Section 3.5 Seasonal variations in cycling

Little information is available about ACT seasonal variations in cycling. It is not as simple as hot or cold, wet or dry. Many will cycle anyway. Most studies are only for a short period. Here is what we do know.

Update 1 March 2021: The bike counter on Sullivan’s Creek bike path would indicate that the seasonal variation is not very great (data 2017-2021).

We have three sources: Sullivan’s Creek bike path counter, Mount Stromlo Forest Park survey and another for Melbourne. That is not much. The ACT Government does not publish data of this type but it would be worthwhile as Canberra has four seasons. There is no reason to fear the worst, as Europe has four seasons, too. Canberra is much warmer and dryer than Europe, particularly northern Europe, where cycling participation rates are high.

The ABS Census happens once every five years in August. The 2017 ACT Household Travel Survey was over a few months in Spring 2017. The National Cycling Participation Survey is an Australian standardised survey that has been repeated every two years since 2011, but it does not cover seasonal variations in cycling.

Mount Stromlo Forest Park

The mountain biking draft report for Mount Stromlo Forest Park includes market research on seasonal variations for visitors. The number of visitors at Stromlo varies little between Summer, Spring, and Autumn, but is lower in Winter. Stromlo Forest Park Market research on visitors to Stromlo Forest Park indicates:

> Summer is the most popular season for riding, however there is only marginal difference in visitation between Summer, Spring and Autumn. Winter generates fewer visitors, reducing visitation by one third

The  Draft Canberra Mountain Bike Report (December 2019), ACT Government

The bike counter on Sullivan’s Creek

The bike counter on Sullivan’s Creek is on the CBR Cycle Route C6 ANU to Dickson. The seasonal variation is not all that great. The biggest drop is around Christmas and early January, which is perhaps not all that surprising as government departments close over the Christmas period and many public servants return until late January to work. Finally, during this period the university has a long summer break.

The bike counter on Sullivan’s Creek is route the CBR cycle route 6 (C6) ANU to Dickson.

Sulivan Creeks bicycle counter data 2017-2021 DAILY
Sullivan Creeks bicycle counter data 2017-2021 DAILY totals, ACT Government

Seasonal variations in Melbourne

The Victorian Government has gone to the trouble to measure seasonal variations in cycling (Melbourne). The data would suggest that cycling is most popular in Spring and Autumn and lower in Summer and Winter months.

Seasonal variations in cycling in Melbourne. Chart: ChartingTransport. Data: ABS
Seasonal variations in cycling in Melbourne. Chart: ChartingTransport.

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