Coffee shops that we visited in Toronto in 2015

dineen coffee toronto

Dineen Coffee Co

I missed Dineen coffee the last time around, but was close enough this time for it to be my first stop.   The warm Bay Area weather made being outside in Toronto a bit of a challenge.  But I layered up on three jackets and borrowed a hat and felt alright.

Dineen stands out a bit unlike some of the understated coffee shops that one may be used to.  They’ve got a classy exterior in a historic building on Yonge Street, downtown.

dineen coffee toronto

You’re greeted by a busy floor,  large brass chandeliers, and elegant columns.  This place looks like a classic hotel lobby from the 1920s.

dineen coffee toronto

It was busy in there, with nearly all of the tables full.

They had a selection of pastries and parfaits and sandwiches, and also a nice wall of syrups, coffees and teas available for purchase.

dineen coffee toronto

The espresso tasted classic, much like the vibe of the cafe.  The baristas were especially friendly here, and while I was taking photos reminded me to tag them if I put mine up on Instagram.  And I did!

 dineen coffee toronto

Milano Espresso Bar

Milano Espresso Bar just opened about a week ago.  They have a neat space on Adelaide St that felt.. springlike.  I wouldn’t have known it existed if I hadn’t seen their A-frame sign out on the sidewalk.

cafe milano toronto coffee

Christian walked us through the blends that they had available.  We opted to try both La Futurra and .. the other one.  I can’t remember the name now.  Both shots were well-balanced with a more traditional Italian roast profile.  We had missed them while on our trip in Vancouver, where Milano Espresso had originated.

cafe milano toronto coffee

Sense Appeal Coffee Roasters

I visited Sense Appeal on Spadina last time.  The place was undergoing some renovations and didn’t quite have the same charm as last time.  I’ll be back though.

sense appeal toronto coffee

Early Bird Espresso

My favorite spot of the trip was Early Bird Espresso on Queen Street West.  I was excited to see that they had espresso from Pilot (a place that I definitely need to see next time) and it was the best I had all trip.  It was fairly bright, with a citrusy fruity punch.  The wooden serving plate and demitasse were a really nice touch as well.  It was quite crowded in there but we were still able to find a table to sit for a few minutes.

espresso at early birdNice neon sign.

early bird espresso queen street west

Cafe St Viateur at Frank and Oak

I wish I’d known about this place earlier.  It’s a little cafe at the entrance to the Frank and Oak store on Queen Street West.  I saw people doing a cupping through the window and had to stop in out of curiousity.  They do cuppings ever Sunday morning.  They serve Stumptown but I also saw that they were cupping some 49th Parallel beans.  Beautiful aesthetics in there and friendly folks.

st viateur cafe toronto at Frank & Oak

There was bike stuff too.

There were a lot of people on their bikes despite the weather, which apparently did not go above freezing for the entirety of February.  This bike looks pretty stuck:

khs bike stuck in the snow in toronto

Here we are along the waterfront trail, heading to the condo-crazy Ebichoke.  It was cold, but I felt fine with two pairs of gloves on and my three jackets.

snowy bike ride toronto along lake ontario

Here’s a chunk of ice from Lake Ontario.  According to NOAA, about 50% of the lake is covered in ice right now.  (If you’re curious, here’s a map with the rest of the lakes as well.)

ice chunk lake ontario toronto

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Coffee and Bicycles during a visit to Toronto

mercury espresso bar toronto

I was dropped off downtown by my cousin, who generously had picked me up from the airport, taken my Dad and I to the nursing home to visit my Grandmother, driven us to the cheap and quick Chinese restaurant, then back to the airport to drop my Dad off.  I sat down on the bed in the hotel to rest, as I had taken a redeye in, and hadn’t had caffeine all day, even at the Tim Hortons in the airport.  I went out for a walk to fix that and to just think and observe.  Walking and wandering in an unfamiliar place is one of my favorite ways to give my brain a soft reset.

There was a gross grey and brown slush covering the roads and a slightly cleaner-looking, probably equally salty version on the sidewalks.  Dark Horse espresso was a short walk away from my hotel.  The inside of the coffee shop was crowded with students on their computers.  The floor mats were sloshy and the windows steamy from the melted slush and heat within.

dark horse espresso, toronto

I ordered a single-origin Guatemalan espresso there.  My notes say “bright, cherries, nice.”  I didn’t hang around too long because the sun was setting and I wanted to continue on my walk.

dark horse espresso, toronto

I was impressed by the few cyclists I saw riding on Spadina Avenue.  For two reasons: car traffic on such a busy street looked annoying to ride with.  More importantly, though, the slush looked slippery, wet, and gross.  Bikes that I saw had gravel-y crust caked onto their downtubes, rims, derailleurs, cranks, and chains.  And it was cold.  This guy looked like he was in all waterproof clothing, so he was probably okay.

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I turned onto the interesting, gentrified Queen Street West to continue my walk.  The vibrant street murals stood out – I especially liked the transparent letters here on “THIS IS PARADISE”

this is paradise - toronto

What’s the story behind the mural, anyways?

Apparently it used to look like this.  It’s on the east wall of the Cameron House, hotel and bar.  The City of Toronto decided that the Cameron House building needed to be repaired, and the previous murals were damaged during the repair.  So, they hired new and old artists to paint new murals.  This wall was done by Tom Dean.

I had been there before, two murals and seven years ago:

the cameron house in 2007

Walking in the slush was tricky.  My whole trip to Toronto was rushed, and planning practically nonexistent.  I had anticipated the cold, but not the snow.  I wore skate-styled Nikes that were surprisingly slippery in the slush.  I tried to keep a brisk pace, but I was briskly shuffling, rather than walking.

There were plenty more slush-crusty bikes on the sidewalks.  Here is a partly entombed pedicab:

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I walked by R Squared Coffee Bar: I didn’t need another espresso.  I wasn’t planning on walking by this place; I was just wandering.  But, why not?  My only worry would have been not being able to get to sleep, but I was sleep-deprived enough to know that wouldn’t be an issue.

Also: steamy windows were becoming a theme.

r squared espresso toronto

The break also gave me a chance to look at a map on my phone and decide how much more to walk before turning back for the night.  I ordered another espresso: “R2 house blend medium body balanced.”  R squared is narrow and deep.  I was surprised by the interior – I had expected differently when I looked at their logo and saw their storefront.

r squared espresso toronto

As I headed back out, the light from the sky was getting cooler and blue, while the street lights were casting their warmer, orangey glow.  It makes for weird, colorful shadows.  What’s with the snow on your face, dog?

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I walked by Trinity Bellwoods Park, which was snowy and beautiful in the dusk.  There were a few people walking around, notably a couple with a child, who was attempting to navigate a snow bank by the park gate.

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Queen Street West has a ton of murals.  This mural was more sponsory, less underground, but I still liked it:

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And there were still a few cyclists out – Hey guy, where are your lights?

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More murals: I walked into a parking lot to take a photo of this one.  I was loving the low-contrast ambient light.

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I headed north on Ossington Ave.  There were a number of people on Ossington, many couples, looking for a place to dine for the evening, and a lot of cozy looking bars and eateries for them to eat in.

That’s a Janis Joplin lyric at hawkerbar:

IMG_1047m

I turned onto Dundas to head back downtown.

There were more parked (temporarily abandoned?) bikes here.  These were less crusty, but more entombed in a snow bank that probably had a pretty high ice content.  I imagine that these would be hard to remove.

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Hey, Easy Driving School, I like your 1970’s styled sign.  How long have you been around?

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It was getting colder and darker, and I noticed myself becoming less interested in my surroundings and more interested in just getting back to the hotel.  Less people were out, and any retail space that might have been inviting was now closed.

Toronto has a bike share, but  I saw nobody riding one of these Bixi bikes while I was there.  I certainly wasn’t tempted to either, due to the weather.

IMG_1059m

I spent the rest of the night looking through old photos that we’d taken from my Grandmother’s room at the nursing home.  There were so many photos of people I didn’t know.  I thought about what she might have been like when she was younger, and how I’ll never really know the story that they represent.  There were pictures from portrait studios, weddings, visits to gardens, graduations, student IDs, passport pictures, and ones sent with old letters.  And then more recent ones from Christmases, then the nursing home, and with the nursing home staff.


The next morning was bright, sunny, and beautiful.  It was still sort of slushy, but there was much more water than ice thanks to the higher temperature and the salt on the sidewalks.  I walked through Kensington market and saw the Tibetian prayer flags and the colorful buildings and the spray-painted alleys before anything opened, and imagined what it would be like later in the day.  Probably bustling.  One of the alleys had a series of photos pasted to the wall, and these had garnered a bit of criticism:  “Photo/Streetart is wack”

I walked up to the University of Toronto and visited Manic Coffee on College St.  Outside, it had a different appearance than what I would have expected for a fancy coffee shop.  The signage and the rest of the street fronts made it look like they’d been around for a while – like a place that served burnt $1 cups of percolator coffee rather than a place that has proudly served Intelligentsia since 2007.

manic coffee toronto

manic coffee toronto

But my espresso was nice, just as I had expected.  A bit better than the croissant, which was a little dry.

manic coffee toronto

There were a few cyclists outside who had just finished their coffee and were heading out.  I asked one of them what his secret was to staying comfortable in cold and wet conditions.  He rolled up his pant leg and pointed to his socks that were inside canvas shoes.  They were Gore-Tex socks that would set you back $70 or $80 at MEC.  He was already on his second pair and he loved them.

I took a roundabout way back downtown on my way to Union station.  I passed along the University, Ontario’s legislative building, and I guess what is known as the Discovery District and the Garden District.  Allan Gardens was a white sea of snow.  I wondered what would look like in the summer or spring.  Somewhere along Jarvis street, I stepped into a small but deep puddle hidden by a mound of hard-packed snow.  I was following the line of the woman in front of me and didn’t realize until too late where my feet were taking me.  She was wearing boots though, so she didn’t end up with a salty, cold wet sock like I did.

But hey, it was alright, because I was approaching Fahrenheit coffee!  I was looking forward to this place, and yes, I couldn’t resist the dare.. I did try knocking over the Mighty Mug.

nheit coffee toronto

It’s a small shop with a limited bar seating area.  There were two customers inside goofing off (or working?) on their PCs.  The guys at Fahrenheit (I think Adam and Sameer?)  gave a fun Mighty Mug demo, made a nice shot of espresso, and then even helped recommend some other spots to check out while I was in town.  Definitely a nice visit. nheit coffee toronto

Did I have the El Salvador or the Guatemala?  I don’t remember, and forgot to take notes.

nheit coffee toronto

After Fahrenheit, I continued to walk to Union station, where I navigated the construction to find my bus stop, so I could hop on and visit my cousin.   He had offered to drive back to the city to pick me up and take me to the nursing home, but I wanted to save him the trip.  It was a pretty nice ride.  I did some work on my laptop and then met my cousin at the station when the bus arrived.


Sense Appeal was austere, with service to match.

sense appeal coffee roasters toronto

I was a little surprised by how busy it was inside.  The crowd that morning consisted mostly of people grabbing coffee on their way to work.  That shouldn’t have been a surprise, given its location downtown.  It was colored with a gradient from brown wood tones to warm whites, and a touch of rustic distressed wood and unfinished walls.

sense appeal coffee roasters toronto

My espresso was probably fine, but sadly I had continued to forget to take tasting notes.. but look how nice that wood table is!

sense appeal coffee roasters toronto

sense appeal coffee roasters toronto

Sense Appeal definitely had the most attractive interior of any shop I visited in Toronto.  It was also the most appropriate place that I visited for a “CELLO FOR SALE” ad.

sense appeal coffee roasters toronto

I was meeting my aunt later that day so that she could drive me to the nursing home.  The morning’s walk was slightly less interesting than on the previous days.  I don’t know what it was, but the downtown buildings all seemed to blend together, despite the churches, big buildings, and metal sculptures.  Maybe the novelty had worn off?  I crossed the Queen Street Bridge over the viaduct, and I started to feel that I was more in a cohesive neighborhood.  Behind me I could see the downtown buildings in the distance.  They looked kind of small; I was surprised that I had walked far enough to make that happen.  I continued east to Leslieville, which had an interesting mix of old shops that had been there for decades and new, hip dining options.  I walked into one shop that had packages on the shelves that looked like they’d been sitting there for years.  There were dusty plants in the display window, in various stages of dying.  A woman curtly, but politely, greeted me when I came in and a shop cat eyed me suspiciously.  After looking around for a bit, I made a curt but polite exit and went on my way.

mercury espresso bar toronto

Mercury espresso bar looked and felt more like a neighborhood place.  A little funky looking on the outside, and dark, cool color tones on the inside.  I freaked out the barista when I took a picture of the wire “MERCURY ESPRESSO BAR” sign on top of their Synesso.  Sorry about that.  I usually ask when taking pictures, but wasn’t feeling as outgoing at that moment.

mercury espresso bar toronto

mercury espresso bar toronto

I met with my aunt, we sat and chatted for a while, grabbed lunch, and then spent some time with my grandmother in the nursing home.  It was weird being there.

Like many other families, everyone we met who was our parents’ age was introduced to us as an uncle or an aunt.  Over lunch and at the nursing home, my aunt explained who was actually related and who was not.  I hadn’t even known how we were related to each other.  I guess that’s one nice thing about illnesses and family emergencies – they bring people together.

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2012 Temescal Street Fair Photos

Hannah from Doughnut Dolly

Here are photos from the 2012 Temescal Street Fair that kind of go along with the time lapse:

Hannah from Doughnut Dolly

Hannah from Doughnut Dolly serving up her bread pudding

 

The John Brothers Piano CompanyThe John Brothers Piano Company play on Telegraph Ave

 

The John Brothers Piano Companya duet?

 

Oaklandish trailer

Oaklandish bus.  still trying to get my keep oakland fresh t-shirt.

And now for the dog section of this blog post:

suspicious dog

suspicious dog is sususpicious

where are your eyes dogcurious dog with hidden eyes is curious

 

 

small dog syndrome dog

small dog has small dog syndrome.  except with jason.

This is the part of the blog post where I post pictures of people checking out Jason and Alfie and Lisa’s bikes:

 dude checking out bikes

Is this guy looking at the waterford or the softride beam? (softride only makes trailer hitches and bike rack accessories now? how sad)

 

another dude checking out bikeswhat about this guy?

 

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Photos: The Grand Cru ride to Petaluma, Lagunitas Brewing, and the Willowbrook Ale House

We recently rode in our second two-day Grand Cru ride from San Francisco to Petaluma and back to visit Lagunitas Brewing and other breweries along the way.

We rode out from the Embarcadero through North Beach towards the Golden Gate Bridge loaded with supplies and camping gear.

 

 

The obligatory shot of the Golden Gate Bridge from Chrissy Fields

 

Our first stop was Iron Springs Pub and Brewery in Fairfax.  I had a Kent Lake Kolsch.  I was a little surprised to not receive it in a Kolsch glass.. but getting it this way probably meant more beer for me.

 

A flight of beers from Iron Springs

 

We rode off from Fairfax, to climb White Hill

 

Then we rode through Nicasio.  Beautiful green hills, blue skies and cows.

 

The group, riding along Nicasio Valley Rd

 

It’s It at the Cheese Factory.  I was looking forward it all morning.

 

Rolling out after a short ice cream break

 

Petaluma – The Willowbrook Ale House.  Had a really good burger lately? … With fries?

 

We saw the remnants of a police chase and car crash from our campground.

 

We headed to Lagunitas Brewing and got a flight.

 

At the bottom of the glass: “BEER SPEAKS”

 

This dude had a 4 wolf moon t-shirt.  And a 3-wolf belt buckle.

 

A great burger… with fries!  I wasn’t even hungry.  I just got it because I had to.

 

This is Bud, rocking the mic.

 

Poor Eric – his tent was broken.  Looked more like a bivy.

 

Dog outside of the bathroom

 

Aeropress coffee with Scarlett City Roasting beans.  We had the Nicaragua Los Papales.  (It was fine as a strong aeropress brew but at home, I find the beans to be slightly boring.)

 

We had brunch at Henny Penny’s before heading back south to San Francisco.  In searching for information about this place online, I learned that in 2003, the owner of the restaurant was robbed in his home and died of a heart attack during the robbery.  9 of the 10 suspects in the robbery have been arrested..

 

Back to lighter stuff – this chili pepper sauce has the YouTube logo on it.  I don’t know why.  Apparently they have a lot of YouTube videos, including this one that ends with 1) a guy spinning a box of hot sauce bottles 2) a different guy kissing a hot sauce bottle

 

We all headed south to Novato to stop by Moylan’s Brewery.  Most of the group stayed there and then stopped by Marin Brewing before catching the ferry back to San Francisco.  We elected to ride all the way back to the city.  Once we got back, we rewarded ourselves with a burger and onion rings at Gott’s.  and a white pistachio shake.

 

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new york: night shots and night cyclists

I walked around and took photos. (what else is new?)

love the soho billiards sign.

 

Aether put together a nice little popup store with a tent and an airstream trailer.  Nice looking gear.. a little pricey of course.  (I love the photos on their main website)

 

riding north on mulberry st. with a bag in hand.

 

St. Patrick’s old cathedral is an impressive structure

 

another new york night cycling photo.

 

and another.  helmets wearers seem to be in the minority.

 

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Where are bikes stolen? Neighborhoods and cities where bikes are reported as being stolen from on Craigslist

Scroll down for bigger images and an explanation.

 

Update: Links in the Huffington Post, SF Gate, Mission Mission, The Tender and Mission Loc@l.

This is part 2 of an analysis of postings reporting stolen bikes on Craigslist.  Part 1 is here.

Bike theft sucks.  What can we learn about it?

Bike theft sucks.  If your bike is stolen, not only will you have lost a fairly significant possession, but there’s a good chance you’ll be stranded or stuck if you use your bike as a mode of transportation.  (If you’re looking for tips on how to avoid having your bike stolen, try the San Francisco Bike Coalition’s page on theft prevention.)

I was curious about how bike thefts occur and what kind of patterns there were in bike theft incidents.  To do this, I turned to Craigslist, where occasionally while looking through listings for used bikes, I’d stumble upon a post where someone would plead for their bike to be found and returned.  Or I’d see a post where someone would promise revenge if the thief is ever found on their bike.  So, to get a better idea of what was happening with stolen bikes and Craigslist, I gathered some data.

Gathering and processing data

I archived San Francisco Craigslist listings from July 2nd, 2011 til October 17th, 2011 in the “bicycles” section with “stolen” in the title. This includes listings all over the Bay Area – San Jose, Mountain View, Oakland, Berkeley, San Leandro, Santa Cruz and so on.  This is only about 3 months of data, but I think it’s fairly representative.

The first part of my analysis was a simple graph with word counts for an aggregate of the postings.   It showed that there was a tendency for people to post about bikes (obviously) with pleas for help.  Shimano components and Specialized bikes dominated the listings.  Black was the most popular color in the posts.

I was also curious about the geographical distribution of stolen bikes.  If you were to park your bike somewhere, in which neighborhood is it more likely to be stolen?  Which city has more stolen bikes?  I took the big group of postings and converted the data format to a spreadsheet and then used software to make a treemap and then manually cleaned up the graphic and tried to make it a little prettier.    (If you care for details: I created a Google Reader feed back in July, exported the feed to XML, cleaned up the data and exported to CSV using Google Refine, then used R and the map.market function in the portfolio package to create an image.  I then used Adobe Illustrator to make things a bit more attractive and readable.  Flowing Data’sAn Easy Way to Make a Treemap” was very helpful in this process.  If I had known how to code in R better, I would probably have tried to modify map.market to create a more refined treemap and remove some of the manual steps.)

Above: Google Refine converted postings into a tabular format.

I settled on a treemap as a format to display the data, but I think a geographical map would have been the best way to represent the data.  I guess I just wasn’t up for tracing neighborhood boundaries and all of the other associated work.

I should also note that going through the listings made me kind of sad.  Bike thieves suck.

How good is the data?  Can it be refined?

Analyzing Craigslist postings isn’t a perfect way to determine where bikes are stolen.  There are a few registries out there that may have some good data.  I was curious about Craigslist postings specifically since I had stumbled across so many while shopping around for bikes for myself.

So, for a point of data from Craigslist to show up correctly in this analysis, someone who had their bike stolen would need to:

1) report a missing bike as stolen on Craigslist

2) identify the neighborhood where the bike was stolen in the posting properly

There were 633 postings in total with the word “stolen” in the title.  It seems that most people do 2) pretty well.  Only about 9% (59 of 633) of the  postings did not have an actual location in the title.  I don’t know how many people who have had their bikes stolen actually post on Craigslist and report their bikes as stolen.  I’m pretty sure it’s not all people.

Duplicates were removed

Some people are really good at posting on Craigslist though.  They posted multiple times.  This is totally understandable for someone who wants to get their bike back.  I used Google Refine to remove these duplicates so that they would not skew the data, but I probably ended up removing some unique posts in the process.  All in all, 64/633 were removed because they were duplicates.

“Stolen” is a bike company name

There’s a company that builds BMX bikes that is named “Stolen.”  I removed some, but I think about 19/633 made it into the infographics that weren’t actually stolen.  In an interesting ironic twist,  1 posting was for a stolen “Stolen” brand BMX bike.

The way people post locations can vary

Since anyone can post almost whatever they want on Craigslist, the data was pretty messy.  Craigslist has created a bunch of predefined neighborhoods such as the “Mission District” and “Hayes Valley,” but sometimes people don’t stick to the naming convention.  Sometimes people are ambiguous with neighborhood names and post “Mission” instead of the “Mission District.”  Some other people are much more specific – they post “Near Mission Cliffs” or a specific intersection like “Stockton and North Point.”  For the most part, I didn’t convert these to their applicable neighborhoods unless the poster’s intent was obvious, like with typos, for example.

Some people did not include a location or included not very useful but understandably frustrated-sounding “locations” such as, “you tell me” and “can you find it?”  Other locations contained text like, “United States” and “The Bay Area.”  I grouped these ambiguous “locations” into their own category.  They are still included in the infographics below.

Also, some listings contained locations covered by other local Craigslist websites.  “Sacramento,” for example, has its own Craigslist page, but a posting was still filed under the San Francisco Bay Area Craigslist page.

Good Samaritans also post

There were some postings from people who saw or purchased possibly stolen bikes and were trying to reunite them with their owner.  (The Laney College Flea Market in Oakland is a good place to find your bike if it’s been stolen, by the way.) This is good for the world, but it clouded the data set just a little bit.  I don’t know exactly how many postings were of this type but it was not too large of a number.  I’d estimate about 5% of postings were from good Samaritans.

Where does bike theft occur?

So, with all of that out of the way, here are the infographics with treemaps.   The size of a rectangle is proportional to the number of occurrences for that location.  Larger rectangles mean more bikes were reported as stolen, and smaller rectangles mean the opposite.

The first infographic is a treemap, with postings separated by city:

Interestingly, nearly half of the stolen bike postings were from San Francisco.  I expected to see more theft in Oakland and Berkeley.  It’s also surprising that there was only 1 reported theft in Emeryville.  Is it because Emeryville is that much smaller?  Are there not many cyclists there?

Workflow note: I made this treemap manually in Illustrator based on the neighborhood map below.  Open the image in a new window to view at full resolution.

Which neighborhoods?

This second infographic is also a treemap, but with areas divided by cities and neighborhoods.  You’ll notice that they are color coded with the same hue as in the above city infographic.

Holy crap, there are a lot of neighborhoods.  The Mission district wins for being the neighborhood with the most stolen bike listings.  In Oakland, the largest chunk of thefts occurred by the Lake.  There’s a pretty large number of stolen bikes in Santa Cruz and Berkeley, probably due to high bike usage by college students and perhaps naïveté with regards to bike locking strategies.  Strangely, there aren’t a lot of listings from Palo Alto or Stanford.  Is there less theft there or do people just not look to Craigslist when trying to recover their bike?

What’s next?

I like how they turned out, but making these damned infographics took a lot of time.  I think there’s still some interesting stuff to get out of the dataset.  I’m curious about how bikes are stolen.  Did somebody cut through a lock?  Did they break into an apartment?  Did somebody just lean their bike and then look away for a few seconds?  I’ll try to find that out next.

– Phillip Yip

 

 

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Common words used in San Francisco Craigslist listings reporting stolen bikes

This is part 1 of a multi-part series.  Part 2 is here.

Bike theft sucks.  For quite some time, I’ve been wanting to compile some stats on bike theft in order to understand how and where it happens and how it can be prevented.  I archived San Francisco craigslist listings from July 2nd, 2011 til October 17th, 2011 in the “bikes” section with “stolen” in the title. This includes listings all over the Bay Area – San Jose, Mountain View, Oakland, Berkeley, San Leandro, and so on. I was curious about how bikes get stolen and what kind of patterns there were in the posts and incidents. I’ve compiled a little graph that shows the frequency of words in the listings.  I used a messy combination of Google Refine, Google Spreadshets and Open Office Calc and a word frequency counter that was a bit slow but quite useful.  The data consists of about 633 entries.

We’ll see what other data I can squeeze out of the set in the future.

I had to do some manual cleaning of the data – I purposely omitted words under 4 letters in length, like “the”, “a” and so on, since they probably wouldn’t have been too informative.  There were also various html-related words like “http”, “href” and “nofollow” that I removed as well.

Here’s a graph of the word counts:


and here’s the corresponding table:

 

 

word count
bike 1326
stolen 690
with 570
this 542
from 414
please 413
black 384
have 283
reward 280
frame 259
front 240
white 219
seat 206
that 196
back 191
rear 169
blue 167
will 154
know 153
thanks 130
return 129
photobucket 123
call 123
bikes 120
police 119
silver 116
road 115
just 115
contact 113
rack 107
questions 106
bars 105
information 101
specialized 99
around 99
last 97
help 97
only 95
saddle 94
someone 92
would 91
shimano 91
your 90
like 90
anyone 90
about 90
location 89
been 89
email 88
bicycle 88

some interesting things:

A lot of the terms are fairly obvious, but some words stick out.  Most of the posts are obviously requests for help and the words show this – “please”, “reward”, “thanks”, “return”.  As far as bike companies go, it appears that “shimano” dominates the component world and “specialized” is the most popular bicycle manufacturer.  The color “black” is the most popular, but “white”, “blue” and “silver” also show up.  Another word that stands out is “photobucket”, the popular image-sharing site.

I’m going to try to continue poring over this data and see if anything else interesting emerges.

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graph: when are bikes faster than airplanes

After a group of cyclists (and someone on public transit and a rollerblader) beat a jetblue plane from burbank to long beach this past weekend during carmageddon, Nadia Korovina did a little analysis on Bike Commute News and came up with a simple equation to find the maximum distance at which traveling by bike is faster than traveling by plane:

 

 (Nadia, is that LaTeX? I’m impressed)

In the blog post, Nadia and Jordan found that the maximum distance where a bike is faster than a plane, assuming a 2.5 hour delay (including time standing in line, security, waiting, transport to and from the airport), 25mph average cyclist speed (those @wolfpackhustle guys can hustle), and an airplane speed of  500mph.

 

Some commenters wondered how things would work out for someone who rides a bit slower, and someone else asked about graphs.

 

so, here you go:

 

 

 

 

A bike traveling at 20mph would travel 52.1 miles before being passed by the jet.  At 15mph, this distance is 36.7 miles, at 12.5mph, this distance is 32.1 miles, and at 10mph, this distance is 25.5 miles.  The jetblue thing was definitely a bit of a stunt – I don’t think many people would expect a plane to be too efficient for a 40-mile commute, but this whole #flightvsbike thing goes a long way in showing the viability of using a bike for an everyday trip.  good work, all.

 

 

 

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