The Politics of Bicycle Innovation: Comparing the American and Dutch Human-Powered Vehicle Movements, 1970s—present

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


This paper deals with the history of the international Human-Powered Vehicle (HPV) movement, originally launched in the 1970s by engineers and scientists who believed that bicycle innovation could give a major impetus to a coveted western bicycle renaissance. Based on a reading of magazines and books from the American and Dutch HPV scenes, it compares ideas and practices within the Dutch Human-Powered Vehicle association NVHPV (established 1984) with those of the American-based IHPVA (established 1976), asking why the American ideas about innovative Human-Powered Vehicles did not evoke a stronger response in a bicycle-friendly country such as the Netherlands. The paper shows that while new ideas to promote cycling may travel easily, national trajectories and cultures of cycling prove remarkably resilient to change.

bicycle renaissance; environmentalism; glocalization; Human-Powered Vehicle movement; IHPVA; innovation; Netherlands
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCycling and Recycling. Histories of Sustainable Practices
EditorsR Oldenziel, H Trischler
Place of PublicationNew York, Oxford
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)978-1-78238-970-5
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

SeriesEnvironment in History: International Perspectives

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