Author: Tom Babin Page 1 of 17

Tom is an award-winning author and journalist who has written about cycling for years. He is the author of Frostbike: The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling, a bestselling exploration of getting around on two wheels throughout the year. He has delivered speeches about cycling around the world, and is often in the media addressing issues related to cycling. For several years, he wrote the Pedal blog for the Calgary Herald. He lives in Calgary.

How people in 100 cities ride bikes differently | The Shifter Global Bike Culture Index

It’s here! The first-ever Shifter Global Bike Culture Index, which compares the culture of cycling in more than 100 cities around the world — and it all came from viewers of this channel. And the results are endlessly interesting.

The background: A few months ago, to mark 100,000 subscribers, I asked all of you to help me compare the different cultures of cycling around the world. I had no idea if this would work, because it involved a big request: Asking viewers to record a 20-minute video of cyclists in their city, then tallying up things like types of bikes, clothing, helmet use and demographics.

But I was overwhelmed by the response. More than 100 cities from four continents are represented. And this video is all about the results.

Here’s a map I made with the data (the icon in each city represents the most common type of cycling in that city),

Want to explore the anonymized data yourself? Here is it. If you do something cool with it, please share

For the record: This data isn’t scientific, so don’t read too much into it. It’s just a fun exercise. And I apologize in advance for those cities whose names I mispronounce and for any errors that may have emerged from the data —this was a big project and I did my honest best.

Gift guide for urban cyclists and bike commuters 2023

Ho ho ho. It’s time once again for the Shifter gift guide. Here are some of the products that I’ve been interested in, or used a lot this year, that may make a great gift for that urban cyclist or bike commuter in your life. This isn’t about bikes or gear. It’s more about the little things that can make your bike life a a little better.

I rode 50 km on five saddles to find the best type of bike seat for commuting

My butt has been getting sore while riding my bike lately, and I traced the problem to my aging factory-issued bike saddle. But before I replace it, I thought I’d try some different types to find the best for my bike commute. The result: a 50 kilometre ride of me talking about how my nether regions feel. Come along for the ride.

This northern city is spending $100M to improve cycling. Can your city too?

What do you think is the most exciting bike city in North America? New York? Montreal? How about … Edmonton?!

Yes, the northern Canadian city’s council has just pledged $100M toward cycling over the next four years, which could be a massive improvement for everyone in the city.

But the question is how? At a time when bike advocates are struggling in so many cities to win investments from political leaders, what happened that enabled Edmonton to make this potentially transformative change?

When I received an invitation from Edmonton City Councillor Michael Janz to explore, I jumped at the opportunity.

Testing a cargo e-bike as your everyday vehicle

We know cargo bikes are great for carrying stuff. But how are they as, you know, regular bikes?

After my last video, in which I tested an e-cargo bike’s hauling capabilities, I thought it would be useful to see if you can use a cargo bike for regular, everyday bike things to see if it can function as your main transportation option. Big thanks to Riese & Muller for loaning me this bike (and thanks to local bike shop Power in Motion for their support as well), and for sponsoring bike month here on Shifter. Their unconditional support – they had no say in the content of these videos — helps keep this channel going, so please check them out.

This isn’t intended to be a review of this bike, but if you’re curious, I’m riding the Riese & Muller Load 75

Thanks also to Maddy Novich, also known as Cargo Bike Momma on Instagram.

An electric cargo bike to replace a minivan as the ultimate family vehicle

There’s a major transition happening in transportation these days, where the default family minivans of yore are being replaced with electric cargo bikes. But for those of us living in cities that aren’t quite bike-friendly, is this a realistic transition for a family?

In this video, I run an electric cargo bike through three typical suburban bike challenges, and we examine the family finances by comparing a bike and a Minivan with special guest Cailynn Klingbeil.

Thanks to Riese & Müller, who are sponsors of bike month this year at Shifter. Thanks to that sponsorship, this is the first in a series of videos exploring life with an electric cargo bike. Riese & Müller offered their support without having any influence over the content of these videos, so please show them your support as well

The bike I’m riding in this video is the Riese & Muller Load 75 (and it’s pretty great).

The real impact of bike commuting on climate change

I’ve wondered for years just how much of an impact on climate change my bicycle commute has. But I’ve also suspected that rather obvious-sounding question hides some nuanced and rather complex answers. So I took a deep look at my own carbon footprint and, yep, it certainly is. Thanks to Cailynn Klingbeil for the help on this video. You should subscribe to her Substack about getting outside.

The ‘secret sauce’ transforming this cycling city

Montreal is probably the most bike-friendly big city in North America, and since my last visit there seven years ago, it’s just gotten better. So what’s different? According to one local, it’s one thing: Incrementalism. Big thanks to Paige Saunders for sharing his wisdom (and his video skills) in this video. Make sure to check out his great channel

Another big thanks this week to UMX or Urban Mobility Explained, powered by EIT Urban Mobility, the sponsor of this video. They have a great channel that offers ideas, innovations and solutions for urban mobility around the world. Please check out their channel.

It’s time to stop with the ‘bicycle highways’

I finally found a true Dutch bike in North America. Here’s what you need to know

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