Solving Cities

Top 10 cities for biking in America

Top 10 cities for biking in America

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Which U.S. cities make it easiest to get around on bikes?

Bike commuting has the potential to save the U.S. billions of dollars each year. That's a big savings for something as simple as biking. So which cities make it easiest to get around on two-wheels?

Shermans Travel, looked at bikability in cities with more than 100,000 people and ranked the top 10 based on their bikeshare (or soon-to-be-bikeshare), rental shops, municipal bike racks, trails, and dedicated bike lanes.

Here's Shermans' top 10 cycling cities and related biking statistics:

1. Austin

Bikeshare: Temporary, during special events (like SXSW)

Bikeable Miles: 155 miles of bike lanes and 170 miles of off-road trails

Bike Rentals: Yes

2. Boston

Bikeshare: Yes (600 bikes)

Bikeable Miles: 52 bikeway miles

Bike Rentals: Yes

3. Chicago

Bikeshare: Coming soon with 3,000 bikes

Bikeable Miles: 117 miles of bike lanes, 30 miles of shared lanes, and dozens of miles of off-street trails

Bike Rentals: Yes

Bike Racks: 12,000 (most in the U.S.)

4. Denver

Bikeshare: Yes (52 stations)

Bikeable Miles: 850 miles of off-street paved trails, hundreds of miles of bike lanes

Bike Rentals: Yes

5. Minneapolis/St. Paul

Bikeshare: Yes (116 stations and 1,200 bikes)

Bikeable Miles: 81 miles of on-street bikeways and 85 miles of off-street bikeways

Bike Rental: Yes

6. New York City

Bikeshare; Coming soon with 10,000 bikes

Bikeable Miles: 260 miles of bike lanes and 100+ miles of car-free greenways

Bike Rental: Yes

7. Portland, Ore.

Bikeshare: Coming soon

Bikeable Miles: 318 miles of bikeways

Bike Rental: Yes

8. San Francisco

Bikeshare: Coming soon with 500 bikes

Bikeable Miles: 200+ miles of designated bike routes

Bike Rental: Yes

9. St. Petersburg, Fla.

Bikeshare: Coming soon

Bikeable Miles: 75 miles of on-street bike lanes and 35 miles of bike trails

Bike Rental: Yes

10. Washington, D.C.

Bikeshare: Yes (1,200 bikes)

Bikeable Miles: 109 miles of trails, bike lanes, and cycle tracks

Bike Rental: Yes

When you think about the best cities for biking, a lot of the usual suspects are on this list. But on this list -- with a travel focus -- cities with bikeshare should have soared to the top. I'm not sure how Austin made the top spot without bikeshare.

When tourist visit a city, bikeshare is the easiest way to get around on two-wheels. Sure, you can do bike rentals and tours, but they generally limit where you can go because you have to get the bike and drop it off at the same place. With bikeshare, visitors have more flexibility to explore the city (and even feel like locals) because they can pick up the bike and drop it off in a different location.

A couple surprise cities left off the list were Seattle, Boulder, Eugene, and Madison. All four cities have over 100,000 and all received "platinum" or "gold" ranking on the League of American Bicyclist's list of Bike Friendly Communities.

Should your city be on the list?

Photo: Flickr/dingatx

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure