Just because a city has a few bike lanes doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bike-friendly city. So whether you’re looking to relocate where bike commuters are a big part of the culture or you’re just looking for a vacation spot where you can bring your Bluejay E-Bike along for some eco-friendly exploring, it’s worth considering how much that destination invests in its bike infrastructure. Most of these bike-friendly cities have hundreds of miles of bikeways, which encompasses bike paths, dedicated bike lanes on roadways and neighborhood greenways, where biking and walking is prioritized over cars and vehicle speeds are lowered. Not to mention, a lot of these metropolitan hubs have cultivated a bustling community of cyclists, so you can easily find your people, both on and off the saddle.
6 Most Bike-Friendly Cities in the US
San Francisco, California
San Francisco might be the most e-bike friendly destination on this list, since the city’s infamous hills are easily handled with some help from pedal assist. Varied terrain aside, this West Coast gem offers 464 miles of bikeways, including a mix of city routes and unexpected escapes into the wilderness, like the Muir Woods Loop that will take you on an 18-mile tour of Marin’s coastal forest. That makes your two wheels a great transportation option for both getting you to and from some of the city’s must-visit destinations in addition to a scenic way to spend your days. San Francisco also has a robust bike culture, so you can find a local bike club that will allow you to join for a daylong test ride—which could turn into a recurring weekly adventure. And yes, before you ask, it probably is worth it to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge for the views (and Instagram posts) alone.
Bike lanes abound in this Pacific Northwest metropolis that’s consistently ranked as the number 1 most bike-friendly city in the US. Why does it take home that accolade so often? Well, it boasts the aforementioned wealth of bike lanes and almost 385 miles of bikeways. In addition, you’ll encounter 31 intersections with bike-specific traffic signals and over 42 bike boxes that will make your right turns more visible to drivers, all of which makes cycling around here much safer than other major cities. Plus, with over 6,500 bike racks, it’s a breeze to hop on and off while you explore, from South Waterfront to Downtown and beyond. But if you prefer to explore some terrain on your Bluejay Sport, there are plenty of trails that offer a nice dose of greenery (often with a side of city views), like the popular Eastbank Esplanade. Want to venture further? Head south of the city to Tryon Creek for a locals favorite that’s surprisingly secluded and just challenging enough.
With over 50 years dedicated to creating a bicycle network, it’s understandable why cyclists flock to this city located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. With a mix of bike-forward city riding and quick access to lots of mountain trails, all levels of riders can enjoy the variety at hand. The 300 days of sunshine each year certainly adds to the appeal too. Perhaps most impressive is the 84-mile spread of mixed-use paths that run alongside streets but are totally separated from traffic—with over 80 underpasses dedicated just to bikers and pedestrians. That means interruption free commuting or exploring without having to stress about speeding drivers and tricky intersections. Boulder’s well-organized biking resources offer self-guided tours (where points of interest go beyond the expected to include an open-air streetscape by Robert Tully and the Boulder Creek Stream Observatory, with an underwater peek at the local fish in their natural habitat) and a highlight of the region’s best bike trails. Be sure to check out the city’s highlight of the multi-use paths that allow e-bike usage, as Boulder only allows motor-free bikes on their Open Space and Mountain Parks trails in addition to a handful of city paths.
This city has the data to back up their presence on this list. No really, Arlington has been committed to maintaining stats and figures on how many bicyclists coast down their streets and bike paths each year through a transit program operated by BikeArlington. While the data can be organized to see how popular certain bike trails are, it can also serve as a tool for determining which trails might be too busy for your liking based on the day of the week and the time of day. Each year, over 500,000 bike trips are recorded by the automated counters installed throughout the city—though perhaps unsurprisingly, trips tend to be a lot less frequent during the winter months. The BikeArlington website also has a handful of easy-to-follow bike routes, ranging from a seasonal Cherry Blossom tour (with a short 2.5 mile trek along the Arlington River and a much longer 17.4 mile option) to a highlight of the most “stress-free routes for all ages.” There’s even a handful of self-guided tour options, with journeys that will take you through the Aurora Highlands, right to the Potomac Overlook and one route that’ll offer the best of the Heart of Arlington.
The best part about this mid-sized Midwestern city? It’s surprisingly bike friendly—and relatively flat, too. Minneapolis is actively working on becoming an urban biking destination, which means it’s actually possible to bike to Target or the grocery store. And that can’t be said for most cities. The city put forward a plan in April 2021 to add 136 additional miles of bike paths over the next two to three decades, including mountain bike trails and tracks for BMX riding. Among the most popular cycling spots is the Greenway, which is a 5.5-mile rail trail that’s just as lush as it sounds. This crosstown route is beloved by commuters and tourists alike, offering direct access to restaurants, shops and plenty of parks. It’s the perfect place to take your Premiere Edition on a nice long cruise.
Salt Lake City, Utah
This was one of the first places in the US to implement a protected intersection for bikers, basing the design on a Dutch creation. This is where the bike lane is physically separated from cars—all painted in a very visible green color scheme. So it comes as little surprise that there’s a lot of respect for cyclists and the cycling community here. While you might not want to bike through the snowy and slushy winters, Salt Lake City still has plenty of bike clubs to join and fellow two-wheel commuters to meet. Located in a valley, there’s a nice combination of paved and dirt trails to choose from in the surrounding Salt Lake City area, so you’ll never get bored of the cycling opportunities. Even the paved paths here are stunning, including the well-manicured Parley’s Trail to the Big Cottonwood Canyon Scenic Byway that’s 14.6 miles of family friendly terrain (and plenty of scenic overlooks of the Salt Lake City Valley).
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