The Bicycle is a tool of the worker, a means of transport, a way of protesting, a form of liberation and a crucial part of a people centred future, creating jobs in manufacturing, tourism and all this without many, or at least less, of the harmful impacts of relying on low job creation industries such as mining
Susan Anthony, one of America's most influential suffragettes said: She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life. In her opinion, "the bicycle had done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance." The creation of bloomers (pictured), so radical at the time, evolved from the need for new attire to wear whilst riding a bike.
In Australian bicycling history, the history of bicycles in rural Australia includes the shearers using the bicycle tomove from shed to shed, of AWU organisers using bicycles to move around the country signing up members, organising workers across vast distances and terrible tracks.
Workers in the UK and Australia benefited from the freedom afforded by the railways (cheaper tickets across a wide area) and bicycles enabling organisers to move around easily. Bicycles were very important n the growth of mass unionism and working class agitation politically and industrially.
After Lone Star Funds, a US based private equity “investor” announced it would close a bicycle factory in Nordhausen, Thuringia it had acquired, its workers to decided to occupy the factory in July 2007. From October 22 through 26, the workers continued the bicycle production. With the help of the Free Workers Union (Freie Arbeiterinnen- und Arbeiter-Unionor Freie ArbeiterInnen-Union; abbreviated FAU) over 1,800 of the bicycles were sold under the label "Strike Bike". RED was the colour. Orders came from all over Europe. The occupation of the factory ended after the company's liquidator forced the workers out.
Route of Shame
Public Services International (PSI) organised a Route of Shame bike ride in June 2014. While trade union leaders from around the world joined in the ride that took place on Wednesday 4 June 2014 in Geneva (Switzerland), parallel ‘Route of Shame’ events were held in other countries all over the world. The rides were a protest against countries that consistently violated international labour rights and who were attacked public services around the world. Rides took place in Geneva, Korea, Canada, Japan, Peru, Bangladesh and Indonesia. These events coincided with trade union rights violation hearings at the annual International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva.
Bikes and Jobs
The importance of bicycles for jobs and a sustainable future is highlighted in a recent report prepared for the from the European Cyclists’ Federation by the Transport and Mobility Leuven Research Institute, which claims 655,000 directly related to the bicycle in retail, tourism and manufacturing in Europe, more than the estimated 615,000 people involved in mining and quarrying.. The steel industry directly employs 350,000.
If cycling’s three per cent share of journeys across Europe were doubled, the numbers employed could grow to over one million by 2020, says the ‘Jobs and job creation in the European cycling sector’ study.
The study also signals some unexpected knock-on benefits that bikes can have for local businesses. Cycling “contributes probably more to the local economy than the use of other transport modes,” because “cyclists go more to local shops, restaurants, cafes than users of other transport modes,” the paper says. Many café owners would attest to this with groups of cyclists having regular pitstops and end of rides haunts.