No matter where you live in the United States, a great bike city is waiting for you. Whether your idea of a stimulating bike ride is a leisurely pedal down manicured bike paths or a 25-mile sprint on a rugged trail, these 10 U.S. cities are racing ahead of the pack when it comes to accommodating cyclists in 2023.
1. Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis boasts a whopping 10.8 bike share docking stations per 100,000 residents and features a bikeability score of 83 out of 100. There’s no stress when deciding where to ride. With 98 miles of designated bike lanes and another 101 for off-trail riding, almost every neighborhood in the city is easily accessible by bike.
2. Portland, OR
The City of Roses was our most bike-friendly city in 2022, but it took a tumble in 2023 — knocked out of first place by Minneapolis. But there’s still a lot to love about this bike town with its events to promote cycling and rider safety. Portland also has the country's highest percentage of commuters who bike to work (1.1%).
3. San Francisco, CA
If you're looking to relocate to California, bring your bike. California has three cities in the top 15, but San Francisco has the edge with 9.8 bike share docking stations per 100,000 residents, 460 miles of bike lanes, and 2.2 trails per 100,000 residents. San Francisco cyclists can also choose from double the number of bike shops and bike rental businesses as the average city.
4. Boston, MA
Boston is just shy of our top three after jumping four spaces from No. 8 in 2022. The rise in the ranking is the result of improved cycling infrastructure. That city has plans to add nearly 10 miles of dedicated bike lanes to its already impressive 17.5 miles of bike lanes and 59 miles of off-street trails for stress-free rides around the city.
5. Washington, D.C.
Capital Bikeshare originated in the U.S. capital, and it's one of the reasons D.C. is a great place to buy a home and hop on a bike. With 100 miles of bike lanes and 10.8 bike share docking stations per 100,000 residents, the District has more than earned its bikeability score of 92 out of 100. Community advocates are also dedicated to raising awareness of bike safety and promoting good biking behavior among riders.
6. Salt Lake City, UT
Since 2022, Salt Lake City has increased the number of bike trails by 6% and boosted its ranking on this list from No. 9 to No. 6. The city has a bike share program with 3.9 docking stations per 100,000 residents, which students and employees can use to bike to school or work. Salt Lake City is a great place to experience the natural beauty of Utah on two wheels, and as one of the best food truck cities in America, cyclists have plenty of options to refuel so they can keep exploring.
7. San Jose, CA
Start your (search) engines. San Jose cyclists search for bike-related terms online 71% more than residents in other cities. With 4.2 bike trails per 100,000 residents, San Jose already has the second-highest number of trails per capita, but the Better Bike Plan aims to add 100 miles of dedicated bike lanes by 2025. The city also plans to boost its already-impressive bicycle commuter rate (1%) to a sky-high 20% in that same time period.
8. Denver, CO
Denver boasts more online search activity for bicycle-related terms than any other city in the top 10. Snow and inclement weather don’t faze Mile High residents who flock to the city’s trails and bike lanes. Denver has also committed to the Vision Zero network, which has resulted in 24% fewer cyclist-involved fatal crashes than the average city.
9. Seattle, WA
If you received a home buyer rebate after purchasing a beautiful Craftsman home overlooking the Puget Sound, consider using it to buy a bike. You'll build leg muscles as you bike up one of Seattle’s seven famous hills during your morning commute. Approximately 0.6% of the city’s employees regularly bike the rainy streets of the Emerald City to the office. Leaning rails, traffic signals for cyclists, and barriers make Seattle safer for cyclists, too, with a cyclist-involved fatal crash rate that's 60% lower than the studied city average.
10. Providence, RI
Rounding out the top 10 is Providence, which has twice the number of bike trails (3.7 per 100,000 residents) as the average city (1.8). The Great Streets Initiative — implemented by avid cyclist and former Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza — added 43 miles of trails and 22 miles of greenways since 2020. The city also doubled down on safety and joined the Vision Zero network in 2022.
Back of the pack
Not every major U.S. city is amenable to cyclists. Memphis, Tennessee, is the least bike friendly, with the fewest number of employees commuting to work by bike. Even though Memphis has added 270 miles of bike lanes in the last decade, its cyclist-involved fatal crash rate (0.37) is 20% higher than the average rate (0.31) among all 50 cities studied.
On the other hand, Dallas moved from last place in 2022 to No. 41 in 2023. After a three-year ban on rental bikes, docking stations have returned to the city to encourage residents to get on two wheels. In addition, construction on new bike trails is ongoing. A 66-mile trail between Dallas and Fort Worth is scheduled for completion by the end of 2023 and a 50-mile loop trail around Dallas is expected to be complete in 2026.
Other notable cities at the back of the pack are Charlotte, North Carolina, and Birmingham, Alabama. Both have a bikeability score of 31, the lowest among all cities. This means that trails and safety measures are inadequate to protect cyclists and promote bike riding.