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Cycling by numbers: intelligent materialities on the move

BARRATT, Paul (2014) Cycling by numbers: intelligent materialities on the move. In: RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014, August 2014, London.

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Abstract or description

There are many co-constituent material actors involved with leisure pursuits. Some are essential, being directly involved with the bodily performance and mechanics of movement, but increasingly a range of optional networked digital actors are perceived as integral. This paper investigates the changing socio-technical practices of cycling as the pursuit, and its participants, become ever more embedded into the networked digital world.
Mobile technologies and applications are an increasingly common feature of the cyclists’ assemblage eliciting pre, during and post, ride rituals with myriad implications for the practice. GPS enabled mobile technologies have introduced an element of competition into recreational riding, whether on the road competing over virtual segments, or online dissecting and comparing the data that has been logged and shared via various dedicated ride-logging applications. To some the new intelligent digital materialities of cycling erode the value of its culture and practices. Yet despite numerous critics, cycling applications have, over a short period of time, had a huge impact upon the pursuit and the devices and rituals have become embedded in cyclists’ everyday practices.
Riders claim that the applications influence their route choice and motivate them to cycle more frequently and at a greater intensity than before. Focusing upon ‘training and competition’ I explore how this increased motivation to exercise and compete is manifested. The paper concludes by reflecting upon the policy relevance of the new assemblages of cycling considering potential socio-technical solutions to health and sustainability objectives.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: INCL
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Engineering
Event Title: RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014
Event Location: London
Event Dates: August 2014
Depositing User: Paul BARRATT
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2017 15:01
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:46

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