Would it surprise you to learn that bicyclists in New York City are some of the fastest in the US, or that most bicycle commutes happen on a Tuesday?
The data comes from the GPS-tracking workout app Strava, which recently analyzed 136 billion data points from its bicycling and running users to create a snapshot of activity in 12 major cities around the world.
With more than a million active users, Strava has quite the data set to work with. It focused on everything from speed and duration of rides to the most popular routes and times of day for bicycling. Explore the data for yourself at Strava Insights, or take a look at some of the interesting conclusions below.
Amsterdam is the fastest city globally
Of the 12 cities used for this data set, it's unsurprising that Amsterdam, one of the busiest cycling hubs, racks up the longest average rides and fastest average speed at 15.9 miles an hour. It obviously helps to be a flat city; Sao Paulo's massive average elevation gain contributes to lower distance and speed metrics.
Runners-up for fastest city: Melbourne (14.9 mph), Paris (14.7 mph), and Sydney (14.4 mph).
London is one of the most active bicycling cities
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).
At least it's reassuring to know that New Yorkers have trumped their counterparts across the Atlantic with a longer average ride.
Cyclists don't just ride for fun; commuting is key
Biking to work is on the rise across the US, and of the American cities profiled, regular commutes account for roughly 40 percent of logged rides. The maps also show well-traversed bicycle commuter corridors, often with protected or separated bicycle lanes.
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.
Bike lanes in the US are up, but the US still has a long way to go
But for commuters and your average riders, safety on the road poses a major concern. It's not surprising, then, to see the number of rides jump fivefold on a day like the Five Boro Bike Tour, when roads are closed to car traffic.
Across the globe, similar events — such as LA's CicLAVia and major marathons or races that have shut down city streets to car traffic — bring bicyclists out in droves.
This is one glimpse of a much bigger picture
Taking the data with a grain of salt, Strava users might be more likely to be riders who have both the time and resources to capture their weekend rides than casual riders.
Getting a sense of the global rise of lower-income riders who don't use such apps regularly is an ongoing project, which many bike-share systems and bicycle infrastructure programs have struggled to address.