A fine balance…kinda like biking

On Wednesday I ran a workshop in Lund with most of the students from Spyken and Agardh schools that are now actively working to get the bikes and sponsorship required to set our project into action. So far, we are on track with the work,  our most recent achievement is purchasing a container and on top of that have secured a prime location in the centre of the city (outside the Cathedral) to place the container for three weeks and collect the bikes. This is integral in the project as we need to make it visible and accessible to all members of the public to drop off bikes and also to promote our cause to those wandering past. But now the real work starts, we need to be promoting our cause, why we are doing it, as well as securing sponsorship from the community to help us pay back our goodwill loan for the container and also to cover the costs of shipping. This is an exciting and nervous time. For me, Livscykel has two goals: the first is to empower youth to make positive change in their community and take action on issues to bring about sustainable outcomes; the second is to send discarded and used bikes to Cape Town, South Africa to support Andrew Wheeldon and his team at Bicycling Empowering Network. It is a fine balance. The students are working on something that they have never done before, with the guidance of some great university student mentors, who are both volunteering on the project and also sharing their ideas and knowledge at the same time, in a sort of inter-community and inter-faculty knowledge share.

My biggest challenge at the moment is actually probably also the biggest blessing. I am running this from a distance, whilst organising a conference in Bonn, Germany. It means I am out of the day to day work, something I am not used to, but it means that the students really do have to work this out for themselves, as much as I would love to dive in and do it for them. What was really rewarding about Wednesday’s workshop  was to see how far we have come in such a short time. And it was an opportunity for me to introduce them to some evaluation tools. My methodology with the project is based on the idea of Act-Reflect-Apply so that the students can learn by doing. We were delving into the Reflection side of what we have been doing, to try and see how we can take some of our weaknesses and turn them around so we strengthen our project in our final push for bikes and money. Simultaneously, I’m working towards both of my personal project goals with this session: highlighting what we can do better and giving the students some tools they can apply to other projects they come across. The launch day will coincide with the 350.org Connect the Dots day; the Planet Lund sustainability festival; the iBikes Bike Month of May; amongst other community events, like Lundaloppet, so we should have great exposure and be able to get our message out there. Now it’s just a matter of making it happen!

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