All cities have their unique selling points. From climate and landscape, to culture and history, each city offers something different to its visitors and inhabitants. For the urban rider, the unique selling point of a city may be its bike-ability.
Still, not all cities are suitable for biking.There are many things to take into consideration from road conditions and traffic status, to commute lengths and public transit.
After all, you don’t want to venture down a road consumed by potholes, do you?
To help determine these bike-worthy metro areas, we decided to do some scouting of our own, and put together this list of the twenty best bike cities in the U.S.
The busy metropolis of Seattle is the perfect place for those who’d prefer to ride their bike when commuting to work. This city is so bike-friendly, that biking is considered to be a crucial part of the Seattle lifestyle. With a variety of biker-friendly city roads and mountain trails, Seattle is the dream destination for both serious and casual bikers.
Minneapolis has an impressive 84 point biker-friendly score according to a list of best biking cities put together by CNBC last year. The unique city scape and marked biker lanes make Minneapolis a fun, immersive ride for commuters and casual bikers. Their local biking community is inclusive and supportive, and will make any biker feel at home.
The beautiful city of Portland has an amazing shared biking system where you can rent a bike from one location and return it at another, making it perfectly convenient for tourists and commuters alike. A ride over one of Portland’s many bridges has always been a local resident’s favorite activity on a sunny day.
4. San Fransisco
The friendly, artistic town of San Francisco creates a unique city biking experience. No wonder it’s considered one of the best bike cities in the U.S. Most main streets in San Francisco have designated bike lanes that are wide and well-paved, creating a safe experience for those wishing to move around the city on two wheels.
Chicago has a serious commitment to building a safe and low-stress biking environment. With a wide-ranging bike sharing network, accessible bike parking and marked bike lanes, Chicago allows bikers to casually access every corner of the city hassle-free.
6. Fort Collins
The quaint, beautiful town of Fort Collins dedicates itself to building a bike-friendly environment for bikers of all-levels. The city has protected bike lanes on all major roads and also provides a variety of city and mountain trails for those who want to bike beyond their daily commutes.
Biking may be one of the best ways to loosen up your limbs when you live and work in a busy metropolis like Denver, especially if you are downtown. Denver’s bike-friendliness ranking has always been somewhere in the top ten or even top five in the past few years.
Eugene has both protected bike lanes and designated city bike tracks. Local businesses have also been actively engaging in biker activities over the past few years, so you know you are guaranteed a friendly and supportive community. The city has a bike-sharing program for tourists and locals as well.
If you are not used to big-city traffic, biking in Boston may sound intimidating. But in fact, Boston has beautifully highlighted bike lanes and extremely accessible biking facilities like parking spots and bike share hubs, making it an ideal spot for you and your commuter bike.
10. Washington D.C.
City biking is an important part of DC’s urban culture. Besides the designated bike tour routes, many DC locals are used to commuting on bicycles. With one and two-way bike lanes covering almost all main roads, DC is undoubtedly one of the best bike cities in the U.S.
11. New York
New York has spent years building a safer city biking experience for those who commute to work on two wheels, including better bike lanes and cracking down on drivers who don’t obey traffic regulations and invade biker spaces. If you still feel intimidated by the traffic, they’ve also launched beginner bike routes to help you get more comfortable.
12. Long Beach
Long Beach has a long track record of having a thriving city biking community. Just a few years ago, they launched a bike sharing program that aims to get more people involved in casual city biking.
Detroit has become more bike friendly over the last few years, with the addition of nearly 240 miles of designated bike lanes thanks to the Detroit Greenway Coalition. With its commitment to becoming a biker's paradise, riders can choose a variety of marked paths including Detroit's Riverfront. The community has also shown their love for biking with the very popular Slow Roll ride, which takes place weekly at a different location in Detroit.
Austin provides both scenic trails and accessible city roads for bikers. However, compared to other cities, roads in Austin are less marked, meaning you would either be sharing a paved sidewalk with pedestrians or a regular road with automobiles in many cases.
15. Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City has an amazing bike lane system that completely protects the bike lane and separates it from automobile lanes with a dividing curb. If you are more than a casual city biker, Salt Lake City also has the longest paved trail west of the Mississippi, the Golden Spoke Trail, for you to explore.
Tempe has a fairly accessible bike lane system, and the city has been working on keeping cyclists safe for years. While the weather in Arizona may be challenging for cyclists, Tempe does have a good system that allows you to travel by bike regularly and safely.
The biking community in Oakland has been growing. Even if you are just a casual biker, you would still immediately feel at home. In addition, a bike-plan update is on the schedule to make the city even more accessible for bikers, according to the Oakland municipal government.
18. St. Paul
St. Paul has also been undergoing renovation plans to increase bike-friendliness, and it is the city’s goal to become one of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. They have amazingly-marked bike lanes for daily commuting, and also provide planned trips for those who prefer to take a scenic ride.
Arlington has a ton of protected bike lanes that completely separate bikers from automobiles, guaranteeing a safe biking commute system. The city is full of activities within biking distance, and also has special bike tours and events for the enthusiasts.
Through the years, Boulder has put in some effort in building more bike lanes, especially protected bike lanes to increase biker safety. However, you may still face mixed traffic in many areas, which makes commuting a bit more challenging. Still, Boulder does have a beautiful local culture, and some of the most welcoming routes for all biker levels.
Ready to start exploring everything these cities have to offer by bike? Check out Detroit Bikes' complete range of commuter bikes. If you are looking for something more rigorous, check out our list of the 10 Best Bike Trails in the U.S.