Research Shows Busy and Hilly Commutes More Satisfying, Winter Not So Much- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Research Shows Busy and Hilly Commutes More Satisfying, Winter Not So Much

    Biking Uphill Is Satisfying. It’s an established fact that cyclists rate their commute as more “satisfying” than others.

    Researcher Devon Paige Willis from Montreal’s McGill University surveyed more than 5,600 students about their travel behavior [PDF], and 268 of them rode bicycles (three times Montreal’s average mode share of 2 percent). People who rode out of an environmental conviction or health goal were more satisfied than those looking for just a convenient commute. Willis calls it the “halo effect” – the satisfaction that comes from living your values.

    The built environment also had a big effect, with population density having the highest impact on bike mode share. “We hypothesized that land use would impact it,” Willis told me, “that parks and residential areas would end up with people being more satisfied.” But those factors weren’t nearly as significant as population density. Cyclists like an interesting ride, Willis told me, with lots of people around and lots of activity. She said the traffic congestion often associated with high population density didn’t seem to drag down the satisfaction level.

    Another surprise is that hillier commutes were more satisfying.

    “It’s not intuitive and it’s something we have not entirely explained,” Willis said. “My personal hypothesis is that because cyclists are cycling a lot of the time for exercise and health, the slope is not an inhibitor to them.”

    That would indicate to me that ”satisfaction” is not necessarily the same as “enjoyment.” However, the 58 students who said they biked year-round found their commute less satisfying than those who only rode in good weather.

    from Biking Uphill Is Satisfying, and Other Bicycle Research From TRB 2013 | Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  2. #2
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    No way, I think my snowy commutes are super satisfying. I believe that if you can't go out and recreate in the snow and cold weather, than you will become an old codger (or young) that hates winter, cold, and snow. That ain't me, babe. Throw in a big hill to climb, and I'm grinning ear to ear. My guess is if you asked these same commuters if they were on a fat bike, the answer would be no, or they would be satisfied.

  3. #3
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    "People who rode out of an environmental conviction or health goal were more satisfied than those looking for just a convenient commute."...

    ...People who rode because they consider it fun had left to go riding before the survey was completed, and 4 out of 5 people who rode to save money were perterbed to learn that N+1 applies to jackets, lights, gloves, and cargo racks. Riders in windy areas all report that cycling sucks.
    Recalculating....

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Riders in windy areas all report that cycling sucks.

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    ^^ Sometimes it blows.

    Gusts over 40 mph yesterday. Warm but suicidal.

    BrianMc

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    However, the 58 students who said they biked year-round found their commute less satisfying than those who only rode in good weather.
    That's strange to me. Riding year-round in Canada is something that you have to really choose to do.

    I meet lots of other people at the bike co-op who ride all winter. Depending on the weather they might be exhausted and occasionally frustrated, but everyone seems pretty happy to be accomplishing something as crazy as riding through a Canadian winter.

    So yeah, I'm surprised that the people who don't like riding in the winter don't just stop riding in the winter. I love it, but if I didn't I certainly wouldn't torture myself and would just switch to transit.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    So yeah, I'm surprised that the people who don't like riding in the winter don't just stop riding in the winter. I love it, but if I didn't I certainly wouldn't torture myself and would just switch to transit.
    No kidding. Same goes for hot summers or any other forms of self inflicted torture- unless you have no options, no sense doing it if you don`t like it.
    Recalculating....

  8. #8
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    ^ Ah, with a bit of reading I see the methodology is confusing.

    Fair-weather Cyclists
    These cyclists were more satisfied from their cycling trip than their alternate mode of transportation (transit, walking or driving) during the winter months.
    So they like their summer commute more than their winter commute. Which, duh.

    So the year-round cyclists are 87% satisfied with their year-round commute.

    Meanwhile the fair weather cyclists are 95% Satisfied! With their Amazing! Summer! Commutes!
    (but of course winter sucks, but they don't count that because they're on the crappy bus in the winter)

    Pretty silly thing to report.

  9. #9
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    Interesting article because it sums up several presentations...

    Basically in my mind a rider is satisfied with the route if they ride it....

    Safer routes with more connections will increase riders (more riders will feel safe enough to ride it), and have enough place to go.

    Hills make for pretty rides and bragging rights.....I can't see a planner building routes that require climbing more hills, unless they are bypasses of the direct connectivity route.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Riders in windy areas all report that cycling sucks.
    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    +

    $0.02
    The winter commute is more satisfying although less pleasurable unless the trails are good and then it is more satisfying AND more pleasurable

  11. #11
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    For me the winter commute is always more satisfying and pleasurable. Even when the trails stink and the cars are throwing up slush, there is something amazing about the quiet and dark of winter riding. Fewer other trail users to contend with, most of the time cars are happier to share the road with bikers in the winter (As we are all mad and might just murderize them if they cut us off cuz only crazy people ride in the winter.) The thing is, though, if you ask me about my ride on a particularly cold day or a hard day of riding, I would say it is the most horrible thing in the world. But once I thaw out a smile spreads across my face and I can't wait to get back out there...

    Love me some winter riding.

  12. #12
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    ^^Not me! More then once a week in the summer I'll take the long way home, in, both and rack up up to 100 miles over my normal commuting. When it is 20F out I just don't add in those "pleasure" miles. Other than the fun of the trails I tend to just go from point A to point B in the winter.

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