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STS 165, Mountain Biking & the Built Environment

Seeing the World on Two Wheels

This class will explore built environments through the history and culture of mountain biking. Mountain biking arose from the convergence of 1970s counterculture, road racing, and environmentalism in Marin county, California. Its rising popularity in the 1980s and 1990s contributed to the growth of outdoor adventure sports and transformed the bicycling industry. Twenty years after its origination, mountain biking was an Olympic sport and the best-selling style of bicycle on the market. This class will study the social and cultural factors that contributed to its astronomical growth and debate how mountain biking has reshaped the ways people experience nature and urban spaces. The course will include guest visits from early mountain bikers.


Along with learning the cultural history of mountain biking, students in this class will gain familiarity with scholarship on nature-technology relations, innovation studies, and the built environment. Students will participate in the creation of a publicly accessible digital archive on mountain biking history, and learn how technologies affect the way we record history.


Aug 6th – Sept 14th on Mon, Tues, Wed 9:00 – 10:40 a.m.


CRN 73659 No prerequisites. GE: SoSci, Wrt


For more information, contact Sarah McCullough at

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