a journal - cycling, sociology, social media

Sunday 27 November 2016

What to expect - is it worth a read ?

So what’s this blog going to be about? Well, it is going to be about cycling (obviously) and some of the blog posts will be based on my research (carried out over four years). During the course of my PhD I interviewed 149 racing cyclists and their responses to my questions is the data on which my thesis is based. In later posts I will also be looking at cycling history, current cycling issues and also cycle sport. I will no doubt digress on to other sports at times and of course - social media - we all use it and its part of our everyday lives. My interest is in its effects - especially on the sport of cycling.  

Some of the questions that I will attempt to provide answers for are related to:

Cycling fashion and consumption

Jack and Ben - two of my regular training partners - looking slick even in winter training kit

What influences racing cyclists’ choice of kit (clothing)?

What influences their choice of bike and equipment?

What about Strava?

I will be mostly using my own pictures on the blog (the above is not one of mine) On Instagram I am tony_rees123 - MyInsta

How can its effects be explained?

Why do people enjoy it so much? 

Why has it become so popular? 

What effect is it having? 

Group training rides

The Blue Bell Ride - a regular Wednesday gathering on Teesside - members of this group helped me with my research and a lot of my observations were captured during Blue Bell training rides and in the Cafe afterwards

How are they organised? 

Why do some people have more power than others?

Why do participants conform?

What does it take to be accepted in a group?

WARNING – In answering these questions things will get a bit SOCIOLOGICAL – but in a  way that most cyclists will relate to (hopefully). All of my research findings are based on the actual words used by my research participants – that was the raw data I collected, then all I did was provide a theoretical explanation (that’s the sociological bit).
The analysis of my data is based on the work of Pierre Bourdieu a French sociologist, philosopher and anthropologist. I am a BIG fan of Bourdieu, that probably sounds a bit weird but I have been reading and using his approach for eight years now so I am well into his work. No need for me to bore you with too much Bourdieu at this stage, but in a future posts I will be referring to Bourdieu and his concepts – trust me it’s interesting and VERY relevant to cycling, which is why I use his work.  Bourdieu 1930-2002-Wikepedia. In previous research I used Bourdieu to study Ironman triathletes (weird lot – I should know used to be one!) and that’s when my interest in his work began.

Plenty of time to get all sociological later – first I should set the scene for what I will be talking about later, to do that my next post is about the history of racing cycling in the UK.

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