Do great cities for biking equal great cities for (women’s) basketball?

March 20, 2019

Austin, TX.


So your team made it to the NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament, but how does your team’s town stack up when it comes to bike infrastructure? Let’s find out! We’re looking at tournament games and sizing up the towns according to our City Ratings. Here’s how our ratings work: we rank cities based on five factors — Ridership, Safety, Network, Acceleration and Reach. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be predicting game outcomes based entirely on City Ratings. Round by round, we’ll publish our picks. Can biking forecast basketball?!

First up, let’s look at some First-Round contenders:

From the East, the University of South Carolina will take on Belmont, which matches Columbia, SC against Nashville, TN. While Soda City has taken some measures to increase biking, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. And although Belmont is a small school in a big city, this game is a pretty even match. Overall, Nashville’s network is more complete, but they’re lacking in other areas. The PlacesForBikes City Ratings prediction: Columbia will slide by for the win with a City Rating of 1.8 over Nashville’s 1.5.

We’ll also see Mercer take on the University of Iowa, which gives us Macon, GA against Iowa City, IA. Iowa City has shown promise in the past few years, with surveys looking specifically at young bike riders. It’s worth noting that in Reach, Iowa City rates 3.0. Reach evaluates how well a community’s low-stress network serves all members of the community. Because of this, The PlacesForBikes City Ratings prediction is that Iowa City will have no problem beating Macon to advance to the second round.

In the Western region, we’ll see a New York battle with Syracuse taking on Fordham (New York City). Biking in a big city can be intimidating even for the most seasoned rider, but with a campus right on Central Park, getting around by bike — especially in the spring — can be pretty great. NYC has recently added 20 miles of new protected bike lanes, and thus, The PlacesForBikes City Ratings prediction: we’re taking the underdog over Syracuse to advance.



We’ll also see the University of Texas take on Indiana University: two beautiful places to ride a bike. Bloomington, IN was the setting for the bicycle classic, Breaking Away, and has endless rolling hills dotted with picturesque lakes. They also have a pretty complete network. But Austin’s speed is almost unbeatable. The PlacesForBikes City Ratings prediction: Austin over Bloomington, but not without a fight.

In the South we’ll see Missouri State take on DePaul, matching Springfield, MO against Chicago, IL. While Chicago shines in many areas, Springfield might be their match. Both cities rank fairly well in their Reach scores, but Springfield smashes Chicago when it comes to Acceleration. The PlacesForBikes City Ratings prediction: Missouri State over DePaul.

Finally, in the Midwest we’ll have a match that’s too close to call, even for us! Gonzaga takes on the University of Arkansas Little Rock. Spokane, WA against Little Rock, AR. With identical Network and Acceleration scores, this game is going into overtime.

Stay tuned for our Sweet-sixteen predictions!


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