The Differences Between Bike-Riding In 12 Different Major Cities Examined

What’s the “best” major city to go for a bike ride in? Which cities are the worst? In some ways, those are very subjective questions. To provide some new insight on the matter, though, a new analysis of data collected through the GPS-tracking workout app Strava was performed in order to create “snapshots” of the activity in 12 different major cities around the world.

The analysis made use of 136 billion data points (focused on everything from rider speed, to routes taken, to time of day, etc) from more than 1 million active Strava service users. So, what are the findings of the analysis?

Out of the 12 cities examined, Amsterdam, was home to the longest rides (on average) and to the fastest average speeds (15.9 miles/hour) as well. Other cities with high average speeds included: Melbourne (14.9 mph), Paris (14.7 mph), and Sydney (14.4 mph).

amsterdam sao paulo london nyc

Here’s more (courtesy of Vox):

Which cities log the most rides? While a factor in the final tally is the number of users actively tracking their rides, the overall numbers still have London beating every other city by a long shot. With more than 7 million rides logged over the past 12 months, London dwarfs even the closest runner-up cities: Amsterdam (2.7 million total activities), Melbourne (2.3 million total activities), and Los Angeles (2.2 million total activities).

…Biking to work is on the rise across the US, and of the American cities profiled, regular commutes account for roughly 40% of logged rides. The maps also show well-traversed bicycle commuter corridors, often with protected or separated bicycle lane. New Yorkers predominantly use the 32-mile Hudson River Greenway to get down the island and major avenues like First and Second, while the bridges provide a channel to commute into the city from Brooklyn. San Francisco, with the most average daily commuters of the US cities, also sticks to arterial roads such as Market Street and follow established routes such as the San Francisco Bay Trail. And Los Angeles, with the longest average commuting distance, takes advantage of the wide streets such as Seventh, Main, and Grand Avenue, as well as a partial bike lane along Sunset Boulevard.

NY_commute SF_commute

It should probably be remembered that, while Strava user analysis gives us some insight into general bicycle use trends… there are quite a lot of people (and groups of people) who bike but don’t use the app. So, take these findings with a grain of salt.

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Written by James Ayre

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

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