by Adonia Lugo
Sustainabilities: Eco-oriented | Justice-oriented | Vernacular
There are many kinds of bicycles on this planet, and many places to ride them. And there are many kinds of people on this planet. When people come together in social life, they create culture; they share ways of being, ways of thinking, meanings, practices. What happens when different people come together on different bikes in different places? They make different bicycle cultures.
This means there are more than roadies in spandex and hipsters on 1980s road bikes. There are day laborers riding mountain bikes on sidewalks, there are teenagers riding fixies in packs, there are parents riding with their kids, there are immigrants who bike in US cities because they biked at home. For many people biking is one aspect of a multifaceted shift in how we live; for others, it is a toy or a temporary vehicle.
What happens when different people come together on different bikes in the same places, but we have a narrow definition of what a bicyclist can be? Some of them become invisible. An important part of promoting diversity in bicycling is recognizing that there are far more people using bikes now than fit into the types we associate with “bike culture.”
Bicicultures aims to shed light on the many bicycling cultures taking place alongside each other in our cities and towns. It’s a network of scholars who study bicycling as a social and cultural phenomenon, and many of us ride bikes too. “Bici” is Spanish for bike. This is where we share our work with the public.