Conférence | Was USSR Friendly to Bicycles?

Jeudi 1 décembre 2022 (11h00 – 12h15) – University of Lausanne, Géopolis – 2137 / and on Zoom


Olha Martynyuk (University of Basel/ Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute) will talk about cycling policies and the history of cycling practices in the USSR.

So long as the mass production of automobiles remained beyond Bolshevik aspirations, the bicycle continued to be the most widely available means of personal transport in the Soviet Union. Constantly working to increase the number of produced bicycles, the USSR, however, never developed an autonomous bicycle infrastructure in its cities and countryside. The presentation discusses policies towards cycling and actual experiences of mobility. It shows that debates regarding whether a bicycle was a bourgeois privilege or a worker’s tool, as well as World War II experiences, had a substantial impact on mobility patterns in the Soviet Union. Using multiple examples from a wide range of archival, oral, and printed sources, I will show that the technological development was not predefined. Even in the country of fierce repressions towards independent thinking, alternative practices of micro-mobility existed outside the state-stimulated scenarios.

Discussant: Grégory Quin (ISSUL)

The presentation takes place in hybrid mode. Please register here to get the Zoom link. Contact:

This presentation is organised by the OUVEMA, the Institute of Geography and Sustainability and the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne.

More information