By Richard Florida
June 22, 2011
A nationwide analysis shows that towns where people bike to work are richer, fitter, and more successful in many other ways
Riding a bike through a city, David Byrne wrote in his book Bicycle Diaries, “is like navigating the collective neural pathways of some vast global mind.” Biking, he adds, “facilitates a state of mind that allows some but not too much of the unconscious to bubble up. As someone who believes that much of the source of his work and creativity is to be gleaned from those bubbles, it’s a reliable place to find that connection.”
Cycling is one of my own great passions. I like nothing more than to get on my road bike and just go. My bike is not just a great way to get around, it’s a great way to get to know cities.
It’s also a good way to stay in shape, as witnessed by this post at the Living Streets Alliance blog, which noted the uncanny overlap between the places listed in my post on America’s Fittest Cities and the cities where the greatest percentages of people who bike to work live. That got me wondering what other characteristics of metropolitan areas might be associated with higher levels of cycling. With the help of my colleague Charlotta Mellander, I took a quick look at the numbers. We used data from the American Community Survey (ACS) on the share of people by metro area who commute to work by bike.