A new interactive map shows some of the more popular running and biking routes in Whatcom County - and the rest of the world.
Strava, a San Francisco-based "social fitness" company whose app tracks users' runs and bike rides, created the map using numbers from its users. The app is available on iPhone and Android devices and is available in free and paid versions.
Note: The source of the map was incorrect in earlier versions of this blog post.
Here's the map for Bellingham and Whatcom County. It's a "heat map," which displays data as colors on a map (the higher the number, the higher the "temperature" of the color). In this case, the most popular routes are displayed in red, the less popular ones in green (see accompanying photo). Note that you can change colors of the routes and change the "activity view" to show just bike routes, running routes or both. You also can zoom out and move to other areas.
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As you might expect, the most popular runs are along Bellingham Bay - think South Bay Trail and Taylor Dock - and around Whatcom Falls Park and Lake Padden.
The most heavily traveled cycling routes are on Galbraith Mountain, through they range all over the county, from Chuckanut Drive to Mount Baker Highway.
Data-cruncher Nathan Yau, who writes a blog on data visualization called Flowing Data, points out that Strava's dataset includes more than 77 million rides and 19 million runs, summing to about 220 billion data points. "Just pan and zoom to your area of interest, and there you go," writes Yau on his blog.