Author: Amanda Kaestner is a former resident of San Jose and is currently a downtown Phoenician that enjoys exploring the city on her vintage Centaur road bike with an ultimate frisbee attached to her backpack.
Which NorCal cities are the most bike friendly? It’s a controversial call in the NorCal cycling community, but someone has to make it – right? NorCal consistently claims titles on national lists for cycling, and in honor of National Bike Month, we decided to choose the five cities that make the roads safer, and have strong cycling communities.
With California as one of the top 10 most bike-friendly states, we wanted to take a deeper look into what really makes these cities so safe for cyclists. Remember to take take the preventative actions like wearing retro-reflective and fluorescent clothing, along with adding reflectors and lights to our bikes, and of course – wearing a helmet to set an example for the younger riders.
Davis has often been referred to as the most bicycle friendly city in the U.S. by magazines such as Wired and Bicycling. Visit California refers to the small city as “Bike City U.S.A.” With an infrastructure set up for frequent bike commuters, the community even boasts an entire wiki section on everything bicycle in Davis. There are bicycle repair stations and tire pumps located throughout the town, along with many areas to lock-up when you aren’t riding. Multiple reputable local bike stores throughout the town and on the UC Davis campus like: Bike Barn, Freewheeler and The Bike People make it easy to find advice and gear.
Just south of San Jose, Santa Cruz carries a similar relaxed, college town attitude as Davis. While the coastal setting makes the terrain more rugged than the flat roads around Davis, cycling is still extremely accessible here. It’s best known for its coastal rides and sleepy boardwalk cruises. An additional benefit to the area is the adventurous off road trails nearby. The Santa Cruz County Cycling club also gives this city a prominent cycling sub culture.
City officials in Sacramento made a goal of increasing non-polluting forms of transportation, the city set up an extensive City of Sacramento Bikeways Program, aimed to create “a safe, comprehensive, and integrated bicycle system and support facilities throughout the City that encourage accessible bicycling for all.” Flat terrain and mild weather, make biking a year-round alternative transportation. Add the free bike parking, many available lockers and bike enclosures, and it’s easy to see what a priority bike commutes are to this area.
The Bicyclist and Pedestrian Program run by the city of San Jose is constantly working on improvements to biking and walking travel in the area. In addition to many of the biking amenities offered in San Francisco, San Jose offers a more relaxed atmosphere, out of the fast-paced nature of the big city, and with a large selection of family friendly bike rides available. Improvements to bike paths in the area are also regularly being implemented.
Such a large metro area can easily be prone to traffic problems, which makes riding in San Francisco such a great idea. With multiple route maps available, and 100 miles of bright green bike lanes, San Francisco is designed for the urban cyclist. Local transportation options are also bike friendly, most of the time, providing storage space on busses and trains if you need to travel a longer distance. Learn about bike safety and other urban concerns with one of the many urban biking classes available.
FYI: The cities are not ranked in any particular order.
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