Jul 10, 2012

The Best cities for Biking in the USA

 Conserv-A-Store solidly believes biking in urban areas is a must for humans to ever be a "Green People."

We've been lucky enough to bike in many cities in the world. We remember Barcelona as the best.
Yes it is hilly so you gotta do some bike walking on occasion but the street signage and dedicated bike lanes are unsurpassed except in old Barcelona where the streets are pretty small.

If your  city is not on the list below(sadly our city Orlando is not on the list) why don't you fwd this blog to your city officials. Most large cities have a bike ambassador even if they do not have a biking office. Better yet send a note to all your commissioners and ask them if they bike to the commission meetings?

Our Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer bikes to work one day a year that we are aware of on America Bikes to Work Day. But in Florida biking is delightful for at least 6 mos per year(and can be for up to 9 mos).

If you work in an urban center and live within 5 miles of your work, why are you not biking to work at least once a month? Pick the nicest day in spring or fall as a good day to try it!!!!!

Here are the best cities for Biking 2012 from Bicycling Magazine-with an updated list for 2013 below

1. Portland, OR
Population: 583,776
After being named runner-up in our last round of best bike city rankings in 2010, Portland reclaims the top spot. The only large city to earn Platinum status from the League of American Bicyclists is a paragon of bike-friendliness, with 180 miles of bike lanes and 79 miles of off-street bike paths. Always quick to embrace cyclist-friendly innovations, Portland was the first city in the United States to implement bike boxes at intersections and elementary-school bike commuting trains. Among the city's many bike shops is newcomer Go By Bike, which is located under the aerial tram and offers valet parking, rentals, and repairs.

NO BIKE FATALITIES for Portland in 2013-read why here

2. Minneapolis
Population: 382,578
From the midwinter Stupor Bowl alleycat race, a wintertime tour of the city’s various cycling oriented pubs, cafés, and galleries, to the thousands of volunteer hours accrued by the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee to the six-year-old ArtCrank bike-poster show, cycling culture in Minneapolis is thriving.
“In the last few years, things have gone from really good to explosive,” says Nick Mason, a program manager at the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota. In 2010, with the launch of the Nice Ride bike-share system, cycling shifted from a cultural phenomenon to a community-wide initiative. During its second full year of service, annual Nice Ride subscriptions tripled and daily trips doubled as predominant commuter wear shifted from spandex to slacks and heels.
In 2011, the city completed the 4.25-mile Cedar Lake Regional Trail, dubbed “America’s first bike freeway.” The two one-way bike lanes and pedestrian lane run from the Mississippi River downtown underneath the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field and into the western suburbs. Minneapolis also added 35 miles of bike lanes and installed four bike-boulevard corridors, with the recently updated bike plan calling for a dozen more.

3. Boulder, CO
Population: 97,385
Due to a network of on-street bike lanes and paths that allow for almost unimpeded two-wheeled travel, Boulder boasts the second-highest percentage of bike commuters in the United States (Davis, California, is first). After recently passing a $49 million capital improvement bond with substantial funding for cycling projects, the city broke ground on the Baseline Path, a key half-mile-long connection between East Boulder and the University of Colorado.

4. Washington, DC
Population: 601,723
There is no clearer evidence of the urban-cycling revolution sweeping the United States than in the nation’s capital, where ridership jumped 80 percent from 2007 to 2010. The District opened the country’s first automated bike-share system, constructed separated bike lanes on key downtown corridors—including the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue linking the White House and Capitol Hill—and installed more than 1,600 bike racks.
In 2011, Federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood attended the ribbon cutting for a section of the Anacostia River Trail, which will provide safe bicycle access to the eastern part of the city. Washington Area Bicyclist Association executive director Shane Farthing says the trail, along with new bike-share stations and clubs like Black Women Bike DC, will help increase the diversity of the cycling community.

5. Chicago
Population: 2,695,598
When former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel took over as mayor in 2010, he brought with him Washington’s forward-thinking former transportation director, Gabe Klein, and an ambitious agenda to reinvigorate Chicago’s bike network. The Streets for Cycling 2020 plan calls for the installation of 100 miles of separated bike lanes over the next four years, a commitment local bike advocates refer to as “staggering.”
There’s already a lot to love. A protected bike lane on Kinzie Street was installed in just six weeks; cyclists now account for 51 percent of the traffic during rush hour. Other funded projects include turning an elevated railway into a bike path and expanding the bike-share system to 5,000 bikes. During Chicago’s Bike the Drive event each May, thousands of cyclists flock to Lake Shore Drive for a car-free 30-mile ride.

6. Madison, WI
Population: 233,209
Madison’s initial push to make cycling a priority came in 1972, amid an oil crisis. The city has floored the accelerator on cycling ever since, creating a tightly connected network of off-street paths and bike lanes crisscrossing Wisconsin’s capital city.
No wonder Madison tends to draw premier cycling companies. Planet Bike, which donates 25 percent of profits to advocacy, and Saris (maker of bike racks and CycleOps trainers) are located just off commuter trails that connect nearby cities to downtown. In 2011, Wisconsin-based Trek Bikes helped the city implement a Safe Routes to School pilot program.
Just outside Madison, cyclists can ride some of the Midwest’s most pastoral, and punishingly hilly, terrain. The city hosts the Ironman Wisconsin triathlon, which draws nearly 2,500 participants annually and includes one of the toughest bike courses in the U.S.

7. New York City
Population: 8,175,133
When New York’s Citi Bike launches this summer, it will be the largest bike-share system in the nation, with 600 stations and 10,000 bikes, primarily spread throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Plans call for 1,800 bike-lane miles by 2030, putting the city in league with cycling legends such as Paris.
Still, with amenities like the protected West Side Highway bike path paralleling the Hudson River and urban oases such as Governors Island (where a pilot bike-share still offers free rentals each Friday), New York is already a top cycling destination. It boasts more cyclists than any other American city, and advocacy groups such as Transportation Alternatives are hard at work preparing for the coming influx. In 2011, the organization’s bike ambassadors distributed 30,000 educational pamphlets on urban cycling safety and etiquette.

8. San Francisco
Population: 805,235
In the mid 1980s, the bike messenger was the signature San Francisco cyclist (see: Quicksilver). Now? It’s the briefcase-toting executive riding in the separated bike lanes on Market Street. Twitter—which claims 25 percent of its employees ride to work—recently leased a building near the bikeway.
After settling an environmental lawsuit in 2010 that had stalled the city’s progress, San Francisco has installed 20 new bike-lane miles, 25 bike-parking corrals, and traffic signals that give riders the right-of-way. The innovations led to a 71 percent increase in bike trips over the past five years and moved the city closer to its goal of a 20 percent cycling mode share by 2020. Although messengers may no longer rule the streets, events like the Bicycle Music Festival—with its pedal-powered rock shows and rolling venues—help keep the two-wheeled counterculture alive.

9. Eugene, OR
Population: 156,185
The 14 miles of paved trails winding along the banks of the Willamette River—through parks and past a BMX track—are named in memory of Ruth Bascom, who spent four decades championing bikes as an advocate, council member, and mayor. Thanks to her efforts, Eugene claims a bike-commuter level of about 10 percent. In 2010, the city spent one-fifth of its federal transportation dollars on bike-ped projects, such as the Delta Ponds Bridge—which spans a highway, links neighborhoods to a wetland park, and earned Eugene an environmental award from the Federal Highway Administration.
Eugene’s cycling future rests in events like Kidical Mass, where dozens of parents and children roll down bike boulevards, often ending with an ice-cream stop. Pedaling among the young riders is, perhaps, the next Ruth Bascom.

10. Seattle
Population: 608,660
After years of semi-successfully lobbying elected officials to revamp an ancient bicycle master plan, the Cascade Bicycle Club took a more proactive approach. The club—which boasts 14,000 members, 26 full-time staffers, and a contact list of more than 80,000 supporters—formed a political action committee and started promoting its own candidates for office. In the last election cycle, 75 percent of the candidates the club endorsed won.
The growing political support is noticeable. Recent projects include a two-way cycle track on Broadway and a network of neighborhood greenways to complement the bike infrastructure that already exists on most arterial roads. But all this civic participation isn’t without an edgier side. The Dead Baby Downhill race, held in August, is dubbed the West Coast’s biggest bike party. The postrace gathering features human-powered carnival rides and draws thousands of cyclists, from partiers aboard monster bikes to safety-conscious commuters in neon gear.

Best Cities for Biking

Top 50 Best Biking Cities for 2013 from Bicycling Mag:
1 Minneapolis 26 Boston
2 Portland, OR 27 Philadelphia
3 Boulder, CO 28 Pittsburgh
4 Seattle 29 Charleston, SC
5 Eugene, OR 30 Arlington, VA
6 San Francisco 31 Sioux Falls, SD
7 Madison, WI 32 Boise, ID
8 New York City 33 Kansas City, MO
9 Tucson, AZ 34 Columbus, OH
10 Chicago 35 Tulsa, OK
11 Austin, TX 36 Grand Rapids, MI
12 Denver 37 Billings, MT
13 Washington, DC 38 St. Louis
14 Ann Arbor, MI 39 Cleveland
15 Phoenix/Tempe, AZ 40 Greensboro, NC
16 Gainesville, FL 41 Lexington/Fayette, KY
17 Albuquerque, NM 42 Omaha, NE
18 Colorado Springs, CO 43 Salt Lake City
19 Salem, OR 44 Miami
20 Scottsdale, AZ 45 Indianapolis
21 Louisville, KY 46 Fargo, ND
22 Chattanooga, TN 47 Anchorage, AK
23 Long Beach, CA 48 Baltimore
24 Cary, NC 49 Little Rock, AR
25 Milwaukee 50 Rochester, NY

Here's a video on the increasing practice of bikers wearing cameras to record their run-ins with bike unfriendly auto drivers


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