2022’s Best Biking Cities in the U.S.

Two men biking on a trail

For some Americans, pedaling is a way of life. These people prefer to get around on two wheels over walking or driving.

But which U.S. cities are most ideal for avid cyclists?

To mark World Bicycle Day on June 3, LawnStarter ranked 2022’s Best Biking Cities in the U.S. 

We compared the 200 biggest U.S. cities based on 24 key indicators of a cyclist-friendly lifestyle, such as access to bike lanes and bike rentals, the share of bike commuters, the presence of cycling clubs, and the number of bike races and tours.

Check out our ranking of the best and worst cities for two-wheelers below, followed by some highlights, lowlights, and expert tips.

Contents

City Rankings 

See how each city fared in our ranking:

Overall Rank (1 = Best)CityOverall ScoreAccess RankSafety RankClimate RankCommunity RankEvents Rank
1San Francisco, CA72.13127745
2Minneapolis, MN65.5251153712
3New York, NY64.4549152122
4Portland, OR63.421263220
5Eugene, OR62.213895528
6Boston, MA61.571121141617
7Denver, CO60.9491083119
8Seattle, WA60.1862181331
9Washington, DC59.341620104115
10Chicago, IL57.1333192187
11Madison, WI54.661771839125
12Fort Collins, CO54.2373479694
13Albuquerque, NM53.781523555029
14San Diego, CA53.532530112812
15San Jose, CA52.89142844039
16Philadelphia, PA52.6353111413224
17Alexandria, VA52.562141043389
18Tempe, AZ52.34735561565
19Los Angeles, CA526032291014
20Sacramento, CA51.8724163735149
21Richmond, VA51.6238221013140
22Orlando, FL51.1418149270103
23Salt Lake City, UT50.661211393233
24San Antonio, TX50.64391314012317
25Houston, TX50.4427261955210
26Austin, TX48.785151313027
27Fremont, CA48.66292978683
28Boise, ID48.535535712231
29Jersey City, NJ48.19411716846125
30Durham, NC47.69431894134172
31Miami, FL47.64868887431
32Tampa, FL47.332317542103
33Arlington, VA46.9735391042745
34Charlotte, NC46.3658258010864
35Buffalo, NY44.9619441765649
36Rochester, NY44.8423431594167
37Lincoln, NE44.5949371037849
38St. Paul, MN44.4244411535431
39Anchorage, AK44.2395614859138
40Long Beach, CA43.210169158471
41Pittsburgh, PA42.9152501993440
42Santa Rosa, CA42.843411814371
43St. Louis, MO42.6948461854449
44Atlanta, GA42.6745651073940
45Las Vegas, NV42.6271474010040
46Spokane, WA42.5728548587108
47Knoxville, TN42.19201091369637
48Colorado Springs, CO42.0730154734516
49Oakland, CA42.054714472561
50Vancouver, WA41.8384336310387
51Honolulu, HI41.712215563889
52Cincinnati, OH41.681312214311758
53Milwaukee, WI41.43261191458137
54Baltimore, MD40.7621001495122
55Phoenix, AZ40.588363563656
56St. Petersburg, FL40.3640145755823
57Providence, RI39.67377315869172
58Tallahassee, FL39.61318018192149
59Tucson, AZ39.5979156522621
60Sunnyvale, CA39.54985852983
60Raleigh, NC39.54467711588108
62Toledo, OH39.245456167144172
63Columbus, OH39.06725918912849
64Reno, NV38.9176116548255
65Des Moines, IA38.86160134140172
66Rockford, IL38.776855175163108
67Indianapolis, IN38.71781331886111
68Riverside, CA38.695013516101138
69Garden Grove, CA38.63361681680125
70Detroit, MI38.6421481648424
71Winston-Salem, NC38.43651311096440
72Greensboro, NC38.32701078614058
73Grand Rapids, MI38.15113110182636
74Scottsdale, AZ38.048875567565
75Fort Wayne, IN38.03758414210877
76Dayton, OH37.915195171105172
77Dallas, TX37.9182881176562
78Omaha, NE37.96681133127108
79Nashville, TN37.989891567131
80Bellevue, WA37.6100387898108
81Tulsa, OK37.491181201771531
82McAllen, TX37.3910149128146108
83Louisville, KY37.28928316311731
84Laredo, TX37.2119724128189172
85Fort Lauderdale, FL37.16110368859125
86Hayward, CA37.09561731012983
87Mesa, AZ37.0510879567945
88Springfield, MA376710811117594
89Macon, GA36.9418019102184172
90Cleveland, OH36.8641261916771
91Pasadena, CA36.48123127308125
92Modesto, CA36.36591705310694
93Yonkers, NY36.2857129168163125
94El Paso, TX36.16109924515249
95Plano, TX35.968667117153149
96Aurora, CO35.89991058310482
97Worcester, MA35.72919116212467
98Irvine, CA35.49121112163771
99Wichita, KS35.329097138120108
100Savannah, GA35.1811631084787
101Fullerton, CA35.03771813071125
102Torrance, CA34.851291233013103
103Huntsville, AL34.819399170124149
104Fort Worth, TX34.78969811789149
105Chattanooga, TN34.52971721781508
106Lexington, KY34.341784812713549
107Memphis, TN34.33801651669558
108Henderson, NV34.231414540174149
109Huntington Beach, CA33.8274195164876
110Salem, OR33.561361067049172
111Corpus Christi, TX33.568713696175172
112Syracuse, NY33.41134871909267
113Norfolk, VA33.249412166112172
114Glendale, CA33.19144164161789
115Salinas, CA33.17150783189172
116Pomona, CA33.051451593014149
117Springfield, MO33.0414666155111149
118North Las Vegas, NV33.04181424099138
119Paradise, NV33.011744047106172
119Santa Ana, CA33.011171491655103
121Chula Vista, CA32.781241381113757
122Chandler, AZ32.5615785565771
123Orange, CA32.461321013076125
124Newark, NJ32.3511913416118930
125Port St. Lucie, FL32.221606977150172
126Oklahoma City, OK32.1511415012612447
127Mobile, AL32.01112125173189108
128Cape Coral, FL31.9115574130175138
129Peoria, AZ31.77168527290138
130New Orleans, LA31.74102199179244
131Bridgeport, CT31.6916372139160125
132Gilbert, AZ31.671616156117125
133Ontario, CA31.4611516716129172
134Elk Grove, CA31.4311613237161172
135Lancaster, CA31.391471823019149
136Virginia Beach, VA31.38153102669494
137Clarksville, TN31.1569187157199172
138Naperville, IL31.1113762197175149
139Birmingham, AL31.110317718412094
140Lakewood, CO31.0810716011266125
141Lubbock, TX31.0618910343129108
142Kansas City, MO31.01105147146142172
143Palmdale, CA30.991431893019138
144Tacoma, WA30.8610614681112172
145Anaheim, CA30.78125190167762
146Killeen, TX30.7619653131170172
147Cary, NC30.72104157115115149
148Oceanside, CA30.71128171118383
149Escondido, CA30.68126194145326
150Columbus, GA30.6716611186144108
151Midland, TX30.641856439175172
152Olathe, KS30.3817951150137108
153Arlington, TX30.231569411797149
154Brownsville, TX30.1419476100175108
155Stockton, CA29.926319846163172
156Moreno Valley, CA29.7713916116170149
157San Bernardino, CA29.661421781615367
158Glendale, AZ29.64164130566889
159Fontana, CA29.3315216216153149
160Thornton, CO29.28111185112153125
161Amarillo, TX29.251955774189172
162Bakersfield, CA29.1513518651163108
163Overland Park, KS28.9717296146148108
164Santa Clarita, CA28.89131197161994
165Hialeah, FL28.8912015088143172
166Mesquite, TX28.851837014417594
167Fresno, CA28.8512717665120172
168Little Rock, AR28.7516717511016147
169Fayetteville, NC28.7316214299149172
170Irving, TX28.6918671117137138
171Augusta, GA28.6717013917416394
172Joliet, IL28.614093197189149
173Oxnard, CA28.421331912146125
174Frisco, TX28.31879011715994
175Aurora, IL28.27158115192184108
176McKinney, TX28.118411411712977
177Rancho Cucamonga, CA27.8813019216116149
178Pembroke Pines, FL27.8514813788170149
179Garland, TX27.719382117153149
180Shreveport, LA27.52188124160175172
181Metairie, LA27.4618286179102103
182Corona, CA27.4315118444187138
183Kansas City, KS27.41192143150136108
184Sioux Falls, SD27.419811713716377
185Miramar, FL27.3414914097187172
186Spring Valley, NV27.1517514147189149
187Newport News, VA27.141651586611277
188Grand Prairie, TX27.1190104117169149
189Paterson, NJ27.06173152165199138
190Akron, OH26.8138174187184149
191Jacksonville, FL26.11154188135110138
192Enterprise, NV26.0917516647175172
193Chesapeake, VA25.9315918066170108
194Hollywood, FL25.88122200976217
195Sunrise Manor, NV25.4317518347189138
196Montgomery, AL24.2819915319618977
197Murfreesboro, TN24.1171179172129149
198Pasadena, TX23.361911282007189
199Jackson, MS20.85200193186189172
200Baton Rouge, LA20.7516919619491149
Infographic of 2022's best biking cities in America is based on bike score, trails, safety, and more
Note: Although we ranked 200 cities, the lowest ranking positions for some metrics above may not be 181 due to a number of ties among the cities. Depending on the number of cities that tied for a particular metric, not all cities may be displayed for presentation purposes.

Highlights and Lowlights

Big-City Speeds

The bigger the city the better it rides on our list. Here’s why: Large metros need to invest in good biking infrastructure to support high population density. That’s reflected in our top biking cities, such as San Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis, and New York: Each claimed one of the best spots in our “Access” category.

Eugene, Oregon, is the exception. Although smaller than the other nine cities in our top 10, Eugene managed to get ahead because cycling is clearly a lifestyle: The city ranked No. 3 in Access, No. 5 in Community, and No. 8 in Safety.

Let’s connect the big-city dots: If you have the endurance, the gear, and the time, you can recreate your own version of the ultra-distance Race Across America (RAAM) by hitting up every city in our top 10. Or race in the actual RAAM event, which historically begins in Oceanside, California, and ends in Annapolis, Maryland.

Tour de San Francisco

For the second year in a row, the The Golden City is also our gold medalist. 

You might wonder why a city defined by its steep hills could be the best city for avid cyclists, but it’s those challenging inclines that help bikers develop strong endurance — and legs. That and San Francisco simply has a lot going for it: The city coasted through just about every category but owes its win particularly to Access and Climate.

San Francisco swept four out of six Access metrics, and among our best 10 cycling cities, only the Golden City managed to rank in the top 25% in Climate. Weather matters when you’re out in bike shorts — that’s how otherwise great biking cities lost the race again to San Francisco in our ranking.

It’s little shock, then, why San Francisco is home to one of the largest cycling communities. 

Pulling the Brakes on the South

While no single region dominated the top of our ranking, the South and Southwest claimed much of the bottom spots. In fact, the last 10 places are all occupied by cities from these two regions.

That’s no surprise: Biking requires a lot of outdoor time, which isn’t as easy in places like our worst city overall, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, No. 157 for extremely hot days and No. 189 for annual rain. Warm and wet don’t mix well with cycling. 

It also makes sense that many of these cities, such as Montgomery, Alabama, and Jackson, Mississippi, have few bike trails and bike commuters. Why invest in the infrastructure if the climate can’t match it? But don’t let that stop you — if you love cycling enough to hit that wet pavement when the air is thick as soup, ride on.

Ask The Experts

The pandemic fueled a bike boom. Two years in, bike buyers are still running into a dead end across many parts of the world — not just in the U.S. — as bike suppliers grapple with supply-chain delays. 

We turned to a panel of cycling experts for tips on finding bikes and riding for the first time. See what they had to say below.

  1. What are the top three benefits of cycling?
  2. What are some alternative places to find bikes amid the current national bike shortage?
  3. What are your three best tips for first-time cyclists?
N. Travis Triplett, PhD, CSCS*D, FNSCA
Professor of Exercise Science, Exercise Science Undergraduate Program Director, Department of Health and Exercise Science
Scott A. Conger, Ph.D., FACSM
Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology
N. Travis Triplett, PhD, CSCS*D, FNSCA
Professor of Exercise Science, Exercise Science Undergraduate Program Director, Department of Health and Exercise Science
Appalachian State University

1. What are the top three benefits of cycling?

  1. Cycling is a great form of exercise because it improves the cardiorespiratory system, which is important because heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S.
  2. If cycling is done on hilly terrains, there is even greater stress to the muscular system than on flatter terrains, which is important for maintaining strength.
  3. Cycling is also an excellent choice for individuals who need to do low-impact exercise due to joint problems, such as arthritis.

 

2. What are some alternative places to find bikes amid the current national bike shortage?

Bicycle shops’ inventory may be slow to recover as production catches up, but individuals may be able to still find a good bike on local buy-sell-trade sites as some individuals may have upgraded their bicycle during the pandemic and now have a bicycle to sell that still has some usefulness. There may be some great deals available.

3. What are your three best tips for first-time cyclists?

My best advice about cycling is to first find a bike that fits your body and the type of surfaces you will most likely be riding on. Bicycles vary greatly with the construction of the frame, the type of tires, and the components (gears, brakes, etc).

While your local bicycle shop is your best resource, there are articles online about how to get a general idea of what frame size you need and how to choose the type of bike that will be best for your riding conditions.

Second, find people to ride with. It is not only safer, but you also can learn about cycling a lot faster, including basic bicycle maintenance. Many bicycle shops have group rides for people of varying abilities.

Third, invest in proper cycling shorts. You will be a lot more comfortable and enjoy your rides much more.

Scott A. Conger, Ph.D., FACSM
Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology
Boise State University

1. What are the top three benefits of cycling?

  1. Cycling is a great way to increase your physical activity, which has numerous physical and mental health benefits.
  2. Cycling is a low-impact exercise. It is a great option for health benefits while reducing impact-related stress on knees, ankles, hips, and lower back.
  3. Cycling is the most efficient form of locomotion, meaning that it requires less energy per kilometer than any other type of human-powered movement. This can expand your “playground” to allow you to explore a much greater area. While it may take five to seven hours to cover 20 miles while hiking, you can cover that same distance on a bicycle in one to two hours.

2. What are some alternative places to find bikes amid the current national bike shortage?

The shortage of new bicycles will probably continue for the next six to 12 months. However, there are still lots of places where bicycles are still available. There are several websites where used bicycles can be found that are sold by local sellers, including Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Nextdoor.

Also, check local sporting goods and outdoor consignment stores. If you already have a bicycle that hasn’t been used in a few years, your local bicycle shop can tune it up for you and have it ready to go in just a couple of days.

3. What are your three best tips for first-time cyclists?

  1. Invest in a good pair of cycling shorts and a new helmet. Cycling shorts with padding will help reduce some of the soreness that will inevitably occur after you spend an extended amount of time on your new bicycle saddle. Don’t worry if the skin-tight lycra look isn’t for you — there are lots of options of shorts with a padded liner that look like “regular” shorts. The helmet doesn’t need to be expensive, but it needs to have a Consumer Products Safety Committee (CPSC) sticker. Purchasing a new helmet will ensure that the protective components have not been damaged due to a previous accident or from an accidental drop.
  2. Learn how to change a bicycle tire. A flat tire 10 miles from home can turn a morning bike ride into a long walk home. Check with your local bike shop or sporting goods store to see if they offer classes on basic bicycle maintenance.
  3. Keep it fun! Incorporate cycling into family activities, visit a new park or trail, or ask a friend to join you on a bike ride. We are less likely to continue an activity if we do not enjoy it. If it starts to become a chore, slow down or shorten the ride. You will still get many health benefits with a 10- to 20-minute bike ride.

Methodology

We ranked the 200 biggest U.S. cities from best (No. 1) to worst (No. 200) for biking based on their overall scores (out of 100 possible points), averaged across all of the weighted metrics listed below.

MetricWeightingMin. ValueMax. ValueBest
Access
Friendliness of State Bike Laws2149Min. Value
Miles of Bike Lanes per Square Mile50.15.4Max. Value
Number of Bike Trails5034Max. Value
Bike-Sharing Program Present (1 = Yes, 0 = No)301Max. Value
Bike-Rental Facilities per Square Mile200.87Max. Value
Bike Shops per Square Mile201.3Max. Value
Safety
Bike Score42783Max. Value
Share of "Moderately Difficult" and "Hard" Biking Trails10%100%Max. Value
Biking-Related Fatalities per 100,000 Residents503.28Min. Value
Vision Zero Program Present (1 = Yes, 0 = No)501Max. Value
Bike Thefts per 100,000 Residents30277.39Min. Value
Share of Roads in Poor Condition34%71%Min. Value
Natural Hazards Index2920Min. Value
Climate
Historical Number of Extremely Cold Days10192Min. Value
Historical Number of Extremely Hot Days12169Min. Value
Historical Average Monthly Inches of Precipitation15.3765.28Min. Value
Historical Average Percentage of Sunshine142%85%Max. Value
Median Air Quality Index11977Min. Value
Community
Share of Workers Who Bike to Work305.4Max. Value
Number of Bike Clubs2025Max. Value
Number of Bike Meetups1048Max. Value
Events
Number of Cycling Races and Events3012Max. Value
Number of Bike Tours2025Max. Value
Naked Bike Ride Present (1 = Yes, 0 = No)101Max. Value

Sources: AllTrails, Bikeshare.com, Bike Index, The League of American Bicyclists, Meetup, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, National Centers for Environmental Information, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, TRIP, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, USA Cycling, Vision Zero Network, Walk Score, World Naked Bike Ride, and Yelp

Pedal Power

The global bike shortage might have slowed the pandemic-fueled bike boom, but there’s no shortage of exciting news in the cycling world:

  • Cycling events canceled during the pandemic are back on the road. New York’s TD Five Boro Bike Tour, the nation’s largest charitable bike ride, for example, will operate at full capacity this year. The prestigious 200-mile Unbound Gravel ride in Emporia, Kansas, also is still on course for June 4.
  • A first-of-its-kind federal bill will help develop long-distance bike trails and expand mountain biking access to public lands.

But you don’t have to be a pro cycler to enjoy a ride out. Even if you’re a more casual or beginner bicyclist, there are many ways to enjoy — and benefits to reap from — pedaling on two wheels.

So, grab your helmet, and enjoy your ride this World Bicycle Day, June 3. 

Main photo credit: Shutterstock

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