Cycling facilities in the US come in a wide range of shapes and styles, from shared-use paths and trails to on-road infrastructure like bike lanes.
In many communities across the country riders can access multi-use paths (such as the Atlanta Beltline, Springwater Corridor, or Katy Trail) as well as an ever-expanding network of on-road bike facilities for getting to and around important regional centers. Multi-use trails (also called shared use paths, or some variant between the two) offer car-free space to ride (though you'll usually share with pedestrians, hence the name), and in some cases take advantage of old rail corridors or other direct routes which connect quickly, easily, and with fewer hills.
Riding on the road
When riding on the road, it's generally recommended to favor roads with fewer cars and slower traffic speeds, such as neighborhood residential streets - it may not always be the most direct, but it will be much more comfortable and may be more interesting as well! If you can't avoid riding on roads with speeds below 35 mph try to favor those with bike lanes or other dedicated infrastructure (if possible).
If you're unsure of how to navigate your city's streets and finding the most comfortable routes for riding, see if your local community has a bike-specific map or consult Google Maps' bicycle route feature. You can always ask a friend who rides a bike, or visit your local bike shop for guidance as well!
Tips for new riders
Find a comfortable place to ride - we like to suggest looking for one of the following:
- A multi-use trail or path (there may be one in a nearby park, or across town, a quick google search for trails will get you started)
- A quiet neighborhood street with little automobile traffic (look for roads that don't connect major roads, or which wind a lot and have low speed limits)
- An organized social ride or event, such as an open streets event (like CicLAvia or Atlanta Streets Alive or a social group ride (like Slow Roll Detroit or the Mobile Social)
I already ride
There are many group rides put on by various organizations (advocates, clubs, and and bike shops) throughout the year all across the country. These rides will run the gamut in terms of difficulty (beginner to advanced) and geography (city center to the outer areas of the region). We can't list them all here, but with a bit of searching it's likely you'll find a group that fits you. And if you don't, then maybe it's time to start a new group!
Did you ride recently?
Make sure to log your ride and earn a badge!