All posts in “Biking”

Minneapolis Tops San Francisco, Portland as Most Bikeable City of 2015

Bike Score Now Available for More Than 150 U.S. Cities

Minneapolis is the most bikeable city in the U.S. in 2015. With a Bike Score of 81.3, Minneapolis has a strong lead over San Francisco (75.1) and Portland (72.0).

In celebration of National Bike Month, we’ve updated and expanded our Bike Score ranking to a total of 154 U.S. cities and more than 10,000 neighborhoods. Below we rank the 20 most bikeable cities with populations of 300,000 or more.

Bike Score Ranking of Large U.S. Cities

Rank City Bike Score
1 Minneapolis, MN 81.3
2 San Francisco, CA 75.1
3 Portland, OR 72.0
4 Denver, CO 71.3
5 Boston, MA 70.3
6 Chicago, IL 70.2
7 Washington, D.C. 69.5
8 Sacramento, CA 68.9
9 Tucson, AZ 67.9
10 Philadelphia, PA 67.5
11 Long Beach, CA 66.4
12 New York, NY 65.1
13 Seattle, WA 63.0
14 Oakland, CA 60.9
15 Aurora, CO 60.8
16 New Orleans, LA 60.1
17 Miami, FL 59.7
18 Albuquerque, NM 59.6
19 Mesa, AZ 58.5
20 Santa Ana, CA 57.1

“Biking is central to the healthy Minneapolis lifestyle and to a lot of people’s decisions about where to live in and around the city,” said James Garry, a Redfin agent and avid biker in Minneapolis. “In the past year, several of my clients have chosen to buy smaller houses in South Minneapolis rather than larger, similarly priced ones in the suburbs, simply so they could bike to work during the week and around Lake Harriet on weekends.”

Most Bikeable Cities of 2015

More Bike Scores!

A handful of smaller cities didn’t make the list but deserve recognition. All college towns, they boast some of the country’s highest Bike Scores:

Bike Score’s expansion means people now will be able to search for bikeable places to live (and visit) in more than 30 new cities, including Providence, RI (66.9), Baltimore (56.1), Detroit (55.0) and Fort Lauderdale (53.6). Many thanks to the local government officials in the newly added cities for providing the data used to compute the scores.

Better Infrastructure, Better Bike Scores

Thanks to investments in infrastructure such as protected bike lanes and networks of bike paths, several cities saw big increases in their Bike Scores since the 2013 ranking. On average, cities that ranked in the top 20 saw an increase of more than two Bike Score points. Chicago’s Bike Score increased by almost nine full points, from 61.5 in 2013 to 70.2 today. In the past two years, the Chicago Department of Transportation has launched and grown the Divvy bike share system and expanded its on-street bike network to include more than 225 miles of bike lanes and routes. Expect the city’s score to climb in the next five years as Mayor Emanuel’s Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 includes completion of a 645-mile network of on-street bikeways by 2020. Many Chicagoans are already considering bike-friendliness when choosing a place to live.

“Many of my clients don’t own cars,” said Clayton Jirak, a Redfin agent and cycling proponent in Chicago. “They search for condo buildings with dedicated, secure bike rooms in proximity to bike lanes and major trails around Chicago. Our diverse transportation options have made Chicagoans less auto-centric and created a more bike-friendly city.”

In San Francisco too, cyclists have seen more protected bike lanes added over the past couple years, reflected in a five-point Bike Score increase from 70.0 in 2013 to 75.1 today. And there are more to come, as the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) last month announced its commitment to start construction on more than 24 miles of bike infrastructure improvements.

Looking for a good place to ride a bike? Click here for our complete ranking of more than 150 cities and 10,000 neighborhoods. If you’re looking to move to a more bikeable place, Redfin offers Bike Score information about homes for sale across the U.S. Renters can search apartments by commute time on Walk Score and find places to live within an easy bike ride to work.

Bike Score measures whether a location is good and safe for biking on a scale from 0 – 100 based on four equally weighted components:

  • Bike lanes
  • Hills
  • Destinations and road connectivity
  • Share of local workers’ commutes traveled by bicycle

A Home for You – AND Your Bike, Too!

Maybe you’d like to ride more, but the hassle of liberating your bike from the storage locker every time you want to go get coffee is too much to deal with. The scowl from the building manager when you’ve got your bike in the elevator feels like an accusation. If there’s an elevator – you might be using the stairs because you’d rather keep your bike in your apartment than trust it to the garage.

There’s good news. Rentals with bike friendly services are on the rise. This year, for Bike to Work Week we’re all about these buildings that have amazing amenities for our rides.

In Denver (Bike Score: 70) a handful of buildings are adding bike rooms – DIY repair shops with work benches and tools. From the Denver Post:

Susan Maxwell, director of real estate for Zocalo, said the Velo Room at Solera includes “all the tools that you might need — Park brand tools, a stand to put your bike on while you work on it, a workbench, aprons, air pumps, tubes and lube, and other supplies. Also, consumables such as gel packs and energy bars, as well as maps on the wall for the more than 800 miles of bike trails in the Denver area.”

Biking is part of the design style at Cruise in Denver

Biking is part of the design style at Cruise in Denver

Cruise, a building in a Biker’s Paradise neighborhood, has bikes at the center of its design aesthetic. They gave away cruiser bikes as an incentive to renters, they’ve got the coveted bike room on site, and there’s storage space for your fair weather ride – we know you don’t have just one.

No surprises here – Portland (Bike Score: 70) buildings also have bike friendly services as part of what they’re offering renters. Currently under construction in the city’s Lloyd District, a cycle-centric apartment complex named Hassalo on Eighth has 1,200 bicycle parking spaces in its design. That’s believed to be more than any other apartment building in North America.

The Milano (which bill’s itself as “Portland’s premier bicycle friendly apartments, designed and built from the ground up to accommodate everything the Portland bicycle community need from an apartment complex”) and EcoFlats PDX both have secured indoor wall mounted parking for your ride. EcoFlats PDX has a bike bar on the ground floor and yes, it’s totally okay for you to hang your bike from the ceiling in your loft.

Velo Bike Shop located in the Via6 Apartments

Velo Bike Shop located in the Via6 Apartments

In Seattle (Bike Score: 64), Portland’s neighbor to the north, Via6 Apartments also has a bike shop at the ground level and there are 250 bike parking spots. Seattle just announced its new bike share program, so you don’t even need to own a bike to live a bicycle friendly life.

But bike friendly living isn’t just a west of the Rockies thing. A developer in Philadelphia (Bike Score: 68) opened a handful of buildings with bike sharing included – no bike, no excuse, the properties have a small fleet you can access for free.

And several communities in the Washington DC area – long a great city for cyclists – are using bike amenities to entice potential renters. Crescent, in nearby Arlington, VA has a room in the garage with storage for up to 200 bikes, offers complimentary loaners to residents and is home to Tri360, a swim/bike/run shop.

We’re psyched to learn that there are places where our bikes are not just welcome, but a part of the design for apartment living. We’d ride anyway – every week is bike to work week for us – but anything that makes living with a bike easier, we’re all for it.

  • Do you live in a building with great biking amenities? What could your building offer that would make biking a better option? Tell us about it in the comments.
  • Want to live a bike ride away from work? Use My Commutes on the map tool bar to find a rental within biking distance.

Portland Tops New Bike Score Ranking

In celebration of a Bike to Work Week and National Bike Month, we’ve updated our ranking of Most Bikeable Large U.S. Cities.

Portland narrowly edges out hilly San Francisco for the top spot, with Denver (home of the legendary B-cycle bike share) coming in a close third.

Bike Score

Top 10 Most Bikeable Large U.S. Cities

1. Portland (Bike Score: 70.3)

2. San Francisco (Bike Score: 70.0)

3. Denver (Bike Score: 69.5)

4. Philadelphia (Bike Score: 68.4)

5. Boston (Bike Score: 67.8)

6. Washington D.C. (Bike Score: 65.3)

7. Seattle (Bike Score: 60.4*)

8. Tucson (Bike Score: 64.1)

9. New York (Bike Score: 62.3)

10. Chicago (Bike Score: 61.5)

Note: to keep our rankings apples-to-apples the list above only includes cities with 500,000 or more residents.

Smaller cities like Cambridge, MA crushed it with a Bike Score of 92 and Davis, Boulder, and Berkeley all scored in the high 80s.  Minneapolis also deserves an honorable mention with a Bike Score of 79.

Bike Score Now Available For 100+ Cities

Bike Score is now available for over 100 U.S. cities.

Type your address into the “Get a Walk Score” field at the top of this page to get your Bike Score.

Across the U.S. bicycle commuting grew 47% between 2000 and 2011. However, in cities that are making investments in bicycle infrastructure and education (which includes all of the Top 10 Bike Score cities listed above), bicycle commuting has grown 80% over the same period. This trend is leading a growing number of multi-family developers to build bike-friendly housing with secure storage spaces for bicycles and even putting repair shops in the buildings. As the current leading city for bikers, Portland real estate is also quite affordable when compared to the second best: San Francisco.

Find Apartments By Bike Commute Time

Search by Bike Time

Find a Bikeable Place to Live

With Walk Score’s unique apartment search by commute time you can find places to live within an easy bike commute to work.  If you’re a biker looking to buy a home try Redfin’s real estate search.

If you’re still not biking, ask yourself if you’d like to be healthier, save money, and save the world.

More Details

 *Updated April 28, 2015: We retroactively corrected Seattle’s 2013 Bike Score from 64.1 to 60.4. This new score reflects a reduced weight given to sharrows when calculating the city’s bikeability, in line with the methodology used for other scores in this ranking. While sharrows help to make space for bicyclists on streets shared with cars, they are less safe than heavier-weighted infrastructure like designated bike lanes and residential bike paths.


Bike Score: Built by bikers, for bikers!

Ladies Roll at 2013 National Women’s Bicycling Forum

Energy. Action. Gear. Business. Politics. Networking. All were on display at the 2nd annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum in Washington, DC this March.

I first heard about the National Women’s Bicycling Forum (NWBF) last October during a coffee date with Susi Wunsch from VeloJoy. She attended their first gathering in 2012 and had great things to say about the event. So when registration opened for 2013, I signed up right away.

Group ride in Washington, DC kicks off the 2013 National Women's Bicycling Forum, sponsored by Black Women Bike DC

Group ride hosted by Black Women Bike DC kicks off the 2013 National Women’s Bicycling Forum

NWBF preceded the National Bike Summit with the theme of “Women Mean Business.” The forum was an exciting combination of women leaders, advocates, entrepreneurs and industry experts focusing on growing the impact of women in bicycling.

Biking Entertainment

Ladies gathered the night before the event to pedal with Black Women Bike DC and enjoy a launch party with Washington Area Bicyclist Association. There was great energy at the party with old friends catching up, long distance (online) friends meeting for the first time and speakers such as Elly Blue and NWBF organizer Carolyn Szczepanski. During the forum, attendees snapped portraits at a photobooth, browsed vendors in the Women Bike Pop-up Shop and the NYC Bike Dancers surprised us all with a performance.

New York City bike dancers entertain attendees between sessions on business, politics and social aspects of women biking

New York City bike dancers entertain attendees between sessions on business, politics and social aspects of women biking

Nuts and Bolts and Tips to Inspire More Bicycling Women

  • Closing the gender gap: The first break-out sessions for the day included a great mix of advocacy, community, retail and industry perspectives—I really wish I could have attended them all. I attended the Insight from the Industry: 3 Keys to Closing the Gender Gap session with speakers from Gazelle Imports, REI, Giant Bikes and Advanced Sport International. The conversation got a bit heated, but pushed forward the need for the bike industry and retailers to start paying more attention to women—from race enthusiasts to commuters to lifestyle riders.
  • Rides and retail for women: More break-out sessions included From Road Block to Gateway: Rides and Races that Engage More Women (covering social aspects of riding—making rides and races a key way to engage more women). I attended Bike Shop Barrier: Making Bike Retail More Welcoming to Women with owners of Pedal Chic, Clever Cycles, West Town Bikes and Huckleberry Bicycles. As a designer selling in various retail spaces, I was really interested to hear what these shops are doing to draw more women. We heard a lot about friendly customer service, thoughtful merchandising and a safe environment to ask questions.

Biking Pioneers, Women Leaders and Innovators

  • Industry pioneer Georgena Terry and owner of Sweet Pea Bikes, Natalie Ramsland were inspiring and full of laughs, discussing everything from steel frames fit for women to the politics of wheel size.
  • US Representative Duckworth used bicycling to recover from war injury: Our lunch keynote speaker was the ever-inspiring Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, first Asian-American congresswoman from Illinois and first disabled woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives. Duckworth spoke about equity, recovery and determination. She lost both legs and damaged her right arm during the Iraq War when the helicopter she piloted was shot down in 2004. She found hand-crank bicycling to be a powerful part of her recovery.
    • NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan received a standing ovation before her keynote speech. Sadik-Khan’s work has made New York City a leader in bicycle infrastructure and advocacy. (NYC is ranked 9th most bikeable US city by Walk Score via Bike Score.) She emphasized the positive economic impact on businesses near new bicycling infrastructure. An amazing speaker, Sadik-Khan offered a tip to NYC visitors: “If you stop for a minute in Brooklyn, someone is going to chain a bike to you.”

The event left me inspired, energized and with new friends that share the same passion—getting more women on two wheels every day.

Photos: Brian Palmer

10 Tips to Advocate for Biking and Walkability

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” –Mahatma Gandhi

Walk Score's walkability advocacy tipsWant to advocate for improved walking and biking infrastructure, but not sure how to start? Anywhere you live, there is likely to be a walking or biking non-profit ready to help you get involved or be a voice for change. From group bike rides to lobbying tools to encouraging kids to walk or bike more—a bevy of resources is at your fingertips.

Get started improving walking or biking routes in your area with these tools, tips, success stories and inspiring ideas.

  1. Do a neighborhood walkability audit. Use Walk Score’s iPhone app as organizing or grassroots vehicle for community or policy improvements (see how nonprofits used Walk Score for a walkability audit). Many community members and organizations take the grassroots approach to improving their neighborhoods. Join Walk Boston, for instance, and volunteer to document pedestrian problems by taking pictures and other activities. Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood locals rallied to take photos of sidewalk problems, broken pavement and overgrown shrubs to send it to the city of Seattle for fixes. Another active citizen used Walk Score tools to document barriers to walkability.
  2. Connect with local advocacy groups. The Alliance for Biking & Walking has assembled an impressive list of bicycling and walkability/pedestrian groups across the United States and Canada. Find your local advocacy non-profit group and learn how to get involved.
  3. Be a walking tour ambassador or join a group walk: Seattle’s Feet First has opportunities for walking ambassadors to lead public walks around neighborhoods across King County. Colorado’s Walk2Connect offers guided individual or group walks where you can learn about the land, meet new people and get fit.
  4. Advocate for better biking and walking infrastructure. New Orleans citizens and Bike Easy organization helped get biking and walking street and sidewalk improvements built into the Super Bowl transportation upgrades in 2013. See how biking and walking advocates won victory with increased biking lanes and pedestrian improvements in New Orleans.
  5. Rally and ride together: Bike San Diego offers opportunities for people to join a walk, bike and rally event to advocate for change, meet fellow people-powered enthusiasts and get outside (sans car).
  6. Snap photos of your missing effin’ sidewalk: Feet First Philly has a photo contest called “Where’s my effin’ sidewalk?” Share photos of obstacles for pedestrians and bikers across Philadelphia. A uniquely Philly-attitude-celebrated activity that could be replicated in other cities.
  7. Meet with professionals to discuss bike plans and make a difference: League of Illinois Bicyclists is hosting a Bike Summit on May 15 in the town of Normal, IL. Meet with more than 100 engineerings, planners, local bicycle advocates to discuss the state bike plan, how to overcome barriers to bicycling and more.
  8. Get kids walking and biking: Join Safe Routes to School local movements such as using League of Michigan Bicyclists education toolkits, safety tips and legislative advocacy support. Join a local walk to school effort with other parents and kids.
  9. Promote walking with wayfinding signs. Do it yourself. See how New York City introduced wayfinding signs to encourage walkers. There’s even a crowd-funding wayfinding venture started to build more wayfinding signs and the Atlantic labeled a Raleigh, North Carolina initiative “guerilla wayfinding.”
  10. Promote safety with crossing flags. Learn about DIY crossing flags for neighborhood intersections. Some companies like Key Bank support walkability grassroots efforts to keep streets safe—like this crossing flag set in a Seattle neighborhood.

More inspiration and success stories happen every week. Learn more about walkability. Get outside and get involved.

5 Simple Ways to Improve Your City Cycling

Guest post by Duncan Hurd, managing editor of Momentum Mag

I truly believe that my bicycle is the ultimate urban tool. My bicycle provides a solution to every city travel problem that I may encounter. Bicycling is fast, efficient, inexpensive, and let’s not forget fun.

Like any tool, a bicycle becomes more useful if it is designed for the task at hand. The growing demand for city bikes has resulted in an increased availability of bicycles that are made to be used daily, carry items, and keep the rider free from grease and street crud.

Do you need a new bike to make city cycling simpler? Not at all. Any bicycle will do. However, there are ways to improve any bicycle so it becomes better suited to daily city use. These five simple add-ons will help make your bike an attractive daily travel tool:

1. Fend Away Street Grime with Fenders

Unless you live in a place where it never rains and the streets are kept in pristine condition, you will benefit from fenders. As far as add-ons go, fenders give you the most bang for your buck and make city cycling a cleaner experience. And not only do fenders help keep you clean, they also keep tire spray away from riders around you. Since there are so many different fenders available it is difficult to make a specific recommendation, so visit your local bike shop and explore the available options that will fit on your bicycle.

2. Take More with You in Your Front Basket

I’m almost embarrassed by how long it took me to finally add a front basket to my bicycle. I thought I’d never use it; I’ll just use my messenger bag when I need to carry things. Boy, I was wrong. I honestly couldn’t imagine benefiting as much as I do from my bicycle without that front basket. As far as low-cost improvements go, a front basket is right up there with fenders. Any wire basket will do, though if you expect to carry more delicate items I recommend finding a basket with a solid base to provide support.

3. Keep Grease Where it Belongs with a Chainguard

Bicycle chains get dirty. They pick up road grime and are the number one culprit when it comes to ruined trousers. While their availability isn’t as widespread as fenders and baskets, adding a simple chainguard will help keep your pant legs clean and keep grease where it needs to be, on your chain.

4. Light Up Your Nights with Bike Lights

Having both front and rear lights on your bicycle is one add-on that is actually a necessity. Not only does having lighting on your bicycle improve nighttime safety (and save you from traffic fines) but it also makes you more likely to ride longer. In many European countries there are strict regulations on bicycle lighting, ensuring that the majority of riders are visible at night. In North America, the laws vary but lights are still required in most places. If you tend to leave you bicycle parked outside all night look for models that are easy to remove so you can take them inside with you. Another option that will ensure you never forget your lights is to install permanent front and rear lights powered by a dynamo.

5. Keep Your Bicycle Yours with a Secure Lock

While every bicycle lock can be defeated, the best locks take thieves longer to break. The goal of a good lock is to make your bike the least attractive option to would-be thieves. Heavy chain locks and solid U-locks are the most popular choice. Look for the security rating provided by the manufacturer to give you an idea if the lock can provide the security you need.

Duncan Hurd is managing editor of Momentum Mag, an independent media company that promotes, encourages and inspires “Smart Living by Bike.” He lives in Toronto, Canada and believes that every ride is a group ride, even if those around him don’t know it yet. Subscribe to Momentum Mag’s free newsletter.

Photo: David Niddrie

Women Biking Resources, Rides, Reads

Guest post by Ann DeOtte Kaufman, founder of female bike fashion company Iva Jean

While only 24% of all bicycle trips in America are made by women, there are a large number of women who are anxious to get started or that want to fit even more biking into their lives. If this is you, there are plenty of events and resources at your disposal—from books and blogs to all-women rides and community organizations.

Books on Women Biking

The first thing I would do is order Elly Blue’s Everyday Bicycling: How to Ride a Bike for Transportation, a comprehensive look at street smarts, bike shopping, dressing professionally, and carrying groceries and children. Other great reads include Women on Wheels by April Streeter and Heels on Wheels: A Lady’s Guide to Owning and Riding a Bike by Katie Dailey. These books may provide you with the tips and tools that allow you to bike more often and to more destinations.

Women-Only Biking Events & Organizations

We’re also seeing more women’s bike organizations pop up across the nation.

  • April Streeter started the Portland-based Women on Wheels all-inclusive group that hosts rides, workshops and social events on biking.
  • We Bike NYC is an all-women and trans organization that was started to provide a safe space for women to ride together regardless of skill, speed and riding style.
  • Washington Area Bicyclist Association is starting Women & Bicycles this spring, an outreach and education program geared to get more women on bikes.
  • To encourage the momentum of women in biking, the League of American Bicyclists formed Women Bike, a national advocacy program. I will be attending their second annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum, on March 4, 2013 in Washington, DC to discuss how we continue this growth and support more women biking.

Online Resources

The women’s bicycling community is also growing online. Cycle and Style has a great list of women only rides across the nation as well as gear and book reviews. Girl Bike Love also provides personal experiences, technical information and gear reviews with a focus on women’s needs. Both of these sites speak to casual and sport cyclists—creating a comprehensive resource for women. VeloJoy and Lovely Bicycle are also great resources for women looking to get inspired to bike. New York-based VeloJoy is an online resource for city cyclists covering fashion, advocacy, gear reviews, culture and more while Lovely Bicycle focuses more on bike and bike gear reviews as well as her adventures in bike building.

Photo: Women Bike

4 Bicycle Styles Perfect for City Riding

One of the most common questions I am asked is, “What type of bike should I get for city riding?” Of course, absolutely any bike that’s in working order will work. The problem is that some bikes can actually make riding around town to run errands or get to work needlessly challenging and can even be downright uncomfortable.

While not always available in every bike shop, there are several bicycle styles that will make city riding more comfortable and enjoyable. And more comfortable riding means that you’re far more likely to hop on you bike more often. Here are four bike styles that will help you get the most out of city riding and enjoy every trip:

The Dutch Bike

The Dutch are known for their excellent approach to promoting everyday cycling with their extensive network of separated paths. And a common sight on those paths is the elegant Dutch bike. The upright riding position of these bikes allows you to see your surroundings and chat with other riders. In addition, many Dutch bikes also come equipped with chain and skirt guards, racks, and fenders all allowing you to simply hop on and ride in any clothes and in any weather. Dutch bikes with step-through frames make getting on and off the bike effortless. You may not be the fastest rider in the bike lane on a Dutch bike, but you will experience the most comfortable and relaxed ride of your life.

Brands to look for: Gazelle, Bobbin, Public

The Mixte

The Mixte (pronounced “MIX-tee”) is the perfect ride for hilly cities and along long and winding paths. Equipped with swept-back handlebars, Mixtes ride comfortably upright while still positioning you forward enough to breeze up hills and pick up speed when you’re feeling sporty. A common misconception is that Mixtes are just for women since they feature an angled top bar. However, you’ll find both men and women riding on these frames in many North American cities, often on classic models found at garage sales.

Brands to look for: Civia, Linus, Nirve

The Folding Bike

In dense, urban areas, where space is limited, folding bikes are the perfect choice. With smaller wheels, these bikes may look slow, but after a test ride you’ll find that folding bikes won’t hold you back on your morning commute. In addition to fitting in your apartment or under your desk at work, folding bikes are often allowed on public transit, allowing you to carry a quicker way to get to and from the train or transit station.

Brands to look for: Brompton, Bike Friday, Tern

The Cargo Bike

Cargo bikes are the ultimate car-replacement tools. Carrying kids, large purchases, a month’s worth of groceries? The cargo bike can handle it. You may experience some sticker shock when first looking at the wide range of cargo bikes available, but these prices are more than justified when you consider their versatility and ability to alter what you thought was possible on a bicycle. The cargo bike is perfect for families or people who need to take more with them more often.

Brands to look for: Christiania, Babboe, Yuba

What’s the best way to find the ideal bicycle for you? Try as many as you can. Stop by your local bike shop and see what they have in store. The right ride is waiting for you.

Photo: Anthony Niblett

How to Combine Bicycles and Public Transit

Guest post by Duncan Hurd, managing editor of Momentum Mag

On a warm, summer morning my partner and I prepared to set out on our bicycles. Our destination was nearly 62 miles (100 km) away. As we unlocked our bikes, a neighbor asked where we were headed. He told us that we didn’t look like the kind of people who would ride that far. He was right. We had no intention of cycling the entire way. We’d ride the first 2 miles (3.2 km) to a commuter rail station, hop on a train with our bicycles and complete our trip with a short bike ride from a train station to our destination.

Combining bicycles with transit for trips both short and long is a growing trend in North America. Public transit systems are installing bike racks on buses and at popular transit stops and some are including secure bike storage facilities, with lockers and repair stands, at transit stations. By making it easier to combine bikes with transit, cities can help alleviate rush hour congestion and provide a stepping stone toward motivating people to use their bicycles more often.

Most public transit systems provide an excellent way to cover longer distances at a much lower cost than by personal car. However, it’s very difficult for a transit system to provide stations or bus stops close to all destinations. Since many destinations are only a few miles away from a transit station, bicycles provide a low-cost, efficient and often faster way to start and finish your trip.

Take Your Bike with You

  • On longer trips, I often look for ways that I can take my bicycle along with me. The commuter rail service that connects Toronto to cities throughout Southern Ontario offers limited access for bicycles. On weekends and outside of rush hours bicycles are permitted on most rail cars. Local and regional bus services here also have limited space for bicycles, often just a front-mounted rack that can carry at most two bikes.
  • Taking a bike with you will often mean traveling outside of peak times. If space is limited for your bike and knowing there are a lot of people intending to travel with theirs it can throw a wrench in your travel plans, so be sure to check your local transit regulations beforehand.

Lock It and Leave It

  • Many transit systems encourage commuters to leave their bicycles at transit stations. Sheltered bike racks and indoor storage facilities are sometimes available. You may be required to pay a fee or obtain a membership for some storage facilities, though outdoor racks are often provided free.
  • When leaving your bicycle at a transit station be sure to take anything with you that could be easily stolen. Make sure you use a secure lock, remove your lights and cover your saddle to protect it from the weather.

Travel By Bike Share 

  • Bike share systems are rapidly expanding and are a perfect complement to public transit. New York, Chicago, Vancouver, and Los Angeles among others are all expected to launch bike share systems in 2013. In cities where bike share systems already exist, like Montreal, Washington, DC and Boston, bike share stations are often located alongside transit stops. This makes the transition from train to bike simple. By using bike share you never have to worry about locking your bike or theft.

North Americans are embracing bicycles as their preferred transportation choice in ever-growing numbers. By allowing people to choose how they travel, and offering ways to combine walking, cycling, transit and even driving, cities can help address our diverse transportation needs.

Duncan Hurd is managing editor of Momentum Mag, an independent media company that promotes, encourages and inspires “Smart Living by Bike.” He lives in Toronto, Canada and believes that every ride is a group ride, even if those around him don’t know it yet. Subscribe to Momentum Mag’s free newsletter.

Photo: David Niddrie

5 Barriers to Women Bicycling More

by Ann DeOtte Kaufman, founder of female bike fashion company Iva Jean

I started biking to work after giving up my car in 2007. I lived just 2 miles from my office, the bus commute was pretty painful, and I knew biking would be the fastest, easiest and healthiest way to commute. The switch was intimidating, but I quickly fell in love with biking and all of the hassles or inconveniences faded.

Biking tips and insights from Walk ScoreHere are 5 barriers that prevent women from comfortably biking to work—and solutions to each one. I encourage all of you to break through barriers and enjoy cycling.

Barrier #1: Avoiding Risk

Safety often comes up as a top barrier to women biking to work. I believe that fear prevents a lot of people from biking, including men and older demographics, as well as women. These concerns include a lack of safe cycle infrastructure such as separated bike lanes and cycletracks; traffic and vehicular fears; personal safety fears; and topography (especially in cities like Seattle).

“Women are considered an ‘indicator species’ for bike-friendly cities for several reasons. First, studies across disciplines…have shown that women are more averse to risk than men. In the cycling arena, that risk aversion translates into increased demand for safe bike infrastructure as a prerequisite for riding.” Scientific American


  • Learn your rights and responsibilities as a biker.
  • Take the lane when you feel comfortable.
  • Ride with a friend or experienced biker.
  • Study your city’s bike maps to be familiar with the existing infrastructure and easiest routes.

Barrier #2: Time

Time is a precious thing for many commuters, including women. With several reports showing that employed women devote more time to household duties and caregiving than their employed male counterparts, time could be an even bigger barrier for women. In turn, when biking is the fastest and easiest way to work, you’ll find more women on wheels.


  • Bus or drive halfway to work with your bike to save time.
  • Work with your partner to relieve you of your regular duties once or twice a week.

Barrier #3: Convenience

It also seems that convenience comes up quite a bit regarding women biking to work. Many women attach errands to their commute. Whether it’s groceries, dry cleaning or picking up the kids from daycare – it’s just not clear how all of that can get done by bike.

“… ‘comfort’ and ‘needing a car’ were important factors influencing women’s cycling rates—but not men’s. Needing a car is likely tied to the household errands women often perform and could be addressed in part by outreach programs showing that women can ‘jump on a bike the way they jump in a car.'” Scientific American


Iva Jean bicycling functional fashion for womenBarrier #4: Vanity

Let’s be totally honest. No one (men included) wants to sit at work feeling sweaty and nasty like they just got off the set of Game of Thrones. Even if your office provides facilities such as locker rooms or showers for employees, the idea of getting ready at work is of little interest to many women. This concern often rises from a misconception that you need to wear head-to-toe spandex and ride hard on your way to the office.


  • Ride slowly.
  • Bike in your everyday clothes or clothing designed to work on and off your bike (such as Iva Jean, Outlier, Nau).
  • Create a small bag of things you need to freshen up once you’re at the office (lip gloss, dry shampoo, pressed power, brush or comb).

Barrier #5: Community

Trying something new and unfamiliar, especially as we get older, can be difficult. Women are the minority of bike commuters in most cities, and from my observations, casual women riders are an even smaller demographic. In America, 24% of all bicycle trips are made by women vs. 76% by men (US DOT 2010). Perhaps, more of us would bike if we saw and aspired to a supportive community of riders that looked like us.


  • Search online for organizations or rides for women that bike (there are so many across the country).
  • Ask a friend or coworker to show you the ropes and ride your commute with you once or twice.

As you consider biking, please know that a little bit of fearlessness and flexibility can lead to an incredible sense of joy and freedom on two wheels.

Photo: Cycle Chic Australia