Brief biography

I’m based in Lancaster, north-west England. I love thinking, cycling and writing; Thinking About Cycling tries to combine them.

I have a first degree in Geography (Hull, 1989), masters degrees in Sociology (Goldsmiths College, University of London, 1998) and Environmental Philosophy (Lancaster University, 1996), and a PhD in Sociology (Lancaster University, 2002). In the past, as an academic, I conducted research and wrote on issues of sustainability, environment and mobility, but these days I write almost exclusively about cycling, because I believe it’s a practice with unfulfilled radical potential.

This blog is home to some of my past academic work on cycling, as well as to ongoing explorations of and reflections on cycling inspired by my cycling practice.

If you’d like to get in touch, my email address is the title of this blog (all lower case, and written as one word) at (@) gmail.com

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6 Responses to “Brief biography”

  1. Tourer Says:

    Dear Dave, found your site via Alternative Dept of transport. I am trying to get this running where I live (he said hopefully).

    Cycling in Medway
    I hesitate to say I’m a cyclist as it implies I am in a specialist group. I ride a bicycle as an everyday means of transport in the same way that many people use a car or motorcycle and therefore just another road user. I am not an eco-warrior (although I do recycle as much as possible) or particularly anti car for the right reasons either.
    Cycling has, particularly with the advent of last year’s Olympics success has in my view presented brilliant opportunities to generally increase cycling as a, dare I use the word ‘normal’ as a daily form of transport in the Medway Towns. Much of the congestion on our roads at peak times is mainly people driving to or from work and doing the school run. Many of these people travel less than three or four miles each way. Over eight million a year spent on roads and repairs in Medway and it is still a bottomless pit. If car usage went down there would be a longer gap before repairs had to be carried out.
    How much of this pointless traffic could be eliminated cheaply in comparison to road repairs, and cost to the local NHS (obesity related illnesses etc) if Medway Council, local NHS, Medway Messenger, Meridian, local radio, cycle shops and local supermarkets (sponsoring cycle trailers or cargo bikes to deliver shopping or do it yourself) in the towns got together to make Medway Towns the cycling capital of the UK? There is not even need to radically alter road design just provide sensible on road and more segregated cycle ways around the area instead of using so much of the budget on the car culture. The Medway Towns has many tourists every year that come to see the rich heritage we have and what better way to see it than by bicycle? For those that don’t or can’t cycle why not have ‘taxi trikes’ as they have in London and other places to ferry people around which would also provide employment opportunities in the area as well (providers, drivers, servicing, cycle hire etc). Local shop deliveries by cargo bikes. There are even opportunities for a yearly cycle festival similar to the one in York (around a 150,000 visitors visit over ten days yearly). With the Channel crossing not that far European cyclists would eventually go a bit further afield and visit the historic Medway Towns.
    The school run could be transformed! School taxi bikes that are common in parts of Europe could be used as well as schools having cycle parking so children can get to school as was common not that long ago. Again there are employment opportunities here with the added bonus of promoting exercise as a bonus! There are many safe ways to transport children by bicycle, child seats, trailers, tag-a-longs etc. One of the best outcomes with this would be improving the general health of the local population at a tiny cost compared to what it must cost in road repairs, cost to the local health service at present. A primary move would be to stop highlighting cycling as a dangerous activity and implying that anyone who leaves the house not covered in day glow and wearing a helmet will die. Cycling is a lot safer than driving in the general sense. Over a relatively short space of time car use would drop off naturally and more and more people would naturally take to cycling locally when the infrastructure is there.
    These are just a few possibilities but think of how nicer the Medway Towns could be. A healthier population, a better local economy, employment, a better environment to live in all round. These ideas are not new or expensive and neither do they need endless consultation periods or vast amounts of capital invested to realise them, just a common sense approach. Cycle retailers, supermarkets and local business especially the larger ones would no doubt be keen to sponsor various projects as would the cycle industry in general as it ultimately means better sales in the long run. A Medway Towns ‘Boris Bike’ equivalent even! The possibilities are endless!
    These are not difficult things to do nor are they ‘pie in the sky’ ideas that are complicated and the benefits outweigh the cost by a considerable margin! All of the above is a no brainer and can help solve a number of social issues along the way!

    • Dave Horton Says:

      Thanks Tourer, all very good points, and all ideas well worth pursuing (which is where things get tricky/political/hard!!).

      I don’t have any knowledge of the Medway towns myself (although one of my all time favourite cycling songs is Wild Billy Childish and the Buff Medways’ “Medway Wheelers”!),but I’d urge you to find others locally who agree with (and/or are sympathetic to) your viewpoints and ideas. That’s likely to be the local cycle campaign group, and or local CTC group. I’ve just done a quick google and one place to start your search might be Spokes, the East Kent Cycle Campaign, here:

      http://www.spokeseastkent.org.uk/

      To those of us who love cycling, the case for cycling is strong to the point of seeming overwhelmingly obvious. But to convert our ideas into reality we have to find ways of convincing others, and of working with others. If there are any specific ways in which you think I can help, please just get in touch – I’m always happy to offer what help I can.

      Good luck, and thanks for letting me/us know about how great the Medway towns could be. I’m with you absolutely on that.
      Best wishes
      Dave

      • Nick Oldham Says:

        Hi Dave

        You may be interested to know that the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has made a short video to promote cycling in this beautiful landscape. It follows a group of riders on some sections of the Tour de France Grand depart route. You can see the video on http://www.cyclethedales.org.uk/film . It would be great if you could put a link to it on your website.
        I’m the Authority’s Media Officer. Would you be interested in receiving relevant cycling press releases? If so, what address should I send them to?

  2. sergio Says:

    Hi Dave,
    I’m Sergio, I’m Italian, I live in the UK. I stumbled across you site whilst searching for links to socialist thinking and bicycles. Your writings are awesome. Thank you for spending your time writing for us. But can I ask you what’s been happening since your last post, in spring? Missing your input.

    • Dave Horton Says:

      Thanks Sergio, I’m glad you like what’s here. I’m still here, I’m still riding, but I’m thinking a bit less about cycling than I was, and somehow I’ve lost the impulse to set my thoughts out in public, at least for a while. We’ll see … perhaps I’ll come back to it, but for the time being it feels good to be taking a rest, and to see what might happen next .. (I guess everyone needs fallow periods, but doing a blog reveals your fallow period to the world 😉
      Thanks for wondering, and of course, it’s nice to know I’m missed, if only a tiny bit 😉
      Dave

  3. Sergio Says:

    Thanks for your reply and happy riding.

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