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Recumbent Bicycles: The Social Construction of the Recumbent Bicycle

LoGo P-38 with Angletech Aerotrunk III

LoGo P-38 Recumbent Bicycle

Ahmed, Qureshi & Khan (2015) is an interesting research note, that as the authors describe, is an attempt to “explain the historical and social perspectives that led to the rejection of the recumbent bicycle by utilizing the theory of Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) and Bijker’s two power theory, providing a contrast with the adoption of the safety bicycle.”

In the abstract to the paper, the authors state:

Recumbent bicycles have never truly been associated with international cycling. Conventional safety (upright) bicycles have long been at the center of the cycling world, for both sport and transportation. This is despite the fact that recumbent bicycles are faster, more comfortable, and more efficient than the upright bicycles. The aim of this article is to explain the historical and social perspectives that led to the rejection of the recumbent bicycle by utilizing the theory of Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) and Bijker’s two power theory, providing a contrast with the adoption of the safety bicycle.

The paper looks at the case of the safety bicycle and what they refer to as role of super actors, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) in effectively rejecting the recumbent bicycle.

The full reference for the paper is:

Ahmed, H., Qureshi, O. M. & Khan, A. A. (2015). Reviving a ghost in the history of technology: The social construction of the recumbent bicycle. Social Studies of Science, 45(1), 130-136.

Other studies related to bicycles are listed in the Cycling Research page.

One Response to Recumbent Bicycles: The Social Construction of the Recumbent Bicycle

  1. Jason Grima January 13, 2015 at 8:19 AM #

    Recumbents often look like they were build by someone who saw a bicycle once, when they were drunk. Still, it’s interesting that the safety bicycle design became the de-facto standard in bikes.

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