Brian Robinson is a 41-year old father of two who rides a Citi Bike every weekday between Penn Station and his office on 58th and Madison. He says the journey is often “the high point of my day.”
Until recently, Robinson had never heard of Strava, the social network for athletes that lets people track their activities with a smartphone or GPS device. Millions of athletes use Strava, and each week hundreds of thousands of new athletes around the world sign up. Last year Strava athletes uploaded an average of 5.3 activities every second.
When Robinson learned that recording his rides with Strava could help make cycling in the city better, he downloaded the free app right away and set up a Strava profile.
The connection between Strava and better biking is Strava Metro. Metro anonymizes and aggregates data from millions of human powered commutes uploaded to Strava every week. Those data inform insights for urban planners and departments of transportation to improve city infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.
Data from Strava Metro can illuminate some interesting patterns about cycling in New York City. For example, 42 percent of weekday rides traverse one of the five bridges, with the Brooklyn Bridge being the most popular for bike commuters. Wednesday is the most active day for bike commuting, with an average distance traveled of 8.7 miles, and the most popular corridors are the Westside Highway, the Queensboro Bridge, First Avenue, Second Avenue, and the Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges.
This type of data is valuable because it helps cities decide where to put new and improved cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. Since 2014, Metro has worked with more than 70 organizations and government agencies, including GoBike in Glasgow, Queensland Australia, University College London, Seattle Department of Transportation, Austin B-Cycle in Texas and Vermont Transportation. Tracking your commute in New York City could eventually help improve infrastructure where you ride.
You do get a little adrenaline boost from it.
Robinson loves his commute for many reasons. Grabbing a Citi Bike is convenient. The ride is a chance to get some exercise in a day otherwise spent at a desk. And, most importantly, biking is the fastest way, by far, for him to get across town. Taking the subway or a taxi is a 25-minute trip. On a bike, Robinson travels the same distance in just ten minutes. Along the way, he delights in passing hundreds of cars inching forward in the morning and afternoon rush hours. “You do get a little adrenaline boost from it,” he reports.
Robinson, of course, is not alone in his passion for cycling in the city. Thousands of people who live or work in New York City ride a bike for fun and transportation, and the number is growing every year.
To spread the word about the power of bike commuting to make the world a better place, Strava has set up the Global Bike to Work Day Challenge. On Tuesday, May 10, 2016 Strava encourages all cyclists to upload and tag their commutes on Strava, and use the hashtag #CommutesCount on other social media channels.
You may not realize it, but your bike commute does count. Join the Global Bike to Work Day Challenge on Strava, upload your commutes to Strava, and cast your vote for better infrastructure.
This post comes to us from Strava’s Kirk Kardashian.