Cycling meets science

Explore the world by bike and help scientists map our natural environment.

Why science needs you

The science needed to address the most pressing problems of our era is challenging. It is difficult to test theories about huge, complex systems like the weather, for example. But that's not all! Issues such as climate change, pollution and loss of biodiversity are often interconnected. Many researchers struggle to collect enough data to accurately test their predictions. Scientists simply cannot solve these challenges on their own. And that's where you come in...

The power of people

While individual "citizen scientists" might only put in a few hours of work a year, their collective efforts add up to an enormous value.

Percent
billion US dollars

Volunteers collect nearly 90% of all species and habitat records in the United Kingdom [1]. Across the world, citizen scientists contribute time worth up to $2.5 billion to biodiversity surveillance each year [2]. That's about 40% of the budget of the U.S. National Science Foundation across all scientific disciplines!

[1] The Conservation Volunteers [2] Theobald et al. (2015). Global change and local solutions: Tapping the unrealized potential of citizen science for biodiversity research. Biological Conservation, 181, 236-244.

As a cyclist, you make a great citizen scientist because...

You already spend a lot of time exploring nature.

Whether it's your commute, a weekend tour or a long-distance adventure, you spend a lot of time outside on your bike. This means you are in an excellent position to make observations about nature.

You are a creative problem solver.

As a cyclist you often solve tricky and unusual problems. For example, finding the right gear, or a route through new regions, or a way to communicate with people who don't share your language. The same creativity is a great asset for engaging in scientific research.

You go to remote places.

Going to remote places as a citizen scientist doesn't mean you have to cycle to the steppes of Outer Mongolia. By "remote" we mean areas that are poorly mapped in terms of scientific data. It might be the small woodland you cycle past on your daily commute or the hedge outside your favourite bike café. There are many places where scientists currently can't collect data, but where we urgently need data to be collected. Yes, even that hedge.

You meet the locals.

Travelling by bicycle means travelling slowly. This gives you a great opportunity to engage with the local people and to discover the local flora and fauna. Documenting what you see and hear can be extremely valuable to scientists who may not have the resources to visit.

How you can get involved

To get started, read our Frequently Asked Questions and browse our database of citizen science projects. We have selected research projects that are well-suited for cyclists. Usually, a smartphone or a paper notebook is all the equipment you need. You can sort through projects by location or tags like "Record offline", for example. If a project sparks your interest, follow the link to the project website to get more information.

We will continue to add projects to the Science by Bike database. If you would like to hear about new projects, please follow us on Twitter or Facebook, or sign up for our newsletter.

About us

We are Sophie Esterer and Dominik Neller, two people who are passionate about science and also love to ride their bikes. With the Science by Bike project, we aim to raise awareness about research that needs help from citizens across the globe. We believe that citizen science is a compelling path to a deeper understanding of the world around us and we want to inspire other cyclists to engage with nature in this way.

If you would like to get in touch, please send us an email at hello@sciencebybike.com or follow us on Twitter.

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