All cities in the United States are not created equal when it comes to being bike-friendly. The biking infrastructure can vary greatly, with some cities focusing on building bike lanes and making other adjustments so people can bike safely, while others instead expand roads and freeways for cars. The cities on our list made it there based on climate, bike routes, safety and number of bike shops and places that offer repair. So have a look, find a nearby bike route, and get going.
This Northern California city is often rated No. 1 for its cycling infrastructure and bike lanes. If you can handle the hills, then you’ll enjoy riding on the 31 miles of protected bike lanes that are found throughout San Francisco. If you’re up for it, you can ride about 2 miles across the Golden Gate Bridge and enjoy the views and then bike through Golden Gate Park.
The city has a strong biking culture, and a climate suitable for cycling year-round. Portland was ahead of the curve on planning bike infrastructure and bike lanes more than 50 years ago and because of that many people commute around the city and to work by bike. There is also a robust bike-sharing system in Portland, so you can enjoy the miles of bike lanes even if you don’t have your own set of wheels.
Fort Collins, CO
Besting its larger neighbor, Denver, Fort Collins is a great place for biking. The city has a network of bike lanes that are protected from traffic, and it’s also close to the Rocky Mountains and other venues for mountain biking. For a more quirky celebration of biking, local brewery New Belgium Brewing has been putting on the Tour de Fat, a community bike event, every year in Fort Collins and other cities around the country.
The temperate weather makes Seattle a nice city to bike in almost the whole year, plus you get lots of great views of the water and ocean. On top of that, the city has focused on making biking in the city safer, adding protected bike lanes, bike-focused traffic lights and other amenities to make cycling around the city more attractive. While there is also bike sharing here, the system is not as widespread as in other cities on our list.
We’re heading to the Midwest – Minnesota to be precise – for our next pick, Minneapolis. This mid-sized city has really amped up its biking infrastructure in recent years. Minneapolis is, in general, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and as such features bike lanes and trails. Some bike paths were made from former railroad beds and you can also enjoy riding through parks or around the lakes within the city limits and beyond. One caveat is that biking during the cold and snowy winter months is going to be a challenge.
Eugene is the second city in Oregon to make it on our list. It is certified as a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community due to its network of bike lanes (including 187 miles of on-street lanes), 71 miles of greenways and 7 dedicated pedestrian/bike bridges. The city makes it easy to commute by bike, and it’s consistently ranked in the top 5 cities in the US for biking.
The US capitol city is a great place to bike, with safe and well-planned bike infrastructure. The climate of Washington, D.C. makes it suitable for commuting for much of the year, and many people take advantage of the bike lanes to get to work. There is also a robust bike-sharing system – it has the most of these kinds of bikes in the US – so even if you’re visiting you can see all of the historical sites in the fresh air.
There are several hundred miles of bike lanes throughout Philadelphia, plus tons of stations where you can pick up and drop off a bike-sharing bike. All of this makes it easy to tour the top sites without having to use a tourist bus or public transportation. The downside is that temperatures get downright frigid in the winter, and with snow and ice on the roads it’s not enjoyable to ride a bike for several months of the year.
Yet another historical East Coast city on our list, Boston is a great place to ride a bike. The city has beefed up its infrastructure, adding miles of protected bike lanes to make it easier for people to commute safely on 2 wheels. There are also more than 150 bike sharing stations throughout the city, so you can easily grab a bike and see the sights or ride along the Charles River. The only downside to biking in Boston is the winter, which is very cold and comes with tons of snow.
We’re back in the Midwest again, in Chicago. One of the best things about biking in this city is the dedicated path running for miles along the shore of Lake Michigan, but you can also find nearly 100 miles of protected bike lanes elsewhere in Chicago. There is a bike sharing system with stations throughout the city, so you can enjoy views of the lake, the Chicago River and all the skyscrapers even if you’re visiting.