New article: what struggles over bike storage tell us about the marginalisation of cycling

I’ve just had the good news that an article on bike storage that I co-wrote with Kat Jungnickel has been accepted by Social and Cultural Geography. Unfortunately, the publisher, Taylor and Francis, don’t allow me to share the article online until 18 months after it’s published. (I could share our very first version of the paper, but thanks to the journal’s rigorous and effective peer review system it’s improved a lot since then!) So, here’s the title and abstract, and, if you’re interested in reading it, please email me for a personal copy.

Matter in or out of place? Bicycle storage strategies and their effects on people, practices, and places.

This paper explores what bicycle storage strategies tell us about the place of mobility objects in contemporary urban streetscapes. It examines the bicycle’s liminality by combining approaches from practice theory with Mary Douglas’ concept of ‘matter out of place’. Much research on cycling has concentrated on the bicycle in movement, yet in our research, based in four relatively high-cycling English urban areas, a common theme was concern about the bicycle when not in use. Bicycles at rest were perceived as threatened or threatening, risky or at-risk; affected by theft, vandalism, the weather, official and familial disapproval. In the article, we link this to the tenuous place of urban cycling in England; while bicycle ownership is widespread, everyday cycling remains marginalised and this shapes the place of the bicycle resting on city streets, in homes and in workplaces. Bicycles waiting for their owners are often ‘matter out of place’. This is seen within the context of broader motorised landscapes which have made driving easier through locating driving competences in the car itself, while comparable cycling competences remain on the outside – with the cyclist.

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