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Top 10 bicycle-friendly cities in America

Whether you ride for fun, for fitness, or for any other reason, you understand the simple pleasure of a two-wheeled adventure, with the wind in your face and the road stretched out before you. In certain cities in the U.S., biking is becoming more than just a hobby – it’s a passion.

In their 2018 study, People for Bikes ranked 484 communities based on their “bicycle friendliness,” using a variety of criteria such as ridership numbers, availability of bike paths, and safety for cyclists. Here are the communities that rounded out the top 10:

  1. Fort Collins, Colorado – With relatively flat terrain, over 280 miles of wide bike lanes, and lots of mountain biking trails, cyclists can enjoy country prairies, steep canyons, or take a tour of the local breweries by bike. You’ll find everything from mountains and wildlife to beautiful river trails.

  2. Wausau, Wisconsin – Named the most bike-friendly small city in the U.S. by People for Bikes, Wausau has both city bike lanes and mountain biking trails. One of the best in Wisconsin, the Nine Mile Forest offers eleven loops of single-track. You’ll want to (carefully!) take in the scenery as the single-track snakes over the side of a steep 140-foot high ridge.

  3. Boulder, Colorado – One of only five cities to earn the League of American Bicyclist’s platinum ranking for its grassroots advocacy and city planning programs for bicyclists. Want to get introduced to the bike culture? Join the fun and become a Happy Thursday Cruiser Rider, where each week is a different theme and location (think Viva Las Vegas and Red, White, and Blue!).

  4. Portland, Oregon – One of the top U.S. cities for bicycle commuters, Portland has 315 miles of bikeways and a true dedication to bike-themed events. Check out Pedalpalooza, Portland’s World Naked Bike Ride, or Zoobombers (an every-Sunday event where regulars take the MAX light rail to the Oregon Zoo, then bomb back down the hills on small children’s bikes or their own customized contraptions).

  5. Tucson, Arizona – The self-proclaimed “Biking Capital of the World,” Tucson is home to spectacularly steep road climbs (just be careful of the goat heads, a form of cactus that causes many flats) as well as over 30 mountain bike trails ranging from mild to wild.

  6. Madison, Wisconsin – Don’t have a bike of your own? Join Madison BCycle for just $65/year and get unlimited 30-minute rides around the city for free. Bikers in for the long haul can also ride from Madison to Milwaukee on a dedicated 80-mile bike path.

  7. Santa Monica, California – Temperate weather and gorgeous scenery make this city ideal for biking. Cruise along a beach trail, check out Main Street (Sunday Farmer’s Market has free bike valet and three bike corrals, so you’ll always have a place to park), or take to the mountains just north of town, where you'll find wide dirt paths that link up to trails along a 20,000-acre forest known as “The Big Wild.”

  8. Washington D.C. – See the sights of the nation’s capital on your bike or a borrowed one through the Capital Bikeshare program. Or, if you’re up to a bit more adventure, ride out to Arlington, Virginia, to the Crystal City Wednesday Night Spins – where riders race through two floors of an underground garage, dodging concrete pillars and parked cars.

  9. San Diego, California – Whether you’re an avid mountain biker, road bike warrior, or beach cruiser, this city has something for you. If you’re looking for a family-friendly bike ride, try the 27 miles of winding, paved bike paths along Mission Bay. They’re car-free and ample through popular communities of Pacific Beach, La Jolla, and Ocean Beach.

  10. New Orleans, Louisiana – A social city by nature, New Orleans loves social bike rides as well – like Get Up and NOLA, a weekly night ride where people ride bikes with flashing lights and bright designs. With flat terrain, you can easily enjoy the historic city, or take a ride along the Greenway or the new 2.6-mile trail connecting the French Quarter with City Park.

Even if your city isn’t one of these listed, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy biking adventures, locally or anywhere in the world.


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