Call for papers: Becoming urban cyclists. From socialization to skills

One-day workshop—Transport Urban Planning Economics Laboratory (LAET), Lyon (France). February 11, 2020

Becoming an urban cyclist for leisure, sports or commuting requires a variety of skills and a set of knowledge as there is the need to know how to:

  • Pedal and move forward safely;
  • Fit into the traffic, take place among other users;
  • Get access to the dedicated infrastructure to cycling;
  • Navigate in a known or unknown city/neighborhood (with or without a guiding device);
  • Maintain and repair a bike;
  • Find a space to park and secure a bicycle, etc.

The literature has shown that the initial learning of biking and the continuous experiences  increasingly influence the skills of urban cyclists (Aldred 2013a) and build their identity as cyclists (Aldred 2013b). Moreover, the socialization of children and teenagers to cycling is influenced by their gender and social background (Sayagh 2018). These early studies seem to indicate that the education received at school and in the family, the peers and the geography of places matter for becoming an urban cyclist. Indeed, although urban cycling is a common practice that could be described as universal, substantial territorial variations (Horton, Rosen and Cox 2016) exist between countries, rural and urban areas, but also within a same country between cities, neighborhoods and from one street to another.

The modal shares seems thus to depend on geography, public policies, gender, age and social class. Starting to ride a bike daily is the result of a multiplicity of events and socialization. As for the demotorization (Cacciari 2018, Rau and Manton 2016), we hypothesize that the transition to a daily use of the bicycle is the outcome of a set of circumstances, competences and knowledge achieved through time. Understanding the conditions for acting out, carrying on or stopping the activity is crucial to comprehend the development of commuting and other forms of daily cycling.

This one-day workshop focus on the acquisition of these skills and competences and will complement the existing works that link the practice to the individual trajectories of cyclists (Freudendal-Pedersen 2015, Füssl and Haupt 2017) or to their gender (Song and other 2018, Vogel et al., 2014). The aim is to shade light on geographical and sociological difference in order to better understand what is likely to facilitate or curb urban cycling practices. Propositions will cover the following three aspects:

From socialization to practices. How do people become a competent urban cyclist? How are those skills acquire? Who does pass them on? Are there devices used for the dissemination of these skills? What are the turning points and continuities in the practices of urban cyclists?
Access and inequalities. Do all social groups have the same opportunities to become competent? How can social and gender differences be explained? Are they the same everywhere and, in the case of gender, are they the same throughout the social scale?
Dynamics and changes. Which evidence does make people start cycling daily? Could some patterns be identified? What difference does it make to start learning how to ride as an adult?

The expected proposals can present evidence from all over the world and various disciplinary and methodological approaches are welcome.

Rachel Aldred (University of Westminster) will be our keynote speaker, presenting her work on the skills and culture of cyclists and on gender inequalities in access to cycling.

Workshop outcomes will be published in a collective book.

Please submit your abstract (max. 500 words [excl. references]) by the 1st of November 2019 via e-mail to Matthieu Adam ( and Nathalie Ortar ( Applicants will be informed of the results of the selection by November 15. Papers (max. 8,000 words) are expected to be sent via e-mail by the 31st of January 2020.


Aldred, R (2013a), Incompetent or Too Competent? Negotiating Everyday Cycling Identities in a Motor Dominated Society, Mobilities, vol. 8, n° 2, p. 252-27.

Aldred, R. (2013b), Who are Londoners on Bikes and what do they want? Negotiating identity and issue definition in a ‘pop-up’ cycle campaign, Journal of Transport Geography, vol. 30, p. 194–201.

Cacciari, J. (2018) Une enquête bibliographique sous le regard de la sociologie de la socialisation. Mobilités spatiales, méthodologies de collecte, d’analyse et de traitement, MSFS2018, Nov 2018, Tours, France. hal-01943631

Freudendal-Pedersen, M. (2015a), Whose Commons are Mobilities Spaces? The Case of Copenhagen’s Cyclists, ACME, vol. 14, n°2, p. 598–621.

Füssl, E., Haupt, J. (2017), Understanding cyclist identity and related interaction strategies. A novel approach to traffic research, Transportation Research Part F, vol. 46, part. B, p. 329–341.

Horton, D., Rosen, P., Cox, P. (2016), Cycling and Society, London, Routledge.

Rau, H., Manton, R. (2016), Life events and mobility milestones: Advances in mobility biography theory and research, Journal of Transport Geography, n°52, p. 51–60.

Sayagh, D. (2018), Pourquoi les filles ont moins de possibilités réelles de faire du vélo que les adolescents. Approche sociologique, Thèse, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée.

Song, L., Kirschen, M., Taylor, J. (2018), Women on wheels: Gender and cycling in Solo, Indonesia, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, online first,

Vogel, M., et al. (2014), From bicycle sharing system movements to users: a typology of Vélo’v cyclists in Lyon based on large-scale behavioural dataset, Journal of Transport Geography, vol. 41, p. 280,291.

Citer ce billet
Matthieu Adam (2019, 12 septembre). Call for papers: Becoming urban cyclists. From socialization to skills. CyclOPs. Consulté le 29 mai 2024, à l’adresse

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