I was recently in Adelaide and attended the VeloCity Global Cycling Conference along with nearly 600 delegates from 34 countries from around the world.
The group I started several years ago, Frocks on Bikes Perth, was a finalist for the Cycle Culture category of the Cycling Luminaries Awards presented on Day 1 at the Conference and I was also a finalist for the Cycle Chic category. While we did not win, it was great to be acknowledged on the international stage regarding the work we have done to change the cycling culture in WA so more people ride in normal clothes. It was even better celebrating with champagne afterwards with with fellow “frockers” including Isabella Cawthorn from Frocks on Bikes Wellington and Janette Sadik-Khan. Isabella crowned me “Queen of Frocks Western Australia” and photographed me on the Bicycle South Australia “throne” wearing my bike helmet “crown”.
Over four days, delegates sampled more than 200 presentations and over 20 tours of bike facilities and other features of the surrounding city. Presentations were given by some of the “rockstars” of the urban cycling world, such as former New York transport commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Copenhagenize’s Mikael Colville-Andersen and many other people I admire including Stephen Fleming and Isabella Cawthorn but most presenters were “just” various policymakers, researchers, advocates, planners, etc from around the world demonstrating the interesting work they’ve been doing to make a better world for cycling and networking with each other. There were quite a few of us from Perth.
I found the whole week very inspiring as I met up with members of the European Cycling Federation, World Cycling Alliance and academics at the Scientists for Cycling Colloquium, attended the welcome at the Town Hall for VIP delegates, joined in several Velo Fringe Bike rides on the weekend as well as throughout the week when I could, in-between the presentations and speed networking. I also attended a masterclass in Travel Behaviour Change at the South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. I met so many inspiring people that I hope to keep in touch with and ride with again one day.
My greatest joy however, was riding with my husband on a Velo Fringe bike ride as he never rides with me and “is not into bikes”. The guided rides on the Adelaide City Bikes were not about the bikes, but about what we would see along the way, a chance to take photographs and an easy way to get around the city in a group. We need to collectively get more people riding bikes that don’t usually ride, if we want to change our car centric culture, reduce traffic congestion and achieve my goal stated on the whiteboard – one million bikes in Perth Western Australia.