Bicycle is a Subculture

Bicycle is one of the old vehicles. Since the invention of this human powered vehicle, bicycle has triggered many movements and altered the culture through its uniqueness. Bicycle become more than just vehicle, it is a lifestyle with personal, political, environment and economic issues attached in this two wheels. Bicycle has the function in the oppositional cultures and social movements such as feminism, socialism, anarchism and environmentalism from the 19th century until today. The altering function of the bicycle in these movements indicates the shifting of social and political resistance. Bicycle also demonstrates the importance of simplicity and naturalism spirit to the production and reproduction of cultural and political identities.

Bicycle and Feminism
In the early era, bicycle contributed to the feminist movement, resulted a dominant association of the bicycle with new freedoms of mobility for women. The bicycle enabled feminism movement into new era and dimension, literally and metaphorically. The woman of the nineteenth century had a vehicle with which she could not only grow autonomous power, but also has the independence, leaving behind the old dependence upon men for travel.

Bicycle clearly was part of a fight for new political freedoms in the perspective of feminism. The leading movement among the empowered bicycling women was ‘New Woman’. They were politically engaged and physically active beyond the domestic space. They are in search for new ways to push the developing rights of women. Bicycle was one of the important aspect to boost the idea and effectively could form the new perspective among the society at that time.

Bicycle Anarchism and Environment Issues
In the late 1980s a big rise in environmental awareness around the globe was emerged. Many organizations started to give more attention to the environmental issues. The emission, the consumption chain and energy becomes the highlight in every aspect of life. In terms of transportation, bicycle gains more popularity since the vehicle need less oil energy and produce no emission. The bicycle is most representatively as a central of environmentalism.

For the environmentalists, cycling is an intra-urban mobility vehicle. The bicycle and cycling are the form of the alternative green lifestyle. The bicycle as the daily vehicle is one part of their local green practice. The bicycle becomes part of the self declaration as a person who has the concern about the environmental issues. Cycling becomes the activity that indicates the green lifestyle in the modern era.

Other perspective was developed after the environmental issues were highlighted. Some activists start the campaign of the green lifestyle and the conversion of oil based energy to more eco friendly energy. They started to give more focuses on the transportation issues in terms of emission and also space. Some groups such as Earth First! and Reclaim the Streets are the organization which are against automobile usage for daily activities. Both Earth First! And Reclaim the Streets are rooted in an anarchist politics of direct action. They were the central to the “anti road” protests.

The early 1990s they did the direct action, a protest against the UK government’s transport plans. They did some symbolic action such as smashing of cars and motor and also painting of bike lanes onto roads on their own as the protest to the government policy. Both groups also involved during the against the M11 campaign in London. They were occupying the proposed route by the bike art, and also used bicycles to go up and down in the Claremont Road as their statement of resistance to the motorway. The bicycle image which was became unity to the protestor become the symbol of the resistance to the car development in the modern era.

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