Tag Archives: bike to work week

Data Nerd – Mapping Cycling Mode Share in Vancouver

It’s raining outside. Must be Bike to Work Week. Thousands of riders are commuting by bike this week and logging their trips online, but just how popular is cycling in Vancouver?

I’ve heard some people claim that only 1.7% of people in Vancouver bike, while criticizing the investments in new bike lanes the city has made. That’s bullshit.

The number comes from Statistics Canada, but is often misunderstood and misused. The 2011 long form census (now optional and called the National Household Survey) has the following question:
How did this person usually get to work? (Their emphasis, not mine)

  • Car, truck or van – as a driver
  • Car, truck or van – as a passenger
  • Public transit
  • Walked to work
  • Bicycle
  • Other method

Across all of Metro Vancouver (including the burbs), 1.7% usually commute by bike. In the City of Vancouver it’s 4.3%. The neighbourhoods around downtown have cycling mode shares of 15%, but in southeast Vancouver there are many areas where no one bikes, or so the stats seem to indicate (full searchable results). It’s important to consider what the statistics represent.

The question asks what the usual means of commuting is. Think of all the recreational riders, weekend warriors, and fair-weather cyclists (cycling volumes often double in the summer vs the winter). It’s unlikely casual cyclists would identify the bicycle as their usual means of commuting to work. Unfortunately, the NHS doesn’t ask people what means of transportation they sometimes use, and there aren’t any other comprehensive data sets available. The NHS survey results might under-represent cycling but it does indicate a minimum level that cycling has reached (it’s safe to say at least 4.3% of Vancouverites commute by bike) and it offers a good opportunity to create maps and see trends over time.

Here’s are the Vancouver maps of commuting patterns in 2011 for cycling, walking, and public transit. The Vancouver Sun created similar maps a few years ago with 2006 census data. In 2006, the highest mode share for cycling was 12% in South Cambie. In 2011, Grandview-Woodland had 15% bike commuters, Strathcona had 14%, Mount Pleasant had 13%, and Kitsilano, South Cambie, and Riley Park had 12%. For the walking and public transit, the darkest areas represent mode shares of close to 50% (for walking in the West End and transit in Marpole and Renfrew-Collingwood).
VancouverCyclingLevels VancouverWalkingevels VancouverTransitLevels

If you want to play with interactive maps, you can open these files in Google Earth:
I generated these maps using KML files from techearth.net as a base. I would be easy to generate heat maps for all of Metro Vancouver, but I couldn’t find a kml file with census tract boundaries for more than the Vancouver proper.

5 Bike T-Shirts For Bike to Work Week

Monkeys on Bikes T-shirt Take Life by the Handlebars T-shirt Bike Lanes Make Me Hornby T-shirt Bike Vancouver T-shirt Bikefish T-shirt

Monday: Monkey See Monkey Do Better – Monkey 100
Tuesday: Take Life by the Handlebars – Momentum Magazine
Wednesday: Bike Lanes Make Me Hornby – VACC
Thursday: Bike Vancouver – City of Vancouver
Friday: Bikefish – Autonomie Project

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

The Good
Pulse Energy won a Bike to Work Week award for most commutes in an organization with 26-100 employees! We logged 91 trips, more then we managed to log in June, even with one of our most dedicated cyclists sidelined with broken ribs (get better soon Tim).

I also managed to pick up a random draw prize. I scored a Peak 100.5 (my favourite radio station) prize pack, which includes a new helmet (which I sorely need), Pictionary, some other random goodies, and …. wait for it … tickets to the Peak Performance Project final concert – with Said the Whale, Kyprios, and Vince Vaccaro. I’m cheering for Said the Whale, but all 3 artists are amazing. I’ve only recently discovered Vince Vaccaro, but I really like his music. I almost bought tickets to the concert last week when they went on sale, but was annoyed about the Ticketmaster fees ($8.50 on a $10 ticket!) and wanted to confirm with Emily that she wanted to go. Luckily I won tickets, because the concert is sold-out already.

So thank you VACC, Bike to Work Week, and The Peak!

The Bad
Emily is having a good time in Costa Rica right now, but I got a frantic call from her yesterday. She managed to format the memory card on her camera, wiping out all of the pictures she had taken so far. Ouch! I thought I had lost my camera when I was travelling in Denmark with Ben 2 years ago, and it was the worst feeling ever. Luckily her travelling partner, Leanne, has been taking lots of pictures too, but she still lost a lot of great pictures.

The Ugly
Movember, a whole month dedicated to bad facial hair. Since Emily is away, and I really have no one to impress, I decided to see if my patchy face could grow some hair. I unveiled the new look today at work. Last year, when co-worker Dan grew his ‘stache, he received the nickname Dan-chez. My new nickname – Creepy Pirate.

Bike to Work Week at Pulse Energy

Biker Breakfast Bait

While most of the country is preparing for snow, Vancouver is celebrating the rainy season with Bike to Work Week, which started on Monday. As the self-appointed captain of the Bike to Work Week team at Pulse Energy, I’m trying to ensure we defend our title for most commutes that we won in the summer. My job is made easy by the group of dedicated cyclists who work at Pulse and the improved cycling infrastructure, which is key to getting new cyclists to bike downtown – luckily our office is located along on the Dunsmuir separated bike lane.

On Monday, I offered breakfast for anyone who cycled in or who promised to bike in at least one day this week. I baked up some apple strudel, spinach and feta pie, and gluten-free pumpkin muffins. Considering that every morsel was eaten, we should have no problem getting lots of bums on bike seats this week. So far, the results look good – we’re close to the top in 2 categories.