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Old 09-11-07, 03:26 PM   #1
travelinhobo
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Best biking city in the states

Was wondering what the most bike-friendly cities are in the U.S.? I don't mean a city with bike lanes (what a farce), but rather the fact that the vast majority of drivers respect cyclists, know how to drive near/around them, the bus drivers don't hate you just because you have a bike, the local gov't and citizens see us as equal, not inferior, etc. I live in Boise and this place is bass ackwards! I think I'm going to have to leave, but since I have no where to go, need some help in deciding.
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Old 09-11-07, 04:44 PM   #2
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Don't know if you saw the post from this morning that had this report: http://www.sfbike.org/download/Thund...arking2007.pdf
But the charts starting near page 28 or so break down a lot of statistics of biking; fatalities, etc. That's pretty far from knowing how kind drivers are, but it's good information on if they're looking out for you or not.
Just as my personal recommendation Portland is a great choice. There are drivers in every city that are rude to riders, but it seems more often than not that drivers in Portland will yield to bikers.
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Old 09-11-07, 05:57 PM   #3
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Almost any place in Vermont.
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Old 09-11-07, 06:03 PM   #4
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Portland, OR?
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Old 09-11-07, 07:47 PM   #5
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Maybe Orlando is good?

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/commu...,1506589.story

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Originally Posted by Amelia Shearouse
"After raising four daughters, my husband retired, and I was 60 years old.

The YMCA gave me an opportunity to do something for myself. I knew how to swim but never had had the time to attend an exercise class. So I rode my bicycle to the YMCA on Mills Avenue and joined. There I learned to dive and swim underwater to the end of the pool. I joined an aerobics class and worked out on Nautilus machines. I went three times a week, and loved every minute of it.

I rode my bicycle until I was 90. Everyone there called me the bicycle lady.



I met a woman who now stays with me. She joined the Y, and we are now in a water-fitness class, and I swim some.

I am 94 now and have been going to the YMCA for 34 years. I have met many new friends while there.

This was a great turning point in my life."
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Old 09-11-07, 08:07 PM   #6
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I gotta say my hometown of Chicago. Besides having bike lanes like you said. In most areas people are used to cyclists. Our mayor is a cyclist and does all kinds of stuff to make things better for Chicago cyclists. All of our buses have bike racks on their fronts and they are allowed on all trains except during rush hour.

In my neighborhood people aren't as friendly as they are in other areas because they are used to homeless people and kids moving around their neighborhood, not agressive commuters who ride in the street(me). But we have the Lakefront Path that spans 18 miles along the city's shoreline. I use it on occasion when I wake up early as it is only a mile east of my home and a few blocks east of my school.

Many here will agree with me Chicago is the cycling capital of America. I agree even though I have biked nowhere else.

I've heard Portland is nice too.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
Was wondering what the most bike-friendly cities are in the U.S.? I don't mean a city with bike lanes (what a farce), but rather the fact that the vast majority of drivers respect cyclists, know how to drive near/around them, the bus drivers don't hate you just because you have a bike, the local gov't and citizens see us as equal, not inferior, etc. I live in Boise and this place is bass ackwards! I think I'm going to have to leave, but since I have no where to go, need some help in deciding.
Any canal town village or city along the ohio erie canal. Ive been down south as far as south massilion(sp) and as far north as south cleveland. Any where along that area is awesome to ride in on or off the towpath.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:41 AM   #8
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I don't believe the treatment of cyclists is significantly different from one place to another. If you act like a vehicle driver, the vast majority of drivers, no matter where you go, will you treat you like a vehicle driver. There are always ahole exceptions, but I don't believe the percentage of aholes varies significantly from place to place.

Having said that, you can't beat the weather in San Diego, and law enforcement seems to recognize and support our equal rights to be on the road at least as well as any other place.

By the way, I'm not surprised that there are issues in a state that treats bicyclists so differently from drivers of vehicles that it allows them to run stop signs.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:57 AM   #9
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nice one, head. you 'run' stop signs, albeit illegally in CA, when the coast is clear, dontchya?

Portland, hobo.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:58 AM   #10
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Can't complain too much about anywhere in Minnesota. Dakota County (south suburbs and beyond) specifically has generally good to excellent road conditions, plenty of room for those that prefer shoulder riding, lots of rural riding and you can get just about anywhere on bike routes (basically asphalt MUPs adjacent to the roads) if that's your preferred cycling style. I enjoy riding in the downtowns as well both on-street, bike lanes and MUPs with the Burleys and kids in tow. I've found that no matter where I'm riding (city, suburb, rural) I'm generally treated responsibly and respectfully by motorists, etc.
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Old 09-12-07, 10:04 AM   #11
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Most people posting here probably mean Portland, OR, but I can state that Portland, ME is good too. In fact, we don't even have a lot of bike lanes to confuse the criteria! But most motorists (not all of course) are genuinely polite and concerned about you, and the whole state, IMO, has a more relaxed pace of life than many places. Many motorists actually do stop for people in crosswalks, and even sometimes to let another car proceed through in front of them, something unheard of in Boston or NYC. But, this is the only place I've only ever bike-commuted, so it's hard for me to compare except based on what I hear from others on this forum.
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Old 09-12-07, 11:45 AM   #12
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According to an article I read in two newspapers about 3 months ago, the top three bicycling cites were: Portand, OR; San Fran, CA; Minneapolis, MN.

I don't know how they came up with those, though, so it could mean nothing to some people and everything to others.
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Old 09-12-07, 11:51 AM   #13
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to john about portland, ME. it doesn't hurt that the town (west end, downtown, old port, east end at least) has a stop sign or light nearly every other block. i exaggerate, but not by much. the cars never really have a chance to get any speed in those areas
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Old 09-12-07, 03:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicagoan View Post
I gotta say my hometown of Chicago. Besides having bike lanes like you said. In most areas people are used to cyclists. Our mayor is a cyclist and does all kinds of stuff to make things better for Chicago cyclists. All of our buses have bike racks on their fronts and they are allowed on all trains except during rush hour.

In my neighborhood people aren't as friendly as they are in other areas because they are used to homeless people and kids moving around their neighborhood, not agressive commuters who ride in the street(me). But we have the Lakefront Path that spans 18 miles along the city's shoreline. I use it on occasion when I wake up early as it is only a mile east of my home and a few blocks east of my school.

Many here will agree with me Chicago is the cycling capital of America. I agree even though I have biked nowhere else.

I've heard Portland is nice too.
Agreed!!!!!
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Old 09-12-07, 08:35 PM   #15
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I have to agree with HH about motorists generally being the same everywhere you go. Sure, in a small city with less traffic and lots of other slow moving vehicles using the road (like farm equipment) you may get fewer honks, but I hardly consider honking a good indication of how well motorists will treat cyclists. Motorists honk at everybody for no good reason.

If I were looking to move, I'd move somewhere that had weather and terrain that suited my cycling tastes the best. I love that we have four distinct seasons here plus plenty of hilly roads to keep things interesting. A few cops could use a little more education on the vehicle code but other than that, I can't really complain.
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Old 09-13-07, 10:02 AM   #16
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It certainly is NOT Miami. Road rage capital of the US two years in a row (We're no. 1!). Its very dangerous and stgressful riding here.
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Old 09-13-07, 10:08 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
I don't believe the treatment of cyclists is significantly different from one place to another. If you act like a vehicle driver, the vast majority of drivers, no matter where you go, will you treat you like a vehicle driver. There are always ahole exceptions, but I don't believe the percentage of aholes varies significantly from place to place.
Is that based on theory or experience? Head on into the south - in the country, away from college towns - and see if your experiences vary. Writing from an ivory tower on the west coast, lots of things seem real simple that aren't.
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Old 09-13-07, 10:09 AM   #18
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I'd have to disagree with HH and joejack with their rosy-tinted assertions that drivers are mostly the same wherever you go. must not get out much.

drivers are certainely different from northern tier european countries from America, and differences exist in driver caution and respect between large city and small, rural and suburbs, Miami and Portland(s), Marquette and Philly.
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Old 09-13-07, 10:19 AM   #19
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I'd have to disagree with HH and joejack with their rosy-tinted assertions that drivers are mostly the same wherever you go. must not get out much.

drivers are certainely different from northern tier european countries from America, and differences exist in driver caution and respect between large city and small, rural and suburbs, Miami and Portland(s), Marquette and Philly.
What's your assessment of drivers in Philly, Bek?

I've only cycled as far south as North Carolina but I found drivers there just as respectful (for the majority) as I find around Delaware/PA/NJ. I also found that NC has the minority driver who just feels like being a prick.
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Old 09-13-07, 10:50 AM   #20
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yep, the majority of drivers are respectful, and there are disrespectful drivers everwhere in America too. Maybe that's what HH and Joe mean. to the OP, why move?
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Old 09-13-07, 11:04 AM   #21
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yep, the majority of drivers are respectful, and there are disrespectful drivers everwhere in America too. Maybe that's what HH and Joe mean. to the OP, why move?
OPs point seems to be that cycling is better in areas that provide accomodations in terms of facilities, and in areas in which drivers are at least prepared for you to be there and know how to act accordingly (whether they choose to do so is clearly up to individual choice). I'm not seeing any reason why that would be homogeneous across the country.
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Old 09-13-07, 11:38 AM   #22
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People may think I'm crazy, but I would actually say Houston is pretty good, for the most part. The infrastructure isn't great (limited bike lanes, wide streets, etc.) but I've lived here for 5 years, but on thousands of miles a year in urban traffic, and I can count the number of real encounters on one hand. I take the lane, people change lanes and ride around me. Also there are a number of nice MUPs along the bayous that, while the don't connect, can get you a good number of places. The complete and utter lack of hills helps as it really limits any areas where you ride at 8-13mph holding up traffic.

I think the Lance Armstrong Texan thing is a factor (you can even get a LA likeness on your licesnse plate for your car ) helps, as does the recognition that comes with having the biggest MS150 in the country every spring start from here. Our mayor rides and started an inner city group ride in the spring, etc. Roads, especially in downtown, all got the Superbowl treatment a few years back. I enjoy it, and I can ride year round.

I actually moved here from Minneapolis, where 2 of my worst bike/car experiences came from, including a close buzzing at 45mph downhill and a crazy lady in St. Paul that was intentionally trying to ram us on a group ride. I had much much fewer miles in MPS, and only rode downtown a handle of times, so my reality there is limited, but I have a friend that has been bike commuting from the burbs to downtown Minneapolis for years with little to no incidents. It just sucks Oct - March.
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Old 09-13-07, 12:07 PM   #23
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OPs point seems to be that cycling is better in areas that provide accomodations in terms of facilities, and in areas in which drivers are at least prepared for you to be there and know how to act accordingly (whether they choose to do so is clearly up to individual choice). I'm not seeing any reason why that would be homogeneous across the country.
I agree with you, Mr. Underbridge. and disagree with HH and Joejack's rosy assessment of homogenity. my wink emoticon indicates 'tongue in cheek'.

earlier I suggested Portland, OR, which is widely regarded as one of the better bicycling communities in the USA.
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Old 09-13-07, 12:12 PM   #24
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What's your assessment of drivers in Philly, Bek?
I was a bike messenger in Philly for a short stretch after college in the early 90s, and I can say that it's not too bad there. Keep in mind that it's urban riding, and not suburban, so you have to be very alert and assertive. But in a way, it's fun.
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Old 09-14-07, 01:03 AM   #25
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during my drive across this fine land, i found that bozeman, montana had one of the healthiest cycling communities anywhere. at three consecutive lights, i had three different people ask if i had been riding yet (i had bikes on the roof.) the main street of the town was lined with bikes parked, leaned, chained, unchained, etc. everywhere. it was really cool to see such a cycling positive community
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