In 2011, three University of California graduate students working on interdisciplinary dissertation projects about bicycling connected online. Sarah McCullough (American Studies at UC Davis), Adonia Lugo (Anthropology, UC Irvine), and Lusi Morhayim (Architecture, UC Berkeley) agreed that we had felt isolated in our work, but now a growing number of scholars had started to investigate the cultural life of bicycling using qualitative research methods such as interviews, participant-observation, and media analysis. However, interdisciplinary research into bicycling was not well supported within the transportation research field, which tended to rely on engineering and statistical methods for predicting user behavior. Each of our projects had emerged from ethnographic inquiry into social worlds of cycling, and we decided we could benefit from more peer review.
We pooled our contacts, and created the Bicicultures email list in early 2012. Over the next year, as the list grew to over 100 participants, graduate students and more established scholars shared citations and concepts. Sarah and Adonia served as list moderators and arranged a meetup at the American Anthropological Association meeting in 2012. They then decided that an in-person meeting for the group would be a useful next step, and organized the Bicicultures Roadshow that took place in Los Angeles and Davis in April 2013.
In 2015, Sarah and Adonia decided to transition the project into a tool for action in the form of a consulting firm. We chose this format in the hopes of creating a structure for intellectual production and on-the-ground less constrained by institutional politics. We see this as a working model of our own methods and theories as cultural scholars. We believe in maintaining open access values, giving credit where credit is due, intellectual freedom, gender equality, and economic and racial justice.