Walk Score, a mapping service that generally rates cities and neighborhoods for their walkability based on their density, their access to public transportation and their distribution of amenities, has begun factoring a city’s “bikeability” into its rankings as well. A city’s Bike Score takes into account its bike infrastructure (bike lanes, turn boxes, trails, racks, etc.), the numbers of bikers on its streets per capita, its hilly terrain and other factors when considering just how highly a city should rank.
It began offering that data two years ago after The League of American Cyclists noted that American bicycle commuting jumped 47 percent between 2000 and 2011. It also noted that cities with more bike lanes, accommodations and even new buildings with bike storage and repair shops saw bike commuting jump 80 percent during that same span.
While Walk Score put out a Top 10 list of cities that garnered its best Bike Scores, it included only cities with a population of 500,000 or more. That put Portland, Ore., at the top of the list, but left a whole lot of locales off. To get a more fair representation, we drilled down as far as we could into Walk Score’s data to cities of 200,000 or more. That leaves out some big bike meccas such as Davis, Berkeley and Palo Alto, Calif.; Boulder and Fort Collins, Colo.; Eugene, Ore.; and Cambridge, Mass. But it includes a whole lot of larger cities in their general area, so we’d offer the disclaimer that riders considering these cities should take a look at the smaller surrounding metros in the same states.