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How many people ride bikes in Minneapolis and St. Paul compared to Chicago?

I applied for a job on Tuesday in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (Twin Cities).

I had heard that more people, as a percentage of all commuters, commute by bike in Minneapolis and St. Paul than in Chicago and many other cities. If you’ve been reading Steven can plan for a while, you know that I visited Minneapolis in September 2009 and rented a bike for 24 hours.

I used the American FactFinder to get the details. And now I know what I heard is true.

Chicago Minneapolis St. Paul
Workers over 16 1,230,809 190,814 131,798
Ride bikes to work 12,755 6,770 1,567
Bike mode share 1.04% 3.55% 1.19%

Permalink to data results. Data from the 2006-2008 3-year American Community Survey estimates, table B08301.

Knowing these figures led me to question the nothing that Chicago is a bicycle-friendly city. If it’s so friendly to riding a bicycle, how come there aren’t more people riding their bikes to work?

One of my ideas: There are many trails criss-crossing Hennepin and Ramsey Counties that go to and through major neighborhoods and employment centers. These are essentially bike highways without the threat of a automobiles.

What I do for a living

Everyone asks, and I always tell. But I’ve never blogged about it.

I’m the Bicycle Parking Program Assistant at the Chicago Bicycle Program, in the Chicago Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) Division of Project Development.

According to the Chicago Municipal Code, I tag abandoned bikes. After 7 days, a CDOT crew removes them to Working Bikes Cooperative.

I arrange for…

  • The installation of bike racks, including at Chicago Transit Authority train stations
  • The maintenance and removal of bike racks
  • The removal of abandoned bikes

I also manage the Chicago Bicycle Program website, Facebook Page, Flickr accountgroup, and Twitter.

Volunteering is up

For 8 weeks within December, January and February, I was without employment.

I was temporarily laid off. So I volunteered. As did millions of other people. A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released on January 26, 2010, puts the overall number of volunteers in September 2009 at 63.4 million people. So far in 2010, I’ve put in 27 hours at a social services organization. Last year, I volunteered 9 hours at two organizations*. My goal last year was to do 20 hours by Labor Day. That didn’t happen so I guess I’m finishing that goal now.

A volunteer at Sunday Parkways (now called Open Streets) in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Eric Rogers.

Who is the most likely person to volunteer: A white, married woman with a college degree, without children under 18. The number one volunteer category: religious organizations, leading the second category, educational and youth services, by 8 percentage points.

Have you volunteered recently? Do you prefer that your volunteer work benefit you in some way? For example, do you want your time spent volunteering to teach you a new skill, or are you satisfied with just helping out?

Fast Company shows this information on an infographic.

By the way, as this photo makes evident, I am back at work!

*Two of these hours were spent talking to people at Millennium Park about the Burnham Pavilion designed by Ben van Berkel. The people were annoying – a lady asking me why she might want go to Grant Park prompted by “resignation.”

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