What Type of Cyclist Are You?

© April Streeter

Nobody admits to being a 'transportation' cyclist. Bike commuter sounds infinitely better - but what if you use your bike as mobility method for everything, or even everything but your daily slog to work?

A pair of Portlanders, Roger Geller, and Jennifer Dill, have worked on categorizing cyclists (and yet-to-be bikers) in order to better understand how to encourage people to use the bicycle for transportation.

Geller's, bicycle coordinator of Portland's Bureau of Transportation, worked six years ago to divide the city's residents by their attitudes toward transport biking. Geller found that a huge portion of the city's population was "interested but concerned" when it comes to city biking. That designate group has more or less turned into the target audience for Portland's bike-friendly efforts.

Jennifer Dill, a researcher at Portland State University whose efforts and study of getting more women to ride bikes will be published next month in John Pucher's book City Cycling, decided to further Geller's work.

Geller classified Portland's public into four types: 1) strong and fearless cyclists; 2) enthused and confident bikers; 3) interested but concerned types that may or may not ride; and 4) 'No way, no how' people who seem to indicate they are never going to ride.

The bulk of city residents in Geller's studies fell into the "interested but concerned" category (60% or more of citizens). Only about 1% of Portlanders were 'strong and fearless', while around 7% - the bulk of current bikers - are enthused and confident.

Dill decided to survey Portlanders this year to to see how well Geller's designations hold up, and what more may be learned about the different groups.

With funding from the City of Portland and the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium, Dill did phone surveys of residents. She found that there was now a higher percentage of people who might be considered 'strong and fearless'. The 'enthused and confident' group had bulked up a bit, too, to about 9%.

Dill's survey also seemed to show that though the 'concerned' group has safety issues, they may still be regularly riding their bikes, especially when the weather is good.

The group of Portlander's thinking that they would never bike seemed to drop quite a bit, from 33% in Geller's estimations, to just around 25% in Dill's. From the survey, Dill found that around 14% of this 'no way' group were for some reason unable to ride; another 12 percent classified themselves as non-cyclists, while about 4.5% were people who did not want to be considered transport cyclists, but ride recreationally.

According to Bike Portland, Dill said more analysis work on the survey results might end up creating new classifications of city cyclists.

So, what type of cyclist are you?

Tags: Bike-Friendly World | Bikes | Bike Sharing | Biking