These Are the 8 Best Cities for Biking in the U.S.
Need some fresh air? Breeze by the roses on your bike, or stop to take in the sights with a packed picnic lunch. Biking offers a great way to spend time solo or with loved ones or get in exercise.
Whether hopping on a bike for the first time, or if you’re a biking enthusiast, these are the eight best cities for biking in the United States.
1. Tucson, Arizona
The Chuck Huckelberry Loop is a system of shared-use, paved paths extending through unincorporated Pima County, Oro Valley, Marana, Tucson and South Tucson. The Loop connects trailheads, parks and bike routes, restaurants, workplaces, schools, shopping areas, hotels and entertainment venues. Officials made the “loop” a real loop when they connected the Santa Cruz River Park with the Rillito, Harrison and Pantano Greenway and Julian Wash to complete a circuit of 53.9 miles.
2. Portland, Oregon
Portland bike paths range from a few miles up to 45 miles, depending on how flat or hilly you want your ride. Portland officials also offer lists of guided rides for those new to the area or to biking in general as a bike-friendly and pedestrian-friendly city.
Gateway Green is a shorter but newer path situated between I-206 and I-84 with jump tracks and other skills areas. The 30-mile Willamette River Loop winds around Lake Oswego and its craft breweries. Start at the Salmon Springs Foundation and ride for 13 miles through the historic southeast Portland neighborhoods.
3. Fort Collins, Colorado
Fort Collins is one of only five cities awarded a Platinum Level Bicycle Friendly City. Fort Collins wants one out of five trips completed by bike in 2020, and the city currently clocks 185 miles and counting of bike lines. Hop on one of Pace’s bike share rides and cruise the Poudre River Trail for about 10 miles through Old Town. Near there, the city’s breweries are all within a five-mile area of one another, so do a bike tour of tasty brews with friends.
4. New York, New York
Many New Yorkers walk or take the train to work, but many more also bike as their way of commuting. People take 450,000 bike trips through the five boroughs every day, and more than 1,000 bike lines exist centrally in the city. Forty percent also support expanding protected bike paths in the city.
Hudson Greenway will take you right into the Financial District, and many more trails will get you where you need to go. Check NYC Bike Maps for paths, lanes and greenways across NYC, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
5. Chicago, Illinois
Take in the Chicago skyline as you bike the 18-mile trail along Lake Michigan, and the trail remains open year-round if you dare brave the cold. The beaches close, but the lakeshore path stays open. Hop on the Bloomingdale Trail to cruise by Humboldt Park, Wicker Park and beautiful murals on the west side.
Register for Bike the Drive as spring turns to summer and cruise down Lake Shore Drive. The city shuts down the road for the cyclist takeover. Proceeds from the event make biking and Chicago safer. Get to know the Windy City on Bobby’s Bike Hike through February, March and April as you get to know the major landmarks.
6. Santa Monica, California
Start at the Santa Monica Pier if you feel up for a 26-mile ride to explore the beaches and shops for roughly three hours total. Wake up early, because the path gets crowded on the weekends, and bring along your best camera for those Insta-worthy photos.
7. New Orleans, Louisiana
Gorgeous mansions, colorful shotgun homes, gardens and parks make New Orleans a historical and environmentally lovely place to ride your bike. Don’t worry about hills in Crescent City’s easy, flat terrain.
If you’re a tourist, take in the sights on one of the many bike tours, or rent a bike and head down St. Charles Avenue to the Garden District along the streetcar line. Explore Audubon Park in Uptown to the zoo and other areas. Spin your wheels around four miles of bike paths within City Park. Cruise from Bayou St. John to Lake Pontchartrain or shorten the path by going around the Big Lake and Festival Grounds.
8. Madison, Wisconsin
Madison got ranked as one of America’s Healthiest Cities in 2015 for its high level of recreational activity and go-getter citizens, especially townies who love biking. Cruise through Capital City or ride the UW-Madison Arboretum trail like a local — discovering native flora and fauna. End the day on Monroe Street, a lovely, quaint neighborhood home to charming shops, galleries and restaurants.
Start the next ride at Olin Park, looping around Lake Monona. Check out Monona Terrace while there and ride up the bike elevator to take in the skyline.
Don’t forget sunscreen, water and your bike lock when you explore these eight bike-friendly cities. From small to large, these paths will give you a workout and inspirational views.