Mechanical Intuitions: Innovating Bicycling and Spaces of Nature

Sarah McCullough
Cultural Studies
UC Davis

This project examines how the national bicycling boom of the 1970s emerged from California and embedded a uniquely “California” feel into subsequent bicycling practices. In the 1970s, bicycling presented an ideal space through which to mediate cultural tensions about the place of technology in daily life, the proper speed of mobility, and the space of nature in urban living. These tensions were particularly acute in the countercultural movement centered in the Bay Area. Although a series of innovative bicycling practices emerged from this moment, very little research documents these changes and the crucial role of Northern California in mobile innovation. By studying the evolution of bicycling in Northern California through archival and ethnographic methods, my project will contribute to research on nature-technology relations in environmental humanities and feminist studies.