The Bike Boom: Following The Trend-line...

As an economist, most of my time is spent looking at graphs, models, trend-lines and equations. I didn't think I could bring this to the blog in any way, not without boring you readers stiff. However, in one of my recent lectures we were talking about the "R-word" trend; the number of times that the word "Recession" comes up in news headlines; and how it correlates to economic performance, all related in depth to rational and adaptive expectations and a whole other load of jargon...yada yada yada.

Anyway, it turns out that it is very easy to run an "R-word" type regression using Google Trends, so I started playing around with some cycling words on there, and thought the results were quite interesting; so here's what I found:

"Cycling" Worldwide

  • Talk about peaks and troughs! Guess which month the Tour de France is in?!
  • The Olympic effect seems to be quite evident - with this summer's peak lasting for a lot longer than normal, as both July and August became a cycling frenzy.
  • Unfortunately there actually seems to be a downward trend in the word "cycling" in global news since 2005. However I attribute that mostly to the increase in the "R-word", which has displaced a lot of other news in recent years. There is hope though, as since 2011 the peaks are rising again; the cycling boom could just be about to restart!

"Cycling" in the United Kingdom - Wiggo!

  • WOW! That's the best way to theoretically describe that peak! The Wiggo effect is undeniable when you look at this data; since 2004 we have never seen "cycling" in the news as much as it was this summer, in fact I would dare to suggest that we have never seen levels like this in the UK before.
  • Unfortunately the boom didn't retain its dizzy heights of the summer, however it is clear that in the winter, "cycling" does drop off in the headlines. The good news is that this winter it is actually as high as it was in the summer of 2010! That's progress!
  • I think we can attribute a fair amount of this continued interest to successful newspaper campaigns such as The Times 'Cities fit for Cycling' campaign, as well as perhaps less fortunate events such as the Lance Armstrong debate. These have helped to keep the buzz word in the press even on the grey days of winter. 
  • Overall though, a very positive story for cycling in the UK - lets hope it continues to grow.

So, there you go... a bit of data analysis on the blog! Never thought I would see that.


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