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Old 03-10-13, 11:34 PM   #1
hamster
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Cycling heat map of Southern California

... as well as the rest of the world:

https://connect.garmin.com/explore

Go to "explore"->"activities", click on the layers icon in the top left corner of the map, choose "heatmap"->"cycling".

Curious map. In San Diego, main features are in agreement with my observations: hugely busy north-south 101 corridor from UCSD to Oceanside, and, to lesser extent, from UCSD to Mission Beach; a lot of traffic on the 56 bike path; and a general lack of activity north of 78 and east of 15. In North County, Elfin Forest / Harmony Grove / Del Dios loop seems pretty busy, and there are apparently so many mountain bikers in the canyon north of Mira Mesa that their trails show up on this generally street-oriented map.

In the LA area, you can practically draw a map of good and bad neighborhoods by looking at the heat map. It's curious how OC cyclists sharply disappear north of 55, or that there's a lot of coastal traffic south from Long Beach and north from Rancho Palos Verdes, but virtually none connecting the two (barely 5 miles away from each other.)

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Old 03-11-13, 12:00 AM   #2
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I saw the new features when uploading today, glad you mentioned it because I didn't bother reading about it earlier and took a second look. I figured heat would have something to do with temperature but wow, this is a cool feature, no pun intended.
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Old 03-11-13, 09:32 AM   #3
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and a general lack of activity north of 78 and east of 15.

In the LA area, you can practically draw a map of good and bad neighborhoods by looking at the heat map.
That is a really cool map, thanks for posting it Hamster! I can't believe Pendleton is that dead, I always see dozens of riders there. Heck, as much as I ride there, I'd think there'd be some warmth. It must be blacked-out, due to security reasons.
This is going to come in handy. Thanks again for posting it!
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Old 03-11-13, 10:00 AM   #4
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I'm not sure, but from a quick observation, I'm thinking that the heat map may register start and stop locations as I know their are some pretty heavily traffic areas that are not showing as "hot" Lytle Creek is an example. Maybe its a # of rides that have to go through a particular area during a certain amount of time.
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Old 03-11-13, 10:05 AM   #5
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You have to register to see the map.
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Old 03-11-13, 10:29 AM   #6
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Nice map. I like it. But it is classifying good areas and bad areas is more complicated. Each region city and neighborhood tells a different story.

The data is obviously self reported by Garmin GPS's so there is a bias of affluence of who can afford or would choose to buy a GPS. North and south of the 55, colleges like UCI, Fullerton, or Chapman should be hot spots with the student presence and even a minority bike presence, but instead display little to no data. This makes sense though given that college students aren't known having cash on hand or priority for extras like a bike GPS. Further north UCSB is very bike friendly but again it blank and especially in student ghetto Isla Vista. The same problem applies in other cash strapped areas.

Of course there is some correlation to affluence and the propensity for trails in South Orange County; trails cost money and influence of people with the time to advocate for and use them. Notably Santiago Creek (Tustin/Orange/Santa Ana) is blank, which mostly a fine route, but somewhat sketchy as you descend to Santa Ana (and dead end under the 5).

But even this isn't the whole picture because in addition to being more wealthy, South Orange County is relatively new and master planned to include bike routes. Simply there was the land and forethought for bike routes opposed to older developed parts of North Orange County that were born of the post WWII suburbanization, where gas was cheap and every family began to have a car. Moreover bicycling on dedicated and grade separated bike routes typical in South Orange County is incredibly more desirable than even dedicated lanes but at-grade, stop-go, bike routes you find in North Orange County and developed urban areas.

The other astounding bias is when you consider recreation which eclipses all other types of cycling done in Los Angeles Metro (opposed to say commuting). Most of the kind of people purchasing a dedicated GPS are probably doing so for recreation. Apart from a few areas like the Westside, the most trafficked examples around LA are also the longest, flattest, and central arterials to other places of recreation. In Irvine, the San Diego Creek appears to lose half of its ridership right as it turns towards one of two major job centers, whereas the traffic ventures north to Tustin on the Peter Canyons trail (and Peters Canyon). Further, the isolated pockets of activity, with no clear destination such as around the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, typify recreation oppose to commuting.

Anyway fun with data. And more people should use the Santiago Creek Trail for recreation, including Orange and Santa Ana. Just don't go into the dead end under the 5 yet...its kind of sketch.
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Old 03-11-13, 10:31 AM   #7
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Pretty sure it is collective self report data from every bicycle Garmin GPS device. Telecom companies have and sell droves of data they collect as you jump from tower to tower.
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Old 03-11-13, 10:46 AM   #8
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But still, the data looks weird - check out SART. It's lively up by Yorba Park and down by the beach and completely blank in the middle. GMR is also blank. The only street near my house with activity is Seranata (in Whittier) which is a nasty 15% climb... I find it hard to believe that Seranata is "hotter" than East or West road, which are usually littered with cyclists.

There are also plenty of heat spots left by mountain bikers, so don't forget those clowns. Apologies if you're one of them.
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Old 03-11-13, 11:14 AM   #9
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But still, the data looks weird - check out SART. It's lively up by Yorba Park and down by the beach and completely blank in the middle. GMR is also blank. The only street near my house with activity is Seranata (in Whittier) which is a nasty 15% climb... I find it hard to believe that Seranata is "hotter" than East or West road, which are usually littered with cyclists.

There are also plenty of heat spots left by mountain bikers, so don't forget those clowns. Apologies if you're one of them.
I think you saw the data exactly how I saw it. and I saw the SART too, but I think that one is simply because Garmin does not officially map the SART like ridewithgps does.
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Old 03-11-13, 11:16 AM   #10
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OK, now go check out Long Beach right down by that little spit of land that goes out around the light house. There's no way anybody with a Garmin would voluntarily ride on that little path.

Honestly, the map looks like a map of beach cruisers, not that beach cruisers typically have a GPS mounted.
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Old 03-11-13, 12:25 PM   #11
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I see a lot of areas that show no signs of use. Granted that this is for Garmin users only, I still find it hard to believe that some areas in Pasadena and Altadena aren't showing anything. Nothing on Angeles Crest or GMR? Think this heat map needs some tweaking. Wish they would invest more in their app and make it more fluid given the cost of their product instead of just adding a new view. So much potential here... Hint: Look at Strava...
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Old 03-11-13, 12:28 PM   #12
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But still, the data looks weird - check out SART. It's lively up by Yorba Park and down by the beach and completely blank in the middle. GMR is also blank. The only street near my house with activity is Seranata (in Whittier) which is a nasty 15% climb... I find it hard to believe that Seranata is "hotter" than East or West road, which are usually littered with cyclists.

There are also plenty of heat spots left by mountain bikers, so don't forget those clowns. Apologies if you're one of them.
You're looking at the running heatmap. Change it to view the cycling heatmap and the entirety of the SART and GMR (even east fork) is lit up.
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Old 03-11-13, 12:32 PM   #13
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I can't speak for everywhere, but where I am, the data make sense. It's also possible that for a long route like the Santa Ana River, there are riders the entire length as well as locals only riding to the next town over. Most people don't drive on freeways for their entire length and with trains most people exit within a few stops. Additionally there aren't many other dedicated routes diverging from the Santa Ana River near the Center as there are either at the extremes where there is another major route or public open space.
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Old 03-11-13, 12:44 PM   #14
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I see a lot of areas that show no signs of use. Granted that this is for Garmin users only, I still find it hard to believe that some areas in Pasadena and Altadena aren't showing anything. Nothing on Angeles Crest or GMR? Think this heat map needs some tweaking. Wish they would invest more in their app and make it more fluid given the cost of their product instead of just adding a new view. So much potential here... Hint: Look at Strava...
I grew up in Pasadena and went to school in Altadena and the map looks just how I remembered riding my bicycle or where I saw bicycles, especially by the Rose Bowl. The vast majority of the flat open space in Pasadena is in the Arroyo and the stop and go traffic is foreboding to say recreation road bicycles (who I have suggested would be more likely to have a bike GPS) with one or two major east west streets being the preferred routes across town. As for blank areas that obviously a bicycle may have been, may be the threshold for the heat map, ebcause if it were too sensitive it wouldn't be a very usualful map.
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Old 03-11-13, 12:49 PM   #15
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You're looking at the running heatmap. Change it to view the cycling heatmap and the entirety of the SART and GMR (even east fork) is lit up.
JmX just nailed it. I was looking at the running heat map. As soon as I switched, It lit up the areas I thought, except for Lytle creek. Interesting, it lit up the SART, and shows where its heaviest. Green River is green, then it gets yellow and more orange towards the coast. PCH off of the SART is "RED" pretty neat
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Old 03-11-13, 01:00 PM   #16
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JmX just nailed it. I was looking at the running heat map. As soon as I switched, It lit up the areas I thought, except for Lytle creek. Interesting, it lit up the SART, and shows where its heaviest. Green River is green, then it gets yellow and more orange towards the coast. PCH off of the SART is "RED" pretty neat
Now it looks much, much better! Didn't see the previous posting by JmX. Everything should default to cycling.
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Old 03-11-13, 01:52 PM   #17
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Everything should default to cycling.
No kidding! Runners. Pfft.

Thanks jmX - the world was making no sense.
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Old 03-11-13, 02:33 PM   #18
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Not so much as a single trail lit up in Santa Clarita. I don't upload to Garmin Connect. Only Strava. If every cyclist in Santa Clarita did that, then I could see where this would not reflect any activity. Or, we don't have enough cyclists or nice rides to draw them out. Harumph!
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Old 03-11-13, 03:03 PM   #19
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One possible use of that map is figuring out good ways to get from point A to point B.

For example, just a week ago I had a long ride and I had to get from Mission Gorge Road to Mission Bay. I took the shortest route, via Friars. It's not that great a ride even on normal days (60 mph traffic), but this time there was also a long stretch of bike lane closed off with concrete dividers. I had to climb over dividers and walk.

In this map, I see that the way to go was to steer south and to take Camino Del Rio / Camino De La Reina.
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Old 03-11-13, 05:52 PM   #20
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One possible use of that map is figuring out good ways to get from point A to point B.

For example, just a week ago I had a long ride and I had to get from Mission Gorge Road to Mission Bay. I took the shortest route, via Friars. It's not that great a ride even on normal days (60 mph traffic), but this time there was also a long stretch of bike lane closed off with concrete dividers. I had to climb over dividers and walk.

In this map, I see that the way to go was to steer south and to take Camino Del Rio / Camino De La Reina.
Another good use of this map would be in picking a place to live, if being relocated by your job or something similar. I would prefer, if possible to live in an area that has high bike traffic
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Old 03-11-13, 06:29 PM   #21
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Another good use of this map would be in picking a place to live, if being relocated by your job or something similar. I would prefer, if possible to live in an area that has high bike traffic
It's a bit more complicated than that. Any area with high bike traffic is probably suitable for recreational riding and for commuting to work, but the reverse is not necessarily true. An area could have low bike traffic because it's a sketchy neighborhood (look at the big hole in southeast San Diego, between 5, 54 and 94), or because it's not convenient for riding (notice the absence of tracks on the 74), or it's simply too far from areas where many cyclists live. There's a number of good popular weekend recreation routes in north county SD which barely register on this map, because cyclists seem to be concentrated near UCSD and it's really far way for them.

This year's ATOC stage 1 route http://app.strava.com/events/ATOC2013/Stage1 is pretty good for recreational riding (except for stretches on the 78), but most of it does not even rate a 'blue', and it only has 15 or so miles of 'cyan' (Palomar South Grade).

Of course, having high local bike traffic may be a desirable thing in itself, regardless of reasons why it's there.
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Old 03-11-13, 06:41 PM   #22
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Another good use of this map would be in picking a place to live, if being relocated by your job or something similar. I would prefer, if possible to live in an area that has high bike traffic
Look at PhotoJoe's example- Santa Clarita has a HUGE cycling infrastructure but nothing is showing on that garmin map. Unfortunately, the heat map doesn't reveal that living in Santa Clarita is like living in an oven for most of the year, so it's not the end-all for choosing a home.
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Old 03-11-13, 06:51 PM   #23
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Look at PhotoJoe's example- Santa Clarita has a HUGE cycling infrastructure but nothing is showing on that garmin map. Unfortunately, the heat map doesn't reveal that living in Santa Clarita is like living in an oven for most of the year, so it's not the end-all for choosing a home.
It may have the infrastructure, but maybe not the volume. I know both Santa Clarita and it is nowhere close to a cycling "hot spot" as the section in Orange County that glows "red". In this case, yes, the map would be a good indicator as a desirable place for a cylist to live. And, no, it is not the end-all for choosing a home, but a useful tool, if used correctly

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Old 03-11-13, 06:52 PM   #24
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Look at PhotoJoe's example- Santa Clarita has a HUGE cycling infrastructure but nothing is showing on that garmin map. Unfortunately, the heat map doesn't reveal that living in Santa Clarita is like living in an oven for most of the year, so it's not the end-all for choosing a home.
Well, in this case, the heat map correctly indicates that not all is well in the state of Denmark, it just does not say what it is. (If weather.com is to be trusted, it has mean August high of 97F, I could see how that could be a problem. It gets pretty hot around these parts too, but our mean August high is "only" 89F.)
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