More of my portraits on display in the projection room with bike powered music
Yesterday, I installed 10 prints from the Bristol series of Bike Portraits in the Showroom on College Green. The rest of the series will be shown via a pedal powered projector on the launch night.
I will be sharing the Festival Showroom with bike ghost sculptures by Tim Floyd, cyclotrope by Tim Wheatley, boneshaker prints and artwork from the papergirl project. There will also be a bicycle library and place to sit and read… exciting!
The launch is on friday 16th from 6.30pm.
I’m very pleased to be invited to be part of the upcoming Bristol Bike Festival -‘a festival that celebrates the wonderfulness of bikes made by the people for the people of Bristol’.
I’ll be showing some of the Bristol Bike Portraits I took during my fieldwork this year. This will be the second exhibition of Bike Portraits – the first was in Hackney last month in five bike shops and cafes throughout the borough. The event was launched the event with a Private View Bike Ride. More here.
This time, a selection of printed portraits will be displayed in the main Festival HQ – The Showroom (old co-op shop) College Green. I am hoping to project more of the images via a bike powered projector (as per the rough sketch below). I am also very excited to announce that Jet McDonald who recently returned from a year long cycle tour from Bristol to India and who features with Jen in one of my portraits.
The exhibition opens on Wednesday 14th September and runs until 25th September.
The launch is 6pm Friday 16th September.
Towards the end of last week I interviewed a number of people at Yucca, a digital media company with a high proportion of cyclists. People spoke about conversations about bikes over coffee – ‘it probably sounds really boring’ (not to someone who’s researching cycling it doesn’t). At workplaces where cycling’s part of the culture, there’s often someone who’s a maintenance expert and – if you’re lucky – will fix your bike during the lunch break. (I remember my colleague Pete fiddling with my slightly broken dynamo, and being disappointed he didn’t get to use a welding torch to fix it!) It’s also more likely that people won’t look askance at you if you turn up with mud on your face after a rainy ride in.
Conversely, if cycling is looked down on by colleagues or clients, or seen as a bit eccentric, this can cause problems. One interviewee in Hull spoke about how ‘it doesn’t look right for your lawyer to turn up on a bike’, for example. Other people in different case study areas have spoken of feeling conspicuous turning up with cycling gear or cycling equipment, or even of colleagues joking about nearly running them over on the way to work.
If cycling is seen as something that fits in with your work identity (unless you loathe that identity, I guess), it can encourage you to keep cycling, even if family and friends don’t necessarily cycle. Talking to another interviewee in Bristol I learned about a building in two parts; one where the multiple bike racks were full to overflowing, and one with only a handful of bikes parked. Even within the same building or organisation there may be multiple transport cultures.
On Tuesday afternoon we set off from Bristol to Castle Combe circuit to participate in the Midsummer Bike Ride. A challenge was set for cyclists of all ages and interests to complete as many miles as possible in the three hours. 5,000 collective miles was the target target. £3 was charged for entry onto the circuit and monies raised went Life Cycle’s Two’s Company, ‘gives visually impaired, disabled people and people with early stage dementia opportunities to come cycling on the back of a tandem’.
I made a map of our journey to Castle Combe. We cycled there and caught the train back to Bristol from Chippenham (though it seems I did not turn off the GPS : ).
We’ve been asking people in interviews how (and if!) they would define themselves as a cyclist. This has produced a variety of responses – and sometimes, it seems like it’s easier for people to define themselves in terms of what they are not than what they are. Often, cycling identities come up unprompted too. It’s fascinating how they’re connected to other social identities, to other modes of transport, to strongly held views on good and bad cycling behaviour, and to much else.
We received this response in an email by one of our interviewees later on – and thought it would be an interesting post.
What sort of cyclist am I? An interesting question that has had me
thinking over the weekend.
There are at least two ways of answering this. Firstly what am I like as a cyclist. In this case, I would say I am fairly steady, safe and assertive. So I stop at wear reflective bib and helmet, use my bell, stop at red lights (given I expect others to obey traffic lights so should I) and use lights at night – and generally cycle a couple of yards from the kerb, not in the gutter. Trying not to get myself injured.
The secondly it is about identity. I am a cyclist. Being a cyclist is part of being me. Taking the stance that the personal is political, it is about cycling as a political statement and an expression of my values, about concern for the environment. So part of that is about cycling being normal, not something odd, special or different. So it is about cycling in my normal clothes, not Lycra; claiming cycle allowances; turning up at meetings with a cycling helmet; writing bike in forms asking for a car reg no; having a one less car sticker; being a visible cyclist.