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  1. #1
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    Which City Has Highest Per Capita Cyclist Population?

    As I was riding in the Denver Metro Area last week I noticed a Lot of cyclists of all kinds. At first I was really impressed by their number. After all I'm pre-disposed to be impressed because Denver has such a superb MUP system; and that influences everything else.

    Then I got to thinking: Sure there are lots of cyclists. There should be. There are well over a million people in the metro area. That led to asking: Wonder what city or place has the highest proportion of the population riding bicycles. Is it some little place only folks on this forum know about?

    Bet the people in this groupl will come up with the Bicycle Capital; the one with the highest percentage of populaton riding bikes. Maybe, even drilling it down to cities on each continent?
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  2. #2
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I'm sure there is good data on this. I'm guessing Portland, OR in the US and Amsterdam in Europe. Shanghai has millions of cyclists and they are provided limited-use-lanes with fences to separate the cars from the cyclists.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 03-25-11 at 06:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    I'm sure there is good data on this. I'm guessing Portland, OR in the US and Amsterdam in Europe. Shanghai has millions of cyclists and they are provided limited-use-lanes with fences to separate the cars from the cyclists.
    It would really depend on how the data is collected. For instance, there are an awful lot of cars in Portland on a daily basis that are driven by people who live outside the city limits (and often outside the state). Thus, the numbers giving bicycle use for PDX are always an overestimate when one considers the total population of people in the city on a daily basis.

    Nitpicking aside, for American cities we are really talking about a tallest midget contest. I hope to still be around when that is not the case.

  4. #4
    Oh! That British Bloke .. ThatBritBloke's Avatar
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    Copenhagen or Amsterdam ... maybe Beijing?
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    Aquaintances who have been to Bejing say the bicycle is rapidly going away in favor of scooters and cars. Guess that is a sign of a better economy?

    I don't know there is good data on this. I do know that popular US magazines extol certain cities as "Best Biking Cities" but fail to include smaller ones that may have higher per capita participation. Plus, their method of choosing is geared more to selling magazines than providing real information. I'm thinking it is a place that has lots of activity but has a pretty small population.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Small city population should win this one. Davis, California

  7. #7
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Isla Vista, California has to be high up there, maybe number one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
    Small city population should win this one. Davis, California
    Davis has the same problem as PDX. Since housing prices exploded relative to incomes in the area, many people who work/attend college in Davis now live elsewhere and drive in. All those parking lots that stood empty in the '70s and '80s are now full and have been multiplied many-fold. Also, Davis is now a bedroom community serving Sac and the Bay Area, and very few of those folks are riding. I regularly spend a week or two at a time in Davis and I often go days between seeing any bikes being used other than bikes that are stored on campus by those who drive there.

    Now, if you want to talk about Davis back between 1973 and 1987, that was a place with truly high percentages of cyclists. Today? Not so much. There are people trying to improve it, but they have a long way to go to get back to where things stood. Davis was once a truly special place where no matter where you stood you would see many more bikes being ridden than cars. It was always wonderful to sit on a bench and watch three or four thousand bikes go by before the first motor vehicle passed. Like I said, discussing which city has the highest percentage of cyclists in America today is like looking for the tallest midget.

    We haven't even dealt with the definition of a cyclist yet. If someone drives from one part of town to another but uses a bike to toodle around at their destination is he/she a cyclist or a motorist? If someone rides once per month or only from mid-spring to mid-fall is that person a cyclist? If a person only rides after they drive their bike somewhere is that person a cyclist? I consider the use of a car to have a much larger negative impact on a community than the positive impact of any amount of cycling. Therefore, I would argue for a very restrictive definition in the context of the question of comparative cycling between cities.

  9. #9
    Senior Member xizangstan's Avatar
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    I would assume that college towns with a high proportion of students to non-student citizens would be way up there in bicycle use. I'm thinking of Boulder Colorado and Ft. Collins Colorado as examples of smaller towns that are college campus-centric.




    Also, how about tourist resort towns? I'm now thinking of Breckenridge, Colorado. No bikes in winter as snow is super-deep. But the Colorado ski resort community turns into a summer bicycling heaven in the summer tourist season. The chair lifts to the tops of the ski slopes are rigged with hooks for hauling your mountain bikes up to the top along with you. You freeride down the fire trails on the bike, then ride back up again on a chair lift. Downtown is like a beehive of bicycles in the summer. So, what time of year would you be talking about?
    Last edited by xizangstan; 03-26-11 at 04:57 AM.
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    I was in Beijing last month.I didn't see very many bicycles. I was there several years back and saw mostly bicycles.

    Kaohsiung Taiwan still has a high number of bicycles. I didn't see high end bicycles there although many of the frames we have in the US are manufactured there. I saw a lower percentage of bicycles in Taipei than in Kaohsiung.

  11. #11
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Netherlands: People: 16,652,800 - Bicycles: 16,500,000 - Cyclists: ~99.1%
    China: People: 1,342,700,000 - Bicycles: >500,000,000 - Cyclists: >37.2%
    USA: People: 310,936,000 - Bicycles: 100,000,000 - Cyclists: ~32,2%
    Source: http://top10hell.com/top-10-countrie...es-per-capita/

    Most bicycle commuters in USA: Philadelphia - The US Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey recently reported that Philadelphia has the most bicycle commuters per capita of the nation’s most populated cities. Philadelphia’s bicycle commuters comprised 1.6% of all commuters who travel to work.
    Source: http://bikephl.bicyclecoalition.org/...commuters.html

    I knew I had a photo somewhere from our vacation. It took me a bit to find it. The attached is a typical scene in Leiden on any weekday in the commercial part of the city. About every other block you'll see a parking situation like this. These bikes are not sitting in someone's basement or garage. They're being used as primary transportation on a daily basis.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by NOS88; 03-31-11 at 04:30 PM. Reason: Added Photo
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  12. #12
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtragitt View Post
    I was in Beijing last month.I didn't see very many bicycles. I was there several years back and saw mostly bicycles.
    That's sad really. The Chinese may be more foolish than we are led to believe.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  13. #13
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    Netherlands: People: 16,652,800 - Bicycles: 16,500,000 - Cyclists: ~99.1%
    So, what's wrong with those 152,800 Netherlandians? Someone better tell them to "get with the program!"
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  14. #14
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    That's sad really. The Chinese may be more foolish than we are led to believe.
    It’s ironic, in a rush to be more like the west, they need to duplicate all of our bad habits.

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    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    How about Key West for small town US
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    We haven't even dealt with the definition of a cyclist yet. If someone drives from one part of town to another but uses a bike to toodle around at their destination is he/she a cyclist or a motorist? If someone rides once per month or only from mid-spring to mid-fall is that person a cyclist? If a person only rides after they drive their bike somewhere is that person a cyclist? I consider the use of a car to have a much larger negative impact on a community than the positive impact of any amount of cycling. Therefore, I would argue for a very restrictive definition in the context of the question of comparative cycling between cities.
    I don't think you will get a definition anyway. I used to hang out in the Car Free forum and they can't define car free and that should be far more definitive that what or who is a cyclist.

    To me if the person's first choice for getting from poit A to Point B is a bicycle they should be considered a cyclist. Maybe if you have more miles on your bike than your car that would qualify?

    However you can drive a car and be a swimmer or a runner so I would think it would be the same for a cyclist.

  17. #17
    Senior Member xizangstan's Avatar
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    Having a hammer in the tool box doesn't make you a carpenter. Owning a bicycle doesn't mean you're a bicyclist.
    Who is John Galt?

  18. #18
    Grandpa with spunk Randy Bosma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    Netherlands: People: 16,652,800 - Bicycles: 16,500,000 - Cyclists: ~99.1%
    Fails to account for n+1.

    Quote Originally Posted by HawkOwl View Post
    As I was riding in the Denver Metro Area last week I noticed a Lot of cyclists of all kinds. At first I was really impressed by their number. After all I'm pre-disposed to be impressed because Denver has such a superb MUP system; and that influences everything else.
    I share your impressions (impressment?), and hope to do more Denver MUP riding like I did last week.

    Quote Originally Posted by xizangstan View Post
    Having a hammer in the tool box doesn't make you a carpenter. Owning a bicycle doesn't mean you're a bicyclist.
    Ya, check the fine print.
    Last edited by Randy Bosma; 03-26-11 at 04:43 PM. Reason: format
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  19. #19
    Riding twobadfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HawkOwl View Post
    Aquaintances who have been to Bejing say the bicycle is rapidly going away in favor of scooters and cars. Guess that is a sign of a better economy?

    I don't know there is good data on this. I do know that popular US magazines extol certain cities as "Best Biking Cities" but fail to include smaller ones that may have higher per capita participation. Plus, their method of choosing is geared more to selling magazines than providing real information. I'm thinking it is a place that has lots of activity but has a pretty small population.
    I don't really like the factors they use to determine what city is best for biking. It's really tough to measure things like motorist's attitude - the most important factor for me. I don't need my own lane or MUP lanes or whatever else they take into account. I want considerate drivers who are aware of cyclists and are willing to share the road. And some cities are definitely worse than others in this regard.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by xizangstan View Post
    Having a hammer in the tool box doesn't make you a carpenter. Owning a bicycle doesn't mean you're a bicyclist.
    True, but still what makes a runner, swimmer, climber weight lifter, hiker or Pilot?

  21. #21
    Century bound Phil85207's Avatar
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    If it the winter time I think it must be Tempe Mesa area.
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    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    Netherlands: People: 16,652,800 - Bicycles: 16,500,000 - Cyclists: ~99.1%
    China: People: 1,342,700,000 - Bicycles: >500,000,000 - Cyclists: >37.2%
    USA: People: 310,936,000 - Bicycles: 100,000,000 - Cyclists: ~32,2%
    Source: http://top10hell.com/top-10-countrie...es-per-capita/

    Most bicycle commuters in USA: Philadelphia - The US Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey recently reported that Philadelphia has the most bicycle commuters per capita of the nation’s most populated cities. Philadelphia’s bicycle commuters comprised 1.6% of all commuters who travel to work.
    Source: http://bikephl.bicyclecoalition.org/...commuters.html
    If I am not mistaken, I think PA also has the most motorcycles per capita than any other state...They be rollin in PA
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    Netherlands: People: 16,652,800 - Bicycles: 16,500,000 - Cyclists: ~99.1%
    China: People: 1,342,700,000 - Bicycles: >500,000,000 - Cyclists: >37.2%
    USA: People: 310,936,000 - Bicycles: 100,000,000 - Cyclists: ~32,2%
    Source: http://top10hell.com/top-10-countrie...es-per-capita/

    Most bicycle commuters in USA: Philadelphia - The US Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey recently reported that Philadelphia has the most bicycle commuters per capita of the nation’s most populated cities. Philadelphia’s bicycle commuters comprised 1.6% of all commuters who travel to work.
    Source: http://bikephl.bicyclecoalition.org/...commuters.html
    I doubt the accuracy of the data. Don't know about every place. But in places I do know about there isn't any good methodology to have good data on number of cycles, let alone how many commute.

    It only makes sense that there would be a higher proportion of Europeans, especially from the smaller countries, that commute on bikes than in the US. The US is a larger country than almost all of Europe put together and grew up with individual land ownership rather than aristocratic land ownership. Therefore, it is more spread out and commuting distances are usually greater than the 2.5K cited for the Netherlands.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  24. #24
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Balmy climate, ideal terrain make Tucson a cycling haven

    http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_17692346
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 03-27-11 at 06:21 PM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    Mackinac Island, MI. No cars allowed.

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