Where do cyclists shop?

I was playing around with Strava’s Global Heat Map, which plots the entire Strava dataset onto a map to show where people ride. I zoomed into my town and discovered it’s easy to see where cyclists congregate.

Strava Global Heatmap: Scotts Valley

I’ve labeled the larger red clusters. “Old Bike SHop” shows the old location of my local bike shop and “New Bike Shop” is the new location. I already know Peet’s Coffee on the north side of Mount Hermon Road is a popular hangout for the local roadie set, but I was surprised to see this preference is so obvious. The other unlabeled cluster at the left marks Coffee Cat, another local coffee shop. The Starbucks Coffee on the south side of Mount Hermon doesn’t even register a blip.

I then scrolled the map down into Santa Cruz to see which businesses are popular with cyclists who log their rides to Strava. The big red blob at the bottom of this map marks the location of Spokesman Bicycles, which is no surprise. The smaller hotspot where Pacific Avenue and Front Street form a triangle is Verve Coffee Roasters. Coffee and bikes once again!

Strava Global Heatmap: Downtown Santa Cruz

Next, I went “over the hill” into San Jose and looked at the participating merchants map for the Silicon Valley Bike to Shop Day, which occurs on Thursday May 17, 2014. Willow Glen is a popular route for cyclists of all types, and businesses who reach out specifically to people who ride can benefit from this targeted marketing. The hotspot, incidentally, is Mike’s Bikes.

Strava Global Heatmap: San Jose Willow Glen

Let’s say you want to identify non-bike businesses that see a lot of shoppers who arrive by bike. Can the heatmap help with that? Coffee shops that aren’t Starbucks obviously see a lot of cyclists, but what else can we find? This one spot in the city of Santa Clara popped out at me, where STevens Creek Boulevard crosses Lawrence Expressway. Did there used to be a bike shop or coffee shop here? Otherwise, this is kind of a cycling dead zone.

Strava Global Heatmap: Lawrence & Stevens Creek

Update: I’m told a cafe at this location was a stop for a La Dolce Velo group ride.

Obviously, these maps show only those who record their rides using the Strava cycling app. Some claim that Strava participants tend to be those who are “avid” cyclists, though we have no real data on that as far as I’m aware. They probably do tend to be higher income and goal-oriented individuals, which are probably a desirable demographic for any retail establishment that wants more spending at their store.

You can view the global heatmap here. South Bay people, I also encourage you to participate in the Silicon Valley Bike to Shop Day event coming up on May 17.

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I’m breaking away early this morning in a desperate ploy for TV time.

So it's the year 2014, which must mean that some duder made some sweet mags:

I had pretty much the same setup back in the '80s when plastic wheels still meant something:

Too bad he only appears to be doing his wheels in 26".  Is that even a size anymore?  I thought all the cool people were riding that new wheel size between 27.5" and 29" now.

All I know is that in my mind I can still hear the sound of chain slap on that chainguard, which persisted until I finally figured out I could take it off, and that first bit of customization opened a veritable Pandora's Box of radness upon the streets of my neighborhood from which it has still not recovered.

And I didn't even have a MiniBrake.

In other news, how psyched are you for this year's Tour de France?  That is not a rhetorical question, please check one (1) of the following:

__Not at all psyched;

__A little psyched, like "My Pizza Pockets are almost finished toasting" psyched;

__A lot psyched, like "The oral burns from my Pizza Pockets have finally healed and I can taste again" psyched;

__Wet-spot-slowly-spreading-across-the-front-of-my-jeans psyched;

__So psyched I just slipped into an excitement-induced coma in which I dream that I am rocketing through the cosmos on Rollerblades of Awesomeness.

Anyway, whichever response you chose, I should remind you that this year's Tour starts in Yorkshire, and a reader has shared the following with me via email:

How Yorkshire really sees the tour depart – an excuse for knitting. 

Yep, and they ain't fucking around either:

Travelling the region, prolific crafter Cassandra Kilbride is travelling the region and creating one bike per city, celebrating the best that Yorkshire has to offer. York, for example, decorated their bikes in Viking armour with Celtic symbols, representing the ancient history of their region.

"Traveling the region, prolific crafter Cassandra Kilbride is travelling the region" you say?  Fascinating.  Also, check out this wheel festooned with yarmulkes and/or "tit cosies:"

By the way, is that a 26" wheel?  Because the only acceptable use for a 26" wheel in 2014 is festooning it with tit cosies.  Do not attempt to ride it off-road under any circumstances, or else you will die.

One thing's for sure though: ASO is going to be kicking themselves for starting the Tour in Yorkshire this year, because this knitting stunt is going to completely overshadow the racing, and they'll be lucky if anyone even bothers follows them back to France:

Other bikes in the series will represent Yorkshire’s industrial heritage, literary icons such as Dracula and the Bronte sisters, sports and the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales. Hepworth’s bike looks to be the most unique, with their project celebrating two of the regions most famous icons – the flatcap and the whippet.

"Dude, Tour de what?  Who gives a shit!  Did you see the tit cosies on Emily Brontë?"

Yeah, they're not stupid in Yorkshire.  Not only are they going to torpedo the Tour with their insane knitting skillz, but they're also harnessing the awesome power of
the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet TridorkBret to sell you parking, as I learned via the Twitter not too long ago:

Or, you know, you could also ride your bike to the big bike race, though for that you'll need a special bicycle befitting this auspicious occasion, and here's one I've learned about from another reader:

The overpriced and over-designed urban douche chariot has become a mainstay in the world of cycling, and like all of its siblings this one too has a philosophy:


First, pretty much all bikes are both "simple" and "integrated," except maybe this one.  Second, I'm not sure how this bike is supposed to calm your mind, since compared to a regular diamond frame its weird angles are disorienting and stressful, and it looks like it could even snag your "pants yabbies" in it if you were to attempt some basic stunts while riding in a kilt.  (I do all my stunt riding in a kilt for the added mobility.)  Third, my mind never roamed freely on hot summer days when I was a child.  I mean look at that picture up there!  Do you see where I grew up???  Don't let the artisanal Belgian block curb and soft grassy road shoulder fool you, I'm from the streets!  (Or, more accurately, I'm from a modest ranch house with a nice lawn in front of it set discreetly back from the streets.)  We didn't have the luxury of letting our minds roam freely.  No, for me, the dog days of summer were always pregnant with fear, sweat streaming down my brow as I looked over my shoulder for the ever-present bike thieves who were potentially hiding behind every Gran Torino ready to pounce on me and make off with my BMX bike and its sweet mags.  

But yeah, your orange whatever-it-is will look great leaning against a marble column as you douche it up with friends while sitting at tiny tables and sipping from tiny cups:

Also, it has a brake light, which they'd like you to think is a big deal:

Yeah, good for you, nobody gives a shit if you're slowing down anyway.

And if you're lucky, maybe one day you'll be able to buy a rack for it:

Don't hold your breath though.  They'll never go through with it since it might spoil the "clean lines" of that stupid vestigial brake light coccyx.

Lastly, still another reader informs me that David Byrne, a noted musician who does not own a car, is now operating a Craigslist bike rental enterprise in New Orleans:


3917 ROYAL ST.



505-699- Seven Six Six Six NOT 504!

I guess he was serious about leaving New York.
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Kinfolk Kits on Pre-sale

kinfolkYou’ve only got till May 2nd to pre-order this run of stylin’ Kinkfolk Kits created with Endo Customs. If you didn’t like the colors from the first offering, these are a little more stealth in a black and grey color selection. The bibs and jerseys (of both colors) can be purchased here.

Kinfolk also produces these videos highlighting some of their people and programs…like this one here.

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The AGA via Bus

A few photos from the Alberta Art Gallery the other day! Before my camera battery died:(

If you don't go, you should! It's one of my favourite places in the city. 

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Undercover Houston Bike Cops Bust Dangerous Drivers

3028416-poster-p-houston-police Houston has a thriving bicycle culture, but ranks among one of the least safe places to ride in the country according to the Alliance for Biking and Walking. Fast Company is reporting on a new program to catch dangerous drivers in the act, and bring cycling fatalities in the city to “Goal Zero.”

“We asked them to put police officers in plain clothes on bicycles with support in the area, so if someone did pass them too closely, they could call on their support to pull over that driver and issue a citation,” explains Mike Payne, executive director of BikeHouston, the organization that originally went to the mayor’s office with the idea. “They just started running special missions, if you want to call them that, where they send people out to different neighborhoods to do this. And they start writing citations and warnings.”

Payne hopes that policies like these will turn Houston into a cycling mecca. The city is flat, he points out, and has wide streets–ideal for riding bikes.

No word on the actual number of citation issued yet. Read the original article at www.fastcoexist.com

Categories: Advocacy, News & Views | Leave a comment

Bay Area transpo agency approves $8.7M to continue, expand bike share

MTC votes to continue bike share into 2015, expand program to East Bay, and take over operation from BAAQMD

Bike Share launch passing through SJSU campus

The San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) approved $8.7 million to continue the SF Bay Area Bike Share program and expand it to cities in the East Bay at their monthly commission meeting earlier today.

The Commission voted to approve the expenditure of the lion’s share of Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds to continue the popular program beyond the current pilot program, which expires in August 2014. Currently, 1,000 bikes from 100 stations are available to the 21,000 members of Bay Area Bike Share in San Francisco, Redwood City, Palo Alto, and San Jose. With the additional funding, MTC plans to expand the program to Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville in the East Bay. MTC also allocated $2M in CMAQ funds for car sharing, $6M for Transportation Demand Management (TDM) grants, and $400K for commuter benefit programs.

The Programming and Allocations Committee voted in favor of the staff-proposed funding at their April 9 meeting.

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Prescription cycling eyewear?

I’ve always cycled in either my normal prescription eyeglasses with polycarb, photochromatic lenses, or in my contact lenses with non-prescription sports sunglasses such as these budget Tifosi sports shades


I’m considering sunglasses with prescription lenses such as one of these specs from Sports RX.

I’m a longtime fan of the budget shades from Tifosi, and I see SportsRX even has a private label line of inexpensive sunglasses. Of course they also have the high end brands like Smith, Rudy, and Oakley.

If you wear prescription sunglasses, what do you recommend? Is helmet strap compatibility a thing?

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Less Car More Go

I was thrilled when Sara Armstrong of Full Hands sent me this link! She has three children and three cargo bikes. This woman is in charge.

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San Francisco Bait Bikes

00M0M_1s1cdUk4QM_600x450The Bay Area has quite the bike theft problem. No doubt some people are making a full time income from bike thievery. From San Francisco Craigslist.

We have bait bikes deployed all over the city. Our bikes have trackers. You steal our bikes and we will definitely come for them.

If you think the bike you are selling on craigslist is stolen, then it probably is. Guess what, you are subject to felony arrest if/when we find you. Jail is waiting and your face will be all over social media.


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Use Strava to find new riding partners

You’ve probably seen Strava’s Activity Playback tool, which allows you to quickly identify those missed connections as you ride.

Strava Activity Playback

What can you use this for?

First, an explanation. The green column labeled “C” is correlation. The higher the value, the more likely the rider rode with you on a group activity. 100 is perfect correlation. Strava considers anything above 30 a group activity. The lower activities are people who pass like ships in the night.

The blue / purple column marked “S” is spatial correlation. This is a time-independent similarity to the primary activity. In other words, if the person rode exactly the same route as you but at a much slower or faster pace and (perhaps) a different starting time, the activity is spatially correlated.

The final red column is the distance of the activity.


How can I use the Activity Playback tool from Strava? My first thought: marketing for San Jose Bike Train. I pulled up our latest Bike Train activity, and golly – I immediately found several people who I could spam!

Strava activity player San Jose Bike Train

Watching the animated playback, it’s obvious at least two of the riders are on training or recreational rides, and one of the others is going the wrong direction for bike train. All of the others are great candidates for spam. Woo hoo!

Missed Connections!

Can this Activity Playback tool be used to expand your social circle? Look at the top screenshot and look at the female names of cyclists I rode by. Mel, Amy, Melinda, Tram, and Gina are all women. What a great way to find new friends!

Seriously, I have used this tool to connect with people in a totally non-creepy way. I had a brief conversation with a guy the other day near the summit of the Santa Cruz mountains and we found each other on Strava using exactly this tool. It’s super handy finding new riding partners who ride the same routes as you. I really like it.

And finally, this happened yesterday. True story.

Strava matchmaking Activity Playback tool

Categories: Musings, Strava | Leave a comment