Outside the Square this month was crackling with excited atmosphere, squeezed into The Old Church on the Hill were more than 100 diverse people passionate for cycling in Bendigo. In the crowd there were recreational groups, mums and dads, commuters, all wanting to find ways to create Bendigo into a cycling city. Screening of the community sourced film #mybendigobike set the celebratory tone for the community discussion.
“The cycling movement is real in Bendigo,” was the key message from Trevor Budge, Manager of Strategy at the City of Greater Bendigo.
Recreational cycling is huge and there are some great initiatives already in place. Geoff O’Sullivan from Bendigo Cycling Tourism showed us one such initiative the “manky” – a map of the bike trails in Bendigo on a hanky.
Whilst there is already a lot happening in Bendigo, the biggest gap is the number of people who ride for everyday transport. With the Council’s Integrated Transport and Landuse Strategy (ITLUS) underway, the time is right to build momentum around this.
Key note speakers Pip Carroll from the Squeaky Wheel and Andrew Talati from Bunchrides,
provided us with ideas on how to encourage more people to get on the
bike for everyday riding. You can catch their presentations on the Make a Change you tube channel.
Nicola, a keen rider keeps it real on the road commuting with three kids in the saddle. Her strategies to get out the door on the bike ready for school included $1 reward for the kids to choose a family outing – a direct saving result of not using the car.
Bendigo cycling community leader Eddie Barkla said “…Let’s just do it!” and keen cyclist Rob Velthuis said “Let’s create a united voice and build a cycling alliance”. Carrying the enthusiasm of the night Bryley Savage co-founder of Outside the Square and iheartbendigo declared “Let’s not wait for 2030 for Bendigo to be a cycling city – we can achieve the vision much sooner.”
It’s certainly possible and a lot of ideas on how to do it were generated when everyone was asked to discuss their ideas in small groups. All of this information has been captured and a summary will be posted soon.
If you’re interested in the bigger picture about transport in Bendigo, get along to the ITLUS Public Forum and Free Children’s Event on Sunday 24 August.
Outside the Square is a fantastic model of community engagement for changemakers to create invigorating discussion and direct action. We share our tips to ignite positive change here with you.