If you’re a bike lover and one of your goals this year is to travel more, then you’ll be happy that the warmer weather is finally arriving. Yes, it’s time to knock the dust off your bike, check your brakes and tires, and enjoy some of the best bike trails in cities across the U.S.
This city has been the #1 for cyclists for some time now. Portland has been an inspiration for many other cities across the country. Not surprisingly, Portland boasts a greater number of cyclists per capita than any other city in the U.S. Interestingly, it also has an amazing number of coffee shops that cater specifically to the biking community. Get your caffeine hit, mount up, and spend some time exploring wonderful Portland. There are plenty of bike rental options from places such as Fat Tire Farm (specializes in MTBs), Veloce Cycles, and Clever Cycles, among others. The city also has a bike-sharing scheme, launched back in 2016. And it’s not just the city you can explore, there are some excellent specially designated bike trails to be found such as those in Forest Park (biggest urban reserve in the U.S.) to enjoy.
Boulder is a beautiful city located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Cyclists love it because it has bike paths that stretch for hundreds of miles, access to world-class trails for mountain biking, for example, Walker Ranch, and the area offers almost perfect weather for cycling 300 days a year. Boulder has a bike share scheme that operates in the city, Boulder B-cycle, which allows you to grab a bike from any B-station 24/7 simply by swiping your card. You can then ride freely around the city. If mountain biking is more your thing, try Boulder Bikesmith or one of the other similar bike rental shops specializing in MTBs. Boulder is also famous for its microbreweries, so if you like bikes and beer, your visit to Boulder will be paradise.
Many people say that Chicago is best enjoyed in the summer. It’s one of the few places in the U.S. that you can enjoy the attractions of a major city and relax on the beach just three minutes away. Chicago offers a unique cycling experience. You can easily navigate directly across the busy city to your destination. Its architecture is breathtaking, and its cycle lanes numerous. If cycling downtown is not your thing, then try something more scenic while still enjoying the amazing skyline of Chicago by choosing one of the shoreline bike paths to enjoy.
One way to avoid being stuck in traffic and parking problems while on your trip is to mount up and ride around this interesting city. Cycling around D.C. offers a terrific way to enjoy its impressive scenery, memorials, and monuments easily and quickly. Washington has its own bike share scheme offering more than 1,800 bikes for rent, all of which are easily accessible. The scheme also offers some good bike safety tips for users. If out-of-city adventure is more your thing, then try renting a mountain bike from places such as Big Wheel Bikes, and get on the C&O Canal bike trail which offers 185 miles of cycling fun. You can ride along the imposing Potomac River all the way to Maryland.
New York City, New York
Don’t let New York traffic put you off mounting a bike. The city is extremely bike-friendly, prioritizes the safety of cyclists, and offers ample cycle lanes for two-wheel travelers. New York City boasts the biggest bike-share scheme anywhere in the U.S. Launched in 2013, it offers 6,000 bikes available from 330 locations throughout the city. If you prefer to avoid city traffic, then try the Hudson River Greenway which is a specially designated pedestrian path connecting Manhattan to Battery Park which also offers bike rentals so you can enjoy the park scenery.
San Francisco, California
You might think that San Francisco is not the most bike-friendly city with its cable cars and hilly streets, but it does offer some amazing views of the bay and the city. Don’t miss seeing the famous Painted Ladies or the spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Later, once you’ve seen the beautiful Pacific views, head out to experience the city’s famous hills. No doubt you’ll be hungry after a few hours exploring on your bike, so why not make a pit stop at any of the amazing eateries San Francisco offers and enjoy a tasty bite before continuing to explore this fascinating city.
Although Tucson is no bustling metropolis, it can’t be ignored when it comes to cycling enjoyment. This oasis in the desert offers better cycling opportunities than many other U.S. cities. It boasts over 700 miles of specially designed bike paths. The weather is perfect for cycling so you can comfortably ride here at any time of year. Its out-of-town bike trails in the mountains are world-class, such as those found in the Santa Catalina area.
Despite being famous for harsh winter weather, many residents still choose to mount up to commute. Minneapolis is second after Boulder in terms of the number of cycling commuters. The local bike culture in Minneapolis is strong and you’ll find an interesting range of road bikes, fixed-gear bikes, mountain bikes, and BMX bikes on the roads. Minneapolis has 120 miles of designated bike paths and trails, special bridges for cyclists, and the Nice Ride Minnesota bike-share scheme, all of which are highly accessible. As a bonus, Minneapolis is extremely flat, making it ideal for less experienced cyclists or those who simply want to enjoy being on a bike without working too hard.
You can’t ignore this city as a top location for cyclists – it even has a bike zoo! The capital of Texas also has the famous Lance Armstrong Bikeway. The 6-mile bikeway was launched in 2009 and cuts right through the city center. For something different, head out of town to Texas Hill Country which offers cyclists an opportunity to enjoy local scenic ranch land at its best.
The Pacific Northwest offers some of the most perfect biking opportunities in the U.S. Seattle, especially, offers some amazing experiences for cyclists. Apart from cycling around to explore the city, there are plenty of other options. Do you want to experience mountain trails? Seattle has them. Would you prefer to calmly cruise alongside the beach? You can in Seattle. And there are park and forest bike trails to follow too. You’ll be spoilt for choice in Seattle. It offers a degree of diversity for cyclists which is hard to beat anywhere else in the U.S.
San Diego, California
You’ll find amazing mountain bike trails and special road bike paths in San Diego. The city also enjoys some of the best weather for cycling all year. Enjoy cycling to the pier at Ocean Beach and riding around the beachfront area. You’ll see the surfers, bikinis, and all manner of beach life. San Diego is home to Balboa Park, the biggest urban cultural park in the U.S. You can also enjoy the ride to San Diego Zoo, where you can stop off, relax, and have a picnic. If you don’t bring your own bike, you’ll have to try one of the local bike rental shops. The city’s bike-share scheme is still not fully rolled out, although it aims to provide around 2,000 bikes at various locations throughout the city eventually.
Louisville is rapidly becoming a top destination for cyclists. The main attraction: the Louisville Loop is 100 miles of bike trails connecting all the major areas of the city, a cycle superhighway that links local neighborhoods and parks together in one system for cyclists. The city also boasts a dedicated pedestrian bridge that crosses the Ohio River, making it easy to pop across to Indiana. The Louisville B-Cycle bike share scheme is also extremely accessible for anyone who wants to take a quick spin around this fascinating city.
Montana has a lot more to offer than just cowboys! Missoula is a small trendy city in which bikes, not horses, are prioritized on the local roads. You can easily get around Missoula by bike because it’s quite a small place. And out of town, there are numerous bike trails in the mountains. Some of the local favorites include Blue Mountain, Rattlesnake Recreation Area, and Pattee Canyon. Missoula is also where the Adventure Cycling Association is based, the country’s top travel experience organization for cyclists.
If you love cycling, whether it’s the urban experience or a mountain adventure, you’ll love visiting any of the above cities. Saddle up and see the best that these cities have to offer cyclists!
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What are the Most Fixed-Gear Friendly Cities in the World?
Cycling around a city is a super way of staying active and at the same time reducing your carbon footprint. There are several cities that stand out when it comes to encouraging cycling as a green mode of getting around. These locations offer plenty of choices for riding fixed-gear bikes and enjoying the many attractions offered by each city.
This city is often considered to be the best example of a bike-friendly city anywhere in the world. Visitors and tourists are amazed by the sheer number of bicycles that go whizzing by all the time. In Copenhagen, it’s common for children to learn to ride a bike at a young age; pre-school age typically. The city has adopted various bicycle-friendly initiatives. Half of the people who live in Copenhagen choose to commute to their work using a bike, and an impressive 35 percent of workers living in the suburbs also commute using bicycles. There are 242 miles (about 390 kilometers) of specially assigned bike lanes cyclists can enjoy using, and there is even a “Cycle Super Highway” in Greater Copenhagen, which effectively connects the city to the town of Albertslund. Along the way, there are lots of features like air pumps, bike-friendly intersections, and even special traffic lights timed to match the average speed of cyclists, to minimize the need to stop.
When visiting Amsterdam, you should take the opportunity to take a bike for a spin. There are more bikes than people in Amsterdam, 800,000 in fact, which is an impressive number. Amsterdam is famous for its almost perfectly flat streets which are often filled with bicycles. Many citizens choose cycling as a way to commute to work, take their children to school, and even carry their groceries. For visitors and tourists, there are ample options for bike rental while in the city. To help you explore this fascinating city, there are also plenty of guided bike tours and useful books to help visitors learn how to navigate around the city easily.
It’s hard to do better than Europe in terms of being bicycle-friendly, but Portland is trying hard. Portland’s Bureau of Transportation has been slowly making improvements to help citizens and tourists get around safely when using bicycles. Portland offers free city maps and safety information for cyclists, to help residents and visitors get around easier. The city also has an effective bike rental system for the public, which is often hailed as one of the best and greenest bike rental systems in the world. This is because they’ve almost eliminated the need for any extra kiosks by cleverly using pre-existing corrals for bikes. Also, the city of Portland provides other useful amenities such as bike riding classes, bike lockers, and even guides on cycling etiquette.
The residents of Boulder are famous for being passionate about the outdoors, so it’s no surprise that using a bike is popular with people who want to get around the city. Boulder boasts an impressive 300 miles of dedicated cycle lanes, and this includes on-street cycle lanes, contra-flow cycle lanes, bike-only routes, paved shoulders, multi-use lanes, and soft-surface paths. The city also runs an impressive bike registration scheme to help prevent bicycle theft.
Austin residents are continually being encouraged to adopt a greener lifestyle, which includes many different biking initiatives within the city. Bike riders can choose from many special bike paths and bike racks located throughout the city. For visitors, it’s a good idea to collect one of the free cycling maps provided by any of the many bike shops in the city. Austin has three main bike paths, the Rio Grande Roadway, the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, and the Pfluger Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge, which help bikers navigate downtown safely.
Tokyo is a large and densely populated city. But even here, approximately 14 percent of people who regularly commute within the city choose to use a bike. Bikers aren’t as common as, for example, in Copenhagen where 50 percent of city residents use bikes, Tokyo still does well considering its size and population density. Tokyo’s bikers can take advantage of ample parking for bikes, plenty of special bike lanes and routes, and cycling tours. Japanese bikes are famous for being extremely well built and able to withstand the daily wear and tear of city commuting.
Montreal offers cyclists 373 miles (about 600 kilometers) of designated bike lanes, which is almost twice the number offered by Copenhagen. These designated bike paths are full of cyclists in the spring, who enjoy stopping off at the many food and drink stands along the way. Every year, Montreal hosts its very own bike festival, a social gathering which welcomes anyone who loves riding their bike. Attendees include children and even seniors, and there is a guided tour around the city for all who are interested
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
The city of Rio began incorporating special bike lanes into its road infrastructure back in 1992. Today, the city bustles with cyclists and its innovative bike-sharing scheme provides a total of 600 bicycles and 60 stations located across the city. The scheme, named Bike Rio, provides a monthly pass for cyclists which allows residents and tourists unlimited use of the bikes which are part of the scheme. One of the most enjoyable activities Rio’s cyclists do is gather for a weekend ride along some of the beach avenues, and these special cycle paths give an excellent view of the sea while cycling along.
The city of Barcelona has been implementing various initiatives to become more bike-friendly as a city. The number of bike paths is gradually increasing, and the city’s bike-share scheme is among the most frequently used of such programs in the world. Safety for cyclists is also a top priority, and traffic calming measures for cars have been rolled out recently, making it even safer for bikers. For visitors to Barcelona, there are a good number of interesting bike tours to choose from, and plenty of scenic waterside paths to enjoy while cycling.
Strasbourg is an extremely bike-friendly city, and as a bonus, it’s really beautiful. City planners are working hard to increase the number of its residents who regularly use bikes, which is currently only around eight percent, to more than double that number by 2025.
Budapest currently offers 124 miles (about 200 kilometers) of designated bike paths, allowing bikers to safely navigate the city center or around the many impressive parks in the city. There are also a lot of guided bike tours, one of the most popular being the tour which ends with a nice bowl of locally prepared goulash for riders.
Riding a bike in Paris is incredibly easy thanks to its flat roads, slow-moving traffic, and conscientious drivers. Paris is famous for its Vélib bike-sharing scheme, which is the biggest anywhere in the world, with the exception of China. The scheme boasts around 20,000 bikes for rent, available from 1800 stations, spread across the city. The bike rental scheme was introduced back in 2007, and specially designated bike lanes and paths have been appearing throughout this busy city ever since the scheme’s inception.
If you love cycling, then you’ll enjoy visiting any of the cities listed above. They are truly bike-friendly locations and further innovations and development are ongoing. Just remember that almost all bike rental/sharing schemes such as those mentioned offer only fixed-gear bicycles to use, because of their minimalist design and enhanced reliability.