Great Views on Two Wheels
Explore these bike-friendly cities in a unique way.
What makes a bike-friendly city? Segregated bike lines, widely available bike racks, lots of support (in the form of legislation and bike shops); and of course, great scenery. Whether you’re considering a move, or just a two-wheeled vacation, these are some cities that cater to you.
City of San Francisco officials recently considered legislation that would require commercial property owners to provide secure bicycle parking or allow tenants to bring bikes into rented spaces. It’s part of a push to increase bicycle commuting in the city (which already has an estimated 75,000 daily cyclists) to 20 percent by 2020. Visitors already benefit from a robust network of bike paths, lanes and routes. Biking is truly part of the city’s identity. And yes, you can bike the Golden Gate Bridge.
The San Francisco Biking Coalition has more information on safe routes and local laws.
It’s no surprise that those healthy folks in the Pacific Northwest enjoy some of the most biker-friendly areas. According to the Bicycle Friendly America Yearbook (published by the League of American Bicyclists), Washington is the No. 1 state for cyclists, and Seattle leads the charge, with plans for a 455-mile network that puts 95 percent of residents within a quarter-mile of a bike lane. And look for those green-painted bike lanes on city streets.
Most bike lists vote Portland as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, due to special programs like “Create-a-Commuter,” which provides low-income adults with commuter bicycles, and a bike network that now spans more than 300 miles.
Even in the dead of winter, Minneapolis residents are biking to work—through the snow. More than 120 miles of bikeways (85 of those being off-street trails) and a vibrant biking community have landed Minneapolis on Bicycling magazine’s list of America’s best biking cities (No. 1 in 2010). Bike-pedestrian bridges, greenways and a recent bike-share program make Minneapolis a biker’s best bet.
More bikes than cars? Plenty of urban sprawlers would be excited to hear this news. Seventeen percent of all commutes in Davis take place on two wheels, and thanks to a tunnel beneath I-80, Davis residents can ride to Sacramento more safely than ever. If you’re in the area, you can also bike to the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis’s Central Park.
Lance Armstrong’s home city of Austin is a biker’s haven, with 175 parks, 23 green belts and 30 miles of hike and bike trails. Bike parking spaces make commuting so much easier.
Thank the climate, the college culture (University of Arizona is here) and a city that takes biking seriously, but Tucson has one of the most impressive networks for cyclists in the country, with 475 miles of bike lanes, 100 miles of bike routes and 55 miles of shared use paths. A new, fourth major bike-pedestrian bridge makes criss-crossing the city even easier. And the scenery: Surrounded by mountains and majestic Saguaro cactus, who wouldn’t want to take the scenic route?
See our gallery for more on these bike-friendly cities.
Image © Media Bakery
For resources on bicycle safety, including how to pick the right helmet, visit the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration website.
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