First Advisor

Amy Lubitow

Date of Publication

Summer 8-17-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Sociology






Cycling -- Social aspects -- Oregon -- Portland, Public spaces -- Oregon -- Portland, Cyclists -- Attitudes, Women cyclists -- Attitudes, Minorities -- Attitudes



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 118 pages)


Although Portland, Oregon is widely regarded as a "bike friendly" city, its bike equity remains in question. This thesis explores the barriers to biking that women and people of color face in Portland. This research uses feminist geography scholarship to understand how cycling spaces are unequal for marginalized cyclists. Using data from 28 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with infrequent and marginalized cyclists, I found that gender and race inequalities shape their barriers to biking. A hegemonic white, elite, and masculine bike culture controls the domination of cycling spaces. Women's gendered spatial inequalities are shaped by their childrearing demands, geography of fear, and street harassment. Cyclists of color experience a fear of public space due to racial profiling and police violence, and racial spatial inequalities are shaped by Portland's historic and racist city planning that gentrifies and displaces residents of color. Furthermore, intersectional inequalities of gender, race, and class, emerge and illustrate how cycling spaces are built to be unequal. These findings suggest that spatial inequalities in the urban landscape are pervasive in multiple spaces such as bike lanes, and that more research and policy is needed to increase ridership among women and people of color.


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