In cities throughout the world, bicycles have gained a high profile in recent years, with politicians and activists promoting initiatives like bike lanes, bikeways, bike share programs, and other social programs to get more people on bicycles. Bicycles in the city are, some would say, the wave of the future for car-choked, financially-strapped, obese, and sustainability-sensitive urban areas.

This book explores how and why people are reconsidering the bicycle, no longer thinking of it simply as a toy or exercise machine, but as a potential solution to a number of contemporary problems. It focuses in particular on what reconsidering the bicycle might mean for everyday practices and politics of urban mobility, a concept that refers to the intertwined physical, technological, social, and experiential dimensions of human movement.

This book is for Introductory Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Sociology, Environmental Anthropology, and all undergraduate courses on the environment and on sustainability throughout the social sciences.

chapter 1|22 pages

Anthropology, Bicycles, and Urban Mobility

chapter 2|34 pages

What (and When) is a Bicycle?

chapter 3|42 pages

Constructing Urban Bicycle Cultures

Perspectives on Three Cities

chapter 4|28 pages

“Good for the Cause”

The Bike Movement as Social Action and Cultural Politics

chapter 5|5 pages


On The Need for the Bicycle