Bicycle Commuting in America: Who Does It Best?

New report by League of American Bicyclists has the goods

The League of American Bicyclists has released its annual report weighing in on the state of bicycle commuting in America. It’s time to click cleat to pedal and ride through America’s cities in search of the best place for bike commuters.[slideshow:821]

But before any feelings get hurt, let’s set a few things straight. First, the data, taken from the Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey, only accounts for cities with 65,000 people or larger. Second, folks who only spin their wheels part of the week, or part of the way to work (public transit, walking, etc.), are not taken into account as official bicycle commuters.

The winner for sheer, brute, size—surprise—was New York, with over 36,000 commuters. Chicago came in second, Portland, Ore. a close third, Los Angeles fourth and somehow, despite its brutal hills, San Francisco fifth.

By percentage of overall commuters, though, the runaway winner was Davis, Calif., with nearly one in five cycling to work. Rounding out the peloton were Boulder (12.1 percent), Palo Alto (9.5 percent), Eugene, Ore. (8.7 percent) and Cambridge, Mass. (8.5 percent).[slideshow:823]

Philly took the prize in the million-plus category with 2.3 percent.

As transit costs rise and the general awesomeness of riding to work come to the fore, many states are growing their commuting communities quickly. The top three states since 1990 to do so, in order, are Maryland, Tennessee, and Massachusetts. 

The study also breaks it down by region. The beast in the East: Cambridge, as mentioned above. Madison, Wisc. took it for the Midwest; Gainesville, Fla. represented the South; and Davis, of course, was the best of the West.


Some interesting who-knew-its: Madison, is both the coldest and snowiest place to brave the elements. Oceanside City, Calif., with a population of over 150,000, had just 12 bike commuters last year; and 67.5 percent of the commuters in Spokane Valley, Wash., were women.