You Don’t Have to Live in One of the Top 20 Bike-Friendly Cities to Get Moving

It’s May, and spring is in full swing. What better time to go on a leisurely walk? May is also National Bike Month, so if walking isn’t your style, clean the dust off that old bike instead and get moving. Sure, there are some dangers to walking and bicycling, but let’s focus on the good.

The Good News

Because there is good news! According to the Sustainable Cities Collective, the Alliance for Biking and Walking reported how, across the United States, 1.0 percent of all trips occur by bicycle and 10.4 percent of all trips are on foot.

Walking and biking don’t just have to be leisurely activities. Leave the rat race mentality at the door like the 2.8 percent of daily travelers who walk to work everyday and the 0.6 percent of commuters who bike it to work. Larger cities tend to also yield higher percentages of walkers and bicyclists. The presence of larger walking and bicycling advocacy groups — and their work in legislation, infrastructure development and community programs — in larger cities probably plays a role.

Do You Live in One of the Most Bike-Friendly Cities?

The Sustainable Cities Collective lists the 20 top bike-friendly cities, and many (although not all) are big cities. Did your city make the cut?

1. San Francisco (CA)
2. Austin (TX)
3. Long Beach (CA)
4. Philadelphia  (PA)
5. Mesa (AZ)
6. Albuquerque (NM)
7. Seattle (WA)
8. Minneapolis (MN)
9. Boston (MA)
10. Washington D.C.
11. Sacramento (CA)
12. Fresno (CA)
13. Tucson (AZ)
14. Denver (CO)
15. Portland (OR)
16. San Jose (CA)
17. Honolulu (HI)
18. New York (NY)
19. Chicago (IL)
20. San Diego (CA)

Even if your city didn’t make the cut, that’s no excuse not to head outside. If you don’t want to make the investment or go through the hassle of buying new bike gear, then you can always take a stroll; it’s free, after all.

Still Not Convinced?

There are many benefits to spending some time in the sunshine. Your health will thank you for it. Simply biking or walking to work can decrease your risk of chronic diseases, like diabetes and high blood pressure. Spare the environment with one less carbon footprint and spare yourself the trouble of vehicle congestion by walking it out or riding a bike; as immigrants can teach us, in most parts of the world, walking, biking and taking public transportation are actually the norm.

It’s also beneficial to businesses and the greater good of the economy. Even though you think that you are spending less by shopping sans car, studies show that you’ll probably end up making more trips and spending more money.

New study data also points to how something as simple as walking can help get those creative juices flowing. If you’re sitting in a creative rut, then literally stop sitting. You’ll be more inspired, creative and chatty if you take a stroll.

Creative Ways to Get Off Your Behind

Walking and bicycling should be enjoyable activities. Here are a few ideas to start you on the right foot to a better day and a better life:

  • Make it a race. The childlike wonder of racing never gets old. If you don’t want to include anyone else, then make it a point to race yourself.
  • Bring some toys. If you like the latest gadgets, then sport some on your next adventure. You’ll be inspired to break them in.
  • Visit landmarks in your city. Historical, natural or cultural, you name it.
  • Bring a furry friend. Dogs certainly won’t complain. And kitties have cat leashes and harnesses, too.
  • Learn something. While you can always blast your favorite tunes, you can also make it a point to tune into a podcast or lecture about your interests or passions. A guided meditation can teach you something about yourself.

What are your most creative tips and tricks to making walking and bicycling enjoyable? Share in the comments!

Photo Credit: Hans

40 comments

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson2 years ago

Must be nice to be caught up with everything...

Barbara S.
Barbara S.2 years ago

Los Angeles is not a bike-friendly city, and it probably will never be one. Many areas in L.A. have narrow streets, and even with bike lanes painted, there is little room for large SUVs and bikes to get along well. I live in an area of L.A. where the streets are substandard in width, the bicyclists not only have cell phones mounted on their handlebars, they don't stop at STOP signs or YIELD to others. They ride like those YIELD signs mean that everyone else must yield for the bikers. There may be better places in the City of Los Angeles for bikers to ride, but those places are not areas I'm well acquainted with. I can only speak from my own interaction with them. I drive a very small car, and now I not only have to drive defensively, I have to worry about if the bikers are reading their tweets while they cruise through a light or a STOP sign.

Rosa Caldwell
Rosa Caldwell2 years ago

It just makes it alot easier when you can feel safe using this transportation. Too bad we cannot all be so lucky.

Dimitris Dallis
Past Member 2 years ago

Personally I use it almost daily, but what else can I say? We live in different worlds. And among Europeans, Greeks use it far less...

Marianne R.
Marianne R2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Peter d.
Peter d2 years ago

I'm from the Netherlands, we all bike everyday ;-)

Ron B.
Ron B2 years ago

Wow, I thought that Portland would be higher up on the list.

Barbara L.
Past Member 2 years ago

I wish our town had more bicycle lanes in which we would really feel safe. It is hardly safe dodging cars who decide to use bicycle lanes to make turns or pass other cars....

Birgit W.
Birgit W2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.