Travel Guide for Cyclists – United States
Between 1990 and 2009, the number of cycling trips rose by over 60 percent in the United States. Whether you bike for pleasure or sport, it’s easy to combine your cycling lifestyle with your passion for travel by planning a trip to one of the top bike friendly cities in America. These cities were chosen due to the overall prevalence of bike culture, ranging from the popularity of bike racks and paved roadways to the importance placed on cyclist safety and amount of local bike clubs. The next time you plan a trip, take your bike along and head to one of these bike friendly cities.
With 180 miles of bike lanes and 79 miles of off-street bike paths, Portland has long been the king of cycling in the United States. They were the first city to implement bike boxes at intersections and elementary-school bike commuting train; Portland is the only large city to earn Platinum status from the League of American Bicyclists. Whether you’d like to casually bike the city or jump on the surrounding mountain bike trails for some adventure, there’s plenty for a cyclist to experience in Portland. Don’t want to deal with transporting your bike halfway across the country? No problem. Portland was one of the first cities in the United States to launch a citywide bike share program.
Nicknamed “Bike City USA”, the city of Davis takes cycling seriously: there’s more bikes than cars, 95 percent of its major streets have designated bike lanes, the city employs two full-time bike coordinators, and one out of five residents commute to work by bike. When Davis tried to open bike lanes in 1967, the state of California argued they were against the law. Instead of admitting defeat, the city went to the state legislature and fought to have the laws permanently changed. The city’s innovative approach and long-term commitment to maintaining a bike-friendly infrastructure has led many to hail the city as one of the most bike-friendly communities in the country.
Minnesota may be known for its brutal winters, but that doesn’t stop locals from cycling year-round. The city has the second-highest percentage of bicycle commuters in the United States and boasts an eclectic mix of bike enthusiasts, ranging from BMXers and hipsters to roadies and messengers. Each winter, Minneapolis hosts the Stupor Bowl alleycat race, which is a winter tour of the city’s cycling oriented pubs, cafes and galleries. With 120 miles of bikeways, bike-pedestrian bridges and a bike share program, it’s no wonder thousands of cyclists head to Minneapolis each year. An added bonus: the city is very flat, which makes it a great place for beginners or professionals looking for a bit of R&R.
This beautiful mountain town located at the base of the Rockies is a cyclist’s paradise. The city boasts hundreds of miles of bike paths, access to world-class mountain biking trails, and over 300 days of sunshine a year. If you’re traveling with kids, head to Valmont Park – a 40-acre bike playground that’s perfect for all ages. The park includes a balance-bike track for toddlers, dirt jumps and slope style tracks, and single-track trails of various difficulty. Their bike share program offers 24-hour access to any B-station; with the swipe of a card you can grab a bike and cruise through town any time of day or night.
Home to a bike zoo and the six-mile long Lance Armstrong Bikeway, this quirky capital city finishes off our list. In 2011, the city of Austin installed over thirty miles of bikeways, and a new urban-trail plan emphasizes off-street paths. If you’re looking for some artsy fun, head to the Austin Bike Zoo, where you’ll find an 80-foot rattlesnake that’s powered by six riders, tandem butterflies, and a bat tricycle. If you prefer to stay outdoors, the famous Texas Hill Country is located just outside the city. Here you’ll find miles of endless riding opportunities through picturesque ranchland you can only find in Texas.