. I also need to check in with my expectations of what needs to be done, and whe;, to make sure that I am not pushing too hard, or if I need to refocus or divert energy, to free up certain periods of time so that my routine is sustainable. I also want to make sure that I don’t feel overwhelmed or that I am getting behind – which,  as the University semester gets underway at the end of February, is a constant struggle to manage.

Over the summer I was looking at my favourite writing resources such as The Thesis Whisperer, Jeff Goins, Patter, Brain Pickings, A Life of Productivity and Shut Up and Write sessions and found a truckload of inspiration, techniques and great tips – it is just a case of experimenting with some of the strategies and implementing those that are most useful.

For the next 5 weeks my main Projects are:

  1. Teaching and class management for a new class (5-week block)
  2. Editing a conference paper for publication
  3. Organising and managing the inaugural Bicycles Create Change Summer Program
  4. Completing my online course Ignite your Everyday Creativity with The State University of New York
  5. Prepare and start writing next publication article
  6. Get into a regular routine of posting for this blog

So for the next couple of weeks I will be trying to clarify and consolidate my various commitments to research, work, fitness and family – I do not think I am alone in this regard – no doubt there are many of us coming out of a hectic holiday period and back to work who are all grappling with such challenges and readjustments.

What strategies or resources do you use to help re-orientate yourself after holidays back into intensive work mode?

After visiting Rotorua this summer, I was impressed by the amount of support for cycling that the local Council and Businesses provided. As a visiting cyclist, it was easy to get around town, given the safe and considerable bike lanes that weave throughout town and around the local tourist attractions, parks, lakes and geysers. I found like-minded people at cafes like Zippy’s where there is ample bike parking out the front (and good coffee!). Rotorua Airport has a shipping container at the arrivals door with lockers and an assembly stand and tools so you can build you bike straight off the plane. We stayed at The Alpin, which provided exceptionally bike-friendly services, including a designated MTB bike wash station in the courtyard and private thermal pools for each room. (Michelle was really happy to have bikers stay there, and was so welcoming and helpful that I am not surprised it is a favourite place to stay for MTBs). Aside from all this, the amazing forest at Redwoods was a pure delight to ride around.

I was also deeply impressed by the cooperation and multi-use agreements that obviously work so well between so many different stakeholders within the Whakarewarewa Forest, such as mountain bikers; walker;, horse-riders; family day-trippers and loggers – it was remarkable (and relieving) to see it work so harmoniously and effectively.

 

While here I checked to see what are the future cycling plans for the region and uncovered the Rotorua Urban Cycling Strategic Plan 2015-2018.This Plan focuses on developing local cycling infrastructure and participation. Much has already been achieved on this front as Rotorua is already a hot spot for cycling with award winning MTB trails, an annual Bike Festival, an expanding Green Corridor inner-city link network as well as hosting numerous international competitions such as the UCI World Champs 2006 and Crankworx 2015.

So far, Rotorua has already completed the Te Ara Ahi (Thermal by Bike) Trail, which is 47-51 km link that begins in the CBD and passes through the Government Gardens and then meanders past the most stellar Rotorua thermal attractions such as Whakarewarewa, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Wai-O-tapu Thermal Wonderland and Waikite Valley Thermal Springs, showcasing the rich local environment, animals, history and culture.

The four main overall aims of the Rotorua Urban Cycling Strategic Plan are to:
  • Enhance and reinforce the district’s brand and reputation as a key cycling destination for domestic and foreign tourism
  • Contribute to improved health outcomes for the community by promoting active modes of transport and by reducing adverse impacts on our living environment
  • Help address future demand on limited road capacity by reducing the number of trips based on motor vehicles and increasing trips through active transport modes
  • Contribute to achieving sustainable and affordable infrastructure thus reducing the funding burden on the community

Rotorua plans to link up all the urban and inner-city bicycle networks to create an integrated Urban Cycleway Network, which connects major tourist attractions, cycling facilities, schools and the CBD together to make access by bike a safer and easier option for locals and visitors.

The 2015-2018 Strategic Plans are the next step towards achieving Rotorua’s 2030 goals and is informed by consultation with cycling stakeholders. The New Zealand government has recognised the importance of cycling and has prioritised it by putting into practice an Urban Cycling Fund (UCF) 2015-2018 to stimulate regional cycling developments. Rotorua applied to UFC and was awarded NZ$5.5 million to develop over 27kms of shared pathways to help link up the city’s Cy-Way network. There is talk about future plans to link up a series of the bicycle tracks throughout NZ so that the whole country can be connected and ridden as a complete trip. Now that’s exciting!!

As the Strategic plan outlines, ‘The completion of Rotorua’s primary cycling network will provide easier and safer access for people cycling to school, with almost 14,000 students within 500 meters of the primary cycling network. The completed network is expected to increase cycling from the suburbs within 20 minutes of the CBD, aiming to achieve an increase in mode share for cycling to work and to school. The network will also have benefits for tourism and economic development by furthering Rotorua’s reputation as a cycling destination and recreation- friendly city’ (Rotorua Lakes Council, n.d).

Eventually, this Cy-Ways link-up would connect the city by shared pathways in a way that will transform access, time and safety to the CBD for locals and tourists as well as making cycling the most desirable mode of transport around Rotorua. Such an approach will significantly reduce reliance on petroleum-based transport, increase the quality of the local environment as well as contribute to raising levels of health and fitness.

Rotorua Urban Cycling Strategic Plan 2015-2018

Source: Rotorua Urban Cycling Strategic Plan 2015-2018

What an amazing feat of policy-making! It is exciting to see proactive and innovative strategies being implemented on a wide scale that have such prominent, meaningful and sustainable impacts to create change for so many people in so many ways. Congratulations Rotorua for leading the way! I can only hope that we see more city planning along the same lines elsewhere in the world.

Ref: Rotorua Lakes Council (n.d) Rotorua Urban Cycling Strategic Plan 2015-2018.

Leaving today for a 10 day mountain bike trip to Rotorua NZ.

Bikes are loaded on plane and we are waiting to board.

I am very excited about riding new trails, making new friends and discovering what the NZ biking community has to offer.

I will be posting as usual and looking forward to including NZ related content for the duration of our trip here.

 

Arrived 6pm on Christmas Eve, so had a slow roll around town, checked out some thermal hot spots, views of the lake and settled in for an early night. Next day was great – rode up to first main shuttle junction and checked out some trails. The weather was beautiful, the giant fern and Douglas fir forests are stunning (a little confronting riding out of the shady forest bliss into the desolation of the logging trails, though!).  I am loving how accessible, well signed and quiet these trails are so far – what a great way to spend Christmas! – No fuss, maximum fun riding!!

Happy holidays and safe riding.