A History of Cycling in the US


Bike riding became a popular alternative means of transportation in the late 1800s, as bike manufacturing began in the United States. Adults rode their bikes for pleasure, to socialize and to commute. However, by the 1920s, automotive travel was preferred and cycling was demoted to a children’s activity.


Riding Re-emergence

During the 1970s, adults once again began riding bikes. In 1973, approximately 15 million bikes were purchased by adults. Bikes were used for commuting and recreation in rural and urban areas. Yet, given the choice between riding a bike or traveling by car, most preferred vehicles. During this time, safety sharing roadways with vehicles was also a concern, which led to the development of safety gear and eventually, bike paths.


Statistics indicate that in many European countries, bicycles are used up to 30 percent of the time as a means of transportation. Americans continue preferring automotive transportation. However, The League of American Bicyclists indicates that the number of bike commuters has been growing since 2001. Many large cities across the country have designated biking lanes in downtown regions and nearby neighborhoods. Along with commuting, some destinations provide the chance for scenic recreational journeys by bike.


Top Cycling Cities

  • Boulder, Colorado-The community is situated along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and has hundreds of miles of designated bike routes. Enjoy a ride in the city or venture into the mountains. Boulder also has a bike-sharing program.
  • Portland, Oregon-The local bike sharing program offers numerous rental spots throughout the metropolis. Along with enjoying a recreational ride through the city streets, bikers are also welcome to explore the nearby Forest Park.
  • Chicago, Illinois-Many commute using bikes in the city. Others enjoy the architectural views. Bike paths also give cyclists the chance to venture along the shores of Lake Michigan.