I just received my contributor’s copy of a new book, Cycling and Sustainability, from the publisher, Emerald. It’s a hefty and mighty impressive volume, with diverse contributions from across different disciplines and from around the world crafted together by my cycling research colleague and friend, Professor John Parkin of London South Bank University.
I met John for the first time back in 2004, when I organised the first of what’s become an annual Cycling and Society Research Group Symposium (the book will be launched officially at the 9th Symposium, at the University of London, in early September). John’s a chartered civil engineer and a professor of transport engineering, but – although I suspect he has sometimes felt slightly like a fish out of water – he has always been admirably happy to extend himself well beyond his discipline, and to engage with the range of social sciences, and this book is testament to his broad and deep interest in cycling, and the ways in which it can contribute to a more sustainable world.
I felt very honoured and privileged when John asked me to co-author the volume’s final chapter. This meant that I needed carefully to read all the chapters which went before, so I can say from first-hand experience that it contains some important and interesting contributions to our current understandings of cycling.
In our conclusion, ‘Towards a Revolution in Cycling’, we endeavour to summarise the key arguments of the book, but also to demonstrate how the different chapters provide strong evidence for how we might re-make the world in cycle-friendly and sustainable ways. So we are self-consciously ambitious and ever-so-slightly polemical in this concluding chapter, calling for cycling to be given far greater opportunities to contribute towards a healthier, happier planet. It’s well past the time when all the rhetoric as to cycling’s incredible potential needs assertively and earnestly to be converted into concrete actions, which enable it to enter the mainstream as an ordinary, mass mode of transport.
I’m copying details of the book below, so you can see for yourselves the kind of ground it covers, and decide whether it’s something about which you might like to find out more. At the very least, it’d be great if a copy could be found – not only by yourself but also by others – in the local library.