Eugene has been named the “#5 Best City for Bicycling” among cities with a population over 100,000 in the May issue of Bicycling Magazine. The top ten cities are:
Corvallis came in second on the list of top cities with a population under 100,000 – with Davis, CA coming in first. Continue on to see how the cities were chosen, and for links to a slide show and PDF of the print article.
This was the first year that a top 50 list was created by Bicycling, which has been ranking cities sporadically since 1995 . The most recent list, created in 2008, did not list Eugene, but a similar undated list of the 21 best cycling cities in the US has Eugene coming in at second place in the 75,000 – 200,000 population category.
The criteria for how cities are ranked in the current top 50 list are best explained in Bicycling’s introduction to the article:
There are many unspectacular but important things a city can do to gain our consideration for this list. Maybe you’ve heard of them, or maybeâ€”given the pace of change these daysâ€”you’ve already begun to enjoy them: segregated bike lanes, municipal bike racks and bike boulevards, to name a few. If you have those things in your town, cyclists probably have the ear of the local governmentâ€”another key factor. To make our Top 50, a city must also support a vibrant and diverse bike culture. It must have smart, savvy bike shops. A few notes: We considered only cities with populations of 100,000 or more. We strove for geographical diversity, to avoid having a list dominated by California’s many bike-oriented cities…
KVAL.com also ran an article on the reward which further explains the ranking system:
The honor reinforces the gold level status given Eugene last year by League of American Bicyclists, one of only 10 cities in the nation to earn that designation.
To compile the list, Bicycling editors strove for geographical diversity and considered cities [with populations over 100,000.]
They narrowed it down using factors such as cycling-friendly statistics (numbers of bike lanes and routes, bike racks, city projects completed and planned) including changes in these statistics and a city’s future plans since the last survey; and bike culture (number of bike commuters, cycling clubs, cycling events, renowned bike shops).
Editors also referenced the Bicycling and Walking in the United States 2010 Benchmarking Report prepared by the Alliance for Biking and Walking, the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly America project, and interviews with national and local advocates, bike shops, and other experts.
It is exciting that Eugene ranked so highly, beating out powerhouse cities like San Francisco, Madison, and New York. Our relatively low population size probably helped; I’d rather bike in a town of 150,000 than in a larger city with similar infrastructure.
Portland’s drop from the #1 spot, which it has held on all previous Bicycling Magazine lists, is a little puzzling. BikePortland.org explains how it happened:
In straight comparisons of what [Bicycling’s editor-in-chief Loren Mooney] calls “boring but important” statistics, Portland would be #1, but Bicycling gave the title to Minneapolis for their intangibles. Mooney said “we’re giving a lot of momentum credit here” and she acknowledged that the way Minneapolis’s community has bonded around the “winter riding spirit” figured largely into their decision.
For a slideshow of each of the top 50 cities, plus information on the best small and best foreign cities for biking, check out Bicycling.com, and click here to download a PDF of the print article (3.6mb)