• Apr 8th 2010 at 11:56AM
  • 20
We often focus our short attention spans on trying to clean up the internal combustion engines that currently power our automobiles. We also tend to look into the future to see what new technologies might be coming to send fossil fuels back to age of the dinosaurs. That said, there are a number of options right now that can dramatically reduce your overall energy use.

Chief amongst these is the humble bicycle. It's no secret that bicycles are some of the most efficient ways to get around town, and they require zero fuel – except, of course, for the calories burned while riding them – to operate. So, if you're ready to take the plunge into a bike-centric lifestyle, what's your first step?

Well, obviously you need a bicycle. But then, you'll need a place to ride it. Bicycling Magazine has taken the legwork out of determining the best places in America to own and ride a bike. In fact, the pedal-powered magazine has created a list of the Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities in the United States, and it kicks off with a seemingly unlikely candidate. Click here to see for yourself.

[Source: Bicycling | Image: Herval – C.C. 2.0]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just moved to #2.. they also have some the best public transport on the west coast.. good place to get rid of your car :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Funny to see a picture of Amsterdam, NL in an article on US bike-friendly cities, instead of e.g. Lance Armstrong's hometown of Austin, TX.

      I guess that e-bikes make cycling to work in hot, humid or hilly places (such as ATX) easier while it still requires some effort.

      As a Dutch visitor I was amazed to see so many students drive a pickup truck for less than 2 miles to college in College Station, TX and hear them complain about high gas prices at the same time :-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Colorado represent!!! Seriously though, there are a lot of bikers here in Denver, and i know that Boulder has an even greater percentage of bikers. I was a little surprised to see Colorado Springs on there and not Fort Collins... You'd think that the college town would bike. Guess not...
      • 5 Years Ago
      There are two kinds of people:

      -People who find excuses not to ride bicycles; and
      -People who find excuses to ride bicycles.

      I am so happy to be one of the latter.
      • 5 Years Ago
      There was just one I'd disagree with. While San Francisco has excellent bike friendly public transit and a cool climate year round, the streets are very congested and not at all bike friendly. Except for Golden Gate Park and the beach areas, there is a shortage of good bike paths. Nearby San Jose (which didn't make the list) has more bike paths and a lot more bike lanes, and is almost as bike friendly as Boise Idaho (I've lived and biked in both places).

      I'm surprised Davis California isn't mentioned, it has quite a reputation for cyclists thanks to the university campus and an extensive network of bike lanes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My town made the list - woohoo!
      • 5 Years Ago
      well I live in Madison and it is certainly bike friendly most of the time( at least until winter). However, the bike lanes and paths are almost unrideable because of the lack of maintenance... You've gotta have a back of steel to commute around here.....
      • 5 Years Ago
      I was a bike messenger for a Summer in NYC. I don't remember it being very bike friendly back then.
      • 5 Years Ago
      How can you ride a bicycle in the USA? It is obvious that the continent is not capable of supporting civilized life.
      The temperature, as I understand it, varies between -30C, with twelve foot of snow, and 50C, at 100 percent humidity, with the annual fluctuation only punctuated by the floods and torrential rain in spring and autumn.
      It is quite apparent that hominids, just like horses, will die out in the absence of SUVs.
      Not that I am trying to say that horses were fond of driving SUVs.

      The folk in the Mayflower may have thought that they were founding the Kingdom of Righteousness.
      Gotta tell you, we threw the heretics out to the outer darkness, aka Virginia.
        • 8 Months Ago

        yeah, I think if Miami can take the heat and ride a bike in the humidity, anywhere is an acceptable riding location.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Please spare us.

        The climate varies a lot here. The west coast is very temperate as it rarely dips below freezing. Summers climb into the 100's for a few weeks but are otherwise 70f-90f degrees.

        Some parts of California are practically room temperature all year round.

        IMO the east coast kinda sucks for biking unless you're really hardcore about it.
        Middle America generally has the extreme weather.

        I respect Europe but that area is far from perfect also.
        • 8 Months Ago
        • 8 Months Ago
        To be honest, I was not entirely joking. I live in Bristol, England, and mentioned to a friend who lives in WV that I either walk in or take a bus - don't even think about driving into the centre here at rush hour, let alone parking - and was questioned how I could walk in throughout the year.
        Well, we had a snow fall here, for the first time in around 15 years, and the snow must have been around 3 inches deep.
        In the summer the temperature is rarely above 80F, and certainly not in the morning or evening when you are going to work.
        I of course realize that some areas in the US are temperate, but smiled a little at places like Minneapolis being described as bike friendly.
        You have to be pretty tough to bike in at some times of the year there, or have a shower at work to bike in in the middle of summer in WV.
        OTOH although I am not overboard on solar power, since almost all of the continental US is a long way south of most places in Europe, for a pretty modest sum you could run an electric Smart or similar into work and charge it under a solar car port for a couple of dollars a day.
        Unless you bring your own sun that is a lot tougher in most places in Europe in winter! ;-)
        • 8 Months Ago
        LOL @ David Martin - you nailed the complaint that most would-be bike riders have: "The weather's no good!"

        That's a farce. Which is what made your comment so funny.
        • 8 Months Ago
        I guess I forgot to add the smiley, but your leg just came off in my hand! :-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I live in #1. During the right time of year, it is bike friendly. We have multiple bike trails that are over 60 miles long. It's bike friendly for recreational purposes, not so much for getting where you need to go. Want to use these trails? Load your bike in your car and take it there. Want to get to work? Drive your car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My idea of a hybrid: I'm biking half-way to work tomorrow, then catching the train the rest of the way. Minneapolis rocks!
        • 8 Months Ago
        bicycling in the snow? ha! all the cities in the top 5 are super expensive to live in - we cant all be doctors & lawyers!
        • 8 Months Ago
        Yeah, this should be absolutely standard! At least the possibility to do so!
        • 8 Months Ago
        I do the same in Pittsburgh less the bike (I walk) and the train (its a Trolley)!
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