Hippest bike cities as ranked by Craigslist

Bike riding Priceonomics researcher Rohin Dhar dug into six months of Craigslist posts to find the top cities for cycling in the United States.

Rohin counted the number of used bicycle “for sale” Craigslist postings nationwide and found that San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Orange County had the most bike listings. Given the populations of these areas, this isn’t too surprising, so Rohin normalized the data for population and came up with these rankings.

Bikes Sales America normalized for population

For bike sales per capita, Boulder, Colorado comes out on top, followed by Bend OR, Portland OR, Eugene OR, Reno NV, and San Francisco CA.

Which is all kind of boring, so for fun Rohin filtered just for “fixies” and “fixed gear” in his dataset as a proxy for a city’s hipster quotient and discovers California is the epicenter of today’s fixed gear bike sales. The top cities for fixed gear bike listings? In order, they are:

  • Orange County
  • Los Angeles
  • San Jose
  • San Francisco
  • Santa Barbara
  • Chico
  • Modesto

California cities get the top seven spots in Rohin’s hipster rankings. Sacramento is at number nine, San Diego and San Luis Obispo come in at 11th and 12th. New York City places 36th on Rohin’s list. Allentown and Worcester tied for last place with zero fixed gear bike listings.

Finally, Rohin looked at median bike prices for each location. People in Salt Lake City seem to pay the most for used bikes, while Portland OR and Eugene OR has the cheapest bikes for sale on Craigslist.

You data nerds can see the full breakdown at Rohin’s blog post here, where he also tries to find a correlation between bike listings with population density, education, and population growth (or decline).

Rohin, by the way, is a bona fide San Francisco Bike Nerd, and he buys his bikes brand new. His Civia Midtown, he says, sweetened the deal when he proposed to his girlfriend.

Rohin and Girlfriend with Civia Uptown in San Francisco

Here he is at a Caltrain station with is 2009 Bianchi Imola.

Rohin at Caltrain 2009 Bianchi Imola Bicycle

Rohin has all of this data as a co-founder of Priceonomics, a kind of Blue Book service where you can find listings of used bike prices. That can be kind of handy if you’d like to know what other people are asking for a used Bianchi Imola ($850).

7 Comments

  • January 19, 2012 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    Nice piece, Richard….interesting stuff.  The link to used bike prices is awesome.

  • January 19, 2012 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    Maybe it’s a function of breaking down by town/city instead of region… but the greater DC area (DC, Northern VA, parts of MD) has a really robust craigslist bike section – surprised to not see it on here.  I’ve checked out the CL sections on bikes when I’ve been in other cities (Boston, Honolulu) and they don’t have as much stuff or the variety of stuff I see.

  • January 19, 2012 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    Matt,

    Rohin’s full spreadsheet on number of bike listings can be found here. In absolute numbers, DC comes in at #17. I don’t know how well it fared per capita. I also don’t know if he counted everything at dc.craigslist.org/bik/ or if he limited his data to just the District.

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  • January 20, 2012 - 10:34 am | Permalink

    Glad to see Rochester make the list, albeit at 50th place. Still, given Craigslist’s inherent safety flaws (note Boston is not on this list, thank you Craigslist Killer), it’s understandable that some regions, especially in the northeast, are less likely to use Craigslist and thus not show up on this list. A fun exercise nonetheless.

  • January 20, 2012 - 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if information about Craigslist utilization is available. i.e. how much more (or less) likely are people in Boston to use Craigslist than people in San Francisco?

  • Pete
    January 25, 2012 - 3:39 am | Permalink

    Be great to see an graphic for how cycling has picked up or dropped off in these same cities over the past say 10 years, although that info might be hard to come by. In London we’ve seen a big increase in cycling since the millennium, with most of the growth happening in the past 4 years with the introduction of the city wide cycle hire scheme, and a bigger emphasis on cycle commuting by the authorities. Although we still have weeny streets, so there’s only so much that can be done!

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