JSS  Vol.2 No.1 , January 2014
Cycling as Innovation in Norway and Sweden—A Narrative Study of the Acceptance of a Technical Novelty
ABSTRACT
This paper deals with the acceptance of a technical novelty, in this case cycling, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Experiences and feelings are the focus. The analytical perspectives are: social status, economy, age, gender, work/leisure, safety/danger. The innovation process of cycling conducted by a contrast between two neighbouring countries of Norway and Sweden respectively. The oral source material is found in Norwegian and Swedish folklore archives. The earliest design of bicycle was called velocipede. The bicycles began to appear around 1900. The first owners of bicycles were mostly well-to-do people in both rural and urban areas. As long as there was a shortage of bicycles, a certain collegiality existed, which implied that several people could use the same bike. Envy was also expressed in contrast to collective collegiality. Lady’s bicycles came somewhat later than men’s bikes. Children’s bicycles did not exist at first, so children were taught on adult bicycles. A major problem when bringing in bicycles was the bad road conditions in rural areas, especially in winter and at the spring thaw. Among the elder, the first velocipedes and bicycles could be perceived as a danger of supernatural character. Long weekend bike rides are mentioned in many cases from the 1930s, both in Norway and Sweden. Among cyclists, the expressions of positive feelings, as freedom, are clearly in majority. There were special conditions during the Second World War. One problem the cyclists then experienced was the total lack of rubber tyres. The difference between the neighbouring countries was that riders in Sweden were not subjected to the checks carried out by the German authorities in Norway.

Cite this paper
Gustavsson, A. (2014) Cycling as Innovation in Norway and Sweden—A Narrative Study of the Acceptance of a Technical Novelty. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2, 72-85. doi: 10.4236/jss.2014.21009.
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