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Old 02-04-07, 02:02 PM   #1
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Bike Ridership: Is it really rising?

It seems so to me, but is bike ridership really up? How do we know this? Where do you find the numbers on this? What about bike industry numbers?
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Old 02-04-07, 02:18 PM   #2
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The city where I live keeps track of our numbers.

http://bikeportland.org/2006/09/08/b...nts-completed/
http://bikeportland.org/2006/10/04/b...resting-stats/
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Old 02-04-07, 03:57 PM   #3
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Bike riding certainly isn't 'up' here at the moment... not with 7 weeks straight of snow and cold. But last summer I certainly saw a lot of people out on bikes.
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Old 02-04-07, 05:32 PM   #4
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I wonder how many other cities keep track of their cyclists like Portland?
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Old 02-04-07, 10:36 PM   #5
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The number of bicyclists is way down on my early morning and late evening commutes, but the number of riders going by my workplace late morning and afternoon is up considerably.
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Old 02-05-07, 01:16 AM   #6
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I wonder how many other cities keep track of their cyclists like Portland?
I'll bet they know. Ask 'em.
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Old 02-05-07, 08:03 AM   #7
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So far, my inquiries online about bicycle ridership has hit a snag: Whenever I typed in said request for Portland, Maine, it was somehow assumed for the city of Portland, Oregon. Arrrgh!
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Old 02-05-07, 09:12 AM   #8
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Put a - next to Oregon or put it in quotes:
"Portland Maine" -Oregon. That should help.

I think our county keeps statistics, too. I think the last time I saw them it said ridership was up slightly to something like 4% of trips, which apparently is pretty high.
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Old 02-05-07, 09:36 PM   #9
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I would suspect in the north, the number of bike riders are waaaaay down. With the wind chill factor, the cyclist is riding under 10 degrees F easily. I admire those who can ride in this temperature because it is brutal.

Having said that, I've been riding very limited using the lightrail to assist in my transportation cycling.
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Old 02-06-07, 12:53 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
I would suspect in the north, the number of bike riders are waaaaay down. With the wind chill factor, the cyclist is riding under 10 degrees F easily. I admire those who can ride in this temperature because it is brutal.

Having said that, I've been riding very limited using the lightrail to assist in my transportation cycling.
You've got to take a peak in the commuting subforum. There are guys, including our very own chipcom, who are commuting in subzero (degF, of course) weather. The numbers for Portland are, I think, yearly averages. But then again, the lowest we've gotten this year has been waaaay down into the 20's . It doesn't really get cold here in the winter. Just wet.
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Old 02-06-07, 02:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
I would suspect in the north, the number of bike riders are waaaaay down. With the wind chill factor, the cyclist is riding under 10 degrees F easily. I admire those who can ride in this temperature because it is brutal.

Having said that, I've been riding very limited using the lightrail to assist in my transportation cycling.
That's your assumption, not necessarily how the figures would stand.

When ridership statistics are collected, they are based upon more than what season it is or what the temperatures currently are. For instance, they are collected over a period of months or years - not on the season, weather, and temperatures.

Ridership levels are based on facts, not assumptions. Go get some data.
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Old 02-06-07, 01:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
I would suspect in the north, the number of bike riders are waaaaay down. With the wind chill factor, the cyclist is riding under 10 degrees F easily. I admire those who can ride in this temperature because it is brutal.

Having said that, I've been riding very limited using the lightrail to assist in my transportation cycling.
I usually quit for the year, sometime in November, and the pick up again after the first good rain in April. Cold is not an issue, if you wear enough of the right layers, you can survive just about any temperature, in fact in may ways cold is easier to deal with then heat, because you can adjust the layers to make it work. The problem around here is that cagers don't realise that you drive on snow and ice, differently then bare ground, so the city must chemically remove the snow and ice from the roads. The usual chemical they use, greatly enhances the ability of metal to revert to it's natural form, so most cages around on our roads that have a few years of experience, have conversion to it's natural form, of the metal surfaces. I don't mind that the family cage is so effected, but I would rather not subject the bikes to a similar chemical treatment.
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Old 02-07-07, 02:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wogsterca
I usually quit for the year, sometime in November, and the pick up again after the first good rain in April. Cold is not an issue, if you wear enough of the right layers, you can survive just about any temperature, in fact in may ways cold is easier to deal with then heat, because you can adjust the layers to make it work. The problem around here is that cagers don't realise that you drive on snow and ice, differently then bare ground, so the city must chemically remove the snow and ice from the roads. The usual chemical they use, greatly enhances the ability of metal to revert to it's natural form, so most cages around on our roads that have a few years of experience, have conversion to it's natural form, of the metal surfaces. I don't mind that the family cage is so effected, but I would rather not subject the bikes to a similar chemical treatment.
The 'beater' is a generally accepted sacrifice to the gods of winter. It's aroma is pleasant and the clacking sound it makes as it approaches is pleasing to the chemical gods.

That being said, riding in winter is much fun - though the antics of cars that don't know how to drive on snow and ice are problematic - I don't mind sacrificing the beater, but I don't want to sacrifice myself
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Old 02-07-07, 09:22 AM   #14
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Around the time of the transit strike I saw some figures about cycling in NYC, but unfortunately can't find them now. My recollection is that bicycle usage had continued to rise in this city over the last decade, that they got their numbers by counting bikes going over various bridges during a work day, but I don't think it was adjusted for increase in population. So.....not much help.

Here's some interesting international stats (broken down by country), but pretty dated:
http://www.ibike.org/library/statistics-data.htm

About the cold, I'm still riding and don't have nearly all my cold weather gear on. Yesterday on the way in it was 11F, around 0F with the wind chill and it still didn't seem that bad. High winds with low temps really get you though, where you have to cover up all your skin.
Weird thing, I was out Saturday and about 30 min. into my ride I hear this really loud "PING" and all of a sudden my seat is flopping around. As far as I can tell the metal of the clamp/bolt contracted and the pressure released all at once.
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Old 02-07-07, 01:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rajman
The 'beater' is a generally accepted sacrifice to the gods of winter. It's aroma is pleasant and the clacking sound it makes as it approaches is pleasing to the chemical gods.
Or you could mock the gods of winter by riding an aluminum bike with fenders and studded nokians. Muahahaha! (not that I do, I just fantasize about it)

There's not much you can do about the chemical gods, they're pretty much ubiquitous.
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Old 02-07-07, 01:42 PM   #16
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Even though it is not a very effective gauge but bicycle sales may be one indication as to whether or not it is up. Granted people buying a bike does not mean they will actually ride it. I do not know if there is anykind of ratio stating a comparison with those that buy a new bike & ride it to those who buy a bike & only ride a few times & hang it up not to be ridden again.
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Old 02-07-07, 01:57 PM   #17
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Around here one BS shop has started running ads for winter cycling gear and commuter bikes. Unheard of just five years ago. It must be growing.
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Old 02-07-07, 03:47 PM   #18
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Here's the National Bicycle Dealers Assoc.'s Industry Overview 2006 with some good info (sales stats through 2005, but usage stats only up to 2002)
http://nbda.com/page.cfm?PageID=34

They site the Nat'l Sporting Goods Assoc. statistics for participation:
2001: 39 Million, 2002: 41.4, but 1992 was 54.6 (people who rode a bike more than once that year)
The NSGA (http://www.nsga.org/public/pages/index.cfm?pageid=149) says in 2005 43.1 million rode more than once.

So.... still no definite answer, and those stats don't address the type of cycling being done.
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Old 02-08-07, 09:53 PM   #19
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I would say sales stats are the best measure. Special interest groups like Bicycling groups (yes, bike groups are a special interest group, even though I am pro-bike myself) will always report ridership being up.

What is interesting is the number of LBS shops are going down but the sales of specialty bikes are about the same.

My impression is it probably slightly higher, mainly due to Lance Armstrong making the Tour De France more popular in the US.

One more thing that interesting but not mentioned in the article... you can buy a multi-speed bike cheaper at Walmart today than you could at Sears and K-Mart 20 years ago.
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Old 02-08-07, 10:27 PM   #20
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From what I have seen over the last two years the ammount of bicycle commuters in my area certainly isn't "up", at least not enough for me to notice. During the high gas price fiasco we had I saw a few other commuters... well, only one definately, and saw him on a daily basis. But since September I have not seen but maybe three others on bikes. And since November I have not seen a single person other than my own reflection in the glare ice.
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Old 02-14-07, 11:07 AM   #21
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http://www.bicycling.com/mediakit/ci...ketleader.html
Bicycling’s appeal to riders of every stripe has driven a 40% increase in our rate base since 2002 at a time when other cycling magazines chase fads and increasingly narrower segments of the market at the cost of declining circulation.


Magazine Circulation
Bicycling 400,000
Mountain Bike 155,000
Bike 71,500
Mountain Bike Action 61,000
VeloNews 45,160
CycleSport 35,065

\
http://www.bikebiz.com/statistics.php
Customs statistics indicate that China exported a total of 45.57 million bicycles in 2002, which represented growth of 31% from the 34.94 million export figure of 2001.

http://nbda.com/page.cfm?PageID=34

Since 2005, Russia has had bike expo. 14000 visitors last year.
http://en.farexpo.ru/velo/index.php
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Old 02-14-07, 11:40 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpsblake

One more thing that interesting but not mentioned in the article... you can buy a multi-speed bike cheaper at Walmart today than you could at Sears and K-Mart 20 years ago.
Who pays for Wal-Mart "bargains":

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/27829
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