Friday, July 21st 2017 at 4:29PM BST
Dutch technology historian Ruth Oldenziel wants cities to rediscover their cycling cultures. “Almost every city once had a cycling culture,” she told BikeBiz.
Oldenziel, an academic at Eindhoven University’s Foundation for the History of Technology, is one of the authors of “Cycling Cities” a tub-thumping coffee-table book about the waxing and waning of the cycling cultures in fourteen European cities. She wants this book to be a springboard to encourage cities around the world to explore their bicycling roots, and see how cities in the 1920s – and often through into the 1950s and 1960s – were often dense with people on bikes.
“What history shows,” stresses Oldenziel, “is that political decisions were made to get the cities we have; a motor-dominated city is not inevitable.
“Every city could be as cycle-friendly as a Dutch city – Dutch cities have also had their ups and downs. But there’s no shortcut – there’s a lot of political work that’s required. You have to have the conversation: ‘what kind of kind do you want to have – a city where you only drive through? Or a city where you want to socialize, or shop?'”
Oldenziel recently co-authored ‘Cycling Cities: The Arnhem and Nijmegen Experience”, a 64-page hard-back companion to the 256-page large-format “Cycling Cities”, and she believes other cities around the world would benefit from commissioning their own books for what would become a series.