May might be National Bike Month but for us, it’s always the season to embrace cycling (thanks to our fleet of Euro-inspired PUBLIC Bikes). We recommend hitting the streets in Chicago, Portland, NYC and DC – four cities offering safer, more vibrant biker-friendly streets.
The Windy City offers more than 200 miles of protected, buffered and shared bike lanes, off-street paths (including the 18.5-mile Lakefront Trail), over 13,000 bike racks plus sheltered parking areas at many CTA rail stations. An in-the-works initiative, the Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020, calls for a 645-mile network of on-street bikeways that will place access within a half-mile of every Chicagoan.
- “MB Bike the Drive”: On May 29, this annual benefit opens the length of Lake Shore Drive to cyclists, banning cars for the day.
- Chicago bikers love cruising the 606, a park and trail on the city’s Northwest side that’s lined with trees and connects the neighborhoods of Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park and Logan Square.
- Along the Milwaukee Avenue bike lane, cyclists can refuel at spots like Frontier, which has an all-seasons beer garden, or Revolution Brewing, which serves gems like the French-style saison Coup d’Etat and Revved Up, a coffee-infused brown ale.
With a thriving biking culture that’s fueled plenty of “Portlandia” sketches, Portland has about 315 miles of bikeways and the country’s highest percentage of bike commuters (7%). Two-wheeled events abound, and many incorporate the city’s love for brews into the mix.
- Year-round, Hopworks Bikebar lures guests off a main commuter route and into its eco-brewpub for organic handcrafted beers, burgers, pizzas and goodies like pretzels dipped in beer cheese. They support the cycling culture with 40 locally-built bike frames suspended above the bar plus two stationary bicycles that allow pub-goers to help generate electricity for the building. Kids of all ages love the sprawling patio space.
- At Velo Cult, a full-service bike shop-venue-bar in the Hollywood District, you can glide in for a tune-up, tasty local brews, cycling meet-ups and live performances from bluegrass to comedy on an 80-year-old castle drawbridge that lowers to become a stage.
- Popular Portland routes include the Willamette Greenway Trail and Springwater Corridor, a 21-mile, paved, multi-use path built along a former railway line on the east side of the Willamette River. Visit the Portland Bureau of Transportation site for free bike maps.
- Each October, the Handmade Bike and Beer Festival rolls through town.
Scoot around capital gridlock via two wheels; the National Mall offers a tranquil, mile-long stretch to explore monuments, museums and memorials. Every weekend, Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park closes to traffic and offers smooth roads, wide lanes and plenty of shade.
- Two-wheeled locals recommend riding the Capital Crescent Trail from Georgetown to Bethesda, with a cupcake and coffee stop at Baked & Wired.
- Along the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Railroad Regional Park, a paved trail between Shirlington and Purcellville, Virginia, cyclists get glimpses of the urban heartland and countryside. Stop in for a revitalizing beer at Caboose Brewing in Vienna.
- To truly go the distance bike the Century Loop—a 100-mile journey along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal to White’s Ferry and back along the W&OD Trail.
- On Sunday May 22, the inaugural DC Bike Ride shuts down traffic on a 17-mile route in order to unite thousands of cyclists among DC’s exquisite, iconic landmarks. Afterward, enjoy the Finish Line Festival on the Mall.
Those who love being in the middle of it all will adore Manhattan’s protected bike lanes; try recommended routes along Eighth Ave. (going uptown) and Second (going downtown).
- Many say the 14-mile Brooklyn Greenway is a Big Apple “must,” as well as rides along the Hudson River Park Bikeway from Battery Park to the George Washington Bridge.
- Pedal down to Coney Island via the Ocean Parkway, home to the country’s first bike path in the late 19th century. The route allows riders to pass through several multicultural enclaves and to stop for a celebratory snack at Ruby’s Bar and Grill after landing in Coney Island.
- On the last Friday of every month, an advocacy/political ride called Critical Mass pushes off from Union Square North, among other locations, at 7 p.m.
- All year, cyclists go to Astoria’s The Queens Kickshaw and Red Lantern Bicycles, the self-proclaimed “first bike shop in New York State to serve beer and wine.”