(Photo: BN4, Hello Yes, Adelaide)
Velo-City Global is a first for Australia and started in Adelaide yesterday - but I can't help wondering what were the European Cyclists Federation (ECF) thinking when they gave the go-ahead for this gig Down Under?
To quickly give you the ‘heads-up’ on Velo-City, it is the premier international urban planning cycling conference in the world and it moves to a different city and country every year for each event. Leading global experts in active mobility, sustainable transport, city planning, bicycle industry and advocacy meet en masse and exchange a wide depth of knowledge, experiences and vision.
So why Adelaide?
Approximately 500 delegates have registered for Velo-City Global 2014 less than half the usual delegate number for these meetings, yet according to bumpf and spin, Adelaide is where the future of cycling is to take shape and form ...
... and if that is the case, heaven help us.
I arrived on Sunday and after less than 24 hours in this city of festivals and spires, I'd had two encounters with Adelaide police: first with me reporting a road rage incident after I was tailgated on North Terrace by an angry blue ute driven by some concrete-cowboy, and secondly with me being booked also on North Terrace by police for not wearing a helmet whilst riding a bicycle.
Once again our uniquely Australian dilemma of mandatory helmet laws reveal our nation's true opposition to transportation-cycling ... only this week the world is here on our shores to experience it for themselves.
So while the 3 police interrogated me as to why I was in Adelaide (a potential crime visiting Adelaide?), I flagged with them they could be busy over the next few days with international conference delegates not used to helmet law. The law-enforcing trio had no idea Velo-City Global 2014 was on, and went further expressing amazement that there was even such a thing as a bicycle conference let alone one in Adelaide.
Anyhoo, duly booked and directed never to get back on a bicycle again until I bought myself a helmet (hmmm that’s not going to happen), I couldn't help wondering how our legislative restriction would pan out for conference karma and bicycle love that these conferences are supposed to nuture in each 'Velo-City' city.
Bah ... so much for the much anticipated 'experiences of more than 40 world leading cycling countries' to be represented in this ‘massive celebration of cycling’ that is Velo-City Global Adelaide 2014.
Oh ... and when I shared my Monday’s experiences with a local journalist, he said:
‘Welcome to Adelaide.’
(Art or Australian bike racks?)