Kath Bicknell

But most of all, thank you to Ride Guide for considering the writers. No one ever thinks of the writers!

Without words and the perspectives of the writers and journalists, mountain biking may well have been another gear based sport, but there is something more to this than riding and racing. It can be the struggle, the exhilaration, the adventure and mis-adventure, the highs, lows and tragedies. A writer has a gift to transport you to another place and take you on a journey, drawing you in with their with their words, and for a short period, you become transfixed to the page (or screen). The writers below have the ability to do just that, so still do it, while others have moved on. Either way their legacy and future work will continue to shape this sport for years to come.

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What do we mean when we talk about the connection between bike, body and trail? How do small changes in bike set up change the way you move? How about a whole new bike?

My chapter, “Technology, Equipment and the Mountain Biker’s Taskscape,” was recently published in Women in Action Sport Cultures: Identity, Politics and Experience, edited by Holly Thorpe and Rebecca Olive. Drawing on theory from anthropology and phenomenology, this chapter looks at some of the behavioural and social implications of the cycling industry’s shift to design bikes with female riders in mind. It draws on my work as an academic in conjunction with my work as a product tester working for bike media.

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Abstract:

Research exploring risk in sport tends to focus on the relationship between behaviour and action from a psychological or subcultural standpoint. In this chapter I explore the variable ways technology mediates experiences between body and world, action and perception. I do this by drawing on insights from phenomenology and anthropology to investigate recent developments in bike design aimed at improving the ride experiences of female mountain bikers. This foregrounds the role technology and equipment can have on the development of confident ‘I cans’, demonstrating the impact equipment has not just on performance, but on behaviour and embodied perceptions of risk. By exploring the way new technology mediates individual and social experiences in mountain biking, this chapter reveals the dynamic relations between equipment, perception, cognition and performance.

The book brings together compelling perspectives from a range of academic disciplines on sports including climbing, parkour, snowboarding, surfing, mixed martial arts, roller derby and biking. It makes me proud to be a rider, and proud to be part of this growing, global research community as well. You can read more about the book, including previews of other chapters, here.

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If you can’t track down a copy of the book through a university library, but are interested to learn more, please get in touch.

Photos, including a couple of the local ride crew in Sydney: Kath Bicknell

One of my favourite things about mountain biking is that no two trails are the same. Local environmental conditions dictate the design of quality trails, the experience of riding them, and the mountain biking culture that develops around them. In fact, this is the very reason mountain bikers love to travel so much. Read More

A film about riding and not-riding in and around the incredible landscape surrounding Cairns, Australia. I wrote, directed and produced this film with Toyko Swim Team. Chris Baker shot and edited it bringing his unique style from the fashion world to the trails, while Wade Lewis made magic happen just about every else where magic is make-happen-able. Read More

Three things I love: being invited to learn new and exciting things, somewhere far, far away, surrounded by all kinds of interesting people. Read More

Caroline Buchanan. Gracie Elvin. Bec Henderson.

Three Olympians. Three cyclists. Three Canberrans. Three very different athletes.

I had the opportunity to interview these three ladies for SBS Zela, a website dedicated to women in sport. With free reign on the shape of each article, I started with a list of questions: things I was curious about, mediated by things I think the Zela audience might be curious about. Read More

When you buy this women’s bike, you’re buying into a community as well.

There are a lot of things that go into choosing a new bike. In my opinion, some people fixate too much on brands, the drool level of the parts, weight and appearance, and forget about other important aspects which determine how much they enjoy using it.

Tthe 2016 Liv Avail 1 Women’s Disc is so much more than the sum of its (well thought out) parts. For new riders this alloy, Shimano 105 specced, AU$ 1,799 disc model is an entry point into a whole new community. In Australia, there are regular rides in most capital cities, and a quick look at the #LivBeyond hashtag on instagram will show you how big this community is becoming on a global scale.

I tested the Avail 1 Disc for the Summer 2016 issue of Bike magazine (Australia). The bike itself has a robust and instinctive ride feel with a frame geometry that encourages comfort and stability. A PDF copy of the full review is here. An excerpt and a gallery of extra images from the very first ride are below (so clean!). Double tap the images to see them bigger if you’re reading from your mobile.

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Rotorua is a mountain biking paradise. A lush, volcanic landscape, world class trail building, iconic events, and a community that lives, breathes and celebrates all the good things that cycling offers. It’s no wonder people keep returning to this destination again and again. Myself included.

This time I wrote two articles for SBS Cycling Central while I was there. One is a list of local knowledge and intel on all the bike things you should consider while you’re in town. The other is a list of recommended activities for off the bike, because you can’t ride all the time. I’ve tried!

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Traveling through Tropical North Queensland is an experience that remains with you forever. It’s rich in lush, jungle vegetation, iconic Australian creatures, and an expanding network of world class mountain bike trails; trails that have changed mountain biking on a global scale. Read More

Stories developed for an internet readership don’t go very far without great images. While working in Tropical North Queensland recently one of many highs was spending a day with photographer Wade Lewis shooting images of the expanding trail network in the Atherton Tablelands.

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