Wednesday, May 5, 2010

League of American Bicyclists' most bike-friendly cities

Here's a link to the pdf list. It includes platinum-rated, gold, silver and bronze communities as of May 2010. It is noteworthy for its inclusion of smaller communities, sometimes ridiculous choices in this blogger's view.

Should Stanford be listed as distinct from Palo Alto? Should the Presidio be listed separately from San Francisco?

After living in a southwestern city, Tamar and I are wary of the southern half of the US. We think of it as cycling-hostile "car country." So I counted the LAB-listed communities in that part of the nation. If Arlington, VA is in the lower half, and if we agree that Austin is a worthy inclusion and reluctantly agree that Tucson (bicycle-unfriendly in our opinions) is a worthy one, how many others are there? Is Columbia, MO, a southern city?

The weather's better in the south perhaps, but the car-culture climate sucks.

And we are amazed that Denver is missing from a spot somewhere high on the list. This place isn't cycling paradise, but it belongs up there. Its exclusion causes us to look at the entire project with skepticism.

Something's being sold here, m'friends.

Since communities realized they could attract fresh, talented young workers to their areas by advertising local bicycle-friendliness, these awards have become important to local Chambers of Commerce, meaning folks with money who could care less about riding a damn bike.

Another glass of wine with your dinner, Mr. Bicycle-Friendliness Judge, your honor?

If I'm wrong here, I'm sorry. If I'm right, we're being sold out wholesale by folks who claim to be our buddies. I'd rather be wrong....


Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see the criteria used to bestow these awards. How amy times do you think WTF! when you read city X is considered bike-friendly and you've ridden a bike there and know otherwise?

Maynard said...

Re the anonymous comment above: My thoughts exactly!

Anonymous said...

Hey--I like that you're responding to comments!

Jim Thurber said...

What a strange list. Stanford vs Palo Alto (one and the same). San Francisco Presidio vs San Francisco - exactly the same spot. What gives?

Perhaps this list was comprised by somebody who had no concept of geography.

James Thurber said...

Here's one more thought. I've ridden all about (much of the world, East Africa and Europe included) and currently live on the Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have wonderful bicycle lanes and (generally) pretty aware traffic.

The Bay Area has an awful lot of folks who commute on their bicycles - a good beginning in any event. One complaint is that our public transportation system (Caltrain in particular) doesn't have enough bicycle racks. The Caltrain folks responded by putting on an additional bicycle car (that's a full blown rail car) on most commute trains. Now that's service!

One might also argue (observe) that our weather is perfectly suited to riding. Our rainy season is limited (unlike those damp Oregonians) and temperatures are cool most of the year. We rarely see temperatures in the 90's, even in July. And freezing? Ha! Never.

So my 1st choice for the World's Best Bicycle Region is . . . The San Francisco Peninsula.

philcycles said...

James Thurber wrote:
So my 1st choice for the World's Best Bicycle Region is . . . The San Francisco Peninsula.

No, Marin County is. And so continues the rivalry.
And what idiot called the Presidio bike friendly? Some of the toughest climbs in The City are in the Presidio. Makes no sense.
Phil Brown

Anonymous said...

I showed the application to an overtly bicyclist-friendly city councilor and he just rolled his eyes at the amount of work, some which he thought irrelevant, it demanded.

BFC status is a program bicyclists can use to prod communities into making improvements. Maynard isn't the only critic.

Anonymous said...

How do all the bronze-level "winners' all have A as their first letter?
Seemingly bizarre criteria being used to determine these; the minimum population threshold seems to be the kids at our end of the cul-de-sac. Beauty of the city doesn't have much weight either. As long as the municipality can draw chalk lines on the ground of a board-flat, featureless wasteland it can be considered bike friendly, evidently.