The Lived Body: How Cycling Can Change Urban Experience?

Mohammad Nazarpour | PhD Researcher, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran , Iran

Various ways of movement around the city create diverse perspectives for understanding the city. These perspectives are formed based on different moving experiences, embodied sentiments and emotions as well as on cultural actions, places, bodies and transportation means. Cycling brings about a different sensory experience relative to the pedestrians, the riders, and other ways of movement in the city, due to its various speeds and immediate embodied relationship it has with the urban space. The cyclist establishes different ways to actively engage in urban spaces, with the body playing a key part of the sensory experiences of the cyclists to explore and experience the environment.

An encounter of this kind with the city allows the cyclist to see, hear, smell and feel various urban characteristics through daily experiences; thus, helping create meanings of place embodied through sensory experiences for them. However, in a car-dominated city like Tehran, the public spaces present themselves as a disputed space for the urban cyclists. We are concerned with the way an embodied experience of cycling is formed within the spatial hegemony of cars in cities like Tehran.

The results which will be presented to the conference are taken from an “Auto-ethnographic” research of the lived experience of cyclists in public spaces in Tehran. These findings will be discussed in the framework of three main subjects of city-bike-body rhythm, view from the saddle: immediate touching of space, and spatial hegemony and embodied sub-resistances. Understanding an embodied experience of cyclists in the city can reveal new dimensions of their lived urban experiences. The main question is how cycling can change urban experience?