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These animations of a single day of Coast bike rides in Tampa and St. Pete are very cool

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Published Feb. 14, 2018
Updated Feb. 14, 2018

When a very cool looking GIF visualizing a single day of Coast bike share bike rides in Tampa started getting attention online this week, we reached out to the creator to ask him how he made it, and if we could share it with our readers.

Yes, he said, but let me make it look better, and oh yeah, I can make one for St. Petersburg too.

Here’s the original that Matthew Hellman, a self-taught coder, created.

And here are the “better looking” ones he made.

St. Petersburg bike share rides

Tampa bike share rides

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What are we actually looking at?

Hellman used data that Coast bikes makes public for anyone on its website.

“You’re seeing (nearly) every ride taken on a Coast bike in Tampa on October 8, 2016,” Hellman said via email, discussing his first visualization. “The black dots are the position of the bike, and the colored trails are the previous paths of a bike. The color is different for each ride.”

There were about 400 rides included in the Tampa animation, Hellman said.

“The animation is not time of day accurate. Each ride starts at the beginning of the animation, regardless of the time of day it actually occurred, and continues until the longest (time duration) ride finishes. Each dot should move at a speed approximately relative to the bicycle’s actual speed. You can see there’s one bike that moves from Ybor to the West Tampa neighborhood, and then heads back to Ybor quickly on 275.”

Feeling inspired? Coast bike data is available on its website here.

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