Bikes are quiet, green, save money and make you healthier, so it’s no wonder cities across the US are committing to creating more and more bike networks. Since the pandemic, cycling's popularity has exploded but not all places are created equally when it comes to their cycling infrastructure or facilities. Check out the most bike friendly cities in the US below.
385 miles of bike lanes mean Portland is consistently voted one of the most bike friendly cities in the US. In 2010 the city council committed to the Portland Bicycle Plan, increasing bike parking, spending on infrastructure and forming an extensive network of bike paths. 6% of the population commute by bike compared to the national average of 0.5%, so you get some idea that Portlanders are bike people. It’s part of the culture here and there are some great bike cafes to grab a latte and check out some custom models. And if you really want to feel free? Portland is home to the biggest organized naked bike ride, where thousands of people cycle nude for 7 miles through the city.
San Francisco, CA
Feeling the wind in your hair as you cross the Golden Gate Bridge on two wheels sure beats sitting in the back of a cab. This bike friendly city has invested millions in a bid to rival New York for the country’s largest bike-share programme, eliminate bike accidents and expand their bike lane networks. Biking allows access to places you’d never see if you’re relying on cars or the city's famous trams. The world famous Critical Mass also started here, where cyclists take back the streets for one Friday every month.
Ahh Boulder, the town dubbed “twenty five miles surrounded by reality” is, in reality, surrounded by 43,000 acres of protected open space, and 300 miles of greenways and designated bike lanes. Thanks to its lack of hills you can travel anywhere in Boulder by bike almost as quickly as by car, and the outdoorsy population has embraced cycling with open arms.
For a city that spends a lot of winter under snow and ice it might surprise you that Minneapolis was voted the most bikeable city in the US. With bars, restaurants and hang out spots easily accessible on two wheels there isn’t much need for a car here. In 2000 the city started converting some of its old railroads into some beautiful bike lanes. A Copenhagen-based design firm even recognized it as the most bike friendly city in the US and the Danes really know what they are talking about.
New York, NY
New York takes cycling seriously and is doing everything it can to be named the most bike friendly city in the US. From investment in protected bike lanes, to safety initiatives and the best bike share scheme in the country, Citi bike. 163,000 subscribers are signed up for the scheme and this car-filled city is doing its best to adapt to cyclists needs. Avoiding gridlocks and sweaty subways, flying over the Brooklyn Bridge and taking shortcuts through Central Park are all incentives to the 1.6million bike riders of New York.
Who wouldn’t want to spend more time outside on the country roads and dirt tracks of Oregon? Eugene’s bike culture has grown strong enough to land the city on lists of most bike friendly cities in the US. The Greater Eugene Area Riders is a bike advocacy non-profit that hosts regular group rides and bike clinics, there is a Safe Routes to Schools program that encourages students to ride to class and an action plan to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on the roads.
You might have noticed a bit of a theme but the north west does seem to be beating the competition for most bike-friendly cities in the US. Seattle has an excellent bike lane network and the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways grassroots group keeps pushing for better facilities. The good news is a $1 billion pedestrian and cycling master plan is in development that will make Seattle one of the best cities for cycling in the whole of the States.
Madison calls itself the bike capital of the Midwest. Many of its huge population of students chooses to cycle to class and the bike lanes and rows of bike racks seemingly everywhere make it easy as pie. There is even a bike elevator near Lake Monona, meaning you can get up high and see amazing city views.
Long Story Short...
If your city doesn't make the list of most bike friendly cities, join a grassroots organization pushing for safer bike paths. With an uncertain climate ahead of us cycling makes sense for you, your city and the future.
Written by Laura Sedlak