This article, published only two weeks ago, is an adjunct to Lloyd’s previous 2015 paper – and previous blog post – detailing the 2011 mountain bike rage incident on the Flying Nun track (NZ) that was caught on GoPro, uploaded to the internet and then went viral. It is by the same author, on the same topic, but analysed from a slightly different paradigm. It uses some of the main elements of the previous paper as far as the actual event, but as this paper was published in the journal Visual Studies, the analysis takes a different approach as it specifically looks to ‘examine the spatial, temporal and interactional order of a rare case of cycle rage’ (Lloyd 2016 p 206).

 

Bike rage – caught on video

Source: Lloyd, M. (2016). ‘it’s on video, every second of it’: A micro-sociological analysis of cycle rage. Visual Studies, 31(3), 206. doi:10.1080/1472586X.2016.1209986

After the abstract (see below), the paper starts with an introduction to the event to establish the context and frame the video factors analysis. There is some overlap in content with the first article, which is understandable given that the contextual facts need to be provided, especially considering the audience and distribution for this publication will not be as familiar with the event as the previous paper.

 

Abstract

Source: Lloyd (2016)

Source: Lloyd (2016)

 

Some useful verbage

What this paper does do well, is develop the same event, but in a different direction and with different critical lenses, such as:

  •  Macbeth’s (2012) ‘circumstantial details’
  • Spinney’s (2006, 2011) ‘kinaesthetic enthnography’ of road riders
  • McIIvenny’s (2014, 2015) ‘velomobility’ as separate to ‘mobilities turn’ and ‘disputed mobile formations’ (who also builds on Goffman’s ‘mobile participation units’ notion)
  • Katz’s (1999) ‘tight phenomenological explanation of the grounds for road rage’ and Seductions of Crime (1988)
  • Chelfen’s (2014) ‘a camera-populated world’

In this article, the methodology applied to this micro-sociological event is still ethnomethodological and the fact that both riders did not know each other is still highlighted as a key distinction. In the literature review, it is good to see a lament about the lack of mountain biking specific research – as there is currently (previous to Lloyd’s two papers) only one other author specifically publishing in this field (McIlvenny).

Given the industry ‘visual’ focus of this particular publication, the data used is divided into three key aspects: Third part video, camera position, Google Maps, Mountain biking experience and Screensnaps and transcription. For the data analysis, the below table is included and key aspects and themes are extrapolated on in more detail to draw out more nuanced understandings of the event as it ‘unfolds’ through the video analysis.

Source: Lloyd (2016)

Source: Lloyd (2016)

The final discussion section draws correlations to road rage incidents and reflection as transferable framework to ‘cycle rage’ situations such as this. In the conclusion, an aspect which was of great interest and stood out for me when I read the comments below the video, was fact that Dalton (older rider) was a former mountain bike champion. This to me, triggered implications of hyper masculinities and competitive ego at play (more psychological aspects as opposed to sociological) – an element that was not fully explored in the first paper. One of the closing statements calls for possible more work on this aspect – a suggestion of which struck me on my first reading as well.

Especially given my own particular interest in gender and cycling – I am thrilled to see these (and a very small handful) brave and adventurous researchers broadening the scope of leisure/sport exmainations into some new and unchartered territories such as these.

Leading up to next month’s SSWC, I’ve been looking at how mountain biking is being represented in academic literature – and the answer is quite poorly! Poor as in interest, detail and a general paucity of coverage. It is an area I am keen to contribute to myself. So finding an academic article analysing a mountain bike rage incident is a rare gem and very surprising!

This article details a very well-known 2012 mountain bike rage incident. It is a very well known ‘bike rage’  incident within the MTB fraternity that happened between two mountain-bikers who met on a trail in NZ. It is also the first ‘bike rage’ incident caught on camera. (If you have not seen the 5.45 mins video – have a look below).

 

The  mountain bike rage article

Reference: Lloyd, M. (2015). On the Way to Cycle Rage: Disputed Mobile Formations. Mobilities, 1-21.

Essentially, this article provides an overview of the incident in question and frames the research analysis about investigating the basis for this ‘disputed mobile formation’. For an academic article, it is an easy read – the ideas flow nicely and do not go into too much conceptual detail – but enough to be well positioned and unique in its contribution.

Here is the abstract:

NZ Mountain biker trail rage

In this article, Mike Lloyd (the author) builds on McIvenny’s (2015, 2016) work on ‘velomobile formations’ – and is the first academic paper focus on analysing an event that is mountain bike specific and INTRA-biker rage related – as opposed to multiple trial user contestation – walker, biker, runners and the like.

Methodology

The use of GoPros is introduced as the data collection method, and then ‘mobile video ethnography’ analysis is applied alongside Google map images being intertwined with the author’s practical knowledge experience of mountain biking to draw analytical conclusions about the situation. I like this approach as it is encouraging to see adventurous, experimental research techniques being out there.

Ideas & terminology

I like how Mike draws parallels with Cohen and Taylor’s (1976) ‘landscape activity enclave’ to explain how both riders came to be in the same situated location at the same time. His analysis also includes audio (direct quotes) and visual (stills) to describe and account for the interactions that transpire. In reading the article, I think he does a good job of linking other theoretical perspectives into his interpretation – with phrases such as ‘entangled riding’ ‘threat-demonstration-justification’ ‘cyclist-bike assemblage’ and ‘amputation explanation’ and weaving in aspects of other contested dynamics, such as driver (car) road rage, surfer ‘drop-in’ rules, this article certainly covers a lot of ground in a single snapshot.

This situation did raise local and international debates around mountain biking trail courtesy, fast/slow rider entitlements and discussions about track use among others. Ultimately, the outcome of the video saw Dalton (the older rider) going to court and paying $750 in damages. Aside from this being an interesting academic article to read, the fact that it is on mountain biking, which I have long held is grossly underrepresented (as a sport, leisure pursuit and cultural activity, etc.). Equally, it is refreshing to see a more experimental methodology being applied for analysis, as well as seeing swearing being included in academic annals.

 

If you read through the comment made on the Vital MTB site where this video went viral – they are quite interesting as well.  Happy trials & journal articles!!

This post showcases one of a few street artists whose murals regularly feature bicycles. I’ve chosen Mart Aires from Argentina as he is one of the first original ‘graffiteros’ who painted whole trains in Buenos Aires, thus making his work more accessible to the public.  So he is an enduring, well-known and accomplished street artist. His work is playful, colourful, vibrant and always positive. You can see a full range of Mart’s work on his flickr site –  including one of my favourite bicycle inspired pieces of his called Una situación habitual.

Big, bright, urban bikes

I like the idea of having large-scale vibrant happy bicycles depictions being splashed about cities, which of course is why Mart is one of my favourite street artists, given that bikes feature so prominently in his work. Have a look at his Instagram for other works as well.

He often does large scale wall murals and I really appreciate his kooky style and sense of humour. While proving the internet for more information about why cycling is such a theme in his works, I came across an old short interview he did with BA Street Art back in 2011 called Me and my bike, where he is very pragmatic about his bike riding.

It is refreshing to see bicycles being central to a social commentary about movement, energy, urbanism and dynamism. I can only hope that aspiration suggestions such as Melissa Hughes (2009) vision to have street art included in secondary school curriculum due to the significance it provides for (young) people maybe taken up. In her research abstract, Hughes advocates that a deeper appreciation of the ‘social, visual and cultural aesthetics’ of local communities can be achieved. Additionally, I would like to think that doing so would also have a concurrent social critique element attached, given the impact and selection of the content, such as Mart’s bicycles, that so poetically provide a “high contrast image loaded with expression” – as the bicycle is the perfect cultural icon for an analytical mind to unpack, digest and appreciate! And so lovely to look at when presented like this!!All images by Mart Aire

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All images by Mart Aires.

I knew this would be a busy week – all my 4 classes have assessments due, which means an intense week of marking, uploading feedback, moderating scores and dealing with student (and my own) associated paperwork, technical difficulties, administration and all the general ballyhoo that goes with a convergence of assessments.

 

Happy Chinese Teacher’s Day!

So imagine my surprise when out of the blue, I get and email from an ex-student that I worked on a bridging program to get into uni. He was on campus looking for me – to give me a present – as it was Chinese Teacher’s Day (on Saturday). He finally tracked me down, scouting across campus and hauling his wrapped gift with him, until we managed to catch up two days later when I was back on campus. Today we met for coffee and he gave me his present (see below) as a thank you for being his favourite teacher.

He described the thought and time he put into looking this gift and how he remembered I love bicycles. It was a lovely surprise. We talked about what some of the symbolism in the picture might mean and we retold stories for our old class days.

I was deeply touched to have such an unexpected gift, presented with such genuine gratitude. Especially when juxtaposed against such a hectic week. This lovely interlude reminded me of the importance and valuable of education and authentic interaction. I treasure such moments and am really humbled to meet students at a certain point in their life and have the opportunity to work with them – but then see them move on and go their own way.

Having a chance to reconnect with students and hear what they are doing and what has transpired since we last met, is a part of my work that I adore. Some stories are hard, most are good, but to have a personal link and connection with each of them is truly remarkable.

 

Did you have one particularly good teacher?

Did you have a teacher who made a difference in your life? We remember the good ones (and the bad ones) and not many in between. Have you ever gone back to revisit a teacher after leaving school? If you have – share you experience in the comments below, I’d love to hear how it went!

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Ten days ago I participated for my first time in the 3 hour MTB Chicks in the Sticks Event. This is an all-female registration event, although partners, family and friends were in attendance en mass on the day. It was held on Sunday 28th August, and it had the largest turn out to date of just over 240 female riders on the day. Although official it is a race, and a few keen elite women race it, the overall premise is to ride and have fun and provide an opportunity for women of all skills and levels to get involved.

 

Chicks in the Sticks 2016 Event set up

There was a variety of choices to be made regarding level of participation – solo rider or team of two – which I was (double Yorkers), then experience level – ranging from Chicken Run (elite), Free Range (Intermediate) and Have a Crack (starting out and having a go). It was also great to see a very well populated Juniors Little Chicks in the Stix, and event more so the Queens of the Roost category (over 50’s) with 21 riders. The final results are here.

It was held on the Scouts private property, Mt Cotton – which for me was a bonus as it meant that aside from a social ride two weeks before, most riders were not overly familiar with the tracks. With a 6.6km loop, it was not an particularly difficult track – but certainly the long step-downs and hill climb in loop were challenging enough for some. The location was well resourced, managed and organised on the day with easy access to facilities, shade, water, rubbish bins, parking, toilets in the village and once on bikes, the track was clearly marked and well marshalled. There was a few select male support crew dressed up riding to keep morale high for those who may have been struggling.

It was a beautiful sunny day, and many families had come out to make a day of it. Many participants had taken on board the ‘have a go and have fun’ message, so costumes, colour and accessorising featured prominently. I noticed that most participants hung around until well after Prezzies, and the village atmosphere for the whole day was upbeat, relaxed, non-competitive, friendly and very encouraging. After official awards had been given, there was (what seemed like) a never ending dispersal of gifts, goodies and freebies given to select race plate numbers and then ultimately the rest were thrown into the audience. It was an impressive stash of merchandise – kudos to the organisers!

 

How did it go?

I rode with a friend as a team – entitled Bicycles Create Change.com of course! We rode, not raced. We had a great time and were happy to cut our time short (to reign in any possible competitiveness and also so we could cheer each when the other was on course). I had a bell and a squeaky honker that I made good use of at the start line and on track, I sang (rather loudly) Queen’s I want to ride my bicycle as we were cruising along a flat section to great applause from my surrounding riders and after settling down after the second lap, managed to get the name of a few pinners I was either in front or behind for a while during sections. In fact, post-ride, both riders sought me out and passed on their details to invite me to join them for future riding adventures (which they did!), and I have also since see a few on track at various locations and had a good catch up.

I had a great time on the day. I was the only person on the day riding a Singlespeed. Aside from the terrain being perfect for it and that I love riding my Niner, I also used this event as a test run for a possible decoration idea before going down south for the World Singlespeed Champs in 4-weeks time in Victoria. I used my the olde faithful Leki flower power motif –because I have the materials, it is easy to apply (cable ties) and disassemble, I can easily change or modify the design, it transports well and has maximum visual impact.

 

A good time

Aside from being the only Singlespeeder there, I was also the only person in casual wear (i.e. not full theme costume or MTB kit, or a combination of thereof). I had floral capri pants (over my nicks) and a bicycle print singlet, no socks – lean and clean. I refused to wear any branded gear. I was also very social – telling jokes, engaging with my fellow riders and generally adding good energy to the positive vibes.

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An interesting post-script

During the event, I was quite conscious of a few sociological dynamics operating on the day, and since then, my academic brain has been working over time problematizing certain elements – which I have half a mind to develop into more detail for a Journal article perhaps?? Certain ethnographic quandaries were very evident to me such as:
• Racer (competitive) or rider (social)
• Level of fitness and skill – experienced riders alongside newbies
• All female event and female onlyness sports
• Insider (MTBer) and subculture (Singlespeeder)
• Local (QLD) vs. outsider (me originally from VIC)
• Stereotyping of gender in adventure sports (flowers as a representation of ‘femaleness’ – or not)
• Impact and interplay between skill/fitness level and the riders’ ability to ‘have fun’ or enjoy the event
• Track etiquette (see point one and two esp. regarding overtaking).

Some interesting ideas to ponder. I’ll let you know if anything eventuates.

Cycling Projects is a national-wide UK charity whose focus is to provide community engagement projects so that all community members have access to cycle on a regular basis, including older people or those with restricted mobility, but especially for people with disabilities.

Wheels for All is their flagship service. It is a great initiative designed to increase the cycling accessibility and level for people with disabilities. This is achieved out of the 50 Wheels For All centres that are dotted throughout England and Wales delivering a select range of programmes and services.

Most inspiringly, these centre provide programs by being fitting out with a fleet of purpose built and adapted cycles that cater for a range of physical, mental and mobility issues. Some bike are modified two, three or four wheelers, some are for individual riders, others cater for pair, trios or four riders as well as bikes that accommodate wheelchair integration , recumbents, hand-powered, pedal-powered and tandem for the visually impaired, to name a few.

These bikes are also unique in that the design is comfortable (and enjoyable) both for the participant and their assisting partner and there is a range of bicycles that can be used depending on the needs of the participant. I was impressed with the range and versatility of the adapted bike that were on offer.

(Ohh, is that Sir Chris Hoy the UK track star in the bottom photo on the left?! I think so!!). At first glance of these bikes involved in these programs, I am immediately impressed that as much as can be given the physical control of the participant, the bicycles are designed so that the participants are physically engaged as much as is possible in the actual propulsion of the bicycle. For me, this is a critical element for projects such as this, otherwise the claim of increasing the opportunity for cycling is not justified if the only person cycling is the participants’ attendee.

I think it is equally important to have a social space in which to ride, (which these programs appear to provide), as well as having an authentic track or place to ride on. This last element for me is very important as cycling is a medium whereby people traverse through space-time geographies, and that is part of the thrill of accomplishment of going for a ride. Additionally, being in an outdoor environment where cyclist can feel the natural elements like the wind, the cold, the rush of an increase in speed or the inertia of a sudden stop are as valuable to the experience as the biological feedback experienced from riding; the heat in generated by the exertion of riding, a little sweat on your brow, the suggestion of tired legs, the way hips might wiggle as your legs go up and down –all come from being on bikes.

In the same vein, those who are unable to physical contribute to the riding, are just as much an asset and receptive to these dynamics. Other similar projects that cater to a different segment of the population, such as Cycling without Age  attest to the insurmountable benefits derived by participants from the excitement of being outdoors, the wind rushing over faces, chasing the person, watching the landscape rolling along beside the bike and just being out and about and part of a normal healthy, positive and social daily activity.

I also think it is brilliant that in May this year, they held their own Wheels for All Conference. I am a big fan of conferences as I think it is a wonderful opportunity for like-minded people to get together, and more so than a festival, to have dedicated and focused time set aside to discuss pressing issues, new developments, extend networks, identify trends and to increase awareness and exchange ideas. It was ingenious to hold this conference in conjunction with the bigger Cycle City Active City Conference that was going on at the same time as well.

Below is a simple 2 min video detailing the main ideas of the project.

Photo image sources: Cycling.org.uk, Lavish Connect & Bathnes.gov.uk