Cycling, Performance and the Common Good: Copenhagenizing Canada’s Capital

  • Nicholas A. Scott Simon Fraser University
Keywords: Ottawa, cycling, urban space, pragmatic sociology, morality, performance, common good


This article explores how bicycle travel is changing Ottawa. I argue cycling is transforming Ottawa’s unique production of urban mobility, as a capital and a city of people. Challenging behavioural research on cycling and neoliberal approaches to its expansion, which emphasize individual responsibilities and intentions to bike, this article analyzes the changing moral worth of cycling and its embodied performance. I draw on research by Laurent Thévenot and Luc Boltanski to show how the morality and performance of cycling are interconnected. My analysis draws on a larger mixed methods study on urban mobility in Ottawa undertaken between 2007
and 2012, and recent follow-up analysis on changes in cycling policy and cycling infrastructure between 2012 and 2015.