The Best Cities for Cyclists
Finding the best bicycle trails
A benchmarking study by People for Bikes reported that over 95.5 million people rode their bikes for fun in 2015. With that many people on the road, it’s no wonder that more and more cities are adding new trails and infrastructure for bicycle riders. If you’re a cyclist looking for a fun vacation spot or a new place to live, check out these options for fun places with amazing bike trails and riding programs.
10 Great Towns for Bicycling
Once you buy the bike and safety gear, riding a bike is a fun, affordable activity. It gets you and your family outdoors and is a great low-impact workout. If you’re looking for awesome bike-friendly cities, these 10 places are great for cyclists:
1. Bentonville, AR — This beautiful town nestled in the Ozark Mountains is ranked as an International Mountain Bicycling Association Silver Level Ride Center. The extensive trail network includes mountain biking paths, paved trails, and even a bike playground where riders can work on their skills. Residents and visitors alike love riding “Square to Square” from downtown Bentonville to the Fayetteville Square through a 36-mile network of bicycle trails. And if you prefer riding with a group, local riding clubs regularly hit the trails together.
2. Boulder, CO — It’s easy to ride in Boulder whether you own a bike or not. B-cycle offers 300 bikes at 43 stations for rental 24/7. A favorite mountain biking spot in the area is Canyon Loop Trail at Betasso Preserve, or you can try terrain or road biking at Valmont Bike Park — it’s a 42 acre park for all-ages riding. Each Thursday night (when the weather is nice), Boulder is also host to a themed Cruiser Ride to give local cyclists a fun night on their bikes.
3. Washington, D.C. – Our nation’s capital has a ton of bikes available for rent— Capital Bikeshare offers hourly, daily or annual rental plans with 3,700 bicycles at 440 stations. Once you have your bike, you can hit the trails! There are commuter and recreational trails across the entire area, connecting D.C. to the rest of the metro. Roosevelt Island in Rosslyn, VA is a popular local spot for riding.
4. Minneapolis, MN — The League of American Bicyclists named Minneapolis as a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly City. With more than 120 miles of on-street bikeways and almost 100 miles of off-street bikeways, there are a ton of places to ride. A popular spot is Cedar Lake Trail, which is America’s first bike freeway with three lanes. Minneapolis has also signified some streets as “bike boulevards.” These streets still share the road with cars, but they often have less traffic and fewer stop signs and speed bumps, which make them easier and safer to ride on.
5. Portland, OR — According to Bike League, Portland is the top city in the U.S. for bike commuters with 7% of people biking to work. It’s nicknamed Bike City USA because of its 315 miles of bikeways. One of the best trails in Oregon is the Sellwood Bridge Loop — it’s flat, offers beautiful views of the Willamette River and is mostly on paths. Celebrate cycling with other Portland residents at the Pedalpalooza festival, an annual celebration of all things two-wheeled.
6. Austin, TX — This active biking community features daily rides from various groups. You can find family-friendly rides, road rides and all-terrain rides. There are hundreds of bike parking racks, so it’s easy to ride around town for fun or to commute. All Austin buses and trains have bike hooks as well, making it a very bike-friendly town. To find the best route from point A to Point B, check out Ride the City, which is sort of like a Google Maps for riding routes.
7. New York, NY — According to Bike League, the Big Apple has the largest number of cyclists on the street with over 42,000 residents riding around the city. There are utility riders doing delivery or messenger work along with recreational riders and commuters. New York is home to the very first bike path, which was created in 1894. For riding around NYC, there are three types of bike lanes, along with bike paths and trails.
8. Indianapolis, IN — One of the highlights of riding in Indianapolis is the Cultural Trail, which goes through all of the city’s districts. Don’t miss riding through the Virginia Avenue underpass where you can view Swarm Street — a public art installation that uses more than 2,000 twinkling lights to mimic fireflies overhead. There are 9 other bike trails to check out as you explore the city.
9. Dallas, TX — The entire Dallas metro area is becoming more rider-friendly. From Allen to Richardson, the DFW area is full of trails. There’s a master plan for 300 miles of dedicated trails throughout the county, with over 100 miles of it completed now. There are also more than 20 local riding clubs so you can meet other cyclists in the area.
10. San Francisco, CA — The natural terrain of San Francisco makes this a fun place to ride. There are bike trails connecting all parts of the city with amazing views at the tops of the hills (making riding up those hills worth it!). Many local events offer bike parking, and some even offer bike valet. Different groups offer urban bicycling workshops teaching street safety for adults and kids.
Where is your favorite local bike trail?
While these 10 cities may be some of the best places to ride, there are amazing bike trails across the country. Where do you love to ride? Tell us about your local trails in the comments!