Your commute. Probably not a source of joy. But it could be. How? Ride a bike to work. It’s not dramatic to say your life will change for the better.
The benefits of commuting by bicycle are almost unbelievably positive: you’ll be happier, healthier, skinnier, wealthier, and, as the cherry on top, you’ll make the world a better place.
Nice, very nice indeed. But…it’s not easy, and may even be dangerous, to bike to work in many parts of the U.S. If you want a bike as your primary mode of transportation, I’d suggest moving to one of the cities listed below. The hard years of advocating for bike lanes are behind them. These cities have built, and are continuing to build, pro-bike infrastructure and culture.
On the lists of the world’s best places to bike, American bike cities never get mentioned. Except, that is, for Minneapolis. It’s been popping up on lists right alongside Copenhagen and Amsterdam.
A big reason for this is its Cedar Lake Trail, America’s first bicycle freeway. This 4.5 mile paved trail cuts right through the city and extends into the suburbs. With traffic lanes going both ways, connections to several other trails, and a path that bisects the city, it’s a commuter’s dream. Even with frigid winters, 4.6% of Minneapolites bike to work, up from 1.9% in 2000. This city is serious about cultivating a bike culture.
Recommended GORE BIKE WEAR® for commuting in Minneapolis:
Davis is to biking what Nashville is to country music. Since the 60s, this town has aggressively implemented a pro-bike agenda. The result: 23.2% of residents bike to work. Incredible, especially when the national average is .06%.
With the best biking infrastructure in the country, a moderate climate and flat terrain, you will not find better bike cities in the U.S. The catch? It’s just a town. With about 65,000 residents you’ll find less culture and career opportunities than a city. But if you really want to live life on a bike, Davis is where you need to be.
Recommended GORE BIKE WEAR® for commuting in Davis:
Since 2000, Portland has seen its number of bike commuters increase 400%, from 1.8% to 7.2%. That puts them in the number one spot among major U.S. cities. And it’s no accident. Portland has dedicated itself to being one of the world’s best bike cities.
In 2015 the city opened Tilikum Crossing: the largest car-free bridge in the U.S. Built for bikes, pedestrians, and mass transit only, Tilikum Crossing is a testament to Portland’s willingness to innovate. Other innovations––like designated bicycle boulevards, bike boxes at intersections, and plenty of bike parking––make Portland a place where you could easily get by solely on the power of your pedals.
Recommended GORE BIKE WEAR® for commuting in Portland:
Other U.S. bike cities deserving a very honorable mention include: Boulder, CO; Berkeley, CA; Cambridge, MA, and San Francisco, CA. And this is a great resource if you want to dig in a little deeper.
Is commuting to work on bike a possibility where you live? Tell about your bike commute in the comments below!