Normalising cycling mobilities: an age-friendly approach to cycling in the Netherlands

Wilbert den Hoed, Helen Jarvis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Cycling is promoted as a form of urban travel with well-established benefits to health, liveability and wellbeing. These benefits are comparatively large for older people, a growing segment in many populations. Yet, support for the normalisation of cycling mobilities for all ages varies considerably. It is usual to contrast low-cycling contexts, such as the UK, with high-cycling areas, typically favouring highest-rate paradigmatic urban centres. To challenge a too simplistic imitation and re-creation of engineering solutions elsewhere, we draw attention to diverse cycling habits and norms in residents of a more ordinary high-cycling area (suburban Rotterdam), and observe how cycling is normalised throughout the lifecourse. Using mobile and biographical methods, we argue that a more nuanced appreciation of cycling normalisation is gained from viewing ageing and cycling relationally and biographically. This is because the habit-forming realm of normalisation functions through both conscious decisions and unconscious practice, bound up with life events and the external environment. The findings suggest that age-friendly city strategies and urban mobility policies should more closely consider locally constituted social and cultural processes, beyond providing infrastructure. This article thus provides an in-depth account of what it takes for planning and policy to normalise positive, empowering, and age-friendly qualities in everyday mobility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-318
Number of pages21
JournalApplied Mobilities
Issue number3
Early online date27 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2022


  • cycling
  • mobility
  • ageing
  • active ageing
  • normalisation
  • mobile methods


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