Minneapolis (#2), Boulder, CO (#3), Washington, DC (#4) and Chicago (#5) complete top five; Memphis, TN named “Most Improved” after adding bike lanes and facilities
NEW YORK, NY, May 21, 2012 – Portland, Oregon is once again the Best Bike City in America.
The editors of Rodale Inc.’s Bicycling magazine have ranked Portland the number one city in the country for cycling as part of their biennial rankings, which appear in the July issue of Bicycling, on newsstands May 29. In this special report, Bicycling ranks the 50 “Best Bike Cities” in the country, the “Most Improved City” – Memphis, TN – along with one other major city (Dallas, TX) that trails behind the bike-friendly movement.
Minneapolis, which topped Portland in Bicycling’s 2010 rankings, came in second place this time, followed by Boulder, CO at third; Washington, D.C.– 13th overall in the previous rankings – came in at a fast-rising number four, while Chicago snagged the fifth spot. Both D.C. and Chicago experienced a significant boost from new bike-share programs, which have proved transformative in creating a stronger cycling culture and increasing the number of cyclists.
Completing the magazine’s top 10 best bike cities in the country are Madison, WI (#6), New York City (#7), San Francisco (#8), Eugene, OR (#9) and Seattle (#10).
The complete rankings are available at BICYCLING.com.
In addition, Bicycling’s iPad issue – also available on May 29 – will offer a range of expanded content, including more cities, more details on each city, bonus photography for the top 10 cities, and other iPad extras. On Twitter, readers can keep the conversation going by posting their opinions, photos and feedback using the #Bikecities hash tag and the @Bicyclingmag handle.
“Bicycling’s Best Bike Cities demonstrates that cycling is taking hold like never before, as innovative cities are quickly reinventing their streets to accommodate cycling, recognizing that a strong cycling culture and more people on bikes also means better quality of life, healthier citizens, and a more friendly, livable city,” said Peter Flax, Editor-in-Chief of Bicycling. “Cities like Boston, Memphis and Miami – all of which have been ranked by Bicycling as ‘worst cycling cities’ in years past – continue to impress us with their significant strides, and are among the cities making rapid bike-friendly changes.”
As part of their ranking process, Bicycling editors evaluated cities with populations of 95,000 or more, using data provided by the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking and Walking. In addition, hundreds of interviews were conducted with cycling experts in cities across the country, including government officials, bike-pedestrian coordinators, advocates, and local enthusiasts, such as bike shop owners and cycling club members. The result is Bicycling’s most comprehensive, in-depth rankings to-date, with insightful data and anecdotes on each city.
According to Bicycling, cities cracking the top 50 must possess both a “robust cycling infrastructure” (including factors such as the number and quality of bike lanes, bike routes and racks, along with the number of city bike projects completed and planned) as well as a “vibrant bike culture,” which is determined by factors that include the number of bike commuters, popular clubs, unique cycling events and quality bike shops. Portland cyclists are “the vanguard of American cycling,” says Bicycling, and among cities with more than 500,000 residents, the city by far boasts the most cyclists per capita – not to mention coffee shops that, in some instances, provide parking for just as many bikes as they have seats. The sheer breadth and depth of cycling culture and bike infrastructure in Portland is described in an accompanying essay by Bill Donahue, a nationally known writer and cyclist who calls the city home.
In addition to naming the country’s top 50 cities, Bicycling also cited Memphis, TN as the nation’s most improved cycling town. Cited as one of the country’s worst cycling cities in both 2008 and 2010, Bicycling notes that Memphis has since hired its first-ever bike-pedestrian coordinator and added 35 miles of new bike lanes, putting the city on track to exceed Mayor A.C. Wharton’s commitment of building 55 miles of bike facilities by more than 10 miles by the end of this summer.
Conversely, Dallas was cited as one of America’s worst cycling cities for the second time since 2008 for creating almost no new cycling infrastructure even after its adoption of a bicycle master plan. Cycling advocates in Dallas, who were vocal in their frustration with the city’s progression, expressed hope that the “worst” designation will serve as a catalyst for a faster, more concentrated bike-friendly movement.
Other noteworthy cities on the list – all of which shot up in Bicycling’s rankings – include Boston, which moved up 10 spots to #16 overall, quickly becoming a bike-friendly beacon after appearing on the worst cities for cycling list three times; Philadelphia, moving up 10 spots to #17, boasting the highest percentage of commuters per capita among the 10 largest U.S. cities; Salt Lake City jumped 17 spots to #26 – the single largest move in the rankings – led by Mayor Ralph Becker’s tenfold funding increase for bikeways; Miami jumped 10 spots to #34, continuing its impressive 180° since appearing on the worst cities list in 2008; and San Jose, CA (#29), Los Angeles (#32), and New Orleans (#43) all made significant leaps, making the list for the first time or reclaiming a spot after missing out in 2010.
Bicycling magazine is the world’s largest cycling magazine and #1 source of information for cyclists. With an audience of two million readers, passionate cyclists of all levels look to Bicycling to get more out of the sport they love, including authoritative reviews of the latest bikes and gear, smart, insightful tips on where to ride, what to eat and how to train, and award-winning features about cycling’s most engaging personalities and trends. Published 11 times a year, Bicycling offers several special issues, including a springtime Buyer’s Guide, a detailed Tour de France preview and biennial rankings of the country’s top 50 “Bike Friendly Cities.” At Bicycling.com, readers can access the latest cycling news, thousands of reviews, and interactive tools to inform and inspire. Bicycling is available on the iPad, and readers can follow the brand on Twitter (@Bicyclingmag) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/bicyclingmag).