11 Great Retirement Towns for Biking

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

August 25, 2014 — More and more active baby boomers have discovered the joys of biking – whether it just getting around the neighborhood on 2 wheels, the occasional rail2trail expedition, or longer trips through the countryside or even across the country. Cyclists save gas, get healthy exercise, have time to experience the sights, and are kind to the planet at the same time. In fact battery-assisted bikes, which use batteries to help you get up hills or assist on longer trips, are one of the fastest growing products in many places. So it stands to reason that when it comes to retirement, you might want to look at a place that is friendly to bikers and biking in general.


What makes a bike-friendly town?
Here are some some of the characteristics for what we think makes a great biking town:
– Bike trails on city roads. Well-marked trails with good separation from cars make biking much safer and a lot more fun.
– Bike trails in parks. Sometimes these trails might be for street bikes, sometimes they might great mountain biking opportunities.

Nearby rail to trail systems. Many abandoned railroad beds have been reclaimed as public bike or walking trails. They are usually very scenic, safe, and a wonderful alternative to biking on public roads.
– Traffic features that don’t discourage cyclists. If a town has lots of big highways with limited access, heavy traffic, complex intersections, or enormous hills or other obstacle, you might want to reconsider retiring there.
Good public access to interesting mountain biking. Mountain biking can be a lot of fun but you need trails to do it. More and more towns great mountain biking trails are being discovered and created as the popularity of the sport grows. Ski resorts are keeping their lifts running all summer for bikers as a way to expand their season.
Citibike rental location. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia and Jim.henderson

Citibike rental location. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia and Jim.henderson


– Easy access to rental bikes. Many major cities now have amazing programs where you can rent a bike and return it just anywhere hours later. New York’s Citi Bike program has been a huge success, as have similar programs in many European cities. But even smaller towns can offer the casual cyclist a chance to get some biking in if there are bike shops in the town.

Great places for around town biking and commuting.
Minneapolis, Minnesota. This bike friendly town has 120 miles of on- and off-street bicycle trails and lanes. You can find indoor bike parking and other cycling-friendly facilities too.

Portland, Oregon. The City of Roses is exceedingly bike-friendly with almost 270 miles of street lanes and paths, set-off with nonskid paint. Not only does it have miles of really well-used bike lanes, it now has bike-oriented businesses springing up along those routes. Businesses like apartment houses, office buildings, bars, and more. There are also top-notch parks with trails; mountain and road biking are close. See this article about “Bike-Friendly Businesses in Portland”. Of course you can also drive a short distance and enjoy top-notch mountain or road biking.

Charlevoix, Michigan. We love this boating destination on Lake Michigan, famous for many things including its 26 mile lake and woods rail-to-trail known as the Bike Path.

Key West, Florida. Key West is a bike kind of town – a car is not required in Key West. The most popular bikes are cruisers with big fat tires, comfortable seats, and baskets for cargo. They are built for comfortable rides and bringing home the groceries.A great 1 to 2 hour cycle is to circumnavigate the entire island, with views of the bay on one side and ocean beaches on the other.

Eugene, Oregon. As you might expect, the home of Nike is really nuts about biking, running, trails, and parks. Just outside of town is every kind of biking as well.

Austin, Texas. This is after all, the hometown of Lance Armstrong. The city has a plan for incorporating bicycles into all new projects. It is rated high for biking.

Columbia Missouri. Another college town (University of Missouri and others), Columbia is a Money Magazine Best Town with bike paths and bike-friendly ambiance

Long Beach, California. One of the greatest bike paths is the one that goes for miles along the beach. It’s paved and great for exercise and people watching. On top of that, Long Beach is considered a very walkable city as well.

Chicago, Illinois. Chicago is of course a huge city, but biking is possible and enjoyable most of the year. A 18 mile trail system winds through parks along the waterfront, and another goes all the way to the Mississippi River and back (537 miles!)

Boulder, Colorado. For many cyclists, Boulder is a biking dream. City parks and trails flourish in a town that celebrates being green and athletic. Mountain biking begins within the city limits.

Burlington, Vermont. Home to the University of Vermont and on the shores of beautiful Lake Champlain, Burlington is close to a famous mountain bike trail called “The International”. Big-time mountain bikers train and race here, although like most places in Vermont, it seems like everybody is an athlete out on their bike.

For Further Reference
Rail to Trails National Map
America’s Top 100 Bicycle Friendly Cities
15 Great Biking Towns
Great Towns for Walkability

Comments. Is the biking especially good where you live? What are you looking for in a bike friendly town? Please tell us about it in the Comments section below.



Posted by Admin on August 24th, 2014

11 Comments »

  1. Hilton Head Island which is recognized as a top high end retirement area has over 100 miles of bike paths mixed in with over 20 golf courses, world class tennis facilities, over 15 miles of outstanding beach with excellent access and biking allowed on the beach all of which is open to the public and unlimited dining choices for that break while biking. Residents call this area “the little patch of paradise in the Low Country of South Carolina”.

    by Paul Smith — August 25, 2014

  2. We have spent a week every April, for many years on HHI and agree with Paul that biking is fantastic there! Interesting, well- maintained, dedicated bike paths with no worries from vehicle traffic right next to you. Also, Sanibel Island in Florida, another high end retirement spot has superb dedicated bike paths all over the island! No need for cars in either place — you can bike to the beaches, to explore wildlife preserves, to shop and to dinner in both places – just watch out for the gators sunning on the bike paths, in both places!

    by SandyZ — August 27, 2014

  3. Hot Springs Village Arkansas has 30 miles of wonderful nature trails for biking and walking. This community is the largest gated community in the nation and boasts 11 lakes 9 championship golf courses, 2 beaches, 2 marinas and a 650 seat performing arts center.
    We bike in Hot Springs Village every day and especially enjoy the fact that you can bike the scenic golf courses after they close in the evening. No better way to excercise than biking and Hot Springs Village, Arkansas is a premier biking community! http://www.GoHotSpringsVillage.com

    by Jeff Hollansworth — August 27, 2014

  4. What about Lake Tahoe?

    by dina — August 27, 2014

  5. I love your blog posts! All of the cities you mentioned are great for biking except for one thing weather. In downtown San Diego we have total off road biking paths and weather in the 70s all year around. I’d love to tell you more.

    by Marsha Shepard — August 27, 2014

  6. This article shows Minneapolis as having 120 miles of bicycle lanes and trails. I believe that is for just Minneapolis proper. The metro and surrounding areas have hundreds of miles of bike trails, many well away from car traffic and simply beautiful. I have never found another area with as many fabulous bike trails. Many paved or graveled trails even in the metro area would have you believing you are 200 miles into the boondocks.

    by Lars Lidberg — August 27, 2014

  7. Bicycling is a big part of the lifestyle in Asheville, NC. Many of the city streets have a bike lane and motorists are very conscientious about being aware of bikers and their safety. The city has several yearly events that involve biking such as the Bikes and Brews tour where you can local bicycle between microbreweries and if you have “oversampled” the goods, there is a bike transport enabled bus to provide a designated driver! And for the real biking enthusiast, there’s always the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    by cherie — August 27, 2014

  8. While Boulder may be a great place to ride a bicycle, the price of homes there is substantially higher than what one could find in Longmont or Loveland.

    by Matthew E. Asai — August 27, 2014

  9. Two cities: (1) Burlington. In addition to the mountain biking is the Bike Path along Lake Champlain and then over the old railway into the lake. Being rebuilt, Go to http://www.btvbikepath.com. (2) West Palm Beach, Fl. Apoxee Wilderness Trail utilizes miles of canal maintenance roads. Go to http://wpbparks.com/hiking-trails/apoxee-park/

    by OldNassau — August 27, 2014

  10. You didn’t mention Tucson and fron what I’ve seen and heard it I’d really into biking. I don’t have a bike yet…still recovering from health issues…but hope to get one soon. October thru may should be fine for biking.

    by Ginger — August 27, 2014

  11. Ocean Shores, Washington is a great place to bike for the casual biker. No hills, very limited traffic(watch out for the deer and fawns in the spring) and you can bike to.your heart’s content. The entire are is only approximately 3+ miles long so biking to the post office, grocery store, beach, swimming pools, parks,.library , movie house, or any of the many restaurants is very easy to do. It can get a little more tricky during the summer on the weekends, but usually the entire road system can be “your oyster”. You can bike to the lakes and many canals and see wildlife as you explore the eco system of the area. There are many trails to explore in and out of the wooded area also. See the sun rise first thing in the morning after biking to get a hot cup of joe at one of the coffee stands and watch it go down in the evening over the beautiful Pacific beach and still have time to wheel on home before dark!

    by jeorjia gooch — August 28, 2014

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