What are the top cities for bicycle commuting?

As Commute by Bike continues to be the most visited resource for bike commuters on the web, I’m able to take a look at our stats and see where people are reading from and get a good feel for the top locations for commuting by bike.

The top ten cities in the US are:

  1. Chicago
  2. Minneapolis
  3. New York
  4. Seattle
  5. Portland
  6. Austin
  7. Washington
  8. Brooklyn
  9. Denver
  10. San Francisco

Here is a heat map of the US that shows dots over all the cities with the largest amounts of readers:

These are the top ten worldwide cities:

  1. London
  2. Vancouver
  3. Melbourne
  4. Weston
  5. Sydney
  6. Calgary
  7. Arlington
  8. East York
  9. Ottawa
  10. Winnipeg

Some of those top cities surprised me and some didn’t. But as you can see, they are all major metro areas.

What’s the encouraging part?

Those top 20 cities only account for 18% of all the traffic to this site. That means 82% of the traffic to this site is coming from all across the US and world. There are many times when we look to some of these cities as the holy land for bike commuters, but it’s extremely exciting to know there are people using their bike for transportation in every corner of our world.

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0 thoughts on “What are the top cities for bicycle commuting?”

  1. Valkraider says:

    I would not put too much stock in your analysis. For example, I really only browse your site via my iPhone or via my work computer. My iPhone is routed through T-Mobile’s Internet which has an IP address in Chicago. My company has their external net access routed through an IP which shows as Salt Lake City. However, I am in Portland, Oregon.

    Geographical data from IP addresses is unreliable at best, at worst it can be very misleading.

  2. Tim Grahl says:

    Valkraider: First off, nice to know you check the site as regularly as you do, but I would say they way you do is in the minority. Sure, these numbers aren’t exact science, but I would contend they are pretty close to the truth.

  3. Spenny says:

    I like to see that dot right on Fargo! That must mean I’m not the only one out there!

  4. jt says:

    “get a good feel for the top locations for commuting by bike” should really be “get a good feel for the top locations for *reading about* commuting by bike”… 🙂

  5. Peter says:

    Valkraider has a point. Can we do a manual poll, and re-make the map?

    I’m in Houston, TX

  6. rayhead00 says:

    Me, I am a full time motorist. I visit the site so I can learn new ways to harass and annoy the cyclist here in Buffalo NY.
    Example: Recently, I’ve found yelling “get off the rode” has become ineffective.
    Now, yelling; “Nice Chrome pants and CatEye tail light you fixed gear FEAK!” is really hurtful.
    Knowlege is power!
    Thanks Commte by Bike….FEAK!

  7. ZigZorniF says:

    I am in Metz – France
    and I browse your blog via my rss reader.


  8. Siouxgeonz says:

    Snork… what does “top” mean anyway?

    Top number of visits (according to your source)… though, I dare say, I’m glad to see somebody’s figured out that lots of folks who use bikes as transportation aren’t “urban riders.”

  9. Chester says:

    Lots of folks may have their traffic appear to be routed through the nearest large city, though sometimes also from some similarly-sized medium/small city in which they also do not live.

    I imagine, many times, my “location” appears to be San Francisco, Oakland, Pleasanton, or various other Bay Area cities that are not Berkeley, which is where I live…and which has got to be one of the bike-friendliest cities around…

  10. Valkraider says:

    To me the impact may appear more significant. As Portland, Oregon is where I live and bike was number 5. But Chicago which is where the bulk of my access to CommuteByBike will be logged as, is ranked #1. So every time I hit the site while I am on a bus or waiting somewhere I give Chicago one hit but not Portland.

    Another question would be – what IP address and geographic location shows up when using online RSS aggregators like Google Reader or Yahoo? Wouldn’t that skew results – or are your numbers pure web hits and not RSS statistics?

    In any event, we still read the site no matter where we do it from.

  11. John says:

    Winnipeg, I think not, I live here and commute 8 months out of 12 and let me just say that the roads are almost as bad as third world countries in both quality, repair and utility for cycling.

  12. Jennifer says:

    Sorry, my bad. I keep forgetting to bookmark that one entry about bike lights.
    -Jen in Chicago

  13. Sam says:

    In reference to the comments on the viability of the data, I use Google Analytics for my blog as well, and have discovered that people use browse via a reader (BlogLines, Technorati, Google Reader, etc.) don’t show up either.

    I’m a big fan of your blog, and am happy to see so much response both nationally and internationally. Keep up the good work!

  14. bikesgonewild says:

    …personally, i write out my thoughts & answers, put my message in a bottle, ride out & throw it in the ocean…but it always seems to get posted in timely fashion despite wherever it might seem to be coming from…
    …ahh, the power of the intertubes…awesome…

  15. nick says:

    i like to see that dot roundly over st. louis

  16. wannaCmore says:

    I don’t commute by bike, yet… I’m using this site (and a few others) as infotainment for hen I get one w/the stimulus pkg $$.

  17. rick says:

    They don’t seem to care in Montana and Wyoming.

  18. bikehorn says:

    i have to say i’m surprised to see london in there…

    i ride atleast 5 days a week, and whilst it’s vastly superior to cramming on to the sweaty tube carriages, it ain’t exactly ‘friendly’ out there.

    although.. it is ‘fun’

  19. Daniel (teknotus) Johnson says:

    That analysys assumes that the distribution in interest in this site is highest in the cities with the most bike commuters. I hadn’t ever heard of this site until someone posted about how Portland wasn’t #1. I don’t need a website to find out about bike commuting when 1 in 20 people in the city are bike commuters, or in some parts 1 in 5.

  20. steve says:

    Peter, good to see someone else from Houston. I used to commute from Meyerland to Bellaire/Med Center via the Braes bayou trail, but job transfer led me to 1960 and 249! I just can’t do it anymore, although I hope this is temporary. Do you commute? BTW, Tim, thanks for the numbers. Why this is stirring controversy is pretty silly.

  21. Michael R says:

    I agree with the complaints raised by others. When I visit this site from work my hit comes from Minneapolis. Until I changed ISPs last month my home visits registered as Seattle. In just the last few weeks have any of my visits counted for Portland.

    You also don’t seem to have done anything to count for raw population. Chicago, with a metro area population of 9.7 million provides more hits than Portland with a metro area population of 2.1 million, which includes Vancouver, WA. Did Chicago provide over four times as many hits? If not your rating it as #1 doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    How about some numbers to go along with the heat map dots?

  22. Curmudgeon says:

    Did your stats show that I read your website while I’m pooping on the toilet? Because that’s where I was when I discovered your site. God bless laptops.

  23. LosFelizRider says:

    I am a regular reader of this blog, too, and I enjoy and value what I find here.

    But I think the reason some posters are ruffled is that this post’s headline is misleading in that way that AOL.com headlines cheat you into clicking on them: “What A-List Celeb Killed Her Mother?” And you click that headline [of course] and find out it’s a silly trivial story about a plotline in an upcoming episode of “Desperate Housewives” (or something like that).

    This post is NOT “The Top Cities For Bicycle Commuting”. Com’on CbB, you know this. This post IS “What My Blog Web Stats Tell Me About My Readers’ IP Addresses”.

    Big diff, and the misleading (and probably inaccurate) conclusion that is manifest in the headline is why your readers, including this one, are ticked off a bit.

    This is a great blog, really. Please don’t write these kinds of misleading headlines or draw inconclusive conclusions.

    Ride on!

  24. ValkRaider says:

    Hmmm. Tim Grahl has not “checked in” since comment number 2.

    I wonder if he has even read any of the feedback here, after that point?

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