Bicycology/BGTB

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This needs to be updated to be the final versions. The 2006 arcive might not be necessary (except perhaps for the pages we've lost for 2007)

2008

Guides needing reviewed. (Added 09/02/08)

The Bicycology Guide to Teaching a Complete Beginner to Cycle

1.Find a big flat area with a good surface to teach on (eg. basketball court), rather than a big hill with a small push. 2.Set the saddle height so the trainee has a small bend in the leg when the pedal is at its fullest extension.Make sure the bike is in a low gear so they are able to push off easily. 3.Get the trainee to practise getting on and off the bike, putting the brakes on and leaning the bike slightly.Make sure they are comfortable just sitting on the bike. 4.Teach them how to set the pedal with one foot (the one they would like to push down with) so that it is in line with the frame (2 o'clock position) and that it is best to keep the fingers resting on the brakes ('covering the brakes') so they can stop more easily. 5.Starting/Stopping practise a. Stand astride the front wheel holding the handlebars either side of the handlebar stem and demonstrate to the trainee that you can support them safely like this. b.Supporting them like this do lots of short runs of a few metres using the mantra 'brakes off,push down,pedal forward, stop pedalling,brakes on,foot down.' Do this until you feel they can push off strongly to give the bike the momentum it needs and stop competently (this stage can take up to half an hour or so). 6.Balancing practise Give the trainee a greater degree of control and vision by moving to the side of the bike and holding beneath the seatpost or the trainee's waist,with your other hand gently correcting the handlebars to prevent oversteering.Practise holding them safely in this position.To get the hang of balancing try to do it in as straight a line as possible(asking the trainee to focus on something can help with direction).Repeat this until you find that they are beginning to take more control and you can begin to let go,remaining close at hand just in case (this can also take half an hour or so). 7.Steering Practise Once the trainee can balance and ride for a fair distance, active steering is normally not to difficult.Begin by asking them to turn gently in one direction then the other along a basic straight line while still being there for support if needed.Progress to asking them to ride towards particular objects in the training area.A wide figure of 8 is also a useful technique.(15 minutes or so) 8.Wallow in pride at the sight of a new cyclist that you have helped create....One more cyclist,one less push 'em down the hill and hope for the best,near death experience.

===Over Consumption: Final draft? Hopefully... Anne's reduced version of liz's ammendments

We are constantly bombarded with new things to buy and own, through advertising and peer pressure. We are cheerfully told that products will tell others who we aspire to be, will make us more attractive, more intelligent, younger and happier. Even the environmentally conscious amongst us are tempted by a new gadget or useful item, especially if we are told that it is ‘ethical,’ or ‘green’. It is difficult to ignore all of these messages and easy to ignore the problems associated with doing so.

In reality the best thing we can do is just buy less. An organic, fair-trade, locally sourced, low energy, recycled, recyclable item you don’t need is still just clutter. It’s a real shift in attitude, but if we buy fewer things, we can afford better things when we really need them. Things which we can be can be used time and again and repaired if break.

Case study: When nice stuff makes things nasty. Most of us wear cotton, but to produce conventional cotton for just one t-shirt requires 150g of pesticide (Pesticide Action Network). These pesticides can make soil barren and toxic run off can poison water supplies. It is estimated 20,000 people die each year as a result of pesticide use; imagine the affect on the rest of the ecosystem. Insects’ resistance to chemicals increases over time requiring a constant increase the amount used. Genetically modified cotton now accounts for some 60% of the global cotton harvest, and is unsegregated- so if you're buying non organic you're almost certainly buying unlabeled GM. These crops have pesticides and herbicides 'built into' every cell in the plant, massively speeding up insect and weed resistance. The seeds are patented preventing farmers from saving their seed to replant next year and increasing costs. The inevitable cross pollination reduces farmers’ autonomy further. One alternative is to buy organic cotton, although that still travels long distances to reach British consumers, generally by CO2 intensive air freight. Unless labeled as fairly traded or EU produced, cloths will also be sewn in sweat shop conditions. All of which makes this seasons must have top appear just a little less attractive.

Q: Why do you work so much? A: I need to be able to afford to keep my car on the road. Q: Why do you need a car? A: I need a car to get to work … Work less, live more

Capitalism can turn even necessities like food into a chance to joylessly over consume. Lured in with ‘buy one get one free’ offers and clever supermarket product placing we buy more than we can eat. In the UK, a third of all food suitable for human consumption is thrown away because sell by dates have slipped or people simply serve up too much.

When we spend less money buying things we have more money to indulge in good times together. Experiences create memories which will last much longer than a comfort buy and make it easier to be free of debt therefore avoiding depression. A desire to have material things fuels wars over resources, with population growth and increased consumption, demand is still increasing. Let’s invest in experiences, creating community and remembering the real pleasures in life. Take courage, live with less!

Before we buy we should think: • Do I need this? • Can I borrow it instead from someone else, the library, from www.freecycle.org or a tool bank? • Can I get it second hand? •How ethical is the item? • How will I dispose of the waste responsibly? Both packaging and the item at the end of its useful life.

If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy

=========

IMPROVED (and Liz tweeked)=== We are constantly bombarded with new things to buy and own, through advertising and peer pressure. We are cheerfully told that Products will tell others who we aspire to be, will make us more attractive, more intelligent, younger and happier. Even the environmentally conscious are tempted by a new gadget when it is marketed as ‘ethical,’ or ‘green’ . It is difficult to ignore all these messages and easy to ignore the problems associated with doing so.

In reality the best thing we can do is just buy less. An organic, fair-trade, locally sourced, low energy, recycled item you don’t need is still just clutter. It’s a real shift in attitude, but if we buy fewer things, we can afford better things when we really need them. Things which can be used time and again and repaired if they break.

Case study: When nice stuff makes things nasty. Most of us wear cotton, but to produce conventional cotton for just one t-shirt requires 150g of pesticide (Pesticide Action Network). These pesticides can make soil barren and toxic run off can poison water supplies. It is estimated 20,000 people die each year as a result of pesticide use; the affect on the rest of the ecosystem is less well documented. Insects’ resistance to chemicals increases over time requiring farmers to constantly increase the amount used. Genetically modified cotton now accounts for some 60% of the global cotton harvest, and is unsegregated- so if you're buying non organic you're almost certainly buying unlabelled GM. These crops have pesticides and herbicides 'built into' every cell in the plant, massively speading up the developement of insect and weed resistance. The seeds are patented, which prevents farmers from saving their seed to replant next year. The inevitable cross pollination that occurs between neighbours meens that even farmers that don't want to grow GM end up paying royalties for contaminated seed stocks. In India the debt cycle caused by GM cotton caused over 200 farmers to commit suicide in Andra Pradesh in 2003 (need to check both these stats) after the modified seeds failed unexpectedly during a period of drought. One alternative is to buy organic cotton, although that still has to travel long distances to reach British consumers, generally by CO2 intensive air freight. Unless labelled as fairly traded or EU produced, your cloths will also be sewn in sweat shop conditions, often on the other side of the world from where the cotton was grown. All of which makes this seasons must have top appear just a little less attractive.

Capitalism can turn even necessities like food into a chance to joylessly over consume. Lured in with ‘buy one get one free’ offers and clever supermarket product placing many households buy more than they can eat. In the UK, a third of food which would have been suitable for human consumption is thrown away because sell by dates have slipped or people simply serve up too much.

Q: Why do you work so much? A: To afford to keep my car on the road. Q: Why do you need a car? A: I need a car to get to work …

Work less, live more When we spend less money buying things we have more money to indulge in good times together. Experiencies create memories which last much longer than a comfort buy. Our consumerist tendencies often trap us in the personal misery of debt and the collective horror of wars over resources. Despite the high levels of depression in the west the rest of the world is still intent on copying our materialistic approach, and with the added preasure of population growth we simply can't continue as we have been. While most of us know it makes sense to stop, we are constantly bullied by some of the best creative minds in the world, who are intent on selling us insecurity. By createing community and remembering the real pleasures of life we can find the courage to resist this rubbish.


Before you buy try this handy check list: • Do I need this? • Can I borrow it instead from someone else, the library, from www.freecycle.org or a tool bank? • Can I get it second hand? •How ethical is the item? • How will I dispose of the waste responsibly? Both packaging and the item at the end of its useful life.

If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy (Feel richer in days, and your money back... ????)

Biofuels

Which would you rather, food or fuel? Biofuels make that question a matter of life or death for rainforest regions and their inhabitants.

As biofuels are made from plants which otherwise could be eaten, using biofuels causes starvation in some of the poorest countries in the world. “The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol will feed one person for a year” (Lester Brown, Director of the Earth Policy Institute). It simply isn’t possible to grow enough plant crops for biofuel to power all the vehicles in Europe, never mind the whole world.

The crops used in biofuels are frequently grown in deforested rainforest land or drained peatland. The destruction of these ecosystems releases greenhouse gasses into the environment, increasing the speed of climate change. About 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions each year come from these sources.

The production of biofuels requires lots of fertilizers, farm machinery, transportation and refining, all of which use fossil fuels. As a result less energy currently comes out of biofuels than goes into their production! New Scientist magazine reports that palm oil biodiesel production can produce up to 36 times, that is 3600% - more carbon emissions than ordinary fossil diesel. Biofuels waste fossil fuels and cause climate change.

Not only that, but biofuels are produced in mono-cultures: the practise of growing just one crop on huge areas of land. This ecologically silly idea makes crops very vulnerable to diseases and requires massive amounts of water contaminating herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers, as well as causeing soil erosion. Communities are already being evicted from their lands to make way for such plantations. Even biofuels grown on European soil use heavy nitrogen fertilizer regimes which produces nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas 300 times more damaging than CO2.

Despite all of this the EU wants to increase the use of biofuels ten times by 2020. This goes against the UNs warning that land displacement could create up to 60 million biofuel refugees – 5 million in Kalimantan in Indonesia alone. Over 200 NGOs from North and South have signed a call to the EU for a moratorium on biofuel targets, and a large number of NGOs from Africa published their own African Call for an Agrofuel Moratorium. Many regard the rise in biofuels as one of the most significant contributors to the newly emerged global food crisis.

Given their green hype it’s disappointing to learn that biofuels currently cause more climate chaos than fossil fuels, as well as threatening to starve millions. But there are viable solutions left to us. We just have to change our habits to suit a changing world. Cycling is almost carbon neutral. It won't make big profits for big buisness, but bikes are cheep to run, easy to fix and you don't get bike traffic jams or bike parking payments. With the rising price of all fuel and the daily reminders that the oil age has brought us to the end of the world (disasterous climate change), there has never been a better time to get on your bike (and smell the hedgerows before the switching off of the gulf stream freezes them all solid). (Sorry...) and take control of the situation. For those who feel unable to cycle, consider walking short distances and useing public transport for longer ones. We might all have to start thinking about how far we travel in your day to day lifes, and make changes when we get the chance.

Cycling and walking are the only certain routes out of the mess we're in. Fortunately they can be very plesant ones.

SOCIAL CHANGE NOT CLIMATE CHANGE!

Social justice can halt climate catastrophe

Bikes are a universal joyful utility – as all good and useful things should be. We want everything for everyone!

It would take four planet earths for everyone to live an average western lifestyle – addressing the problems climate change brings will also be a fight for global economic justice. We want ways of living to be practiced across the world which ecologically allow for everyones survival and happiness.

When we say that we want to radically alter our housing and town planning to act on climate change we see this as inextricably linked to action for social justice. Housing and facilities that respect the land and the environment sow the seeds for strong community relationships and homes for healthy, happy humans. When we demand that the era of the car finally comes to a close, it is because it has marginalised people in public space. Because the logic that each individual should own an automobile fragments society, whereas sharing utilities builds community.

Climate change will affect those least responsible for it and those who have already endured hardship in a global economic system which places profit before people. Fisher people living on coastlines, urban poor living in steep sloped slums; from migrant diseases, battles for resources, forced migration due to environmental damage and disasters: those who already suffer the most are set to be hardest hit by climate change. And yet if we do act on climate change now, they are also the ones who have the most to gain.

The Greek root of the word “crisis” suggests a decision, a turning point. In this time of climate crisis we have a moment of possibility. Taking action on climate change can bring us answers to social justice. Understanding ourselves as dependent on each other and our environment, as well as to be depended on by both of these, empowers us to realise our own agency(?) and act to create the world we want to see and live in.

2007

Have removed the draft texts that were hanging around (there previous existence is recorded on the archive, if you want to look at a previous draft for any reason - ask). Will put the finalised texts up here for reference (easy to copy into press releases/etc/to work on for updates)

2006

As Above