Monday, December 1, 2008

The Otesha Bike Parade and Party Saturday the 20th of December

*** The Otesha Bike Parade and Party Saturday the 20th of December ***
From The Otesha Project (Australia): Cycling for SustainabilityThe objectives of The Otesha Project (Australia) are to increase awareness about the impacts of the products and resources we consume, increase the number of responsible consumer choices made by young Australians, and increase the number of young role models and sustainability advocates.

The Otesha NSW Regional Cycling Tour17 tour members will embark on a bicycle tour from Brisbane to Newcastle (over 1000 KM's), explore the eastern coastline, engage youth about sustainable consumption, and live collectively in a bicycle crew.

The Otesha Cyclists will stay in Nelson Bay on the night of the 18 December and then cycle into Newcastle on Friday 19 December. The riders will be in Newcastle for 3 nights (Fri, Sat, Sun). The tour will officially end on Monday 22 December 2008.During their stay in Newcastle they will be visiting schools and community groups in the area to present their theatre performance and workshops.

The Otesha Bike Parade and Party
The Bike Parade preceeds the Party. Both legs of the event will be all ages.

Otesha Bike Parade
Date: Saturday the 20th of December
Time: Decorate or fix your bike some time between 9am and 5pm.
The Bike Parade begins at 5pm.
Place: Newcastle Bike Ecology Centre
Come to the Newcastle Bike Ecology Centre anytime between 9am and 5pm. If you get there early you can fix your bike or find a pre-loved bike to ride. The Otesha Crew will be hanging out at the NBEC to help decorate yourself and your bike for the parade. They'll have some recycled material for you to use. Or bring your own recycled fabrics, cardboard, paints, colourful and funky stuff. The parade seeks to spread the positive message of empowerment and sustainability in a loud, colourful and fun way that engages the public.

The Otesha Bike Parade takes us to the Otesha Party.

Otesha Party
Date: Saturday the 20th of December
Time: doors open at 6.30pm for a 7.00pm start
Venue: The Royal Exchange Hybrid Performing Arts Gallery, 32-34 Bolton Street Newcastle. Price: a $5 door charge applies for bike riders arriving with the parade.
More door charge applies for others - so go in the Parade!
The evening will feature fun theatrical presentations by the Otesha riders, music, a photo show of the NSW Otesha regional tour, food and refreshment. Musical entertainment may be provided by Tim Crossey. The exact details of the programme are yet to be determined although it will be a fun get together of cycling activists, environmentalists, social justice and human rights advocates, community volunteers, pacifists, climate defenders, and assorted happy hippies and groovy artists.

Endorsement and support
The Otesha Project (Australia): Cycling for Sustainability is supported by:
Newcastle Bike Ecology Centre
World Naked Bike Ride, Newcastle
The Royal Exchange

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This Is not Art 2008 Bike Library and Otesha 2008

*** This Is not Art 2008 Bike Library ***

So, you want an easy way to get around town while you are enjoying the festival? You want to have fun, want to be engaged with your surroundings, you want it cheap, and you like it pollution free? BIKES. BIKES. BIKES. And BIKES!
You can pick up a push bike to ride from the Bike Library which will be operating during This Is Not Art courtesy of the Newcastle Bike Ecology Centre. The Bike Library will be set up in Civic Park from 11am - 4pm every day of the festival. A fully refundable deposit is required for bike hire plus deposits for helmet and lock. Deposit prices are usually around $30 but may be less or more depending on the condition of the bike.
Pre-register now - For a ready to ride bike
If you would like to have the use of a bike during the festival, the best thing to do is to pre-register with Dan the Bike Man.
Let him know you want a bike and include any specifications you might require, such as bike size. Pre-registration BEFORE 19 SEPTEMBER is essential if you want to ensure there is a bike built and ready for you during the festival.
DIY bike repair workshops - Fix your own bike during the festival
Dan the Bike Man is mad keen for bikes. Mad keen for fixing bikes which have been discarded as junk. He reckons reclaiming and fixing up your own bike - and using it - is the best thing you can do to counter consumer-culture and its symptomatic social disaffection, as well as our dependence on petroleum, pollution and car culture. And the easiest - he'll show you how! With a little know-how and the courage to try, you can fix most bike maladies - the only new thing you need is wet cement for punctures. Come to the Bike Library in Civic Park any time 11am - 4pm for a workshop on fixing up a bike.
Bike Library & DIY Bike Repair Workshops
Civic Park, Newcastle
Thursday 02, Friday 03, Saturday 04, Sunday 05 & Monday 06 October
11.00 - 16.00
Fix your own bike before the festival
Alternatively, if you live locally, drop into the centre prior to the festival and build your own bike for FREE with the help of bike inspired volunteers.

*** The Otesha Project (Australia): Cycling for Sustainability ***
Bike grease, sustainability, adventure, and endless peanut-butter sandwiches: Otesha hits the road on a mission to empower youth

Are you passionate about sustainability and looking for something a little different to do this coming summer? And what about bicycles? Have you ever dreamt about riding around parts of Australia on two wheels? If so, then why not put those dreams into action and join The Otesha Project (Australia): Cycling for Sustainability's forthcoming adventures. The project is currently seeking 40 participants to take part in two six-week cycle tours: Brisbane to Newcastle (15 November – 22 December 2008); Melbourne regional loop (18 January – 1 March 2009).
Since 2000, The Otesha Project (Aus.) has pedalled across Australia educating youth and raising awareness about environmental sustainability and social justice issues. Otesha is a Swahili word for 'reason to dream' and is the underlining philosophy of the organisation. The Otesha crew combines theatre performance with interactive workshops to empower high school students to consider their life choices to ensure a positive future.
Current consumption behaviours in Australia have far reaching consequences that are both unsustainable and inequitable. The negative impacts of these practices usually affect the most disempowered people in society, including young people who now face an uncertain future. For Shane Bill – co-director of Otesha (Aust.) – it is about making small changes: ”It is recognising the need and challenging ourselves to slowly adjust our lifestyles,” he says. ”For instance, perhaps you might choose to say no to plastic bags. Such a choice has a rippling effect in our community and beyond: it not only creates less demand for petrol products, reduces the harm to sea life and creates less waste, but it also encourages and inspires those around us to do the same. By empowering the youth of today, we support the future leaders of tomorrow to create a more sustainable world.”
Worried about your bicycle touring experience? Don't have much knowledge about sustainable consumption issues? Never fear, that's why an Otesha bicycle tour is here!
Otesha (Aust.) is seeking individuals from all walks of life – people with varying experiences, backgrounds and interests. While on tour, participants not only learn skills to become strong advocates for living sustainably, but also develop skills such as media communication, leadership, acting, and communal living.
”One of the most beautiful aspects of being on tour is the change and growth of the actual participants,” says Shane. ”Being the change they want to see...brings a smile to my face.”
The application deadline for tour participants is August 15, 2008. For information about applying visit the Otesha (Aust.) website at


Shane Bill
The Otesha Project (Australia): Cycling for Sustainability


Monday, June 30, 2008

Road Rule Rage : RTA Road Users Handbook OCT 2007

*** Road Rule Rage ***
Council and RTA education needed about Bike pictures on roads

Page 6 Section 1.3 of the NSW bicycle Guidelines RTA (V1.2 Issued July 2005):
“no practioner should design or install any facility that requires or encourages
road users to contravene an Australian Road Rule”. But this is happening with the
encouragement of passing cyclists too closely. The following evidence in the road
rules and RTA publications supports this assertion.

Road rule 247 - Riding in a bicycle lane on a road ($44 fine)
(1) The rider of a bicycle riding on a length of road with a bicycle
lane designed for bicycles travelling in the same direction as the
rider must ride in the bicycle lane unless it is impracticable to do
so. NSW: Only applies where there is a bike lane sign (bike logo
above ‘LANE’) beside the road. NOT where only bike logo on road.
(2) In this rule road does not include a road-related area.

RTA Road Users Handbook OCT 2007: pg39 “When overtaking give bicycle riders a safe
amount of space. This means at least 1 metre to the side in a 50km/hr zone”. This
is good. Congratulations!
RTA Road Users Handbook OCT 2007: pg40 “Allow ample room in case a car door is
opened. Do not ride between and around parked vehicles” This is on the way to being
good advice. But confusion is still there. Perhaps for the second sentence:
Do not swerve inbetween parked vehicles, and then out into the traffic lane without
checking for other traffic.
RTA Road Users Handbook OCT 2007: pg88 “Bicycle lanes: When a bicycle lane is marked
on the road, cyclists must use it”
THIS IS CAUSING ROAD RAGE!!!!!!!!!! This is what people quote when they say bikes
should be riding where the bike pictures are painted on the road. They are confused
with the sign posted bike lanes, because it isn’t explained in the handbook.
The RTA needs to fix this straight away! I suggest: When a bike lane is signposted,
cyclists must use it, unless impracticable to do so. Other non-sign posted bicycle
picture lanes are narrower and usually don’t give enough room when a car is also
parked in it. Cyclists are not required to ride in non-sign posted bike lanes.

But that is happening with the application of “Advisory Treatments” (shared bike
picture and car parking areas) and Bicycle Shoulder lanes Page 23 Section 5.1.2 of
the NSW bicycle Guidelines RTA (V1.2 Issued July 2005) It says “riders still need to
travel cautiously in the bicycle shoulder lane to avoid unexpected opening car doors”.
How can you avoid a child opening a door when you can’t see him from behind. Yes,
the person opening the door is at fault, but tell that to the cyclist who got knocked
over from the opening car door, and fell into a traffic lane, and a truck ran over
him. So the safe option is to ride at the safe distance from an open door. Many
cases this puts the cyclist into the traffic lane. Then motorists are encouraged to
illegally overtake in the same lane, squeezing too close past the cyclist. They are
encouraged because they past many other cyclists, without leaving their lane (even
though these cyclists were riding very close to the parked cars, and so there was
more room inbetween them when the motorist overtook the cyclist.)

The RTA handbook, with the combination of the location of bike pictures (not “bike
lanes”) on NSW roads is encouraging road users to contravene Australian Road Rule No.
144. They encourage in these ways:
a) visually they think bicyclists should ride where the bike pictures are. The
lane width still allows them to squeeze past them in the same lane.
b) The practice of squeezing past bicyclists is continued on other roads without
the bike pictures because they have been encouraged to do so in point a above
c) The RTA handbook says “When a bicycle lane is marked on the road, cyclists
must use it”. Again motorists think the authorities say its OK to squeeze past
d) Squeezing past cyclists is very dangerous. If defined as less than 1m room,
than it’s not enough, for a cyclist that needs some room to maneovre
It also contravenes RTA’s policy of promoting safe bicycling. Because people don’t
want to ride in the car-door lane, because people still open without checking.

a) The RTA handbook must be fixed ASAP.
b) Education campaign must be done to fix this problem. TV, radio, newspapers,
mail, posters, etc.
c) The police should be apart of the education campaign, issuing fines
d) Societies attitudes won’t change quickly, so the education campaign must be
comprehensive and long-lasting
e) The bike pictures painted on the roads, encouraging road users to contravene
an Australian Road Rules must be removed
f) Only bike pictures painted on the roads that meet AUSTROADS standards, and
don’t encourage breaking the rules should be implemented.

Some more road rule info:
The Road Transport (Safety & Traffic Management) Act 1999, came into force in NSW
in Dec 1999. It incorporates the Australian Road Rules plus NSW specific provisions).:
Road Rule

153 Bicycle lanes
(1) A driver (except the rider of a bicycle) must not drive in a
bicycle lane, unless the driver is permitted to drive in the bicycle
lane under this rule or rule 158. ($114 fine)
(2) If stopping or parking is permitted at a place in a bicycle lane
under another law of this jurisdiction, a driver may drive for up to
50 metres in the bicycle lane to stop or park at that place.
(3) A driver may drive for up to 50 metres in a bicycle lane if:
(a) the driver is driving a public bus, public minibus or taxi, and is
dropping off or picking up, passengers; and
(b) there is not another law of this jurisdiction prohibiting the
driver from driving in the bicycle lane.
(4) A bicycle lane is a marked lane, or the part of a marked lane:
(a) beginning at a bicycle lane sign applying to the lane; and
(b) ending at the nearest of the following:
(i) an end bicycle lane sign applying to the lane;
(ii) an intersection (unless the lane is at the unbroken side of
the continuing road at a T–intersection or continued across
the intersection by broken lines);
(iii) if the road ends at a dead end — the end of the road.

144 Keeping a safe distance when overtaking ($114 fine)
A driver overtaking a vehicle:
(a) must pass the vehicle at a sufficient distance to avoid a
collision with the vehicle or obstructing the path of the vehicle;
(b) must not return to the marked lane or line of traffic where the
vehicle is travelling until the driver is a sufficient distance past
the vehicle to avoid a collision with the vehicle or obstructing the
path of the vehicle.

Note : The definition of overtake includes passing, while traveling in the adjacent
marked lane.
Which doesn’t happen if motorists squeeze past a cyclist in the same lane

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bike Ecology Centre goes Solar - May 2008

*** Bike Ecology Centre goes Solar ***
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE from The Newcastle Bike Ecology Centre (NBEC)
& Sydney Energy Cooperative (SEC)

Bike Ecology Centre goes Solar

The Newcastle Bike Ecology Centre is getting even more environmentally friendlier
with the help of the Sydney Energy Cooperative. Solar panels being installed at the
Centre reduces the amount of coal burnt which means less climate change.

“The government rebates and the very helpful Sydney Energy Cooperative made the
choice easy to get sustainable energy, seeing as we have already got the sustainable
transport problem solved with recycled push-bikes. This joint effort between the
NBEC and SEC will hopefully show people clean, green energy can be had by everyone,
now, both in their family homes, and also travelling places. The endless research,
talk-fests, and workshops about new inventions to solve the climate change problem
via the market place and making people rich must stop. The NBEC acknowledges that
like most products, the production of solar cells and bicycles have both caused
pollution. However, their use over many years has a positive effect for the
environment! ”, Dan from NBEC said.

Maurice from SEC said – “We have experienced first hand the tireless and inspiring
work done for cycling and the environment here in Newcastle. Now we are thrilled that
we can help make a fellow environmental organisation more sustainable in this
community effort.”

The 1kW of photovoltaic modules will produce 4kWh/day of clean electricity from the
sun, saving 1.3 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year for decades to come, not to mention
the environmental benefits to the region due to reduced coal mining and burning.

“The great work done by NBEC will ensure that the system will have high educational
value to the community” Maurice from SEC said. [ENDS]

Daniel Endicott,
Co-ordinator of Newcastle Bike Ecology Centre
Your local environmental, not-for-profit, community based, sustainable transport, no green-wash cars, bikefun centre.

Maurice Wells
Sydney Energy Cooperative

NBEC Solar gnd.pdf

Article in the Star Newspaper April 23rd edition

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

World Protest Bike Ride – Newcastle 2008 Ride Report & Things a non-cyclist might not understand

*** World Protest Bike Ride – Newcastle 2008 Ride Report by Daniel Endicott ***

I started my World Naked Bike Ride day off by heading off to the Loop The Lake
Charity bike ride. There I set up the Newcastle Bike Ecology Centre stall and went
into bike promotion mode. With little (only 1) approach to the stall I had to make
a more direct approach and walked around handing out free bike magazines, and other
local bike handouts including BNSW, NCM, Critical Mass, NBEC, WNBR, etc. Thanks to
all the NBEC vollies that helped me. Many people wanted more info about Newcastle
Cycleways Movement, so I will be recommending to NCM to be more pro-active in
handing out more info to more people. At 1pm, and with a lighter load we rode to
the Newcastle University to the WNBR start point.

About 30 cyclists then prepared themselves and their bikes. A family with 2 kids
had a great time hand painting themselves all sorts of colours. There were love
hearts, peace signs, and slogans a plenty. Dave had a personal plea on a stop sign
painted on his chest “Stop F’n crash’n into me”. Dave is slowly recovering from
being hit by a car door. I am slowly convincing him not to ride in the car door
lane, but there is so much pressure to ride there (no matter how dangerous), it is

Group photo’s finished, we were off east towards the inner city. Early on it became
apparent that some riders would need assistance. I helped 3 riders change their
gears, one to tighten handlebars, and another to put their chain back on. Emerging
from the Uni cycle way, and crossing Newcastle Road we got lots of applause from
onlookers who supported some of the protest themes for naturism, environmentalism,
peace and the rights of cyclists to use the road safely. We promote environmental
consciousness and practices at every level of society in attempt to save the planet.

I tried to entice the boy of the family participating by telling him that after the
Jesmond cycleway hill it was all down hill for a long way. But exhaustion got the
better of him and the grandparents support ute picked him up. This is the only
downside of having a lovely sunny and hot day for the ride!
The 8 year old girl was determined to get over the hill and was all smiles rolling
down towards the Croudace St traffic lights.

In Lambton a man’s chain went off the low side into the frame at the rear wheel.
While stopping to dislodge the chain, and re-attach, we heard a man yelling
obscenities at us and getting very angry. Later on the East-West cycleway we got
a call from the police that the angry man had complained. The police paid us a
visit, and the man was arrested, put his pants on and continued with the ride.

Being the tail-runner, I was relied upon to know where we were going. Going over
the train hill into Hamilton caused another spreading out of riders. When we reached
the Beaumont St turn we again lost sight of the main group. The lights went green
and the family set off in front of me, but confusion over taking the footpath or
road led to a parent-child collision at about zero speed. The lady put her bike
in the ute and hitched a ride to the end.

We re-grouped with the front bunch and headed towards the beach. Riding down a
small section of Darby St we got a great reaction. Thanks to all the onlokking
Novocastrians for encouraging the colourful, cheerful cyclists. Whoever thought
protesting could be so much fun?

Finally, when the last incline up Scott St came, the 8 year old girl’s legs could
go no further, and she walked the remaining 200m. At Pacific Park, all the front
group gave a huge cheer for the girl. And the girl almost died of embarrassment,
and hid behind a parent. Some riders already redressed (I wore my shorts for the
4th time, going “As bare as I dared”) and we headed to the Newcastle Surf Life
Saving club for the post-ride party.

Thanks for James who is a better Electrical Engineer than me for getting the music
system working (James is also a good bike fixer, having sourced and fixed a bike at
the NBEC the day before to ride on the day). Thanks to the chef’s and other WNBR
organizing committee for the food and beer, more people helping this year was great.
Thanks to mother nature again for a great warm wash off in the ocean. Thanks to
the little girl who made a remarkable recovery and showed everyone how well she could
dance. And thanks to Marte, the WNBR organizer who also had a major part in Sydney
and Melbourne’s WNBR rides this year aswell. We all had a bike-tastic day and next
year will be even more fun!

*** Things a non-cyclist might not understand ***

Monday, September 25, 2006
Things a non-cyclist might not understand
Part I: An open letter ....
I ride my bike year-round as my main means of transportation. My bike is not a toy.
I don't aspire to be Lance Armstrong. I'm not too poor to afford a car. I choose a
bicycle because its healthier for me, and healthier for the city I live in. I'm not
riding in the middle of the lane to slow you down or thwart you. I'm just trying to
do the same thing as you - get from point A to point B safely.
I ride in the middle of the lane if the lane is too narrow to share safely. This is
actually a courtesy to you, because you don't have to guess how wide your vehicle is
versus how much space is available, and decide if you have to change lanes or not. If
the lane next to you is wide open, it really isn't necessary to blast your horn or
yell things out your window. Maybe you think there's room for me to be riding in the
gutter, but I really have a better view of the pavement there than you do. There's
debris there that will flatten my tires, and potholes that can break my bones. If I
need to swerve to avoid some garbage someone threw out their car window, I need room
to maneouver. Its not going to make either of our days if we collide.
I can move faster than you think. While you may think a bicycle is too slow to be
practical for transportation - in downtown Toronto most of the time, including the
time spent to park, I will beat you to your destination. While you were so anxious
to pass me, perhaps you didn't notice that I have caught up with you again at the
next red light. It isn't a race from red light to red light, so if you need to slow
down for a few seconds it isn't the end of the world.
All kinds of people find the bicycle useful. Just as there are drivers deficient in
common sense, there are people riding bikes without common sense as well. I don't
happen to know the Joe schmoe who you saw riding a bike down the center of a busy
one-way arterial in the wrong direction snarling traffic. Please do not assume I'm
going to behave like Joe schmoe. Or take your anger at Joe out on me by honking or
yelling at me from the other side of the road, where I cannot possibly be in your way.
Also be glad Joe was not driving a car where he would be a real danger to everyone.

I am very aware of my surroundings when I am on a bicycle. I can hear when you are
behind me by the sound of your engine. You don't need to toot to let me know you are
there. I'm never sure whether you are trying to let me know you are there, trying to
say hello to me, wanting me to move, or whether you are just angry.

#posted by Tanya @ 11:34 PM