Walk Score, owned by national real estate brokerage firm Redfin, scored more than 150 large cities nationwide, and 10,000 neighborhoods, from 0 to 100 based on four “bike-ability” measures: bike lanes, hills, destinations and road connectivity, and share of local workers’ commutes traveled by bicycle.
Here’s a guide to riding the top five.
Why it’s bikeable: There’s better infrastructure because such a large portion of locals commutes by bike. There are many protected bike paths, especially in the city, making it safe and convenient to bike as a mode of transportation.
Must-ride trail: Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, which encompasses all of Minneapolis’ urban lakes on a mapped and marked trail.
Best seen by bike: Stone Arch Bridge, which connects downtown Minneapolis to St. Anthony Main over the Mississippi River. It’s a great spot for a picture of the skyline and the falls.
Most bikeable neighborhoods: Uptown, Dinkytown, Phillips, Lyn Lake, East Isles
Tourist tip: Nice Ride is a convenient way to rent a bike for the day and explore the city.
San Francisco, California
Why it’ bikeable: Here it’s all about the bike culture: Everyone is hyper-aware of bikers, which makes it safer to ride. The weather is amazing, so you can ride 80 percent of the year without worrying about it being too cold, hot or rainy.
Must-ride trail: Ride from the Mission to the Beach Chalet and Brewery in Ocean Beach. It’s an awesome route through “The Wiggle” in Lower Haight, a little bike-highway between the Mission/Castro and the Panhandle, which is the narrow intro section to Golden Gate Park, and the entire Golden Gate Park. There are dedicated bike lanes the whole way there and tons of stuff to do on the way, from museums to posh restaurants to the lively Dolores Park.
Best seen by bike: The Mission is among the most leisurely districts for biking because it’s flat, always sunny and there are bars with bike racks, like Benders, if you want to do a pub crawl on two wheels. Mission Dolores gets a little hilly as you go past Dolores Park, but it’s not as hilly as some areas.
Most bikeable neighborhoods: Civic Center, Mission District, Showplace Square, Mission Dolores, South of Market
Tourist tip: See the Mission by bike and view the hillier parts of the city by trolley or even foot.
Why it’s bikeable: Lots of designated bike paths and lanes. The city works to divert motor-vehicle traffic off bike routes by placing speed bumps and bike crossings that cars can’t cross. Portland recently converted one of the motor-vehicle lanes on N. Williams into a designated bike-only lane. Visiting the bars, restaurants and shops along the trendy Williams/Vancouver corridor is now even easier via bike.
Must-ride trail: Springwater Corridor Trail. End this trail ride with a trip across the river to SW Portland, where you can park your bike and board the Portland Ariel Tram. For mountain bikers of all skill levels, the Sandy Ridge trail just east of Portland is a must.
Best seen by bike: Voodoo Donuts in Old Town, where parking is tough and the line at Voodoo is long. Also, Mount Tabor just east of Sunnyside: Ride your bike to the top of Mount Tabor to enjoy the awesome views and a speedy return on the way back down.
Most bikeable neighborhoods: Buckman, Lloyd District, Old Town Chinatown, Hollywood, Sunnyside
Tourist tip: Literally hundreds of bike stores in Portland rent bikes. A stop at Velo Cult in Hollywood is a must. It’s a combination bar, coffee shop and bike shop — covering all three of Portlanders’ favorite pastimes.
Why it’s bikeable: Drivers are conscious of cyclists, so car/bike accidents are few due to drivers’ heightened awareness. Also, the city’s mostly flat roads and 300 days of sunshine make it one of the most dependable places to ride on two wheels.
Must-ride trails: Urban adventure: Cherry Creek Trail, one of the most-used trails around, with more than 40 miles linking the southern suburbs to downtown. It’s like an expressway for bikes, following a waterway known as Cherry Creek. Lookout Mountain is probably one of the most famous road rides, featuring spectacular vistas from Denver to Golden’s Coors Brewery.
Best seen by bike: The Washington Park, City Park, Congress Hill, Cherry Creek, and Baker neighborhoods, where there are plenty of bike lanes, routes, coffee shops, charming historic districts and parks.
Most bikeable neighborhoods: City Park West, City Park, Cheesman Park, Whittier, Five Points
Tourist tip: Craft breweries are everywhere, so set your routes accordingly and enjoy some refreshment along the way. Grab an hourly B-cycle bike from one of 85 stations around town.
Why it’s bikeable: Boston has a rapidly expanding network of bike-friendly infrastructure, and there’s a huge, growing community of local bikers with a similar mindset.
Must-ride trails: Minuteman Trail, Fresh Pond, Walter White Bike Path
Best seen by bike: South Boston, where there’s lots of waterfront to explore.
Most bikeable neighborhoods: Allston, Fenway–Kenmore-Audubon Circle-Longwood, Back Bay, Hyde Square, Jamaica Central–South Sumner
Tourist tip: Urban AdvenTours rents awesome bikes and has numerous tours of Boston and surrounding areas daily in the spring, summer and fall.
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