Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bike/Bus Commuters: Analysis

Our analysis comes from 4 individuals in our case study. While they all have general characteristics in common, they each come from a niche inside the subculture (trick bikers: using environment to interact with, as opposed to strictly bicycle commuters etc.) Some riders embody parts of all of these within their experience.

We’ve come to the conclusion through several interviews and questionnaire responses that cyclists are individuals who are adventurous and enjoy a fun challenge. Some common traits are that they all value the environment and believe that cycling is a valid alternative to car commuting—this means they value efficiency and saving money as well.

Some of the ways they got involved in the cycling community were because of car problems or seeing examples set by other cyclists which ultimately persuaded them to adopting the lifestyle.

Rituals include planning ahead for the day. One example comes from a subject named David—before work he intentionally plans 8 hours ahead, thinking about things like proper clothing (bright/reflective for visibility), activities (such as books, newspaper, music), and tools for maintenance. We found that weather was a large factor in determining how they plan for the day. Weather also determined if they road their bike at all. If biking is not a possibility, all of our subjects value public transit in Kansas City, MO as opposed to traveling by car.

Within the subculture and the individual niches that reside in it, topics that vary in response include: multitasking while riding and if Kansas City is a bike friendly city. When it comes to multitasking, some felt it’s exactly like driving—you can eat, smoke,drink, talk & text on cell phone, listen to music etc. Some felt that cyclists should focus all of their senses on the task of riding, this may be because they feel that Kansas City is not a bike-friendly city, although this view varied within our subjects as well. It was said that the mid-west is relatively more polite towards cyclist on the road than other areas such as the East Coast.

Cyclists emotions towards their bikes aren’t as deep as we first assumed. They appreciate the bike as a mode of transportation and as an esthetic object that they maintain and aspire to improve upon. Riders generally have a very specific dream bike in mind— for example, a 1997 Trek 520,built for heavy duty travel–Noah.

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