Recently relocated to the Southwest United States and I am in search of the type of bicycle culture that uses bicycles for commuting and not just for wanting to beat Lance Armstrong's record. In other words the type of commuter cyclists you would see in Philadelphia or Seattle. Regular everyday people, bohemians, etcetera who are just going to the store, going to work, going to dance class, whatever, on their bicycles without having to ride on, next or near any Interstate, just pure residential street riding from to and fro.

With that understanding, I was wondering if there are any such communities like that in the Southwest. I learned many years ago the mayor of Salt Lake City was promoting a bicycle friendly city. What about that? Is this true? Do we have a Seattle/Philly style bicycle community in SLC?

What about northern Texas? Dallas? Denton? What about Colorado? Anything similar there?

I am already in Central Texas, nothing like Seattle or Philly here, planning on relocating again, but I love the Southwest.

  • Colorado has Boulder & Fort Collins but Colorado is not southwest USA? – gerrit Jul 8 '19 at 7:47
  • Voted to re-open as user asked in advance on meta and was advised to proceed. bicycles.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1348/… – Andy P Jul 9 '19 at 8:48
  • @AndyP That was one person's opinion and that person doesn't get to unilaterally decide what's appropriate for the site. If you think that person's reasoning was sound, then go ahead and vote to reopen. But voting to reopen just because somebody else said the question is OK is silly, IMO. – David Richerby Jul 9 '19 at 9:01
  • @DavidRicherby It's a tricky one. It's not directly about bicycles for sure. But then again I don't think it fits any of the off topic criteria either. So the decider for me is that it has generated a good quality answer that may be useful for others in the future. – Andy P Jul 9 '19 at 9:17
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    @Criggie, that's exactly what I am looking for. When I lived in Philadelphia, I used to ride my bicycle to work, especially during strikes on the part of their bus company. On any given day while waiting for the stop light in my bicycle lane, there could be upwards of 10 other riders next to me, going to work, going to a friends house, whatever. Something like that, but here in the my current region of U.S. – Daniel Jul 10 '19 at 17:10

According to the League of American Bicyclists, the following communities in the Southwest USA have gold level like Seattle does (no community in the Southwest has Platinum, and none in the USA have Diamond):

*not sure if this is Southwest

There are several communities in Southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico on the Silver list (as Philadelphia is), although I'm not sure if that standard is high enough to be considered a bicycling community. Out of the four US communities I have visited, three are listed Platinum and one is listed Silver, and I must say that the standards to reach Platinum appear not to be particularly high and the one Silver community I've listed has hardly any bike trails, so I would not necessarily consider that towns on the Silver and Bronze lists are bicycling communities.

My background/reference: I'm from The Netherlands living in Germany, so my scale may be calibrated differently. I have previously lived in Sweden, England, Canada (Toronto), and have in the USA professionally visited Fort Collins, Boulder, Madison (multiple times), and many times visited Iowa City (I was cycling on each of those visits).

  • Gerrit, this is an awesome answer and I think its great to get your perspective as someone from Europe where I understand there is a stronger bicycling community that here in the States. Your list seems to confirm my suspicions of who is and is not a true bicycling community. Would you believe Austin, TX won gold medal as such? Austin looks like an episode of CHIPs, that's a highway police show from the 70s in Los Angeles, meaning there are freeways and highways that cut across the whole city and it is in no way conducive to bicycling except if you live downtown and stay downtown all your life – Daniel Jul 8 '19 at 11:58
  • @Daniel I've never been to Austin, but you can't really tell from a car whether a place has good cycling infrastructure. The best cycling infrastructure I know is in Amsterdam Zuidoost, but you wouldn't tell that when on some of the many 4- or 6-lane thoroughfares or on the metro, because the cycling routes are in entirely different places (they're currently burying one major motorway to improve quality of life). Traffic-safe cycling infrastructure segregates slow from fast traffic (but this is not always socially safe). – gerrit Jul 8 '19 at 12:50
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    There's always Supai, Arizona. Although it doesn't allow bikes, is certainly also isn't built for cars :-) – gerrit Jul 8 '19 at 13:01
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    @daniel in Austin my friends had to take a cab for the few hundred yards from their hotel to their place of work. It was difficult to explain their boss why they had expenses for going five miles when both places had practically the same address. At the same time Austin es praised to them a a runners paradise by some working there. – gschenk Jul 8 '19 at 14:40
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    @Daniel Electrical assist or a bicycle lift! – gerrit Jul 8 '19 at 15:27

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