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The 13 Most Bike-Friendly Cities in America for Fixed-Gear Cyclists

Want to know which cities are the most bike-friendly in America? Look no further! Here's my top 10 cities for fixed gear and single speed cycling.

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Do you want to live in a city that is bike-friendly? If so, you might want to check out the list of the most bike-friendly cities in the United States.

Cities that made the list tended to have a lot of bike paths and lanes, as well as relaxed traffic laws that make it easy to ride a bike. So if you’re looking for the most bike-friendly cities in America, you might want to check out one of these locations!

Image of people crossing street with a bike lane in a busy city. Source: adobe stock
Image of people crossing street with a bike lane in a busy city. Source: Adobe Stock

Portland, Oregon, is often cited as the most bike-friendly city in the United States. This city was built with cyclists in mind and has several features that make it easy for cyclists to navigate. There are also numerous bike paths and greenways that crisscross the city, which makes cycling a convenient option even when outside of designated areas.

How did I rank these (ranking criteria)?

The ranking is based on how safe and comfortable biking conditions are and the extent to which a city offers bicycle infrastructure such as bike lanes, trails, and connected routes that provide access to multiple points of connection.

What Are the Most Bike-Friendly Cities in the United States?

Below are my top picks for bike-friendly cities in the U.S. This is by no means an exhaustive list. If your city does not make a list, send me a message, and I’ll consider adding it!

1. Portland, Oregon

This city has been the #1 for cyclists for some time now. Portland has been an inspiration for many other cities across the country. Not surprisingly, Portland boasts a greater number of cyclists per capita than any other city in the U.S. Interestingly, It also has an amazing number of coffee shops that cater to the biking community.

Get your caffeine hit, mount up, and spend some time exploring wonderful Portland. There are plenty of bike rental options from places such as Fat Tire Farm (which specializes in MTBs), Veloce Cycles, and Clever Cycles, among others. The city also has a bike-sharing scheme, launched back in 2016. And it’s not just the city you can explore. Some excellent specially designated bike trails are to be found, such as those in Forest Park (the biggest urban reserve in the U.S.) to enjoy.

I know this is a fixie-focused site, but if you’re in the market for a mountain bike to hit up some of those mountain trails, take a looks at these!

2. Boulder, Colorado

Boulder is a beautiful city located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Cyclists love it because it has bike paths that stretch for hundreds of miles, access to world-class trails for mountain biking, for example, Walker Ranch, and the area offers almost perfect weather for cycling 300 days a year. In addition, Boulder has a bike share scheme in the city, Boulder B-cycle, which allows you to grab a bike from any B-station 24/7 simply by swiping your card. You can then ride freely around the city.

If mountain biking is more your thing, try Boulder Bikesmith or one of the other similar bike rental shops specializing in MTBs. Boulder is also famous for its microbreweries, so if you like bikes and beer, your visit to Boulder will be paradise.

3. Chicago, Illinois

Many people say that Chicago is best enjoyed in the summer. It’s one of the few places in the U.S. where you can enjoy the attractions of a major city and relax on the beach just three minutes away.

In addition, Chicago offers a unique cycling experience. You can easily navigate directly across the busy city to your destination. Its architecture is breathtaking, and its cycle lanes are numerous. If cycling downtown is not your thing, try something more scenic while still enjoying the amazing skyline of Chicago by choosing one of the shoreline bike paths to enjoy.

4. New York City, New York

Don’t let New York traffic put you off mounting a bike. The city is extremely bike-friendly, prioritizes the safety of cyclists, and offers ample cycle lanes for two-wheel travelers. In addition, New York City boasts the biggest bike-share scheme in the U.S. It offers 6,000 bikes from 330 locations throughout the city.

If you prefer to avoid city traffic, try the Hudson River Greenway, a specially designated pedestrian path connecting Manhattan to Battery Park, which also offers bike rentals so you can enjoy the park scenery.

5. San Francisco, California

You might think San Francisco is not the most bike-friendly city with its cable cars and hilly streets, but it offers some amazing views of the bay and the city. Don’t miss seeing the famous Painted Ladies or the spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Later, once you’ve seen the beautiful Pacific views, head out to experience the city’s famous hills.

No doubt you’ll be hungry after a few hours of exploring on your bike, so why not make a pit stop at any of the amazing eateries San Francisco offers and enjoy a tasty bite before continuing to explore this fascinating city?

Image of bike lane cycling traffic signs in california. Source: adobe stock
Image of bike lane cycling traffic signs in California. Source: Adobe Stock

6. San Diego, California

San Diego will find amazing mountain bike trails and special road bike paths. The city also enjoys some of the best weather for cycling all year. Enjoy cycling to the pier at Ocean Beach and riding around the beachfront area. You’ll see the surfers, the bikinis, and beach life. San Diego is home to Balboa Park, the biggest urban cultural park in the U.S. You can also enjoy the ride to the San Diego Zoo, stopping off, relaxing, and having a picnic.

If you don’t bring your bike, you’ll have to try one of the local bike rental shops. The city’s bike-share scheme is still not fully rolled out, although it eventually aims to provide around 2,000 bikes at various locations throughout the city.

7. Tucson, Arizona

Although Tucson is no bustling metropolis, it can’t be ignored regarding cycling enjoyment. This oasis in the desert offers better cycling opportunities than many other U.S. cities. It boasts over 700 miles of specially designed bike paths. The weather is perfect for cycling, so you can comfortably ride here at any time of year. In addition, its out-of-town bike trails in the mountains are world-class, such as those in the Santa Catalina area.

8. Washington, D.C.

One way to avoid being stuck in traffic and parking problems while on your trip is to mount up and ride around this interesting city. Cycling around D.C. offers a terrific way to enjoy its impressive scenery, memorials, and monuments easily and quickly. Washington’s bike share scheme offers more than 1,800 bikes for rent, all of which are easily accessible. The scheme also offers some good bike safety tips for users.

If out-of-city adventure is more your thing, try renting a mountain bike from places such as Big Wheel Bikes and getting on the C&O Canal bike trail, which offers 185 miles of cycling fun. Finally, you can ride along the imposing Potomac River to Maryland.

9. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Despite being famous for harsh winter weather, many residents still choose to bike to commute. Minneapolis is second after Boulder in terms of the number of cycling commuters. The local bike culture in Minneapolis is strong, and you’ll find an interesting range of road bikes, fixed-gear bikes, mountain bikes, and BMX bikes on the roads.

Minneapolis has 120 miles of designated bike paths and trails, special bridges for cyclists, and the Nice Ride Minnesota bike-share scheme, all of which are highly accessible. As a bonus, Minneapolis is extremely flat, making it ideal for less experienced cyclists or those who want to enjoy being on a bike without working too hard.

10. Austin, Texas

You can’t ignore this city as a top cycling location—it even has a bike zoo! The capital of Texas also has the famous Lance Armstrong Bikeway. The 6-mile bikeway was launched in 2009 and cuts right through the city center. For something different, head out of town to the Texas Hill Country, which offers cyclists an opportunity to enjoy local scenic ranch land at its best.

11. Seattle, Washington

The Pacific Northwest offers some of the most perfect biking opportunities in the U.S. Seattle offers some amazing cycling experiences. Besides cycling around to explore the city, there are plenty of other options. Do you want to experience mountain trails? Seattle has them. Would you prefer to calmly cruise alongside the beach? You can live in Seattle.

And there are park and forest bike trails to follow too. You’ll be spoilt for choice in Seattle. It offers a degree of diversity for cyclists, which is hard to beat anywhere else in the U.S.

12. Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville is rapidly becoming a top destination for cyclists. The main attraction, the Louisville Loop, is 100 miles of bike trails connecting all the city’s major areas. This cycle superhighway links local neighborhoods and parks together in one system for cyclists. The city also boasts a dedicated pedestrian bridge that crosses the Ohio River, making it easy to pop across to Indiana.

The Louisville B-Cycle bike share scheme is also extremely accessible for anyone who wants to take a quick spin around this fascinating city.

13. Missoula, Montana

Montana has a lot more to offer than just cowboys! Missoula is a small, trendy city where bikes, not horses, are prioritized on the local roads. You can easily get around Missoula by bike because it’s quite a small place. And out of town, there are numerous bike trails in the mountains. Some of the local favorites include Blue Mountain, Rattlesnake Recreation Area, and Pattee Canyon.

Missoula is also where the Adventure Cycling Association is based, the country’s top travel experience organization for cyclists.

Is the United States becoming more bicycle-friendly?

The good news is that bike networks in the United States grew even before the pandemic. According to Pucher, the number of paved off-road trails increased sixfold between 1991 and 2021, from 5,904 miles to 39,329 miles.

Which state in the U.S. is the least bike-friendly?

Wyoming is America’s least safe state for biking, with a failing grade on state transportation funding.

If you want even more tips, watch this video called How to Make U.S. Cities More Bike-Friendly | One Small Step from the NowThis Earth YouTube Channel.

A video called How to Make U.S. Cities More Bike-Friendly | One Small Step from the NowThis Earth YouTube Channel.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do you still have questions? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about the most bike-friendly cities in the United States.

What is the most bicycle-friendly city in the United States?

Portland is a cyclist’s paradise, with a bike ability score of 83 out of 100 and the most bicycle shops per capita (3.5 per 100,000 residents) of any city on our list.

Where in the United States is cycling popular?

Biking is more popular in western North America, particularly in dense urban areas, gentrified neighborhoods, and university or college campuses than in the east.

Which state has the most paved bike trails?

The great state of Minnesota has made significant progress toward becoming a world-renowned bike destination. The state has over 4,000 miles of paved biking trails and plenty more that are literally off the beaten path. In addition, Minnesota is home to two official United States Bicycle Routes (USBR).

What is the longest bicycle trail in America?

The East Coast Greenway will be the longest single trail biking and walking route in the United States, stretching over 3000 miles and connecting 15 states, 450 cities, and towns. It is intended to connect Key West, Florida, and Calais, Maine.

Conclusion

If you love cycling, you’ll enjoy visiting any of the cities listed above. They are truly bike-friendly locations, and further innovations and development are ongoing. Remember that almost all bike rental/sharing schemes like those mentioned offer only fixed-gear bicycles because of their minimalist design and enhanced reliability.

This article covered cities for fixed gear cyclists. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • Bicycling is a good way to exercise, save money, or travel around the city.
  • A bike-friendly city should be safe and comfortable for biking conditions and the extent to which a city offers bicycle infrastructure such as bike lanes, trails, and connected routes that provide access to multiple points of connection.
  • Portland is a cyclist’s paradise, with a bike ability score of 83 out of 100 and the most bicycle shops per capita.

So, what city do you live in? Is it fixie friendly? Did we cover everything you wanted to know? Let us know in the comments section below (we read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out our full blog for more tips and tricks on fixed gear cycling. Thanks for reading, and stay fixed.

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Author avatar - Bradley Knight
Written By Bradley Knight
As a native New Yorker, Bradley is no stranger to the fixed gear scene. He’s been riding fixed for years. When he’s not on the bike, you can find him practicing his many hobbies, including playing guitar, video production, and photography.

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