Looking for some information regarding commuting.

JgabJgab Posts: 4
edited October 2013 in Commuting general
Hello,

I'm currently a student working on his thesis. I'm looking to get some information regarding the use of bicycles as a mode of commuting transportation.

Basically I'm trying to tweak the current bicycle to better serve everyone as a mode of commuting transportation. Being from/to work, school, or any destination achievable by a bicycle.

Why? Because I believe bicycles are the way to encourage people into putting alternative transportation into practice. As a whole: speeding up the fight against fossil fuel consumption.

I have a survey for anyone in this community to take. It's just a simple questionnaire at this time. Just to collect some information for a solid foundation for more research. ( http://freeonlinesurveys.com/s.asp?s...0ro5ug2n353453 ) It's only 13 questions.

But my overall questions is:

What would motivate people to buy/rent/borrow a bike to use for commuting rather than using fossil fuels (driving, using bus transit, taxi). Not just motivate them enough to take the initial step, but to keep them going at it until they have generated a positive experience that would seal it into a routine.

What do you guys think? any ideas?

What ive been thinking so far is:
power drive assist
incentives
Free bike rental programs... thats it so far.

Thanks for a moment of your time.

Jerry G

Posts

  • andy9964andy9964 Posts: 930
    Computer says

    "Incorrect survey link code!"
  • Safer roads.

    Better cycle path network.

    More secure bike storage.
  • Jgab wrote:
    Hello,

    I'm currently a student working on his thesis. I'm looking to get some information regarding the use of bicycles as a mode of commuting transportation.


    I have a survey for anyone in this community to take. It's just a simple questionnaire at this time. Just to collect some information for a solid foundation for more research. ( http://freeonlinesurveys.com/s.asp?s...0ro5ug2n353453 ) It's only 13 questions.

    jerry G

    Incorrect survey link code!

    Hardly inspires confidence.
  • samtopesamtope Posts: 18
    I think a lot of it is a generational thing too. I commute a 15 mile round trip which is perfectly do-able, a lot of the time you're coasting, or going down hill if you're lucky, so much of it can't really be called work. Yet where I work it is no exageration to say the late 40's plus employees are in total amazement that its possible to cycle 7 1/2 miles at all, let alone that a person would choose to. Certain individuals even bring the subject up, every day, which is tiresome. I can say with no hesitation that most people where I work would sign on the dole rather than ride a bike to work, it wouldn't even be an option. I find that younger people are much more receptive to the idea, but then they have never known cheap motoring. Also bikes are cool now, more so than the old fashioned clunkers of the past. I'm sure that as the older generation die off, taking their inflexible views on motoring and excersise with them, we will see more bike commuters on the road.
    'Not even an army can stop an idea whose time has come'. Victor Hugo.

    (No offence intended to any old folks on here, I'm sort of middle aged and I dont like whipper snappers either)
  • unixnerdunixnerd Posts: 2,864
    I contract with a multi-national underwater construction company which has 20,000+ staff and 46 ships world wide. Let me give you two examples of cycle use.

    One of our Stavanger offices. Maybe 30 bikes in the bike shed (February!) for an office with 1/5th the staff of the one I'm based at in Aberdeen. Company will supply staff with 400 quid's worth of winter and summer clothing, cycle to work programme, prizes for mileage targets, secure cycle shed. Norway has has superb and very expensive cycling infrastructure and a high percentage of school kids cycle because it's safe. This is despite the weather and hills.

    Westhill Aberdeen office (west campus). 3 or 4 bikes including mine, most I ever saw was 7 on a nice day, despite having 5x the number of staff at a guess. Company doesn't provide anything except C2W programme, unsecured but undercover bike parking and showers in the gym (huge gym complex, main court can sit 400 spectators). The company runs free buses to Aberdeen for staff.

    Weshill is five miles from Aberdeen but there's a recently upgraded and half decent cycle path which is safe. Westhill itself (where a lot of workers live) has decent cycle paths on main routes. Some folk in Westhill walk in but a lot drive under a mile despite major parking problems. Despite reasonable facilities folk don't cycle, you can't blame the weather as we're comparing to Norway!

    I suspect many of the folk who cycle take the free bus instead. A lot of folk have c2w bikes but many don't cycle and site safety as the reason. As for those who live <2 miles from the base and drive in I think it's a culture thing, they're not used to cycling. I cycled to primary school but there's no way I'd have left my bike at secondary school as it would have been damaged, so maybe secure secondary school cycle storage is an idea? Otherwise folk "forget" about cycling and get out of the habit.<br>
    The best way to get more folk cycling would be to organise days where existing cyclists ride in with them and help them get used to the idea, tips about clothing and junctions for example. They also need to have someone come in and give cycle training, they already have a company come in to do fitness checks and help you lose weight. I have tried to get cycle training for a friend via the Scottish Cycling website, but I can't even get them to reply to my emails :-(
    http://www.strathspey.co.uk - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • It's easier to create a working hyperlink than it ever will be to get brainwashed drones out of deathmobiles.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    22 hours on and he hasn't been back to check, let alone fix his dodgy link. Bovverred...? Me niever... :)

    Edit.

    To answer the question properly, I really don't think there's much chance, and it's not an age thing as far as I can tell. The number of times I roll up to work and get the witty comments along the lines of morning Bradley, you must be mad, I wouldn't dare do that it's too dangerous etc suggest that those that haven't got the idea never will - cycling to work is an alien concept that 'other people' do. I do it as I've always done it, cycling. The majority of those that gave up cycling aged 9, or never started, are lost. Get kids to see cycling as a routine way of getting about and you might be onto something. Good luck with it.
  • JgabJgab Posts: 4
    Im so sorry guys.

    I've been pretty busy at school getting presentations ready.

    Try giving this a try http://freeonlinesurveys.com/s.asp?sid= ... ug2n353453

    The survey isn't as important as your feed back anyways so thanks for responding and helping out.
  • JgabJgab Posts: 4
    samtope wrote:
    I think a lot of it is a generational thing too. I commute a 15 mile round trip which is perfectly do-able, a lot of the time you're coasting, or going down hill if you're lucky, so much of it can't really be called work. Yet where I work it is no exageration to say the late 40's plus employees are in total amazement that its possible to cycle 7 1/2 miles at all, let alone that a person would choose to. Certain individuals even bring the subject up, every day, which is tiresome. I can say with no hesitation that most people where I work would sign on the dole rather than ride a bike to work, it wouldn't even be an option. I find that younger people are much more receptive to the idea, but then they have never known cheap motoring. Also bikes are cool now, more so than the old fashioned clunkers of the past. I'm sure that as the older generation die off, taking their inflexible views on motoring and excersise with them, we will see more bike commuters on the road.
    'Not even an army can stop an idea whose time has come'. Victor Hugo.

    (No offence intended to any old folks on here, I'm sort of middle aged and I dont like whipper snappers either)

    I've interviewed several people who claim the same. These people commute to work everyday and were introduced to other means of transportation in the past. Most of them road bikes to school, or family's income prevented on the idea of an automobile being the only mode of transportation.

    One individual had a different reasoning as to why the idea of cycling to work wasn't such an alien task: He grew up in the 60's 70's when the youth movement (hippie movement) was strong. He mentioned that at the time he would rather travel via bike than conform with his parents in getting an automobile. Now concerned with his health, picking up a bike and riding it to work makes him feel lively and youthful. Knowing that hes able to still ride a bike like he did as a teen-adult.

    What this man said clicked in my head. It's almost the same thing that is going on now with the younger population. They are abandoning car leases, expensive insurance, investment in car repairs for something that is opposite what most around them think is the norm way of transportation.

    unixnerd
    I've encountered a great deal of interviewees that mentioned how they wished that their employer would provide encouragement to cycle to work. I understand that larger companies do have the budget, or can save up for a program like this. But the problem is that this leaves out smaller businesses that aren't able to generate enough for a "cycling to work" program hence leaving lower income commuters without a solution. But maybe is the government gave incentives to companies to provide such a program.. but we all know that it is just a dream.

    Thanks for every ones comments, and sorry for the dead link :(

    I would also appreciate more ideas if any.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,519
    edited October 2013
    As people use everything from time trial bikes, through road, CX, Hybrid and mtbs to £70 supermarket snotters for commuting, designing a bike to improve on 'it' will be impossible as you won't cater for all tastes.

    Where I am I would say 45% commute on Hybrids (ranging from little more than slick shod rigid MTB's to road bikes with flat bars) 40% on road bikes and 15% on MTB's.

    My radical thinking to get people commuting by bike more would be a dedictaed cheap hybrid commuter - features
    1/ Flat bars, offering a 'swap at point of sale' option on stems and bars to tweak how upright the riding position is.
    2/ Built in rack (this is a common feature on bikes in the developing world such as India), done properly this would be cheaper, lighter and more robust than a bolt on.
    3/ 1x8 gearing for reduced weight and cost while keeping to reasonable quality components
    4/ 700c wheels sized narrow so they will take anything from 1.95" comfy tyres to a 25mm road tyre
    5/ V-brakes to keep cost down and efficiency up.

    The aim here is not to tempt people on bikeradar who ride anyway, but offer an all in one tailorable package for those you are trying to tempt out of cars.

    Glaring error in your survey by the way
    Most days (15-25 times per month)
    Most months only have 20-22 working days, so the other (top) option of over 25 days a month is unlikely to be realised be even someone who commutes every day to a normal 5 day week.
  • A college of mine who is on quite a low wage is having problems with his car. He lives 4 miles away - most which has quiet roads & off / on-road cycle paths. He's a bit of a fitness freak, goes climbing etc, but suggest he cycles the 4 miles into work? Won't have it.

    He'd rather drive across town to drop his girlfriend off and then drive into work. Whereas he's in a perfect position to cycle in.
  • The ideal commuting bike would be
    * Fast on tarmac surfaces
    * Capable on gravel and the various crappy surfaces that pass for cycle paths
    * Easily adaptable to winter conditions, one of the main reasons I hear for people not buying a bike for commuting is 'can't do it in the winter'.
    * Theft proof! Or at least an easy way to lock it up, no it's no more stealable than a car / motorbike.
    * Cheap

    I don't believe such a thing is possible with current materials.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,226
    As a famous drug fiend once said, "its not about the bike"
    The most significant barrier to commuting is cultural. In some cultures, they do it, in others , they don't. Even within the UK, there are some cycling towns where everyone and their granny rides a bike, and other driving towns where only die-hard riders venture out. You need to identify what factors make a driving town different to a cycling town.
    Dont just look at cycling towns, it is critical to compare the two.

    As far as bikes go, the only thing I would add is that most everyday , non-expert riders are on the wrong size and the wrong type of bike. Too many tiny women on heavy 700c hybrids vs big men on undersized lightweight cross-country MTBs. Too many yoof riders on full sus MTB shaped objects. Too many hipster wannabees on fixies minus mudguards, too many kids on riding bikes that are built to resemble full sus frames.

    The right bikes are generally out there but not widely understood. It is like a car market where the norm is a Hummer or Caterham 7 or dumper truck and only a few car-club beardy weirdies drive hatchbacks.

    The other bike factor is poor choice of the right size bike for big or small riders.

    Non-bike factors include the bike awareness of road planners. They need to go on a bike-awareness course. I realize how this will sound to the editor of The Scum and Daily Snail, afterall, every 5-year old knows everything there needs to be known about cycling, the idea of a course for adults is hysterical. Remember the police rider courses they scoffed at. Again this is a cultural issue of peer pressure to conform to a Top-Gear vrumm vrumm mindset.

    Maybe the best thing for cycling would be if people in "East Enders" cycled to the Queen Vic.
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    I get the occasional "HOW FAR?!" when I tell people I've got a 25 mile round trip commute, but the biggest reason by far for people to not cycle is safety.

    We can quote all the stats in the world about the relative risks of cycling vs a sedentary lifestyle but sitting in a car feels much safer than riding a bike in traffic.

    With proper infrastructure and road design (like the Netherlands) we'd get a lot more people cycling rather than driving to work. As said above, commuting by bike needs to be just another form of transport, not something that Wiggins wannabes in lycra do as part of their training.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,519
    bails87 wrote:
    As said above, commuting by bike needs to be just another form of transport, not something that Wiggins wannabes in lycra do as part of their training.
    This, look at Holland which has one of (if not the) highest rates of cycling commuting in Europe
    1/ Lots of dedicated cycle paths away from traffic - check
    2/ A relaxed atytitude to cycling such that many use 'dutch bikes' which to most of us are heavy clunky and slow, but work really well for a relaxed pootle in normal clothes on dedicated paths away from traffic

    Of course the fact that Holland is as flat as a pancake helps with both the above!

    I cycle when I'm in India, the irony there is that most people see it as the means of transport for poor people who can't afford a motorobike, they think it really funny that people should cycle for leisure!
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    The Rookie wrote:
    bails87 wrote:
    As said above, commuting by bike needs to be just another form of transport, not something that Wiggins wannabes in lycra do as part of their training.
    This, look at Holland which has one of (if not the) highest rates of cycling commuting in Europe
    1/ Lots of dedicated cycle paths away from traffic - check
    2/ A relaxed atytitude to cycling such that many use 'dutch bikes' which to most of us are heavy clunky and slow, but work really well for a relaxed pootle in normal clothes on dedicated paths away from traffic

    Of course the fact that Holland is as flat as a pancake helps with both the above!
    I don't think hills have that much to do with it tbh.
    http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/20 ... cling.html
    If it was true then plenty of flat bits of the UK (lots of our major towns and cities, East Anglia, Lincolnshire) would have high cycling rates. It doesn't hurt, but it's not a significant factor (IMO).

    And the relaxed attitude exists because you don't have to be able to cycle fast around multi-lane roundabouts to stay alive in NL, you get on a bike, ride at whatever pace you want while (for the majority of the time at least) protected from motor vehicles by time and/or space. Whereas our combatative roads mean that only those willing to cycle fast and be 'assertive' when faced with two tonnes of Range Rover will continue to cycle on the roads.

    Me and the missus went to Lanzarote last year, they've got a brilliant segregated cycle track from the resort we were in all the way to the main city. It was great, we hired Dutch style bikes and pootled along side by side with no more effort than a brisk walk. When we get back here there's no way she'd ride a bike, it's just too unpleasant and the 'cycling facilities' are often little to no use. Boris's Cyle Superhighways are some of the most high profile and 'big budget' bits of bike infrastructure in the country and if they weren't actually killing people then they'd be a joke http://lcc.org.uk/articles/bow-roudabou ... d-by-lorry
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 671
    if you're trying to make a commuter bike for the average short distance plod to work for someone who doesn't currently cycle and hasn't been on a bike for years then I think cheap, with weather protection and mimimal maintenance would be the main targets. Dutch bikes and Boris bikes are a good example of how that's done.

    One big benefit of cycling is that it can be an incredibly cheap way to get around, if the initial outlay is several hundred pounds then that benfit is lost.
    If your clothes get sprayed in road grime then people will need a full change of clothes at each end, reducing the convenience and increasing the time the journey takes. Proper full mudguards won't stop rain falling on you but it does stop the grimy water on the roads soaking you through when the rain stops.
    Maintenance is something that a lot of us take for granted but something as simple as adjusting brakes or even fixing a flat tyre would put some people off the road until they could get the bike to a shop. I've fixed a few bits for friends of my wife and often it's something you could almost sort during the red phase of a traffic light if you know what you're doing but a lot of people don't know, don't want to learn and don't want to get oily hands.

    As for things that put people off - my wife likes cycling, before we had a baby we used to go for jaunts round the local parks or on quiet backroads, occasionally out on the train to ride one of the old train lines in surrey. She's quite happy to cycle 15 miles a moderate pace, including a few decent hills. BUT there's no way she would even consider cycling to work because of the traffic (and I think she's probably right) - there's no way of bypassing busy roads, even the backroads are commuter rat runs for cars with only a token gesture towards provision for cyclists. If there was a safe route all the way I could see her cycling to work about 50% of the time in summer.
  • BigLightsBigLights Posts: 464
    The English are a very conformist bunch, if I were to stereotype. Cyclists have historically been a minority 'not mainstream' bunch, so the mono thinkers among us tend to resist on the grounds that it's unusual. Therefore, a cultural shift in terms of acceptance of cycling as a normal activity partaken by normal people would see a sea change in take up. You already, I think, see this in London in terms of Boris bikes and summer cyclists - in my experience in the past few years cycling has exploded here. Indeed, in my own office (30 people) there used to be only 2 of us who cycle and were considered somehow a bit crazy (despite being an astonishing healthy bunch here). There was a tipping point, and now it's 'cool' to cycle so everyone wants in on the action and at least a third of us now do.

    So...normalise cycling by seeing some celebrity icons or whatever and it'll be a craze.

    That's on top of the other posters' comments re safer roads, facilities etc.
  • 90% of the issue for potential commuters and to a large extent existing commuter is motor traffic. You can argue what the best way to 'solve' that problem is, but the fact remains that the biggest barrier to cycling is cars.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,519
    bails87 wrote:
    I don't think hills have that much to do with it tbh.

    If it was true then plenty of flat bits of the UK (lots of our major towns and cities, East Anglia, Lincolnshire
    I said lack of hills helped, then the three examples you use are cities were people think it's dangerous and 2 counties were the average commute distance will be above what most pootlers would consider to be doable. It's the combination of factors that is important, not each in abstentia.

    As it happens, since I've been commuting regularly we've gone from 3 regular cycle commuters in the office to 7, still only circa 3% of employees though!
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 671
    I'd add a small note about cycle lanes - they're only any use if you know about them. Seems obvious but it's a relevant point.

    I've commuted up the CS7 "cycle superhighway" across south London for a couple of years and despite being supposedly one of Boris' flagship cycle lanes, it's little more than an intermittent blue line for most of its length and does very little to address dangers to cyclists.
    About a month ago I took a bit of a diversion on the way home and stumbled across another cycle route which follows the back streets from waterloo to clapham common - almost parallel to the CS7 - but is signposted along relatively quiet roads with dedicated segregated lanes where required (eg to allow you to go 'the wrong way' down a one way street).
    In short, it's the kind of cycle lane that is often requested to allow less confident cyclists to get out on the road, it's not perfect by any means but if they're willing to walk the short sections where traffic is unavoidable then it's safe enough for kids riding to school, grannies popping to the shops, new cycle commuters etc.
    Trouble is, nobody knows that it's there - even if you go on the TfL website and set your start and end points at each end of the route and set the planner to 'easy' to give you quiet routes, it sends you down the bloody A23 and onto the A3 to meet the 'cycle superhighway' down some very busy routes and dangerous junctions.
  • unixnerdunixnerd Posts: 2,864
    With proper infrastructure and road design (like the Netherlands) we'd get a lot more people cycling rather than driving to work.

    Were I work in the Westhill suburb of Aberdeen there's good infrastructure but they still don't cycle.
    http://www.strathspey.co.uk - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
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