We held our fourth practitioner group meeting at Palestra – many thanks to Stephanie and Alex from TfL for organising the room and refreshments for us. There were around 30 people present; some had been to all four of our meetings while for a few this was their first. Kicking off with thoughts about ‘cycling as the future as well as the past’ we moved onto my talk about cycling and shifts in production and consumption. Based on a current paper, this presentation argued that in contexts where many routine jobs involve emotional and mental (but not physical) labour, the car may be losing its aspirational status. This generated lots of discussion. I then talked about how contexts matter for cycling, contrasting Hackney and Hull in terms of their everyday cycling cultures.
Justin spoke about his project ‘Parenting and Travel Choices’, which looks at couples in Newham and Hackney expecting their first child, and how this affects their mobility choices. One key theme is the extent to which pregnant women’s mobility is shaped by other people’s expectations of what is safe and appropriate for them. This also produced plenty of comment and discussion.
After the tea break (and lovely cakes) Kat’s talk was based on her DIY bike paper, highlighting the ingenuity of cyclists in navigating often motor-dominated contexts. Dealing with theft was one issue covered, generating empathetic reactions among many present. Kat drew on examples of how cyclists try and avoid theft through, for example, making the bicycle look old, personally specific, or uncared-for; other tactics for dealing with theft include minimising one’s emotional attachment to the bicycle.
Finally I summed up letting people know what the research group was doing next both on the Cycling Cultures project and in our other work – including our new Masters course, work on cycle training and on transport modelling, and on bike hire and cargo bikes. And the prize draw – a lovely bicycle-themed tea towel – was won by Paul Lowe.
Thanks to everyone who has come to our practitioner meetings. We hope you have found them useful and interesting – we certainly have. My slides can be viewed here and here. Justin’s are here and Kat’s here.