Twitter accounts for active transportation fans
When you’re a kid, a bike offers freedom, adventure, and just a touch of danger. When the demands of adult life conspire against leisure time, many give up the pastime. Responsibilities intrude. Cycling organizations have good research to show that lack of safety is one of the reasons people move away from cycling. Adults ride bikes when there are safe routes to take; ridership goes up when routes connect with work and errands.
There are stalwart cyclists who don’t mind peddling in the middle of thick vehicle traffic, but most people need more infrastructure and support. Sometimes, this support can be simple information: best routes, proper gear, tips and tricks. Sometimes, support is in advocacy and research: showing cities and businesses how to encourage biking. Sometimes, support is community: a simple reminder of the joy found outside on a bike.
Fortunately, social media provides for these needs. From the new rider to the cycling enthusiast, there is a lot of opportunity, on Twitter and beyond, to network and learn online.
Reliance Foundry produces bike parking and tough flexible bollards that stand up to the rigors of bike lanes. These interests require keeping an eye on innovation in the field. From serious policy to cultural trends, our feed keeps us abreast of development.
Our list of cycling accounts to follow on Twitter is divided into three sections: cycling life, advocacy, and planning and research. We note, however, that each group does a little of all these things.
There are many cultures of cycling. Sport cyclists, bicycle design enthusiasts, active transportation advocates, environmentalists, or just your Average Joe riders can all find something online.
Bicycling Magazine offers a well-rounded Twitter feed with video, articles, tips, tricks, and product reviews.
Product reviews cover the full range. Luxury bikes to dream about are featured beside cheap-and-cheerful bikes that offer excellent daily commutes. Accessories and clothing are evaluated, and new lines introduced. Articles on nutrition, sleep, and training regimes examine trends. A mixture of bite-sized stories and long-form articles are offered. Profiles of riders inspire. Bicycling Magazine also dives into the latest science of cycling and gives a regular round up of cycling in the news, to keep cyclists up to date.
In all, Bicycling Mag is a general interest magazine with something for everyone.
Red Kite Prayer is a scrappy bike magazine that gives the feeling of sitting around with other cyclists at the end of a long ride. A regular group of writers offer their personal experience with their chosen sport. Community offers commentary and connection in response. Although RKP has sports cyclists at the helm, there is lots of interesting content for the average leisure cyclist.
RKP introduces Body, Mind, Machine, and Events categories. Their featured podcasts are excellent to listen to on a ride.
This magazine is a place for sports cyclists to find in-depth, personal stories from the road.
Joe brings something special to the world of lifestyle-bike feeds: normalcy. Average Joe Cyclist and his wife cycle to work and for pleasure, but don’t wear Lycra or compete-to-win in big races. Their blog is aimed at everyone who fits that description.
If you’ve never considered your jumping hang-time or your fondo finish, but just want to get on a bike and ride, Average Joe is a great place to be. The newbie can come and demystify some of the more technical aspects of riding. More established riders will still get a lot of info through reviews, fitness tips, and general interest articles. Average Joe offers resources for kids and seniors, making it an inclusive and welcoming spot.
If you’re a serious mountain biker, SingleTracks.com is a huge resource. On site there are searchable databases for gear and trail-routes. Gear reviews come with photos, ratings and commentary from the whole community. Trail listings are easily searchable by location (harder by other criteria.) Forums allow bikers to exchange questions and quips.
Singletracks’ Twitter feed offers a look into its articles and content. Race and event listings and product reviews are commonly linked articles. Video how-tos and ride runs are especially nice to watch on those days that you’re stuck inside.
Cycling advocacy is often focused on the infrastructure required to cycle. Advocates are often noted for their support of bike lanes, facilities, and integration with other transportation networks. A good deal of advocacy focuses more on introducing people to cycling. Hesitancy is often overcome with information. These organizations provide resources and education and help make cycling fun.
The League of American Bicyclists is one of the oldest and most active bike advocacy groups in North America. It specializes in research, education, promotion, and advocacy from a cyclist’s perspective. There’s a real community outlook at the League, with care for all types of bike riders. They provide guides for organizations on being bike-friendly. For individuals, they offer a “How to Ride Safely” training program for individuals. The League also offers fun incentives—from cycling events to a National Bike Challenge.
On the League’s active Twitter feed, see everything from local stories of individuals to national political action.
The League of American Bicyclists granted Bikemore Baltimore the 2019 Advocacy Organization of the Year Award at March’s Bike Summit (Shift). Bikemore’s Twitter feed makes it easy to see why. The group makes noise and advocates for change with fun neighborhood events, direct-action campaigns, community reach-out, and relationship building with government officials. Even when these relationships are contentious, Bikemore Baltimore keeps the focus on community.
This group’s work reminds us that change is often local and cultural.
People for Bikes is an advocacy organization that works in conjunction with organizations, individuals, and businesses to create positive change for cyclists. Their unique method of ranking cities for bike-friendliness makes them an interesting source to keep an eye on year after year. They evaluate cities on several criteria: ridership, safety, network, reach, and bike-share growth.
People for Bikes is also a good advocate for e-bikes and other assistive technologies. They offer support to riders who need to cycle with assist.
The Adventure Cycling Association is a different sort of group: it’s focused less on bike-share for everyday transportation, and more on riding to get out and see the world. Tourism is the name of the game with this group. Articles support cycling vacations and tours. They share lots of beautiful shots of the countryside, and information on stunning bike tour locations.
This association works to advocate for the road networks outside of cities. They also offer leisure bike tours with a van to drive gear from stop to stop. Images from all sorts of people taking their bikes to the road make this an inspirational feed.
Planning and research
Every rider has different comfort levels, interests, abilities, and ranges. Planners and researchers look not at the specific needs of a single rider or bike community, but rather at cycling as a whole. Are there things that encourage non-riders to the streets? What obstacles are in the way of the curious? How can cities and sites help create safety, comfort, and extend an invitation to those who might be bike-shy? There are places in the world where cycling is a matter of course for people of almost every age and ability. Places where cargo bikes are a common sight. Some people are comfortable using trikes or e-bikes when upright or fully-self-powered riding is impossible. What makes the difference in these communities or to these people? Researchers must understand people, exercise, culture, economy, and urban planning to really get to the meat of these issues. New ideas are being explored all the time. These Twitter feeds capture these new research trends as they explore best-practices around the world.
Melissa and Chris Bruntlett are cyclist-advocates with an artistic background. They founded Modacity to cut through the complicated political noise around cycling, instead focusing on the joy and fun of the road. As writers and marketers, they share stories that communicate a larger vision without lecturing. These sorts of stories they share on their feed.
Along the way, the couple has learned about cycling all over the world. They’ve come to realize the strategies of successful cycling cities. Their book “Building the Cycling City” investigates where planning has succeeded. They show what’s being done in the Netherlands and North America. They explore also what more can be done.
Streetsblog is a news site focusing on active transportation issues. Their goal is to support livable, walkable streets. Their feed features up-to-date articles focused on active transportation news, research, and culture. The Streetsblog team does unique investigative journalism specific to traffic and transportation. Their sub-site, StreetFilms, offers short videos that make a quick and enjoyable watch.
On the website, find podcasts, a headline roundup of news, and city/state specific sections that focus on regional issues and policy. A job board also connects job-seekers to positions in transportation and urban planning.
Active Living Research offers science on how the built environment affects physical activity. Their mandate is to help governments, NGOs, and the private sector build healthy communities based on good research.
The Active Living group is multidisciplinary and reaches out to many different communities. As such their Twitter feed is diverse and interesting. @AL_Research looks at cycling and other active living issues. They share exercise and health research that’s applicable or interesting to cyclists, even when not bike-focused.
This is the Twitter Feed of the Cities, Health & Active Transportation Research Lab, led by Dr. Meghan Winters. It aggregates work being done at Simon Fraser University on health and active transportation. It also retweets from other academic sources. This wonkish feed includes interesting inside-academia discussion of protocol and approach.
With researcher backgrounds in aging and epidemiology, this account is not only focused on young, healthy cyclists. E-bikes and other options to make active transportation more accessible are explored.
Cyclist-Twitter is a busy place. There are as many different approaches and interests in bicycling as there are in the world of cars. Cyclists might be most interested in sports, mechanics, luxury vehicles, every-day vehicles, transporting their families, commuting, education, tourism, or safety. Yet all these different interests overlap. There’s usually something to interest everyone even on very different accounts. Our ever-growing Twitter list of “Bike News” accounts crosses the spectrum.
Just like the kid first on their bike, all types of riders share enthusiasm about getting on the road. Further, everyone’s looking for good, safe riding surfaces—whether on a single track mountain path, a bike-route along a rural field, or on a protected lane on a city street. Shared experience creates a cohesive connected community in cyclist-Twitter, even between riders of different interests.