For those who enjoy exploring a new destination by bike, there are numerous cities around the United States that have vibrant bike cultures. Whether you’re looking for pleasant riverfront pathways or challenging racecourses these cities have what you’re looking for. To help you plan a bike-friendly trip, here are the best cities for cycling in the U.S.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Photo: David B. Gleason / Flickr

Featuring over 55 miles of bike lane, 50 miles of bike paths, 100 miles of designated on-street bike routes and more than 2,000 bike racks, Milwaukee is a top biking city in the United States. All around downtown you’ll see locals riding their bikes through the different neighborhoods to get where they need to go, or enjoying the scenic Milwaukee Riverwalk or the 96-mile Oak Leaf Trail that encircles Milwaukee County by cycle. You can rent a bike from Whirlwind Bike Trips and Rentals (2410 N. Murray Avenue), Milwaukee Bike & Skate Rental (McKinely Marina) or Ben’s Cycle & Fitness (1018 W. Lincoln Avenue), to name a few. If you’re staying at the Hotel Metro they offer their guests free use of their bicycles. For a fun way to explore Milwaukee’s beer culture by bike, Brew City Bike Tours offers a range of beer tours by bicycle with different focuses, for example, Pub Spin, History 101 and Bite and Bike. Additionally, Pedal Tavern is an unusual 16-person bicycle pub and brewery crawl where you and your fellow beer enthusiasts will work together to pedal an enormous bike-meets-trolly around downtown Milwaukee in search of local brews. Milwaukee also hosts an annual Bicycle Film Festival, which celebrates cycling through visual media.

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas

Photo: kris krüg / Flickr

One the country’s most fit and bike-friendly cities, Austin is home to scenic routes, open-road courses, five different greenbelts, 166 miles of bike lanes and more than 4,500 bike racks. If you don’t have your own bike there are many places to rent in Austin. Probably the most popular rental store is Lance Armstrong’s Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop (400 Nueces Street). Here you can rent bikes; have them serviced; purchase parts, gear and apparel; make use of their lockers and showers; and take part in one of their regularly scheduled group rides. For those wanting a scenic biking experience, head to Zilker Metropolitan Park, the city’s largest park at 351 acres and the place from which you can access the 7.9-mile scenic Barton Creek Greenbelt and the Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts

Photo: Joe Mazzola / Flickr

Boston wasn’t always a bike-friendly destination; however, the current Mayor Menino is passionate about bringing bike culture to the city. In fact, his Boston Bikes initiative has brought cycling programs, bike sharing, cycling events, improvements to infrastructure for bikers and recognition of business owners who support local biking in Boston. You’ll find numerous bike rental shops throughout the city, some of which include Mel’s Hyde Park Bike (74 Fairmount Avenue), MyBike (516 E 2nd Street) and Superb Bicycle (842 Beacon Street). Additionally, the New Balance Hubway bike share program allows you to borrow bikes and leave them around the city for a small fee. Spend time biking through the 265 acres of Arnold Arboretum, as well as enjoying the 14-mile Paul Dudley White Charles River Bike Path Loop that follows the Charles River and the 4.7-mile Southwest Corridor Park Trail that follows the commuter rail lines. Moreover, Boston hosts an array of cycling-focused events, like Bike Week, Bike Friday and Hub on Wheels.

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado

Photo: TRAILSOURCE.COM / Flickr

With 373-miles of unofficial bike routes and about 95% of the streets open to cyclists, Boulder is a great city to enjoy some cycling. The cycling culture is strong , as locals use bikes to commute and for recreation while hardcore athletes head to Boulder to test their endurance against the city’s high altitude. You can rent a bike from University Bicycles (839 Pearl Street), Sports Garage (2705 Spruce Street) or Full Cycle (1795 Pearl Street). The city is also home to a bike share program called Boulder B-cycle where you can borrow bikes from the city, picking them up nearby and dropping them off near your destination, for a small fee. Make sure to check out the 45-acre Valmont Bicycle Park featuring cycling trails, racecourses and obstacles. Some top mountain biking trails include the 2.5-mile Betasso Preserve Trail with its open meadows and aerial Boulder views;  the 7-mile Heil Valley Ranch Trail with lots of woodland and an overlook; and the 5-mile Meyers Homestead Trail, which is fairly easy and enjoyable. For a great bike trail in town, try the 7-mile Boulder Creek Path which runs along Boulder Creek.

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Photo: Kenny Louie / Flickr

Portland has paved the way for cycling in the country, setting an example for other cities looking to improve their biking programming and infrastructure. The city hosts an array of classes, workshops, groups rides, women’s bike clinics, senior citizen cycling programs, bike routes and bike parking spots. You can rent a bike from Clever Cycles (900 SE Hawthorne Boulevard), Veloce Bicycles (3202 SE Hawthorne Boulevard) and Fat Tire Farm (2714 NW Thurman Street), to name a few. There will also be a bike share program launching in 2014. Some great cycling spots in Portland include Forest Park, which is full of single-track mountain bike trails and is the country’s largest urban preserve; the pleasant 51-mile Big Eastside Loop which allows you to explore the trail system on the Portland metro area’s easy side; and the 11-mile scenic Waterfront Loop.

Jessica Festa
Jessica Festa
Jessica Festa is a freelance travel writer. Her work has been included in outlets like Gadling, Huffington Post, AOL Travel, Fodor's, Matador Network, Vagabondish and The Culture-Ist.

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