Accepted Paper:

The good ride: performing valuing practices in riding bike  

Author:

Robin Rae (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

What is a good ride? When bike riding turns into a valuing practice, more than the object is valued and more than a body needed to do so. What is valued, I argue, are the effects of technological change on relations of human-technology-environment.

Paper long abstract:

This presentation explores how constant technological changes and developments in outdoor sports such as mountain biking are collectively valued through imagined and experienced performances. Performing outdoor sports inevitably includes and excludes certain environments, and vice versa. Current changes in mountain bike design are said to affect situated riding practices and to be materially accessible by the body simply through riding. What then is a good ride, for whom, and where? When the practice of bike riding turns (also) into a valuing practice, more than the object is valued and more than a body needed to do so. What is valued, I argue, are the effects of technological change on relations of human-technology-environment, thus enabling and irritating these through collective renegotiations.

Drawing on ethnographic data of bike sales and test-rides in California and Austria from my ongoing doctoral thesis, I aim to provide an understanding of how current technological changes of bicycles are valued in discursively and materially shaped environments of extended sales experiences. From interviews with shop personal and mobile ethnography of riders, i.e. riding along with talks during or after, insights to affects add to the material dimension of performing valuing practices. Calling attention to the local context serves to address the mobilizing background with and against which valuations of technological change are enabled and constrained in practice.

Panel T095
Sport, Technoscience, Medicine and Performance