Biking is a great way to explore a new city, get some exercise, and soak up the local culture. For solo travelers, it’s even better because you get to dictate your own pace and itinerary. But not all cities are created equal when it comes to bike-friendly infrastructure. Luckily, there are several US cities that stand out for their commitment to cycling. Here are our top picks for bike-friendly cities for solo travelers.
Portland is considered one of America’s most bike-friendly cities, and for good reason. With over 350 miles of bike lanes and paths throughout the city, biking is an easy and safe way to explore the city’s numerous parks, quirky neighborhoods, and iconic landmarks. For solo travelers, it’s easy to rent a bike and set out on your own adventure.
Some of the top attractions to explore by bike include the Portland Japanese Garden, which features tranquil gardens and traditional Japanese architecture, and Powell’s City of Books, one of the world’s largest independent bookstores. The city also has several bike-friendly breweries, such as Deschutes and Hopworks, and hosts the annual Pedalpalooza festival, which celebrates all things cycling.
Boulder is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with stunning mountain views and over 160 miles of dedicated bikeways. Solo travelers can bike around the city’s charming downtown area, explore its numerous parks and hiking trails, and even venture up into the foothills for some more advanced mountain biking. The city also offers bike-share programs for those without their own bike, such as B-cycle and Zagster.
Recommended biking destinations in Boulder include the Pearl Street Mall, a pedestrian mall with many shops and restaurants, and the Boulder Creek Path, a scenic route that follows the creek through the heart of the city. Boulder is also home to the annual Bike to Work Day, which encourages commuters to bike to work instead of driving.
Austin is another bike-friendly city that’s perfect for solo travelers. With over 300 sunny days per year and flat terrain, the city is easy to navigate by bike. You can explore the city’s vibrant music and food scenes, and even take a scenic ride around Lady Bird Lake. Austin also has several bike rental options, such as BikeShare and Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop.
Some must-see destinations for solo travelers in Austin include the Texas State Capitol, the Congress Avenue Bridge (which is home to the world’s largest urban bat population), and the Barton Creek Greenbelt, a popular trail for hiking and biking. The city also hosts the annual Texas Mamma Jamma Ride, a charity bike ride to support breast cancer research.
Madison is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the US, with over 75 miles of designated bike paths and routes. For solo travelers, this means you can easily bike to the city’s famous farmer’s market, explore the University of Wisconsin campus, and enjoy a ride around Lake Monona. There are also several bike rental options, such as Budget Bicycle Center and Madison BCycle.
Some of the top attractions to see by bike include the Wisconsin State Capitol Building, which offers stunning views of the city from the observation deck, and the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, which features 16 acres of blooming gardens and exotic plants. Madison also hosts several annual bike events, such as the Ride the Drive event and the Fitchburg Festival of Speed.
Minneapolis may seem like an unlikely destination for biking, considering its cold winters. But the city is actually a year-round bike-friendly destination, with over 120 miles of bike lanes and trails. In the summer, solo travelers can explore the city’s beautiful lakes and parks, and in the winter, take a leisurely ride through the city’s famous Skyway system.
Top biking destinations in Minneapolis include the Chain of Lakes, a series of lakes connected by bike paths and walking trails, and the Stone Arch Bridge, a historic bridge that offers beautiful views of the city. The city also has several bike rental options, such as Nice Ride and Freewheel Bike.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco may be known for its steep hills, but it’s also a bike-friendly city with over 200 miles of bike lanes and routes. For solo travelers, biking is a great way to explore some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Several bike rental options are available throughout the city, including Blazing Saddles and Bay City Bike Rentals.
Other must-see destinations for solo travelers include the Presidio, a former military base that’s now a popular park with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Embarcadero, a waterfront area that offers scenic views of the bay. San Francisco also hosts several annual bike events, such as the Tour de Fat and the Bike and Roll to School Week.
Seattle is another bike-friendly city that’s perfect for solo travelers. With over 135 miles of bike lanes and trails, it’s easy to explore the city’s top attractions, such as the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. The city also has several bike-share programs, such as Pronto Cycle Share and LimeBike.
Some of the top biking destinations to visit in Seattle include the Burke-Gilman Trail, a scenic route that runs along Lake Washington and the Ship Canal, and the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum, which showcases the stunning glasswork of renowned artist Dale Chihuly. Seattle also hosts several annual bike events, such as the Seattle Bike Swap and the Obliteride charity ride.
Chicago is a bike-friendly city with over 200 miles of bike lanes and greenways. Solo travelers can take a scenic ride along the Lakefront Trail, explore the city’s famous Millennium Park, and enjoy a ride through historic neighborhoods like Wicker Park and Logan Square. There are several bike rental options, such as Divvy and Bobby’s Bike Hike.
Other top attractions to check out by bike include Navy Pier, a popular tourist destination with a Ferris wheel and other rides, and the Chicago Riverwalk, a scenic path that runs along the Chicago River. Chicago also hosts several annual bike events, such as the Boulevard Lakefront Tour and the Bike the Drive event.
Washington, D.C. may be known for its traffic and crowds, but the city is also surprisingly bike-friendly, with over 80 miles of bike lanes and cycle tracks. For solo travelers, it’s a great way to explore some of the city’s most famous landmarks, such as the Lincoln Memorial and the White House. The city also has several bike-share programs, such as Capital Bikeshare and Jump.
Some of the top biking destinations to check out in D.C. include the National Mall, which features several museums and monuments, and the C&O Canal Towpath, a scenic trail that runs along the Potomac River. The city also hosts several annual bike events, such as the DC Bike Ride and the Tour de Fat.
New York City, New York
New York City may seem like a daunting place to bike, but it’s actually become increasingly bike-friendly over the years, with over 1,200 miles of bike lanes and paths. Solo travelers can take a ride through Central Park, over the Brooklyn Bridge, or explore the city’s numerous neighborhoods on two wheels. Several bike rental options are available throughout the city, such as Citi Bike and Bike Rent NYC.
Other must-see destinations for solo travelers include the High Line, a popular elevated park that offers stunning views of the city, and the Hudson River Greenway, a scenic path that runs along the Hudson River. New York City also hosts several annual bike events, such as the Five Boro Bike Tour and the NYC Century Bike Tour.