The Bike in the City: A History of the Current Conflict Over Urban Cycling

Come one, come all. On Thursday, Dr. James Longhurst (University of Wisconsin—La Crosse) will visit McMaster University to present on his current research, which deals with the legal and political history of the bicycle in the urban landscape. His talk—at 14:30 in TSH/719—takes us back to an earlier age, where the League of American Wheelmen and other cycling organizations sought to have cycling and cyclists recognized as a part of a leisure and transportation infrastructure. Bygone times? A part of Longhurst’s work involves examining the extent to which the past might help to inform contemporary questions and debates over the bicycle’s place in the 21st-century city. Everyone is welcome to attend what should be a very interesting talk.Longhurst PosterIn addition, Longhurst will be at Café Domestique on Thursday evening (19:00) for a less informal chat about bicycles, history, and bike politics [Edit: I received an e-mail the day after this post went up from James Longhurst, asking how he was supposed to be less informal after giving a formal talk—be sure to come out and find out!].

Longhurst Poster II

Sidepath Politics: The McMaster Rolling Seminar

Next week, the McMaster Rolling Seminar: La Vie Vélo will resume with a talk by Dr. James Longhurst (University of Wisconsin – La Crosse) on the early history of cycling sidepaths. His talk, “The Bike in the City: A History of the Current Conflict Over Urban Cycling,” is open to the public, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Here are the details (also in the poster below):

When: January 17 @ 14:30

Where: TSH/719

Longhurst Poster

Cycling Safety

A big part of my cycling-themed teaching will involve questions pertaining to cyclists’ safety. I’m interested in how, why, and in what contexts people feel safe or at risk while cycling, and how that shapes cycling infrastructure, and how it encourages or discourages ridership. More on these themes in due course—and concepts to be developed further by my students—but my instinct is that cyclists are frequently their own worst enemy when it comes to safety and perceptions of cyclists across the general, non-riding public. Too often, cyclists follow laws unto themselves, disregarding the rules of the road. Or ride on the sidewalk. Or other such grievous activities. This was on my mind this afternoon as I was walking home from work and had a series of cyclists hurtling downhill towards me on a narrow sidewalk right beside a busy road. And I came home to this infographic from smellslikeglue, which is a very cool London-based style, cycling, and music site. My Arts & Science students are tasked with designing their own visual assignments, and it occurred to me that this infographic offered an apt model for thinking about their projects.


New Year, New Classes: ArtSci 3BB3

The new semester began yesterday, and I met with two of my three courses this semester. Having taught just one class last term, I have three in the Winter Semester (January to April). On Monday evenings, I meet with my Arts & Science class, which is a very special program (and great fun to be a part of). This class, Technology & Society II, also marks my first foray into building my classes around my research interest in bicycles. The interesting challenge here, though, is that this is not a history class, which will force me to think in a more interdisciplinary manner about the bicycle in front of a group of very talented and interdisciplinary students.

I attach my syllabus for the course below for public consumption. Students in the class might note that the office hours listed here constitute a correction from the printed syllabus (not) distributed last night.