Negotiating the city: Mobility and the practices of urban cycling (16185)
This paper outlines my doctoral research which focuses on the everyday practice of cycling as it is staged and performed on roads and in the midst of traffic. The research explores how cycling mobilities are enacted in order to move beyond the usual utilitarian perspectives where the context of movement in itself is often lost. Studying cycling-as-practiced (compared to traditional approaches studying cycling-as-transport) opens up new ways of understanding cycling mobility. The work frames the idea of mobility as comprising three interrelated but essentially equal realms, those of transport, representation and practice. Of these, the enactment of routine journeys or the practice of mobility is the area of least research. The research also draws on non-representational theory, which in essence avows a world brimming with movement and flux. In order to gain a ‘grip’ on the moving worlds of cyclists, the research uses the ‘follow along’ techniques of mobile video-ethnography to view the many fleeting, embodied and affective moments that shape participants’ cycling journeys. Of interest are the negotiations, the encounters, the unfolding desire lines – all taking place in the gritty materiality of roads, infrastructure and traffic. Better understandings of the habits and practices of regular cyclists have implications for wider travel perspectives, planning and practices in contemporary cities.