Critical Geographies of Cycling: History, Political Economy and Culture, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Critical Geographies of Cycling

History, Political Economy and Culture, 1st Edition

By Glen Norcliffe


290 pages

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Examining cycling from a range of geographical perspectives, this book uses historical and contemporary case studies to look at the history, politics, economy and culture of cycling. Pursuing a post-structural position in viewing understandings of the bicycle as contingent upon time and place, author Glen Norcliffe argues for the need for widespread processes such as gendered use of the bicycle, the Cyclists’ Rights Movement, and the globalization of bicycle-making to be interpreted in different ways in different settings. With this in mind, the essays in the book are divided into two sections: relational aspects are examined as Spaces of Cycling which treats technological development, innovation, and the location of production and trade of cycles, while Places of Cycling interprets specific sites of consumption - the streets of the city, in the cycling clubs, among men and women, and at the trade show. Written from a geographer’s integrative perspective to offer a broad understanding of cycling, this book will also be of interest to other social scientists in urban studies, cultural studies, technology and society, sociology, history and environmental planning.


’With bicycle innovation having meandered from Germany to France, UK, USA and finally the Far East, a scholarly interpretation by a geographer was overdue. Yet the spatial turn of his book towards a geography of cycling covers far more of the often complex phenomena around the bicycle - from Victorian gender cycling to trade-show activities in Taipei. Using this as a structuring principle, significant chapters of the bicycle's cultural and economic past and present are analysed thoroughly. Easy to read, this comprehensive book is an intellectual delight and the first choice for everyone seeking an overall view on the bicycle's standing.’ Hans-Erhard Lessing, University of Ulm, Germany ’Glen Norcliffe has produced a volume of monumental scope. One that offers a much needed critical engagement with themes lying at the intersection of the social, cultural, political, economic, and industrial history and geography of cycles and cycling. The volume is a must read for geography and planning scholars interested in "the bicycle".’ Ron N. Buliung, University of Toronto Mississauga, Canada ’The essays presented in this book provide a valuable resource for cycling history and culture. Glen Norcliffe is respected both as a geographer and cycling historian, while his own geographical position, Canada, is unusual in cycling history. A particular strength of much of the content here is its wide geographical range, often global in scope, and its engagement with topics that all too often are the stuff of hearsay, rather than structured academic research.’ Nicholas Oddy, Glasgow School of Art, UK

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; For a geography of cycling. Part 1 Spaces of Cycling: G-COT: the geographical construction of technology; The Aha! myth: geographically embedded innovation in the Canadian cycle industry 1868-1900; Popeism and Fordism: examining the roots of mass production; Hypermobile global production networks: links of the Canadian cycle industry with China and Taiwan (co-authored with Weidong Liu and Boyang Gao). Part 2 Places of Cycling: Associations, modernity and club citizenship in a Victorian highwheel bicycle club; Men, women and the bicycle in the late nineteenth century (co-authored with Phillip Gordon Mackintosh); 'Thirty thousand wheelmen who never smile': national identity and the rise of the Canadian Wheelman's Association; Performing the bicycle trade show (co-authored with Michael Andreae and Jinn-yuh Hsu); Neoliberal mobility and its discontents: working tricycles in China's cities; Right to the road. Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Glen Norcliffe is Professor Emeritus of Geography and Senior Scholar at York University, Toronto, Canada.

About the Series

Transport and Society

Transport and Society
This series focuses on the impact of transport planning policy and implementation on the wider society and on the participation of the users. It discusses issues such as: gender and public transport, travel for the elderly and disabled, transport boycotts and the civil rights movement etc. Interdisciplinary in scope, linking transport studies with sociology, social welfare, cultural studies and psychology.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography