Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Geography and Sustainable Communities


This thesis aims to offer a better understanding as to why road cycling remains one of Australia’s most popular leisure activities, despite a reported 38 road cyclists killed annually and another 12,000 seriously injured (AIHW, 2019). By investigating cycling sensations of the body and cycling, this thesis responds to calls from feminist geographical scholarship to embraced embodied approaches. Building on feminist readings of the work of Deleuze and Guattari (1987), this thesis offers the concepts of the ‘cycling assemblage’ and ‘cycling refrain’ to help rethink the relationship between mobility, subjectivities and place. Two important implications arise. First, attention is drawn to how road cycling is always more than a human achievement through the involvement of the topography, weather, bikes, clothes, light and so on. Second, identification as a road cyclist is never fixed or pre-existing, rather is always emerging through the sensations felt during the coming together of ideas and materials on the move. Insights into becoming a road cyclist build on methodological arguments that call for a sensory ethnography. Cycling sensory ethnographies designed for this project combined semi-structured interviews with go-alongs and qualitative geographic information systems. 27 people consented to participate. All identified as leisure road cyclists and lived in the car-dominated small city of Wollongong, on the east coast of New South Wales, Australia. The sensory analysis involved mapping affective moments that provide important insights into the gendered dynamics of leisure cycling and self-tracking technologies, the embodied dimensions of mobility justice, and rethinking wellbeing through cycling as a more than human achievement. The thesis concludes by highlighting contributions to the academy and future research.

FoR codes (2008)




Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.