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).
Two surveys – one for Mount Stromlo Forest Park and the other 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 very 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. “Winter generates fewer visitors, reducing visitation by one third.”
Snapshot of Visitors – Stromlo Forest Park Market research on visitors to Stromlo Forest Park indicates:The Draft Canberra Mountain Bike Report (December 2019), ACT Government
> Over three quarters (78%) of adult park visitors are aged 35 or over
> They are predominantly local, just over half (53%) living within 25 kilometres of the Park
> The Park receives a high volume of repeat visitors
Visitor’s household incomes are above average with over half (60%) reporting household incomes (before tax and including super) in excess of $104,000 per year
> 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 bike counter on Sullivan’s Creek
The seasonal variation is not all that great. The biggest drop is around Christmas and early January. This is not surprising as government departments close over the Christmas / New Year period and many public servants do not return until late January. Many people leave Canberra in this period to visit friends and family interstate. Finally, the university is in the middle of the long summer break.
The bike counter on Sullivan’s Creek is route the CBR cycle route 6 (C6) ANU to Dickson.
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. It would be useful to know more about the source of this data.