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Strava data reveals that cycling trips are up by 44% in the UK when compared to pre-pandemic levels

Rides labelled as commutes are up by 25% month on month

Today is Cycle to Work Day and to celebrate, Strava has released some stats that make for very encouraging reading. Their data suggests that bicycle activities are up by 44% in the UK when comparing June 2021 to June 2019. Commutes are also up 25% month on month (May 2021 vs June 2021) which could suggest that as people return to the office, many are choosing to go via bicycle.

We’re not entirely sure why Cycle to Work Day has been moved from its September slot to a Thursday in early August. Many people are on holiday which could mean a drop in numbers taking part compared to previous years, but for those of us using the bike to get to work, today is billed as the UK’s biggest cycle commuting event.

Strava’s data comes from its Metro service which aims to give local authorities better insight into where cycle-specific infrastructure is needed within a town, city or local area.

Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner says that “the data we receive from Strava Metro is helping us to get a greater insight into where, when and why people are cycling and walking. This sort of data is invaluable when making decisions about developing future infrastructure.”

> Strava Metro made free to cities worldwide, including UK, to help encourage sustainable travel post-pandemic

In September of last year, Strava decided to make its Metro data free to cities worldwide with the hope that the information would help to encourage sustainable transport once people began to return to work from an office or workplace.

Strava’s data suggests that cycling is on the up in many of the UK’s biggest cities. Leicester had the biggest increase with a 48% rise while Manchester (44%), Cardiff (40%) and Birmingham (40%) all saw big rises in cycling rates.

Have you ridden into work today, or are you still working from home and having to make do with jumping on the indoor trainer?

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9 comments

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PRSboy | 2 years ago
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I cycle to work on Fridays generally.  Its a 25km hilly cross-country jaunt each way so not something I'd want to do every day as I'd get fed up with it, not least the 1km 15% climb at the beginning.  Also I have no shower facilities... mopping myself down with a flannel from a small basin in the gents after today's wet ride was a bit rubbish! 

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NPlus1Bikelights | 2 years ago
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*Strava data reveals that Strava recorded cycling trips are up by 44%.

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espressodan | 2 years ago
2 likes

UK is definately at an inflection point. It's apparent that many City drivers are not happy and pressure is being put on politicians to roll back. Examples like Amsterdam and Paris are good, but at some point 'extra bike lanes cause congestion' needs to be answered with 'so what, the whole point is to encourage public & active transport and disincentivise cars in cities. If active transport infrastructure slows your car journey, good, take a bike'.

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Steve K replied to espressodan | 2 years ago
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espressodan wrote:

UK is definately at an inflection point. It's apparent that many City drivers are not happy and pressure is being put on politicians to roll back. Examples like Amsterdam and Paris are good, but at some point 'extra bike lanes cause congestion' needs to be answered with 'so what, the whole point is to encourage public & active transport and disincentivise cars in cities. If active transport infrastructure slows your car journey, good, take a bike'.

I think you're right.  The encouraging - and possibly surprising bit - is that the PM is being very robust on this and not bowing to populist pressure for once (thanks, I think, to Andrew Gilligan),

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wycombewheeler replied to espressodan | 2 years ago
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espressodan wrote:

UK is definately at an inflection point. It's apparent that many City drivers are not happy and pressure is being put on politicians to roll back. Examples like Amsterdam and Paris are good, but at some point 'extra bike lanes cause congestion' needs to be answered with 'so what, the whole point is to encourage public & active transport and disincentivise cars in cities. If active transport infrastructure slows your car journey, good, take a bike'.

could be answered with the response, no, congestion is caused by motorists who refuse to accept the direction of change in urban transport, and the necesity to reduce carbon emisions

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mdavidford | 2 years ago
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Quote:

Strava data reveals that cycling trips are up by 44% in the UK when compared to pre-pandemic levels

...

Their data suggests that bicycle activities are up by 44%

Which is it then - 'trips' or 'activities'? 'Activities' would include the expansion in Zwift and other indoor platforms, which wouldn't really count as 'trips' in any meaningful sense. I would assume that since the data's from Strava Metro it would actually be real life rides, but the article's a bit unclear.

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Simon E replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
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mdavidford wrote:

Which is it then - 'trips' or 'activities'? 'Activities' would include the expansion in Zwift and other indoor platforms, which wouldn't really count as 'trips' in any meaningful sense. I would assume that since the data's from Strava Metro it would actually be real life rides, but the article's a bit unclear.

For me it raises a number of other questions.

- can they (and should they) distinguish journeys from exercise - e.g. walking to work vs walking the dog?

- by how much has the Strava user base grown? If you strip out new users, how does the data for the userbase of 12 or 24 months ago compare with today? Are the existing users riding or walking further and/or more often?

- how much can we infer about the activity levels of non-Strava users? I've never put a ride on Strava but I've been commuting by bike since 2006 and doing other rides as well. Lately I've covered 5,000-6,000 miles per year.

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Awavey replied to Simon E | 2 years ago
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Well I'd imagine they are doing no more greater analysis than just counting rides people have tagged as commuting, which even when I do Strava my commute I do not do.

The point to note imo isnt so much the headline data, as I think stuff like this is flawed by the way the data is collected, ie cyclists who record data on Strava arent regular cyclists.

The point this stuff is making is Strava is saying hey weve got this Strava Metro service councils come speak to us about it.

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HoarseMann replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
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Awavey wrote:

Well I'd imagine they are doing no more greater analysis than just counting rides people have tagged as commuting,

They use the commute tag to help their algorithm accuracy, but you don't have to tag a commute for it to count in the stats. It'll notice if you do a one-way ride that's repeated in the opposite direction a few hours later.

https://metro.strava.com/faq (see the commuting on strava section)

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