Seattleites looking to hop on their bikes for National Bike to Work Week are in luck: The city ranks as the No. 1 bike city in the U.S. followed by Portland and San Francisco, according to a Zillow analysis.
To find the best bike cities, Zillow looked at the percent of commuters who bike to work, how long it takes to get to work on a bike, the number of Zillow rental listings that mention bicycle storage, and the miles of protected bike lanes in each city.
The city of Seattle has seven miles of protected bike lanes and it takes about 27 minutes for the average cyclist to get to work. In comparison, it takes about 32 minutes to get to work in Seattle using public transportation.
New York City, which is seventh on the list, has 55 miles of protected bike lanes – the longest distance of all 50 cities in the analysis. More than half of the cities included in the analysis don't have protected bike lanes at all – Las Vegas, Kansas City, Phoenix, and Miami are some of the cities that don't.
Portland has the most rental listings that mention bicycle storage – 124 mentions for every 1,000 listings. More than 20 percent of the cities included in the analysis don't have any rental listings mentioning bicycle storage. Many of cities without mentions of bicycle storage were in California — Bakersfield, Riverside, Fresno, Anaheim, and Santa Ana.
Cities that topped the list – Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco – are called out in a recent Zillow analysis for also being among some of the least affordable rental markets due to their heavy land-use regulations. Cities that prioritize protected lanes for cyclists are likely to have other regulations that may complicate development of additional housing units, driving up rent.
"It's hard to say whether bike-friendly cities attract cyclists, or whether cyclists influence their cities to become more bike-friendly. It's probably a little of both," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. "Bike-friendly amenities – like pet-friendly amenities – in apartments say something about the people who live in the cities on this list. These things often go hand-in-hand with a taste for urban living and an active sensibility."
Of the largest cities in the U.S., Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco are among those that saw double-digit home value increases over the past year. These cities are growing rapidly, and not only do they have a hot job market, but they're also great for cyclists — added incentive for those thinking about moving to the area.
Here's the top 10 list of the best bike cities in the U.S.: