Whether you want to reduce the amount you spend on gas or do your part to save the planet, city biking is the solution. You don’t have to sit in traffic jams at rush hour and cycling is a great way to burn all those extra calories you indulged in the night before. Cruiser bicycles and helmets are the only things you really need to shop for to get started.
Better for Rider; Better for City
Many city planners in North America are starting to realize what people in Europe have realized for a long time – cycling is one of the most efficient means of self-powered transportation.
Tip: Make Others Aware Of Your Presence
It may be difficult for drivers to see your little bicycle coming in their rearview mirror, so do your best to stay visible by wearing bright colors, riding brightly colored bicycles and ringing your bicycle bell as much as possible to alert others to your presence. You can even get some flashing bicycle lights which will come in extra-handy at night.
A population base more reliant on cycling is not only healthier, but also helps to reduce traffic congestion. This in turn improves air quality within urban centers, and contributes to a better quality of life.
As a result of this reality, city planners have created separate paths for pedestrians and bicycles, or have included painted bicycle lanes on main roads. Consequently, cycling has become even safer in cities and more accessible for individuals reluctant to travel alongside vehicles.
Most Bike-friendly Cites in America
Are you looking to move somewhere, but haven't settled on a location? Below are America's most bike-friendly cities.
- Minneapolis, MN - More than 120 miles of bike paths and indoor bike parking are in Minneapolis.
- Portland, OR - From free bike lights to designated bike space at traffic lights, Portland has several innovative programs for city biking.
- Boulder, CO - In addition to 120 miles of trails, 95 percent of the arterial streets in Boulder are bike-friendly.
- Seattle, WA - Seattle actually has $240 million dedicated to a 10-year bike plan to add more than 450 miles of bike paths on top of what is already there.
- Eugene, OR - Lit bike paths and ample bike parking are just a couple reasons Eugene makes the list.
A few additional bike-friendly cities include San Francisco, Madison, Chicago, Denver, Austin, Phoenix, Albuquerque, and New York City. From experience I can tell you the New York City bike tours are fantastic.
World's Most Bike-friendly Cities
If you currently live somewhere other than the United States, or are considering an overseas move, below are the top 10 most bike-friendly cities in the world.
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Nantes, France
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Seville, Spain
- Antwerp, Belgium
- Berlin, Germany
- Paris, France
- Eindhoven, Netherlands
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Malmo, Sweden
- Montreal, Canada
- Budapest, Hungary
- Dublin, Ireland
- Tokyo, Japan
- Munich, Germany
- Montreal, Canada
- Nagoya, Japan
- Barcelona, Spain
- Hamburg, Germany
Recommended City Bicycles
City bicycles are generally less expensive than other styles. Unlike technical bikes, these don't typically have as many costly features. Of course, this is good news for consumers in urban areas where theft can be a problem. Since a wide range of bikes can be used in these areas, many manufactures now offer hybrids.
Hybrids have the relaxed design of mountain bikes, but their tires are smoother to ride on concrete. They are also lighter than cruisers, which make them a little faster.
Cruisers for City Biking?
Technically, cruiser bicycles are a specific style of bike that piqued in popularity from 1930 to 1950. Today, the term is loosely used to describe any bike with a relaxed design that isn't associated with a particular branch of cycling, such as road cycling or mountain biking.
Many cyclists agree that the upright position cruisers promote makes them a more comfortable option. They are also generally heavier and less expensive than other options. These bikes may not win races or tackle unforgiving terrain, but they are perfect for a casual ride around the city.
Fixies (Single Speed Bicycles) for City Biking
Fixies have once again become quite popular. The simplistic design of these single speed bicycles makes them perfect for urban riding. This style is often associated with hipsters because they tend to favor them. Fixies can be challenging to pedal in hilly cities though.
Here are some selected bikes for city biking on eBay
City Biking Safety Tips
It is common to feel a little nervous about city biking when you are first getting started. Keep these tips in mind to stay safe.
- Protect your head with a helmet.
- Try to stay visible at all times. This means using bicycle lights at night and being aware of blind spots of cars next to you.
- Always use hand signals and look before you follow through with your actions. Make eye contact with drivers, so you know they see you. But don't assume they will stop.
- Be on the lookout for obstacles at all times.
- Go with the flow of traffic.
- Be aware of traffic around you, and don't weave around cars.
- Don't be distracted by listening to music or talking on the phone.
- Obey traffic lights and laws.
- Make sure your bike is properly adjusted for optimal comfort and performance.
- Check your brakes and tires before you start your ride.
Tip: Wear Safety Equipment
Some cyclists who are used to cycling on soft grass and sandy soil have the misconception that a helmet and protective pads are not needed for city biking. This couldn't be further from the truth. A fall on hard concrete is generally capable of causing far more severe injuries than a fall on grass or sand. You also have to deal with the dangers posed by vehicles, so be smart and wear your safety equipment.
Books about City Biking
For more information, there are some informative books about city biking. Take a look: