Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance
by Adonia E. Lugo, PhD Author
Bicycle/Race paints an unforgettable picture of Los Angeles—and the United States—from the perspective of two wheels. This is a book of borderlands and intersections, a cautionary tale about the dangers of putting infrastructure before culture, and a coming-of-age story about power and identity. The colonial history of southern California is interwoven through Adonia Lugo's story of growing up Chicana in Orange County, becoming a bicycle anthropologist, and co-founding Los Angeles's hallmark open streets cycling event, CicLAvia, along the way. When she takes on racism in the world of national bicycle advocacy in Washington, DC, she finds her voice and heads back to LA to organize the movement for environmental justice in active transportation.
In the tradition of City of Quartz, this book will forever change the way you see Los Angeles, race and class in the United States, and the streets and people around you wherever you live.
Watch our live interview with Adonia on bicycling and environmental justice during the coronavirus pandemic:
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Comments & Reviews
Part memoir, part city-planning activist kick-in-the-butt. Who gets bike lanes? Suburban leisure-riders or inner city workers (in many jobs now deemed 'essential') who are biking out of necessity? How do we make a better world and better transportation for all? Dr. Lugo points us in the right directions.
"...will make you think twice about who's passing you on two or four wheels"
"If you are asking yourself what race has to do with bicycling, you are not alone: this question has been lobbed at Adonia at every level of her career as a professor, activist, anthropologist, and author. In her groundbreaking new memoir, Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, and Resistance, she tackles this question head on."
Far more than a book about the politics of cycling, Bicycle / Race paints an unforgettable portrait of Los Angeles from a two-wheeled perspective.
...a cautionary tale about the dangers of putting infrastructure before culture, and a coming-of-age story about power and identity.
Adonia Lugo, a former bicycle activist with a PhD in anthropology, spoke at a packed event last night. Her recently published book, Bicycle / Race: Transportation, Culture, and Resistance (2018, Microcosm Publishing), follows the trajectory of her cycling experience — from becoming a bike commuter in Portland, to her work establishing the CicLAvia open streets event in Los Angeles, to her struggle to integrate equity during her tenure at the League of American Bicyclists in Washington D.C.
Basically, Adonia is awesome (and, full disclosure, a friend)... As an anthropologist, much of her work is very academic. But Bicycle/Race, published this year by Microcosm Publishing, is written for everyone, reading more like a memoir of her adventures studying and leading US bike culture."
"Because of...blind spots, people—particularly those for whom biking may be the only affordable way to get around—are routinely overlooked, she argues in her new book..."
"Lugo, 34, opens her book with a tribute to Barranco, but much of what follows is her own journey of coming to terms with race and class identity as she navigates biking advocacy and racial justice spaces. Neither side, she found, was guaranteed to be open to the other."
Her research as an urban anthropologist and her 10 years as a bike advocate in L.A., Portland, and Washington, D.C., have prompted Lugo to needle the bike advocacy community with tough prods: its lack of diversity, its one-size-fits-all strategy, and the side effects of the some of the infrastructure measures it pushes for. Because of these blind spots, people—particularly those for whom biking may be the only affordable way to get around—are routinely overlooked, she argues in her new book Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance.
"I was excited how the lived experience of a self-described “half-Mexican, half-white” woman from Southern California who described bicycling as a “possible tool for liberation” could reframe the conversation and who would be the people she would center.
The colonial history of southern California is interwoven through Adonia Lugo's story of growing up Chicana in Orange County, becoming a bicycle anthropologist, and co-founding Los Angeles's hallmark open streets cycling event, CicLAvia, along the way.
"Colonialism, bikes, and racism...all from the perspective of those that bike. If you care about transportation equity and mobility justice, you're going to want to read Lugo's words and go with her on this journey."
"Adonia Lugo's vision of a more equitable bicycle movement and world is worth heeding. Her apt critique of racism in transportation is constructive and practical. Anyone who cares about how cities and roads work—or, for many, don't—will gain much from her work."
“Dr. Lugo shows bicycle advocates and planners why equity and justice should be central to our work. Her book is a key part in building a multiracial movement and networks for the wider goal of mobility justice.”