Cycle tour through multivariate statistics: Part 1 Data Preparation

As part of my statistics course this semester, I did a survey of cycle tourists and used a variety of multivariate statistical techniques to analyze the resulting data. First off, I’d like to thank those of you who responded to the survey, special thanks to warmshowers.org, crazyguyonabike.com, travellingtwo.com and goingeast.ca, for sharing the links to the survey. I was overwhelmed with the response, with the initial count indicated 222 responses. In this series of posts, I’ll share my narrative of how I analyzed the data using the various statistical techniques. If you don’t care about how I did it, you just want to see the results, here is the link (will be active once part 8 is posted). If you’d like a copy of my detailed report – leave me a comment.

Data Preparation

In the cycle tour dataset, the initial data indicated 222 responses; however, there were several responses that had mostly blank data. After removing these blank responses, I was left with 207 responses. In addition, in order to reduce excessive outliers (that is, extreme values that break the statistics), I had to remove rows that did not fit within the bounds of the dataset. I defined the requirements as: total duration of at least 7 days, minimum average daily distance of 20km/day (based upon TotalDist/TotalDays), and a maximum average daily distance of 150km/day. I justify the minimum duration as part of the definition of a cycle tour, those traveling less than 20 km/day likely spend most of their time not cycling, and those averaging more than 150 km/day are likely randonneuring rather than cycle touring. In addition, anyone not answering the TotalDist or TotalDays questions had to be removed. That left me with 170 responses. Next I needed to test for outliers. I used SPSS to generate a list of possible outliers. I checked only the unbounded variables (Age, Panniers, Budget, TotalDays, TotalDist, and Variety). I then inspected the Extreme Values table. The output identified the following outliers:

  • Budget had two extreme values ($200 and $300). Since this value was significantly higher than the rest, and there was no clear reason why and I could not justify changing the result, I deleted these two records.
  • Panniers had one outlier, a value of 8. Given the lack of precision in the calculation of panniers, I chose to modify this value to be the highest less extreme value, 7.
  • TotalDays had three extreme values (1598, 1207, and 1100). Since each of these tours indicates a trip of duration longer than 500 days, but would have included a trip of 500 days, I chose to modify these values to be the highest less extreme values of 503, 502, and 501 days respectively. In doing so, I also adjusted the TotalDist value and variety values by the same ratio.

After making the adjustments, I re-ran the explore statistic to validate the absence of outliers. The dataset had 168 respondents. The dataset was cleaned up and coded into SPSS with the following variables:

Variable SPSS variable name Coding instructions
ID Unique identifier ID Numeric, automatically assigned by survey software
North America Are you located in Canada or the United States? LocNA 0 = Not North America 1 = North America
Age What was your age at the beginning of your longest cycle tour? Age Numeric, age in years Continuous
Gender What is your gender identity? Gender 0 = Male 1 = Female
Pre-trip fitness How would you rate your pre-trip fitness level (likert 1-5) PFitness 1 = Very below average 2 = Below average 3 = Average 4 = Above average 5 = Very above average
Pre-trip body weight How would you rate your pre-trip body weight? (likert 1-5) PWeight 1 = Very below average 2 = Below average 3 = Average 4 = Above average 5 = Very above average
Bike What type of bike did your ride? TouringBike 0 = Other 1 = Touring bike
Panniers How many rear-rack equivalent panniers did you carry? Panniers Numeric Continuous
Camping and Budget hotels On average, how many nights per week did you spend in camping or in a budget hotel (under $15)? BudgetAccom Numeric, 0 ? nights ? 7 Continuous
Budget On average, what was your daily budget? (US Dollars) Budget Numeric, US Dollars Continuous
Ride Days On average, how many days per week did you ride? RideDays Numeric, 0 ? days ? 7 Continuous
Total Days What was the total duration of your trip in days? TotalDays Numeric Continuous
TotalDistance What was the total distance ridden on your trip (in km)? TotalDist Numeric Continuous
Non-North American countries Not including Canada and the United States, how many countries did you visit? Countries Numeric Continuous
Provinces and States How many Canadian provinces and US States did you visit? ProvState Numeric Continuous
Do again Would you do another trip of the same length or longer again? DoAgain 0 = no 1 = yes
Blog Did you blog about your journey? Blog 0 = no 1 = yes
Variety – combination of Non-North American countries, US States, and Canadian Provinces Variety Countries + Prov State

3 Comments

  1. Rebecca-
    Nice work. Thank you for sharing your project. I would be very interested in seeing the detailed results. I'm really struggling with the mechanics of how you crunched your data. But I would like to see the actual results.
    all the best,
    -J.

  2. $200-$300 per day is not unreasonable for someone doing a credit card tour in a first world county. In a major city or tourist destination it would not be unreasonable to spend $100-$200 on hotels or B&B’s. Restaurants could easily take up another $50 or more. Another factor would be if someone averaged in their transportation cost with their daily expenses. A transpacific flight with bicycle could be as much as $1600 which adds a good $100 to the daily average of a two week trip.

    • Hi Carlton, Thanks for the comment. I agree that the values were valid. Unfortunately the statistical methods I was using were highly influenced by outliers (extreme values). Compared to the rest of the data the two values were too extreme. Sadly it was likely my fault in the way in which I asked the question. I should have asked for the budget excluding airfare. oh well. This was definitely an interesting learning experience. Cheers Becky

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