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Trulia Blog

Do You Know Where the Must-Ride Bike Loops Are in Your City?

Grab your helmet and take a spin on the commuter routes in these 9 bike-friendly cities.

It’s Bike to Work Week, which means there’s no better time to choose a two-wheeled commute to the office. Not only will you burn calories and release some endorphins, but you’ll also get to see your neighborhood in a whole new way. Many cities have made bike commuters a priority and boast some downright beautiful (and safe!) paths that make regular commuting a breeze.

Get ready to go for a ride: here are the best commuter bike loops in some of the most bike-friendly U.S. cities.

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Austin, TX

With 325 miles of bike lanes and off-road trails, it’s no wonder that Austin is considered one of the nation’s most bike-friendly cities.

  • Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail: With 10 miles of trails bordering Lady Bird Lake and downtown Austin, this route is made to order for the commute to the office, or for a relaxing ride on the weekend.
  • Lance Armstrong Bikeway: Also known as the Crosstown Greenway, this popular 4.6-mile on-road path has expansions in the works that’ll connect it with other area trails.

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Charlotte, NC

Home to a bike-share program since 2012, Charlotte also has a bike plan that, when finished, will include miles of greenways and multiuse trails.

  • The Little Sugar Creek Greenway: Still a work-in-progress, this greenway will one day stretch more than 19 miles all the way from Charlotte down to the Catawba River in South Carolina.
  • Cross-Charlotte Trail: OK, so this one doesn’t actually exist yet, but it’s too huge to leave out. When built, the Cross-Charlotte Trail will be 26 miles of paved bike and walking paths and greenways that’ll allow residents to cycle from one end of Charlotte to the other much more easily.

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Chicago, IL

With 117 miles of on-street bike lanes and 30-plus miles of marked shared lanes, riding your bike in Chicago is probably quicker than fighting car traffic in most cases. And it’s only going to get better: the city has a plan to complete a 645-mile cycling network by 2020.

  • Chicago Lakefront Trail: An easy and safe ride with more than 18 miles of car-free paths and a great view of the city.
  • The Green Bay Trail: Also car-free, this 9-mile path runs right alongside Chicago’s Metra commuter rail.

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Denver, CO

While Boulder gets most of the glory for bike friendliness in Colorado, Denver is also a great city for commuting. The city even has a program dedicated to improving its bike-to-work initiative.

  • 15th Street Bikeway: The city’s first protected bike lane gets commuters downtown or to Cherry Creek Trail safely separated from traffic.
  • Cherry Creek Trail: This 40-mile paved, multiuse path runs along the creek all the way to Franktown and is one of the most popular — and prettiest — rides in town.

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Minneapolis, MN

The second-safest place to bike to work, Minneapolis has 118 miles of on-street bikeways, 92 miles of off-street bikeways, a bike-share program, and indoor bike parking facilities.

  • Cedar Lake Trail: America’s first bicycle freeway. (Enough said.)
  • Midtown Greenway: Running through the middle of town, this 5.7-mile trail is popular with both commuters and recreational cyclists.

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Philadelphia, PA

Believe it or not, Philly is actually the No.1 big city for bike commuting in the U.S. — and participation has increased 260% in the last 10 years.

  • The Schuylkill River Trail: Not yet finished, when the Schuylkill River Trail is done, it’ll contain nearly 130 miles of paved trail. They’re halfway there, though, with more than 60 miles already completed.
  • Cobbs Creek Trail: A smooth, paved ride alongside Cobbs Creek Park, this trail is part of the East Coast Greenway that, when finished, will extend from Maine to Florida.

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Portland, OR

Generally rated as one of the nation’s cycling capitals, Portland has a lot to boast about: it’s the safest place to bike to work, 6% of residents commute by bike, and the city has 319 miles of paved bikeways, with more yet planned.

  • Springwater Corridor: Perfect for cyclists, the 21-mile stretch connects downtown Portland to Gresham and beyond — all while offering scenic views of the Willamette River and nearby wetlands.
  • Waterfront/Eastbank Esplanade Loop: A 3-mile paved multiuse path surrounds the downtown section of the Willamette, and it’s a great way for commuters to get to the office downtown.

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San Francisco, CA

It’s no surprise that San Francisco is one of the safest places to bike to work. But don’t try to multitask along the way — cellphones and headphone use while cycling are ticketable offenses.

  • Skyline: Probably the best bike commute in the Bay Area, this ride offers incredible scenery and a variety of paths to make it easier or harder, depending on your skill level.
  • Bayway: This 42.5-mile route is fairly scenic with lower traffic, and it’ll get you all the way from San Francisco to Palo Alto.

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Washington, DC

Home to America’s first bike-share program, which has grown to include more than 1,500 bikes and 175 stations throughout the capital and Arlington, VA, Washington, DC, is a great place for both locals and visitors to ride.

  • Metropolitan Branch Trail: A great choice for in-DC commuters — and there are plans to extend it.
  • Capital Crescent Trail: This shared-use off-road trail connects Georgetown and Silver Spring, MD.