What is a #CycleHack?

If we are to get more people using their bikes for their day-to-day trips & commutes, it’s at a grassroots level that the change will come.

Fortunately, the internet has given us the tools and the technology to form movements; to unite under a common purpose and to break down the traditional barriers that would otherwise prevent the people from instigating change.

One such movement that many of you will be aware of is Cardiff Cycle City. It’s a group of like-minded cyclists in Cardiff who wish to help Cardiff realise its potential as a two-wheeled haven. However, widening the scope a little there’s a global movement called CycleHack that you may be interested in.

A CycleHack is a tangible prototype that addresses a barrier to cycling. It is an idea or set of solutions, that solves problems with cycling from people wanting to get into using bikes, to people who ride on a daily basis.

Source: What is a CycleHack? | Cyclehack

If you’ve ever been involved with open source software, you will no doubt be aware that coders from all over the world have created & shared millions of small, often free (as in freedom and as in beer) programs to achieve a particular task. Where you may have a single, massive application from someone like Microsoft or Adobe that does “everything“, the open source approach often leads to smaller programs that will accomplish a single task for a fraction of the cost.

A cycle hack follows the same vein, but rather than lines of code, you end up with a tangible prototype at the end of it.

Spend a little time thinking about some of the things that annoy you while you are out riding, or if you are not using your bike that much, what you would need to remove some of the barriers that lead you to pick up the car keys rather than the bike helmet as you head out the door?

Now, think about how you would address that?

There are some things that are a given –infrastructure, traffic speeds, idiots on the road etc. However, there are no doubt some things from a more practical standpoint that could be addressed with a bit of ingenuity. A “cyclists welcome” sign for shop windows; a better route map perhaps.

There’s a catalogue of hacks from Cycle Hack events that have taken place around the world. Some are obviously better than others, but they will no doubt improve organically over time. The only limits are your imagination and your ability to create something to work around it.

If your particular bugbear revolves around information and you know how to code or use WordPress, perhaps you are halfway there? In essence, this website came about because we believed that not enough time was being spent talking about the positive side of cycling –the constructive feedback, the practical advice and information, the health benefits etc.

If you were good at craft, design & technology at school, perhaps you also have a cycle hack in you?

Would you like to see a CycleHack event take place in Cardiff? Would you come along? Sound off in the comments, on Twitter or on the Facebook page.

Gavin

Bike commuter, randonneur and cat wrangler

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