Kath Bicknell


Sometimes racing is stressful. The packing, traveling, puffing, panting…it’s not something I can do every weekend. But sometimes, once you’ve been doing it for a while, it becomes one of the things you do to relax. Read More

The feature interview: It’s one of my favourite types of article to write. It’s also one that draws most on my academic work as an ethnographer – writing about people in a way that reveals how they make sense of the things they do. I also enjoy this format of writing as a way to offer a stepped-back sense of perspective on other topical issues at the time of publication. Read More

‘Flow State – On the Topic of Flow’ is a feature article I wrote on the psychological experience of Flow for the mountain bike magazine of the same name. It took the academic work I’ve been doing in this area and shared it with the community that’s been the subject of that research.

I like the way the story was laid out for print. As you turn from the opening page to the next, a rider appears on the trail ahead. For me, Stirling Lorence’s images immediately conjure up sensations of pumping the bike behind a smooth and skillful rider along a timeless section of trail. I love that mountain biking brings on experiences like this so frequently.

The article talks about the characteristics common to these sought-after states and how they relate to optimal experiences on the trails. Examples of an absence of flow are discussed as a way of looking at how riders can change how they think about or approach the trails. This helps to make the euphoria of a flow-type state more likely to appear, leading to increased enjoyment and smoother, better riding as a result.

Academically speaking, this work opens the door to new ways of understanding embodied problem solving and filtering strategies – such as those riders use to stay in flow longer. It also helps us to better understand the techniques athletes use to perform as well as possible when things aren’t just ‘happening’, or simply don’t go to plan.

This research demonstrates the active and important role of thinking during such scenarios. The risky, variable and fast-paced environment of mountain bike races means participants discuss these phenomena in insightful and articulate ways.

It’s a nice feeling when one article opens a pathway to others. Adding to the high of the recent trip to South Africa was the chance to test the race-ready Specialized S-Works Fate 29er while I was there. Once home, the Fate was swapped for the Rumor, a big-wheeled trail bike that is set to change the way women first discover the sport.

The innovation behind these two bikes is what excites me most. Girls aren’t a minority in mountain biking any more. The industry is recognising the value in designing equipment for female users that is balanced, responsive, aggressive and available in a geometry that suits the people who use it. Read More

In May 2013 I was invited to join a group of mountain bikers on a tour through South Africa. Our itinerary was handcrafted by South Africa Tourism and built around the 270km Nedbank Sani2c stage race from the Drakensburg mountains to the coast near Durban.

We saw life in the big cities, rode up high in the mountains, were chased down the road by an elephant during safari, and ate delicious three course meals everywhere we went. Read More

Flow 4 started arriving in mail boxes, newsagents, workplaces and living rooms a week or so ago now. Since then, I’ve been watching the social media trail as people share images and thoughts on what they’re enjoying in… Read More

The proceedings from the Australian Cycling Conference, “Everybody’s Cycling?” have now been published online. Even if you’re not into the academic side of things, I’d encourage you to take a look. There are so many interesting projects happening… Read More

Macquarie University in Sydney hosted the 2013 conference for the Australasian Skill Acquisition Research Group – ASARG. This yearly event pulls together thinkers from a variety of disciplines with an interest in skilled performance, particularly in sport. Read More