No dig, no ride: Maintaining DIY designed bike trails

Healy, Liam. 2022. 'No dig, no ride: Maintaining DIY designed bike trails'. In: EASST 2022: Politics of technoscientific futures. Madrid, Spain 6 - 9 July 2022. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

This paper draws on research with DIY bike trail builders and the temporalities of maintenance and care that they employ. Very little attention has been paid to the practices involved in maintaining DIY trails and the communities that do this work. I argue that trails spots build on feminist STS scholars invitation to tune into neglected practices by expanding conceptions of care in spaces typically conceptualised in terms of action, expression, and the affective experience of bike riding. The paper is structured around three forms of maintenance: First, caring for the land that the trails are built on, that are often in SLOAP, and ‘post-capitalist ruins’, for example former mines/quarries, spaces between major roads, and landfills. I think with the practices that trail builders undertake as a kind of ‘repair work’ of these spaces. Second, the temporal concern of caring for the trails themselves so that they can remain functional. Here I argue that these practices are not only unseen, but intentionally kept secret because the spaces and trails often exist illegally. Third, that these spaces are always a more-than-human (un-)commons, providing small enclaves for observing how humans (bike riders) and non-humans (trees, plants, and animals) might live ‘well’ and co-become together. The commons also highlights who and what is excluded, and here practices are often employed to close down participation and exclude outsiders. I think with this practice as maintaining their secrecy, which is often cited as extremely important for local builders. Importantly, maintenance is not innocent, and following feminist approaches to care highlights who or what is excluded when caring for one thing. I argue DIY bike trails thicken care and provide multiple ways to conceptualise the practices enacted in these spaces.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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March 2022Accepted
8 July 2022Completed

Event Location:

Madrid, Spain

Date range:

6 - 9 July 2022

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Date Deposited:

15 Aug 2022 14:30

Last Modified:

15 Aug 2022 14:30


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