All posts in “Biking”

Bike Score Expands to 25 U.S. Cities

By popular vote, we now have Bike Score in 25 U.S. cities and 11 Canadian cities—for any address. How bikeable is your office? School? Home? Hotel? If you live, work or play in any of these US cities, you can now find a Bike Score for anywhere inside the city limits.

America doubled the number of protected bicycle lanes “green lanes” in 2012 and is projected to double the number of green lanes again in 2013. Danes and Dutch might smirk at the US cycling infrastructure. But it’s notable for a country built for cars, not walkability.

Thousands of cyclists voted for more than 300 cities during National Bike Month 2012. The top 10 voted on cities (for which we could obtain bike data) plus 5 additional cities are now scored. The 15 cities below, combined with the top 10 Bike Score ranked US cities, expands Bike Score to any address within 25 cities.

#1 voted for city Cincinnati = Bike Score 37
#2 voted for city Austin = Bike Score 45
#3 voted for city Pittsburgh = Bike Score 39
#4 voted for city Philadelphia = Bike Score 68
#5 voted for city Miami = Bike Score 57
#6 voted for city Oakland = Bike Score 57
#7 voted for city Houston = Bike Score 49
#8 voted for city Los Angeles = Bike Score 54
#9 voted for city Eugene = Bike Score 75
#10 voted for city San Diego = Bike Score 48

5 additional voted on cities also now have a Bike Score including Ann Arbor =Bike Score 76, Boulder = Bike Score 86, Fort Collins = Bike Score 78, Tempe = Bike Score 75 and Tyler = Bike Score 38. Thanks to all who voted.

Bike Score for Any Address

What’s the Bike Score of your home, office, school, or apartment? Find the Bike Score of any address in the 15 new cities and top 10 Bike Score cities. Type any address in the “Get a Walk Score” field above to find its Bike Score. See Bike Score range details from 0 to 100.

For fun, here is the Bike Score for top schools, employers and attractions in several cities:

Washington, DC’s US Capitol = Bike Score 89 (see visual below)
Eugene’s University of Oregon campus = Bike Score 96
Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell = Bike Score 96
San Francisco’s Gap Inc headquarters = Bike Score 86
Seattle’s Amazon.com headquarters = Bike Score 85
Austin’s University of Texas campus = Bike Score 75
Chicago’s Groupon = Bike Score 65
San Diego Zoo = Bike Score 61
New York City’s NBC headquarters = Bike Score 58
Los Angeles’ UCLA = Bike Score 55

Bonus: Walk Score Now Has Bike Shares

We have also mapped nearly 1,600 locations of bike shares across North America. Search for any address in these cities and find bike share locations listed as one of the main categories: Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Houston, Washington, D.C., Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Broward, Charlotte, Des Moines, Kailua, Kansas City, Madison, Nashville, Omaha, San Antonio and Spartanburg. Best ways to use bike shares.

Resolve to Bike More in 2013

Make a New Year’s resolution to bike more in 2013. Here are a few good reasons why:

  1. Riding reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%.
  2. Cycling has been shown to help with weight loss.
  3. Bicycling has grown over the past 20 years in the US. The number of bike commuters rose by 64% from 1990 to 2009.

Bike Score Details

How to Enjoy Winter Biking

Guest post by Duncan Hurd, managing editor of Momentum Mag

“I’m not one of those die-hards” is most likely what you’re thinking. Winter cycling, especially in snowy, rainy and bitterly cold places, is often believed to be only for the truly dedicated. The ones who are out there making a statement, dedicated to the cause of two-wheeled transportation for life. I know because I once believed this myself. Winter weather arrived and I started buying monthly transit passes again, my bicycle stowed away until spring.

winter bike ridingBut then on one cold day I kept on riding. We had been experiencing a very mild winter that year and as long as the streets were dry I was on my bike. I made only short trips at first. Going up the street to the grocery store, across town to a friend’s place or riding one neighborhood over to a restaurant. I commuted by transit during the day, but my evening and weekend activities all remained by bike. Sure, it was cold and my eyes would water and my nose would run like Niagara Falls. So I bought some handkerchiefs and kept on riding. I bought a better pair of gloves and kept on riding. I learned to love wool and kept on riding.

As the mercury drops and the days feel like they’ve barely started by the time it gets dark again, continuing to bike ride is the best way I’ve found for improving my mood and giving me energy to do more than just sit under a blanket. If you’re curious about riding in the winter here are a few tips to help you get started:

Start Small

You may have a personality that allows you to jump right into anything, but I sure do not. Biking is never an all-or-nothing proposition. At first you’ll spend more time debating with yourself over whether or not you should ride, but over time you’ll learn what works for you.

  • Ride when you’re comfortable and ride to help you become more comfortable.
  • Start on a quiet weekend and set a destination.
  • Experiment with what clothing you’ll wear and give yourself time.

Consider Your Wardrobe

I prefer to dress for the destination. While I do own an array of cycling gear, most of my winter weather bike trips are for transportation and not recreation. Having been car-dependent for far too many years, once I began walking and biking in the winter I quickly realized that I didn’t have clothing suitable for the outdoors. I didn’t own boots, my jackets were too thin, my gloves proved to be just for show and I owned maybe two cotton sweaters.

There are plenty of cycling-specific gear choices that can help you feel more comfortable on your bike in the winter, but these aren’t a necessity. I’ve started wearing more layers, choosing wool over cotton and thinking about comfort and warmth as well as aesthetics. I’ve now built a wardrobe that surprisingly still looks like what I would regularly wear to work but is also going to keep me warm on winter walks and rides.

Your Bike Needs Love

Winter streets can wreak havoc on your average bicycle. In Toronto, ON, we get snow and slush and roads covered in salt and grime. When it’s wet your tires will pick up road debris and toss it up at you and your bike. Left to freeze and accumulate debris and moisture will ruin your gears, render your brakes useless and eat away at parts prone to rusting.

  • Wipe down your bike after messier rides to help keep parts running smoothly longer.
  • Learn basic chain maintenance.

If becoming an amateur mechanic isn’t for you, then consider what bike you ride. Upright city bikes so common in Amsterdam and Copenhagen are excellent all-weather vehicles. Fenders keep debris away from you, chain guards protect the parts that keep you rolling and internal-gear hubs and hub brakes conceal moving parts, increasing their longevity. You’ll enjoy your winter rides far more if you don’t have to worry about your bike.

Ride with Care

It’s tempting to make your winter rides as short as possible by riding fast and furious. While extra exertion can help you warm up, it also can get you into trouble.

  • By riding slower, it may take a little longer to warm up but you’ll be better prepared to navigate around debris and keep an eye on your surroundings.
  • Biking slower may also help you identify new places to stop and warm up such as at a book store you’ve not noticed before or a café you’ve never found time to visit.
  • Always remember your lights. Since people may not expect to see you out on your bike, and since clouds and earlier evenings make streets darker in winters, it is always best to have your lights on at all times.

Finally, have fun. While not all winter rides are going to be bliss, learn to have fun and feel comfortable biking. It will keep you motivated to ride all year.


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: Kathleen Wilker

How to Feel Comfortable in a Bike Shop

Guest post by Duncan Hurd, managing editor of Momentum Mag

I remember how intimidated I felt while shopping for my first new bike.

Counterbalance Bicycles Seattle

The bicycle shops I visited were stuffed wall to wall with aggressive looking mountain bikes and featherweight road bikes. Everyone working and shopping within used words I’d never heard before. I knew I wanted something to get me around town and maybe carry a few groceries on, but none of what I saw looked like a bike I’d trust leaving locked up outside of my apartment. None had racks or fenders and all had price tags well beyond my budget.

For the most part, bike shops will defy your typical retail shopping experience. Shop owners and employees are passionate about cycling though many lack customer service training. Shops themselves appear to lack organization. Browsing the rows of bikes crammed together and hodgepodge display racks can be a challenge.

However, the cycling retail experience is undergoing a major facelift. Manufacturers like Electra are providing retailers with attractive and thought-out merchandising displays. There are also a growing number of shops that provide products and services with bicycling for transportation as their main focus, creating pleasant spaces for customers to browse and experience bikes and gear.

Whether you need a new bike, accessories or a tune-up, here are a few tips to help you feel comfortable in any bike shop:

1. Look for Specialty Shops

Not all bike shops are the same. Some, like Hudson Urban Bicycles in New York City and Clever Cycles in Portland, OR, focus only on practical, European-inspired bikes for daily transportation. Pedal Chic in Greenville, SC focuses on products designed for women. In Seattle, WA, Hub and Bespoke carries clothing and accessories with urban cycling style. You’ll also find a growing number of DIY shops that give customers a helping hand for fixing their own bikes while also selling a selection of new and used parts.

2. Know What You Want

It’s easy to get distracted in a bike shop. The selection can feel overwhelming at times and some sales people will push you towards their own interests as opposed to helping you with yours. Visit a shop that caters to the type of biking you want to do and have a list of the activities you plan to do by bike with you.

3. Always Try Before You Buy

Test rides are essential when deciding what bike to buy. You can’t expect to learn to feel comfortable on a bicycle. If something feels uncomfortable right away, talk with the shop employee who can make adjustments or suggest a different model. When shopping for accessories, bring your bike with you to ensure that the parts you’re looking at are compatible.

4. Research Your Ride

People love to talk about their bikes. They blog about them, write reviews for magazines and can chat to no end about why they like (or dislike) their own bike. If you’re looking for a commuter bike, ask other commuters where they made their purchase. While each individual has their own tastes, asking questions can help you identify what you may use a bicycle for and what specific styles you should consider. Take time to shop around. If you feel uncomfortable or are unsatisfied with options available at one shop, it’s better to travel a little further than to make sacrifices in getting what you want.

I invite you to drop by your local bike shop to try out a new bike or two and pick up a set of lights and a bell if you don’t have them already.


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.

Bike Share System Tips

Guest post by Duncan Hurd, managing editor of Momentum Mag

We hadn’t planned on biking that morning in Montreal, QC. As my partner and I were walking to meet friends we couldn’t help but notice BIXI bike share stations along the way. At the first station, we used the poster-sized map to make sure we were walking in the right direction. At the second station, we paused to read the instructions and take a closer look at the 3-speed, boomerang-shaped bicycles. Once we reached a third station we decided to swipe a credit card, release two bicycles and pedal away.

Bike Share photo by Kathleen WilkerThere are currently more than 300 bicycle share systems in operation around the world. New York City plans to launch North America’s largest system—with 7,000 bikes spread across 400+ stations—in March 2013. Los Angeles is also developing bike shares.

Each city’s bike share system may vary by pricing and membership rules, but most are intended for users to make short trips between stations. Swipe a credit card or membership key and bike share systems provide quick and convenient transportation for trips that may otherwise require a longer walk, transit or taxicab.

Ever used a bike share system before? Unsure if the one in your city is right for you? Here are four tips to get the most out of bike shares:

1. Commute Partly or Fully by Bike Share

Bike share systems are often intended for commuters and you’ll find stations conveniently located at or near transit hubs. This means you can use bike share to get to public transit as well as get from a transit station to within a short walk of your destination. Often, cities offer bike share memberships at discounted rates to transit pass holders. By making all or part of your commute by bike share you can get to your destination faster and save money.

2. Explore a New City by Bike Share

There’s no better way to get to know a city than by bicycle. Many bike share systems offer short-term memberships of 24-72 hours that are perfect for tourists. You can use the maps provided by most systems to plan your route from station to station and dock your bike when you’ve found a place you’d like to explore on foot. Note: Keeping a bike out of a dock for longer than 30 minutes may mean increased user fees, so plan for short trips between stations and not a meandering route around the city in one go.

3. Do One-Way Trips Quickly

Does the forecast call for rain later in the day? Are you heading out to an event where you intend to drink? Since bike share systems allow you to return a bicycle to any station, you can get to your destination by bike and then choose to take transit or a taxi home. I’ll often use bike share for one-way errands including riding to the shop where my day-to-day bicycle is being repaired.

4. Work Out by Bike Share

While I’ve read of competitors bringing bike share bicycles to triathlons and cyclo-cross events, these rides aren’t intended for intense physical work-outs. However, by making more of your trips by bike—even short ones—you can start to see some improvements to your health over time. Bike share can also help you mix up your regular work-out routine. Take bike share to a gym location further away or dock your bike in a different neighborhood and jog home. Most bike shares also have baskets allowing you to carry your gym clothes.

New: Bike Shares Now on Walk Score

As of December 18, 2012, Walk Score mapped nearly 1,600 locations of bike shares across North America. Search for any address in these cities and find bike share locations listed as one of the main categories: Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Houston, Washington, D.C., Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Broward, Charlotte, Des Moines, Kailua, Kansas City, Madison, Nashville, Omaha, San Antonio and Spartanburg.


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: Kathleen Wilker

How to Shop by Bicycle

Guest post by Duncan Hurd, managing editor of Momentum Mag

Some days, I like to do the impossible. Or, that is, I like to do something that many people believe is impossible.

I prefer to shop by bike.

My partner and I picked up this habit after we first started biking together. On the way home from a ride, we’d stop in at the butcher’s shop or pick up some take-out for dinner. At first, we’d hang bags from our handlebars, but we knew this was putting our purchases at risk as they swayed or bounced off our front wheels. Sometimes my partner’s purse was large enough for a few items, but we soon had the urge to carry more with us, without having to take transit or resort to borrowing a car.

When it comes to shopping by bike, we are not alone. Studies in Toronto, ON and Portland, OR have shown that people who shop by bike often spend more money per month than those who drive. It may be because we don’t have to worry about car payments, insurance, parking or gas shrinking our monthly budgets. We may also spend more simply because while on a bicycle it’s easy to drop into a new shop or restaurant because we’re traveling around at a pace that allows us see in store windows or read daily specials posted on sandwich boards.

Ready to run your next errand by bike? Tips to help you haul home purchases big and small:

Photo by Ben JohnsonGet the Right Gear

When it comes to shopping by bicycle, you’ll have greater success with the right accessories. At minimum, install a front basket, a rear rack or both. While you can use a large backpack for many purchases, letting your bike do the carrying is less tiring and cumbersome. Front baskets vary in size and are often large and sturdy enough for one or two bags of groceries or a medium-sized box. Rear racks provide a flat surface for strapping down larger items with a rope or bungee cords. To really increase the carrying capacity of a rack, get one or two panniers (bags specifically designed to mount to a rack). If you need to pick up larger items, the increased hauling capacity of a detachable bike trailer may be right for you. Many trailers can fold down for storage and can also be used for carrying kids, pets and more.

Another important item: a secure bike lock. You get what you pay for so don’t be afraid to pay $100 or more for a lock with added security features.

Cut the Waste

Once you have a basket or rack (or both) on your bicycle then it’s time to consider what kind of purchases you’re making. At the grocery store, I rarely pick up something individually packaged in a box or container as these take up too much space and end up in the trash anyway. Buying from the bulk aisle allows me to bag items that typically come boxed, taking up significantly less space on my bike. Often, I’ll decide not to buy a specific item if there is too much packaging waste. If you’re buying delicate items like fresh fruit and vegetables, ask if the shop has any medium-sized cardboard boxes. By placing my purchases inside one box I can strap it to my rack securely while preventing my purchases from being squished.

Buy Less, Shop More Often

Shopping more often may sound time consuming, but once you get used to it you’ll find that you can actually save time. Grocery runs are often much quicker when you’re purchasing items for just two or three meals in advance. You get to use the express check-out lane and don’t have to push a loaded cart around. When you’re purchasing less per time, it’s also easier to incorporate a shopping trip with other trips. You can stop by the library on the way home from work or pick up a few items while heading across town for an event.

Look for Businesses That Encourage Shopping by Bike

It’s hard to shop by bike if a store lacks bike parking. While many business owners still value car parking over bicycle parking, there are communities starting to better accommodate shopping by bike. Of note are the bike-friendly business districts in Long Beach and San Diego, CA that ensure adequate parking for bicycles and may offer discounts to people who shop by bike.

 


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: Ben Johnson

How Your Bicycle Will Make You Popular

Guest post by Duncan Hurd, managing editor of Momentum Mag

Bicycles. What can’t they do? They take you to work, save you money, help you exercise and can even make you popular.

Now, you may have missed the chapter on bicycles in How to Win Friends and Influence People, but I assure you that a bicycle has the power to introduce you to many wonderful people. I came to this realization after rediscovering the joy of getting around town by bike a few years ago. At first, I was happy pedaling on my own but I quickly discovered that it’s hard to be alone while biking in a big city.

Group ladies-only bike rideBack when I commuted by car, not once did I strike up a conversation with another driver while behind the wheel. Sure, there were some minor exchanges, but rarely was it anything memorable (and sadly, not always positive). Yet, on a bike the experience is the exact opposite. I’ve asked and been asked for directions. I’ve cheerfully said hello and shared the delight or disgust of a strange smell wafting down the street. With no steel cage around you and no tinted windows, bikes are open to their surroundings, the perfect social machines.

The social power of a bicycle truly shines during group rides.

Riding in a group adds a whole new dynamic to traveling by bike. You can lead the way, you can hang back and watch or you can put on your bike jersey, find a spot in the middle and feel the surge of excitement that comes from being surrounded by other people on bikes. Ready to experience your first group ride? Here’s what to look for:

Tweed group bike rideTheme Rides
Portland, OR may just be the capital of group theme rides. Each year, the 3-week event, Pedalpalooza, is host to countless theme rides. Dress up as your favorite Doctor Who or Star Wars character and hop on your bike for an out-of-this-world adventure. Some themed rides even have a global presence. The Tweed Ride, started in London, UK, sees participants dress like it’s the 1890s in wool cycling costumes to bike slowly around town. Tweed Rides can now be found in Australia, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Latvia and the United States. If dressing up isn’t to your liking, you can always dress down to ride. The World Naked Bike Ride hopes to “deliver a vision of a cleaner, safer, body-positive world” by having participants dare to bare, stripping down to next to nothing for a slow rolling party on two wheels (or more).

Ladies-Only Rides
Too often, cycling is seen as a male-dominated activity that may make women feel uncomfortable. On ladies-only rides you’ll find women getting back on the bike for the first time since childhood riding shoulder to shoulder with seasoned bike commuters. These events are as much about building confidence to ride around town as they are about meeting new people. Look for Two Wheels and Heels events in Cleveland and Columbus, OH and Minneapolis, MN.

City Tours
The only way to truly get to know a city is by bike. Why hop on a stuffy bus when you can join a bike tour to get an on-the-ground feeling for a city? Tour guides are full of interesting tidbits you may never learn alone and are a great way to meet travelers and locals.

Charity Rides
The power of the group ride is often at its most powerful when it takes the form of charity rides. Working for a common goal, charity rides are visible, engaging and a great way to help raise money for causes you believe in. Some charity rides will see the closure of typically car-only roads, providing a unique experience as well as opportunities to share the road with thousands of other cyclists.


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.

 

Photos: itsbruce, Sarah Bryant

Bike Score Is Here

Bike Score Map of Seattle

Just in time for Bike to Work Week, we are thrilled to launch Bike Score and our first ranking of the most bikeable U.S. cities.

See how your city ranks and vote for your city to be next to get Bike Score.

We’ll add Bike Score for the top 10 cities receiving votes between now and the end of National Bike Month on May 31, 2012.

How Bike Score Works

Bike Score provides a 0-100 rating of the bikeability of a location based on the availability of bike infrastructure (lanes and trails), the hilliness of the area, destinations and road connectivity, and the number of bike commuters.

The Bike Score for a city is then calculated by applying the Bike Score algorithm block-by-block throughout the city and weighting the scores by population density. Read the methodology details.

Seattle Bike Lanes

We collected thousands of votes for over one hundred ideas from our community on how to calculate Bike Score. Thank you!

The Bike Score methodology was developed in collaboration with Professor Meghan Winters at Simon Fraser University and Professors Michael Brauer and Kay Teschke at the University of British Columbia under a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Bicycling by the Numbers

• Americans made 4 billion trips by bicycle in 2009, more than twice as many as in 2001.
• Bike commuting increased 43% between 2000 and 2010.
• 71% of Americans say they would like to bicycle more than they do now.

Read our official press release or view the Bike Score rankings.

Bike Score: Built by bikers, for bikers!

What’s in a Bike Score?

When we launched Transit Score and Commute Reports last month, people asked, “is Bike Score next?

So we ask you, what would it mean for a location to have a high Bike Score?

Submit your ideas for what we should include in Bike Score.

Bike Score

Tell us your Bike Score ideas!

 

Not only do we think biking is great—but in a growing number cities, home shoppers are including bike access as a key decision making criteria.

So give us your feedback and then check out the hottest bicycle blog on the planet, Copenhagen Cycle Chic.

Fascinating Transportation Stats: Bicycle and Pedestrian Benchmarking Report

Did you know men are 3X as likely to bike to work as women?

Did you know weather matters less than you think?  Montana and Alaska have some of the coldest temperatures and highest levels of cycling.

What else don’t you know?! The Benchmarking Report from the Alliance for Biking and Walking is the most comprehensive report we’ve seen on bicycling and walking in the U.S.

I love all of the city rankings and state-by-state comparisons. Go Portland!  The #1 city for biking to work.