The weather’s improving, the flowers are blossoming, and people are wearing more smiles — just the perfect time to hop on your bicycle and absorb all those sunny spring vibes. For all you cyclists out there who plan on visiting a major city this summer, we’ve compiled 7 awesome destinations that are totally geared for two-wheel adventures. More pedal power to you!
New York City
If you’re a cyclist and not a native of New York, the mention of NYC probably gives you visions of being run over by one of its scurrying yellow taxis or being berated by a slew of ill-tempered drivers. But fear not: the Big Apple has hundreds of miles of bike routes winding through the metropolis that are safe and scenic. If you don’t own a bike you can always rent one to pedal through the Hudson River Greenway, which runs along the West Side, from Dyckman Street in the north to Battery Park in the south. You can also cycle across the iconic Brooklyn bridge — a very popular route as well.
The Windy City has more than 100 miles of protected bikeways that wind through the city. Chicago is also home to the nation’s second-largest bike share system, Divvy, and it underlined its bike-friendly stature by introducing a program called Divvy For Everyone, which subsidizes bike shares for low-income riders. Make sure to ride on through Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park without ever having to stop for traffic.
The nation’s capital would best be known for its monuments and history rather than catering to 2-wheel travelers, but Washington D.C. has a great network of bike routes that fits the needs of any level of cyclist. Our personal favorite is the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O for short) Towpath, which follows the Potomac River for about 184 miles. Thanks to all the trees along the path, you can expect a very shady, cool ride during the sticky summer months.
Blessed with great natural beauty, Oregan can boast of a lot to do over summer for outdoor junkies. The city of Portland offers cyclists the perfect opportunity to taste the outdoors in the middle of a great city through an extensive network of bikeways. It’s bike share program BIKETOWN, is also very well rated. Forest Park has some great trails leading through pristine forest landscapes in Northwest Portland. A popular route through the park is Leif Erikson Drive, which offers fantastic views of the Columbia River and Mount St. Helens. If you prefer an ascending ride, then Mt. Tabor Park will give you a panoramic view of the city skyline.
RELATED: Looking for more great stuff you can do while biking in big cities? Check out this article on some great city parks that offer lots more!
With a moderate climate throughout the year, any time’s a good time to do some biking in San Diego. The green hub of the city, Balboa Park, is home to a lot of great sites, including the San Diego Zoo, museums, and theaters. You can soak up some sun biking through the park or feel the salty air hit your face on a beach-side route. The city’s bike share program has been hit with criticism of not being available at crucial locations, but there are plenty of places you can rent one for the day.
The art and music heart of Texas also plays home to this rather unconventional bike park, which is so enamored with pedal power that it has its own bike zoo (yes – we’re talking about an 80-foot-long rattlesnake bicycle, in addition to an assortment of other creatures driven by pedal power!). Austin is also home to the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, which runs through the heart of town. If you venture just outside of town, you can ride through the picturesque Texas Hill Country, another popular route favored by cyclists.
Even in the worst weather, you’ll be sure to find cyclists using their fat bikes to pedal their way across this bike-friendly town. The city has invested heavily in turning its abandoned industrial spaces into intricate bike paths that convene at the city center. Ride the Cedar Lake Commuter Trail, which takes you past the beautiful Spring Lake, or try the Dakota Rail Trail, which whizzes you past ponds and wetlands.
Know of any other great bike-friendly cities? Let us know in the comments