Authors: Kevin Baker*, Miami University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Social Geography
Keywords: Sense of Place, Public Space, Cycling, Cultural Geography
Session Type: Paper
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom C, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
The cycling public sphere consists of any group of cyclists that gather on public roads to ride, socialize and explore landscape. Cycling groups can locally encounter dangerous interaction with cars and be generally unwanted. Road cycling involves risk taking as a counter public navigating space specifically designed for other modes of transportation, cars. Smooth roads, scenic landscape and minimum motor traffic is highly desired by cyclists. The Tour de France, is an interactive spectator sport that occurs on public roads across the French countryside for three weeks, annually. The Tour de France mountain stages are incredibly difficult in which riders must truly suffer to complete. These French mountain tops are pilgrimage sites for any cyclist or cyclist group across the globe to observe professionals and ride themselves the same iconic roads intended during the time of the Tour. These mountainous landscapes along the Tour have been socially constructed space developed through the Tour’s cycling usage, history and presence of annual spectatorship. In this paper, I will argue that the three weeks during the Tour de France transforms French mountaintop roads into specifically - cyclist public space as these roads are a part of cycling heritage and are marked by memorials and active cycling by professionals and fans alike.