New Bikes for the Old
Materialisations of active ageing
In the last 15 years, STS has established a research programme focused on the sociotechnical reconfiguration of later life, particularly as new political programmes aim to deploy ‘active ageing’ in contemporary societies. In Denmark, the bicycle is a key technology in this aim, because of how it articulates sustainable living, health and social participation. Thus, two new ‘inclusive cycling’ initiatives for older people have been developed. Drawing on ethnographic data, we explore the ways the bikes differ, and how they explicitly mobilise active ageing as a form of ‘good old age’ in different ways. We argue that whereas ‘Cycling without Age’ rickshaws attempt to assemble social participation for older people, ‘Duo-Bikes’ aim to enable capacities through physical activity in later life. We further explore what happens when these two schemes meet, and suggest how searching for a compromise will be necessary to enhance opportunities to cycle in later life.