16 January 2013

The States Of Bicycle Commuting

How many people commute on bicycles in your state?  And, how does your state compare to others in that category?

If you're dying to know the answers to such questions, check this out:

Click image to open interactive version (via BikeGuard).

This interactive graphic comes from a page hosted by  My Asset Tag.(It also hosts Bike Guard.)

Which state would you expect to have the highest percentage of its population commuting by bike?  Oregon?  Wisconsin?  Massachusetts?  Washington?

If you picked "Washington," your answer is incomplete.  Think of the other part:  D.C.  Yes, the District of Columbia has the highest proportion of bike commuters.

Not surprisingly, most of the low-ranked states are in the South (e.g., Louisiana, Mississippi and Kentucky).  It's also no surprise that Oregon ranks second.  However, I didn't expect to see Alaska in third place---or my home state, New York, squarely in the middle at #25.  Then again, there are vast areas of upstate where people don't ride much at all.  

Where does your state stand?


  1. I would not assume that NY cycling rates are lower upstate. There are lots of smaller cities and towns that predate automotive dominance that are ideal for cycling, just as there are in Montana and Wyoming. One major reason there is low cycling in the South is the population growth that occurred after the auto became ubiquitous when air conditioning became common. Dallas-Fort Worth is the least densely populated major urban area in the world.

  2. What kind of shoes do you wear to bike commute in winter? I'm partial to clogs, but they are uncomfortable to bike in and are not really dressy enough for work. I could use one of my "bike shoe" bikes and change at work but hope to find a street shoe solution that works. I'm in the Princeton, NJ, area and have a hilly 7-mile commute. Thanks!

  3. Steve--You make good points about those areas that were developed after the automobile became dominant.

    However, I was not assuming the rates are lower upstate. Many upstate cities and towns are indeed nice for cycling. I know: I've ridden in them. But those some of those cities and towns are populated mainly by older blue-collar people, who tend not to be cyclists.

    Unknown--I have a pair of lined shoes that are something like the "desert boots" that were popular during the 1970's. I ride them when it's really cold; other times, I ride in cross-trainer shoes with one or two pairs of wool socks.

    When I ride those shoes to work, I sometimes carry a pair of dressier shoes with me, depending on how dressed-up I need (or want) to be that day.

    When I was a student at Rutgers, I rode to, in and around Princeton quite often. If you don't mind telling me, whereabouts do you commute?

  4. Thanks for the shoe advice, Justine. My name is Kiyomi and I live in Hopewell and work in Princeton off the Great Road. For recreation, I ride my road bike mostly in the hilly parts of Mercer and Hunterdon counties. I haven't been biking to work that frequently since I've been using one of my road bikes and changing at work but I recently bought an upright bike with 8-speed IGH and want to try riding in my regular clothes, hence the shoe question. I'm so used to riding in bike shorts that this might drive me crazy but if it works, it will eliminate the "preparation" aspect from riding to work.

  5. Kiyomi--Your talk about Princeton and Hopewell, and Hunterdon and Mercer counties got me all woozy with deja vu, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote in "Breakfast of Champions." Perhaps I'll ride out that way again one of these days.

    I'm going to write a post about the very issues you mention. Thanks for the inspiration.