Vélomobilities of care in a low-cycling city

Mobilities of care, the travel required to meet one and others’ household needs such as shopping, running errands, or escorting children, are often understood as difficult to complete by bicycle because they tend to involve transporting goods or people. Because women tend to complete more unpaid household labour than men, the bicycle’s assumed incompatibility with household-serving travel has been suggested as a possible explanation for the gender-gap in cycling within low-cycling cities. However, the ways in which people use the bicycle to complete this form of travel in low-cycling cities has yet to be studied. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with residents of Toronto, Canada, who are new to cycling, this paper addresses this knowledge gap by providing a detailed account of how cyclists use their bicycles to complete mobilities of care. Results indicate that traveling with children and grocery shopping in bulk is generally considered difficult by bicycle. Buying small amounts of groceries and trip-chaining, however, was usually perceived as convenient. This paper also frames participants’ experiences completing this gendered travel by bicycle using social practice theory to demonstrate how even difficult household serving trips are possible by bicycle when people are equipped with certain meanings, competencies, and materials. This paper contributes to the cycling literature by demonstrating the ways in which people use bicycles to complete gendered mobilities of care in a low-cycling city. By highlighting the challenges people face, as well as they ways in which some people overcome these challenges, it also points to possible policy interventions that could encourage city cycling.


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  • Accession Number: 01737466
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 23 2020 3:55PM