Cycling Cultures in a Mass Motorised Society

Data collection

Aldred, R. 2014. Cycling Cultures in a Mass Motorised Society. UK Data Service.
AuthorsAldred, R.

This is a qualitative data collection. Currently the UK faces major policy challenges including climate change, economic crisis, and the rise in limiting, costly illnesses linked to low levels of physical activity. Transport contributes to these problems, and active transport - walking and cycling - could be part of the solution; green, cheap, and offering an obvious way for many people to get the daily exercise they need. However, more evidence is needed about how active transport levels could be increased.

This project focused on cycling, studying four relatively high-cycling English urban areas and trying to find out why cycling thrives in these areas. In these areas, it is likely that many residents who cycle regularly would not do so if they lived elsewhere in the UK. Their experiences are important for understanding processes through which cycling becomes 'normal'.

The four chosen areas - Cambridge, Hackney, Hull, and Bristol - have different social, spatial, and political characteristics. The project used qualitative methods to analyse components of different cycling cultures, including how inclusive they are of different social groups. It investigated how people think about and practise cycling within each locality, exploring how cycling provides particular ways of experiencing the four places.

Central to the project was a series of approximately 162 (including pilot) interviews with cyclists and cycling stakeholders in the four areas. These were complemented by ethnographic methods (including participant and non-participant observation), documentary analysis, visual methods including the production of artwork, and the creation of a dedicated website containing a series of project blogs:

OutputConstructing Mobile Places between ‘Leisure’ and ‘Transport’: A Case Study of Two Group Cycle Rides
PublisherUK Data Service
FunderEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Data collection period01 May 2011 to end of 30 Nov 2012
External resourceCycling Cultures in a Mass Motorised Society [Project]
Cycling Cultures in a Mass Motorised Society [Download]
Publication dates
Online14 Sep 2014
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