1. Portland, Oregon
The City of Roses is the second safest and one of the most favored cities for bike commuting in the entire country for good reason. The community’s first bicycle plan for urban development was adopted nearly five decades ago. Today, bike culture runs deep throughout the city. Nearly 6 percent of the workforce—22,000 pedalers—travels by bike. One thousand bikeshare bikes are available for pickup throughout the city.
Several hundred miles of bike lanes decorate the urbanscape including a portion that are protected and buffered from traffic, many of which are painted with whimsical characters donning wild hair and hats. Indeed, from one of the world’s largest naked bike rides to the summer-long Pedalpalooza bike festival
, Portland knows how to have fun on two wheels.
2. Washington, District of Columbia
Beyond blossoming and well-designed bike infrastructure, Washington, D.C., ranks number one in safety and is among the most pleasant climates to bike in. More than 16,000 bike commuters cover miles each day. Visitors and locals alike have access to a whopping 6,100 bikeshare cycles, sending D.C. to the number one spot for bikeshare resources in the nation.
As a leader of the Safe Routes to School
program, don’t be surprised to see hordes of kiddos rolling along on bike-to-school days. And for visitors of the nation’s capital, there’s hardly a better way to experience the 160-plus monuments and memorials than by two wheels. But be sure to check out the DC Bike Party community night rides, too.
3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Whether you’re cycling to Bartram’s Garden—the oldest botanical garden in North America—vibrant Chinatown, or Independence Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of the United States, Philadelphia is one of the best biking cities in the U.S. In fact, it ranks as the top overall city in our list for bike commuting.
This enormous historic hub received the nation’s top spot for bike commuting and boasts several hundred miles of bike lanes. Jet-setters can pick up a bikeshare ride from more than 100 stations throughout the city or book a city bike tour with Philly Bike Tours
, led by local guides.
4. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston is nothing short of bustling and in recent years has added more protected bike lanes from Longfellow Bridge to Massachusetts Avenue. The Cradle of Modern America also provides one of the top bikeshare setups, with just under 1,500 bicycles available to the public across 160 stations.
Cyclists can venture toward Boston Harbor and the heart of the city to experience the Freedom Trail: a 2.5-mile red-brick trail that connects 16 national historic sites from Boston Common to the Bunker Hill Monument. The self-guided or guided walking tour, often led by guides donned in 18th century apparel, shares a glimpse into the American Revolution. Then refuel with a bowl of New England Clam Chowder.
5. San Francisco, California
Hardly any location in the world is as glorious for riding cruisers than sunny California, and San Francisco holds a reputation as one of the best cities for biking in the nation. Plus, the ‘city by the bay’ holds the number one spot for cycling infrastructure. Favored for bicycle riders, the 8x8-mile city offers nearly 31 miles of protected and buffered bike lanes, and has greatly improved the safety of two-wheel travelers.
While enjoying the Bay Area, cyclists of all ages can’t miss venturing to and snagging a portrait in front of one of the most iconic landmarks in America, the Golden Gate Bridge. Then bike the nearly 2 miles across into hilly, but beautiful, Marin County. Afterwards, swing by the San Francisco chapter of the Rapha Cycling Club
fine bike apparel store for a cup of crafted coffee and pastry or join a social clubhouse spin and screenings of live races.
6. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Despite the chilly temps, bike culture is alive and well in Minneapolis. The city is known as one of the nation’s most enjoyable metropolitan areas for outdoor enthusiasts, as the city is chock full of green spaces and off-street bike trails. Lucky for visitors, more than 1,800 bicycles speckle the city through bikeshare, the second-best and most accessible program on our list.
Minneapolis also sits second behind San Francisco for the best bike infrastructure. From scoping out the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry to the Chain of Lakes, adventurers can balance the rich art scene with beach lounging and scenic rides along historic railroad beds.
7. Fort Collins, Colorado
Don’t let its small size fool you. Fort Collins is as progressive as they come when it comes to a city centered around bicyclists. Bikers travel from far and wide to experience the Tour de Fat
, an annual bike-led community parade and celebration founded by New Belgium Brewing, in the event’s birthplace. Costumes are heavily encouraged. Fort Collins has developed 200 miles of bike lanes, and most importantly, podiums as one of the top three safest cities for biking in the country.
The ease of biking is thanks to thoughtfully constructed paths including under- and overpasses that allow bicyclists to avoid main street crossings. As a result, compared to other cities of its size, Fort Collins has a robust pool of commuters reaching nearly 7,800.
8. Jersey City, New Jersey
Jersey City, another lively, coastal metropolitan in our guide, ranks among the best bike friendly cities due to a well-built bike sharing program and network of bikeshare stations, with 500 bikes for explorers to use. Jersey City also ranks as the second best city for bike commutes. Tucked against the Upper New York Harbor, cyclists can enjoy jaw-dropping views of the Manhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island from Liberty State Park. Despite its relatively small size, Jersey City boasts multiple bike shops within the city limits, such as Grove Street Bicycles
9. Seattle, Washington
Whether you start with a ride to the famed Space Needle, Puget Sound, or Pioneer Square in the city center, you can’t go wrong with enjoying the Emerald City on two human-powered (or electric-assisted) wheels. To name a few of the top-tier design elements, Seattle’s bike lanes sport concrete buffers, cycling-specific light signals, and rails at intersections (for bicyclists to lean on). The city also lowered the timing of several hundred traffic signals, added traffic islands, and narrowed lanes to increase safety for bicyclists. Though Seattle is a bit late to the party, there is a bike sharing program
up and running, too.
10. Chicago, Illinois
With nearly 22,000 bike commuters, The Second City ranks high among our list as one of the best places to venture out by bicycle. In great part, that high badge is thanks to the supportive infrastructure: nearly 86 miles of protected, buffered bike lanes weave through the city. Plus, the bike sharing program is strong with close to 580 stations and more than 5,800 bicycles available for urban adventurers.
After bicycle riders check out Cloud Gate, known as The Bean, they can head over to the Garfield Park Conservatory to relish thousands of plant specimens or go kayaking in the Chicago River. Of course no visit to Chicago would be complete without deep-dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s
, which has been serving pies with buttery crust since 1971.