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Great Biking Towns

Category: Biking

What kind of biking do you like to do?
One person’s definition of a great biking town might be focussed on biking trails. Someone else might be thinking more of  an urban environment, where bike lanes that make commuting about town easier.  And then other folks might be dreaming of place where mountain biking is available, either within the city limits or just outside.  These are the major types of biking towns we will consider in this article:

Around town biking and commuting. These towns are for people who like to get around town by bike rather than car. Here bike commuting might be good, or bikes are great for just getting around in general.

Recreational bike trails. Some cities and towns have done a great job of incorporating bike trails into their parks or other facilities.  These trails would probably used more for recreation rather than functional transportation. A lot of other areas were smart enough to reclaim abandoned railroad right of ways and convert these flat, interesting routes into interesting (and long!) bike trails. We also include in this category towns that are fortunate to be near good, quiet roads with interesting scenery.

Mountain biking. Not everybody that enjoys mountain biking is a 20-something, witness baby boomer and former President George W. Bush. Many towns have built up reputations for mountain biking and often have special races and festivals. Naturally enough, towns in the mountains are almost always big mountain bike areas, but plenty of other types of places are big on the sport too.

Great places for around town biking and commuting.
Key West, Florida. Key West is a bike kind of town – a car is not required in Key West. The most popular bikes are cruisers with big fat tires and seats, built for jumping curbs and bringing home the groceries.The most interesting longer rides are around the southeast side of the island along the water.

Fort Collins, Colorado Money Magazine’s “Best Small City”, Fort Collins is famous for its 4,300 acres of green space, 25 miles of in-town trails, and 143 miles of bike lanes. Less expensive than Boulder, but in some people’s minds, just as great.

Madison Wisconsin Madison, built around 2 gorgeous lakes, also boasts a 30-mile web of paved trails that are lit, snowplowed, and biked year-round.

Portland, Oregon The City of Roses is exceedingly bike-friendly with almost 270 miles of street lanes and paths, set-off with nonskid paint. Of course you can also drive a short distance and enjoy top-notch mountain or road biking.

Cary, North Carolina. Cary has been named a bike-friendly city. There are many trails and parks to indulge your riding.

Recreational bike trails
Charlevoix Michigan We love this boating destination on Lake Michigan, famous for many things including its 26 mile lake and woods rail-to-trail known as the Bike Path.

Chico California Chico has many parks and trails in town. It is adjacent to the Sierra Nevada, so it’s tops for any kind of biking.

Eugene, Oregon You would expect that the home of Nike would be big on biking and every other kind of outdoor activity, and it is. This college town (University of Oregon) has top-notch parks with trails; mountain and road biking are close.

Provincetown, Mass Provincetown is pretty small and a car isn’t much use on its narrow streets with limited parking. You can cruise around town on your bike, but the best biking is through the National Seashore trails just outside town. You go up and down through the dunes that sometimes remind you of a lunar landscape, only to emerge at the Atlantic Ocean. Cape Cod’s rail to trail through the center of the Cape is a thoroughly great trail as well.

Columbia, Missouri Another college town (University of Missouri and others), Columbia is a Money Magazine Best Town with bike paths and bike-friendly ambiance

Boise City, Idaho Mountain biking in and near Boise is exceptional. The Boise River Greenbelt is a 25-mile riverfront pathway, and there are plenty of other great parks as well.

Chicago, Illinois Chicago is of course a huge city, but biking is possible and enjoyable most of the year. A 18 mile trail system winds through parks along the waterfront, and another goes all the way to the Mississippi River and back (537 miles!)

Portland, Maine Portland has just completed a nice trail system, much of which goes along the water. Fanning out in all directions from this very green town are nice roads for long and scenic bike roads.

Mountain Biking
Boulder, Colorado For many cyclists, Boulder is a biking dream. City parks and trails flourish in a town that celebrates being green and athletic. Mountain biking begins within the city limits.

Missoula, Montana.  Here on the Blackfoot River the movie “A River Runs Through It”  was shot. The mountain biking is first rate, as you might imagine.

Burlington VT Home to the University of Vermont and on the shores of beautiful Lake Champlain, Burlington is close to a famous mountain bike trail called “The International”. Big-time mountain bikers train and race here.

For Further Reference

Best Biking Towns

Bicycling Magazine’s “Top 50 Biking-Friendly Cities”

Outside Magazine’s Best American Towns

Rails to Trails (go to Archive to see “Best” rail to trails)

Rail to Trails National Map

Posted by admin on November 20th, 2010

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Jeanne Palermo says

You should check out the literally hundreds of miles of recreational bikeways in and around Dayton, Ohio – along the Great Miami and Mad Rivers – and the Little Miami River south of Xenia and north to Yellow Springs and beyond. Dayton is also beginning to institute bike lanes for bicycle commuting.

April 6th, 2011 | #

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September 22nd, 2011 | #

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