Ernest Hemingway would have loved Portland. Or Boulder. Also Austin. No, not because of his big local beer (although I sure would have had hundreds of glasses). What the grumpy writer would have loved about those cities would be the spaces they have to ride a bike.
” It’s riding a bike that you know a country better because you have to sweat as you climb up and down its hills, ” Hemingway wrote.
We speak with activists and supporters of the bicycle recognized in the United States as a means of transportation and reviewed information from the League of Cyclists from the USA. The Alliance for Biking and Walking, and the Department of Commerce of the United States, and we made this list of the best US cities for biking, and to be discovered in these small vehicles, pedal and two wheels.
- Portland (Oregon)
“The base of the bicycle infrastructure of the city was 20 years ago,” says Brian Zeck, manager of bicycle company Portland’s River City Bicycles.” Cycling has become something rooted in the culture of the city; somehow; Portland has a touch of the European city.”
This infrastructure includes 106 kilometers of bike lanes, 48 kilometers of narrow-traffic bike avenues and 283 kilometers of bicycle lanes. All of this is used by 8% of citizens who say they use the bicycle as their primary means of transport and 10% who say it is their second means of transportation.
- Minneapolis (Minnesota)
Bicycling Magazine sparked a scandal among the cycling community in 2010 when it announced that Minneapolis had overtaken Portland as the most bike-friendly city in the United States.
The distinction is especially surprising if one considers that Winters in Minnesota may be unkind to those who move on bicycles.
Regardless of that, Minneapolis still has the second largest number of bicycle travelers from all major cities in the United States. Its inhabitants say that this is because what the city lacks in an ideal climate, it has plenty in perfect topography.
- Boulder, (Colorado)
In Boulder, you can go practically anywhere by bike. At least 95% of city streets are open to cyclists. That’s about 600 kilometers of unofficial bike routes.
Also, the city has invested heavily in recreational cycling, especially with the Valmont Bicycle Park, a piece of land of 182,000 square meters full of bike paths and hippodromes, among other things.
- Madison (Wisconsin)
” It’s really not that much fun to be out there when there are snow and ice on the ground, but still people get on their bikes, ” says Ben Scherer, Sales Manager for Machinery Row Bicycles. “And he does it because people here genuinely love bicycles.”
The city has made great efforts to give more space to bicycles, which are already bearing fruit. In high season, the city records about 11,000 daily bike trips to the center.
- San Francisco (California)
“Here you can be whatever you want and use the bike as your main means of transportation and no one cares,” says Chris Lane, owner of Roaring Mouse Cycles in San Francisco, the city that would put more to the test the words of Hemingway, of sweat going up the hills. “You can be a hipster on a fixed pinion bike or a person who competes in top-notch racing on your six-kilo bike.”
San Francisco focused on its bike promotion policy since 1973 and has the highest percentage of bicycle users in cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants in the United States. Its objective is that by 2020, 20% of all journeys made in the town will be by bicycle.
- Austin (Texas)
” We don’t have Minneapolis or Portland numbers in what it has to do with daily bicycle travelers, but I think we make up for it in weather and altitude, ” says Craig Staley, General Manager of Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop in Austin. “You can ride your bike all year.”
The city is changing its mentality and is focusing on bicycles. Now, every time you build a new street, you think of a bike lane. Also, the city has reduced the roads for cars to give more space to the bike lanes.
- Chicago (Illinois)
Its inclement weather half the year and the long distances to travel from one place to another may not Motivate bike lovers much in Chicago. However, this city has 188 kilometers of exclusive bike lanes and more than 48 kilometers of shared roads. In total, the network of bike paths in Chicago is close to 560 kilometers.
“Many businesses encourage their employees to go to work on bicycles. Outgoing and incoming mayors are bicycle friends and have created legislation to promote their use,” says Adam Kaplan, chief technician at Get a Grip Cycles in Chicago.
Besides, the city has Bike ambassadors dedicated to teaching drivers how to interact with cyclists.
- Washington, D.C
The nation’s capital is finally playing a leadership role in promoting healthy and ecological transfers after launching the country’s most extensive bike-sharing system.
Capital Bike share offers more than 1,200 bicycles scattered across 140 stations in the city and Arlington, Virginia. However, many residents admit that they are not yet very attracted to the cycling community.
” There is no unified culture here on the bike, ” says Walker Wilkerson, mechanic for the Bike Rack. “You have the fans and the experts, the grandmother and the average guy, all trying to go to work or ride a bike.”