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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Bike Kitchens and the sociomateriality of practice change: exploring cycling-repair relations

Valentini, D.; Butler, A.


Maintenance and repair of bikes–material interventions–are essential to sustain cycling practices. In this paper we explore the role of (bi)cycle self-repair workshops (Bike Kitchens) and the practices they enable to maintain cycling practices. We connect a sociomaterial understanding of assisted self-repair to Bike Kitchens’ role in transformational mobility change. Empirically, we utilize our own experiences in organizing and running a small Bicycle Kitchen in Sweden in conjunctions with observations and interviews, drawing on theories of social practice, the sociology of materiality and repair studies. We develop the position that through deliberate engagement with the cycle as an entity, assisted self-repair practices provide flexible means of representing the transformative potential of cycling materialities. This has implications for the meanings attached to the cycle, cycling, repair and other associated practices. We argue that Bike Kitchens may engender epistemic practices useful to develop human-centered visions for re-imagining mobility and sociomaterial relations.


bicycle; cycling; maintenance; practice; Repair; sociomaterial

Published in

Urban, Planning and Transport Research
2023, Volume: 11, number: 1, article number: 2259235
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Ltd.