Ordinary Cycling:

unremarkable photos from the Netherlands

Brian Doucet

Urban Geographer

From 13 November

Fix Coffee and Bikes

80 Gladstone Ave, Toronto


What do cities look like in a country where a quarter of all journeys are made by bike and cycling is a normal way of getting around for the very young, the very old, and everyone in between? Between 2004 and 2017, I lived, worked and studied in the Netherlands. Before leaving, I photographed the ordinary, mundane and everyday experiences of cycling that I had grown accustomed to, and few Dutch people think about as being exceptional or remarkable.
 
I knew that, upon my return to Canada, things that had become commonplace during my time in the Netherlands were about to become extraordinary.

 In Canada, discussions about cycling focus on where to build bike lanes, conflicts between cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians, and whether or not people should wear helmets, rather than the types of societies that are created when cycling becomes ordinary. The photos in this exhibit challenge us to think about what cities can be like when cycling becomes normal. They reveal the role that cycling plays not only in better mobility, but in shaping our relationships with each other, our communities and our environment.

 These photos show the product of years of hard work to make cycling the normal, everyday practice that it has become. In the Netherlands today, there is nothing remarkable about any of these images. But in Canada, there is nothing ordinary about them at all. They remind us that normality is neither a static, nor ubiquitous, and explore the question of what is normal when it can look so different elsewhere?


A small selection of the images for this exhibition can be seen below.


If you would like to bring this exhibition to your city or gallery space, please contact Brian Doucet