“The Lycra Index: Cycling Speed Myths In Urban Sydney” by Tega Brain, Gavin Sade

  • ©, Tega Brain and Gavin Sade, The Lycra Index: Cycling Speed Myths In Urban Sydney
  • Image from City Data Slam Report pdf


    The Lycra Index: Cycling Speed Myths In Urban Sydney

Artist(s) and People Involved:



Artist Statement:

    The Lycra Index is a project that explores anxieties associated with cycling speeds in Sydney. It responds to the considerable media attention given to anti-cycling lobbyists in the wake of the construction of the Sydney’s controversial cycle way network. The Lycra Index is calculated from speed data collected by the City of Sydney, data that they choose not to publicly release. This data is analysed to predict the ratio of lycra-clad, fast moving cyclists to slower moving casual cyclists in an attempt to forecast cycling conditions throughout the week.
    The index is expressed using the familiar forecasting language of meteorological predictions. It also correlates the speed clocked by the sensor network to cycling sterotypes such as MAMILS (Middle-Aged-Men-In-Lycra) who tend to travel at the highest speeds. The Lycra Index was found to be highest during the morning peak hour with very low incidents of high cycling speeds being found during the weekend.
    Finally this project proposes that the Lycra Index predictions be publically displayed along Sydney cycleways in a public feedback experiment and to dispel misinformation about the risks of cycling in Sydney. By demonstrating that typical conditions on Sydney’s cycleways are low speed, The Lycra Index reveals that anxieties associated with cycling speed do not reflect actual conditions on city’s new cycleways.

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