It’s great to have a city bike. It’s not great to bike in a city that isn’t friendly to bicycling. Ideally, you want to ride is safety and comfort for your entire commute.
But what exactly makes a great bicycling city? If you’re considering buying a city bike, you want to make sure you can ride it safely to get to the places you need to go.
Does your city have these five features?
1. Flat Roads
It can be tough to get anywhere on a city bike when you’re struggling to get up a hill at every turn. It can be nearly impossible for kids or older adults to bike these hills, too.
In fact, it can completely turn you off from city biking. That’s why many great bicycling cities tend to be flat. It makes getting around much easier, so biking can definitely be a valid mode of transportation in these cities, which often have robust cycling communities.
Topography isn’t the be-all end-all of a great cycling city, though. Some people who love to bike will do so regardless of the hills they must climb; they might even see it as a plus because it’s such a good workout.
2. Balmy Temperatures
It’s not super comfortable to bike through rain and snow. It’s not fun. It’s not practical. You don’t want to arrive at the office soaking wet. Many of the best places for city bikes are warm and balmy all year long.
Again, though, temperatures aren’t all that important for the die-hard cyclists. Just consider the fact that Copenhagen is a cyclist’s paradise and it has plenty of snowfall and freezing temperatures. Minneapolis and Vancouver also have big cycling communities and they get tons of rain, snow, and cold temperatures. All you need is warm clothing and good gear to make it through these climates.
So, there’s must be more to make a city great, right?
3. Bike Lanes
More than anything else, great infrastructure is at the heart of the top cycling cities in the world. The cities are built with cyclists in mind. Think of Barcelona and Montreal. They have tons of bike lanes, which makes commuting on a city bike safe and comfortable. These bike lanes are all connected through networks, with signs and signals. And they have barriers protecting bikers from cars.
The fact is people don’t want to risk their lives to bike to work, to the store, or anywhere else. And that’s why so many more cities are building bike lanes for their citizens. Soon, more and more cities will be bike friendly thanks to more bike lanes.
4. Bicycle Parking
Have you ever walked into a large office building with a sign that states “no bikes allowed”? This can make it tough to bike anywhere. Whether you’re leaving your bike outside with a lock or you can bring it into a building, you need to park your bike somewhere. Great cities ensure you can get off your bike to do the things you need to do in town. Just invest in a good lock and you’re good to go.
5. Public Transportation Connectivity
For those who forego owning cars completely, public transportation connectivity is often required. Sure, you can bike directly from your home to your office, but you might need public transportation if you’re going further, like to a friend’s house on the other side of town. You can only bike part of the way, so you need to be able to put your bike somewhere before you jump on the bus, train, or subway. Great biking cities make this easy.
More cities are making commitments to become bike-friendly by investing in infrastructure. Things are changing, and we can look forward to more and more bike-friendly municipalities in the near future.