When you’re a student, you need to save money however you can. One great way of doing this is through biking instead of driving everywhere. If you use a bicycle as your primary method of transportation, then the costs go down! There’s no longer the need to pay for gas, car insurance, auto repairs and much more. In addition to saving money, regular bike riding has some amazing health benefits and allows you some time to get some fresh air, clear your head, and get a better handle on the stress that goes along with an intense academic environment. This article is going to show you the 50 best colleges for biking.
If you go to school in one of these college towns, you won’t even miss driving! The colleges and the local governments have worked hard at making their environments, not just bike friendly but bike paradises. Any student who bikes in one of the towns below knows that cycling to and from class is much more than just a mode of transportation. It’s something that brings them lots of joy.
While there are costs associated with owning a bike, such as maintaining it, it’s always much cheaper than having a car. And even better, many colleges give their students a helping hand when it comes to bike ownership and maintenance. They often provide low-cost rentals, cheap repairs and other services for enrolled students. This has played a large role in the colleges making this list. Biking is fun, but for most students, it’s a financial choice primarily. Even then, bike ownership still has its expenses. But every college in the list has some kind of service in place that makes biking easier for students, money-wise.
Any of the 50 colleges below is a fine choice for a student who wants to bike throughout their college years. There are numerous advantages that the colleges and their towns have for bike savvy people. But it’s also entirely possible that none of the selections is right for you. If that’s the case, then this article can still be useful. You can look at each selection and see why we’ve highlighted it as a great bike-friendly college. If one of your college options has something similar on offer, then it’s a strong sign that it’s the right college for you.
Our sources look at colleges, college towns and the surrounding areas for their bike friendliness. All three areas are important for our list. After looking at these sources, we’ve conducted our own extensive research. We’ve ensured that the colleges and their towns indeed have the biking credentials that the sources claim. We’ve also ensured that the colleges run biking incentives and that the college towns are committed to maintaining and expanding their biking infrastructure.
Our sources are as follows:
The Active Times, America’s Best College Towns for Cycling: https://www.theactivetimes.com/americas-best-college-towns-cycling
Livability, 8 Surprisingly Bike-Friendly Cities: https://livability.com/topics/love-where-you-live/8-surprisingly-bike-friendly-cities
People for Bikes, America’s Best Large Cities For Biking: https://peopleforbikes.org/blog/americas-best-large-cities-for-biking/
People for Bikes, America’s Best Medium Cities For Biking: https://peopleforbikes.org/placesforbikes/americas-best-medium-cities-for-biking/
People for Bikes, America’s Five Best Small Cities For Biking: https://peopleforbikes.org/blog/americas-five-best-small-cities-biking/
Singletracks, The 10 Best US Colleges and Universities for Mountain Bikers: https://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-trails/the-10-best-colleges-and-universities-for-mountain-bikers/3/
The League of American Bicyclists,Bicycle Friendly University All Current Awards Through 2018: https://bikeleague.org/sites/default/files/BFU_Award_List_2018_ALL.pdf
College Xpress, Colleges with Strength in Cycling: https://www.collegexpress.com/lists/list/colleges-with-strength-in-cycling/516/
IvyWise, Dr Kat’s list: Five Colleges for Bicycling Enthusiasts: https://www.ivywise.com/ivywise-knowledgebase/newsletter/article/dr-kats-list-five-colleges-for-bicycling-enthusiasts/
National Geographic, America’s 20 Best Mountain Bike Towns: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/lists/biking/best-mountain-biking-towns/
College Magazine, Top 10 Colleges Where Cyclists Rule the Streets: https://www.collegemagazine.com/top-10-colleges-cyclists-rule-streets/
Our final list has ranked the colleges by aggregated score on the above articles, evidence of maintenance/improvement of biking infrastructure and evidence of offering cost effective, bike friendly services to students.
Our results, from 50 to one, are below:
50. University of Central Florida
The students of the University of Central Florida have been key in making their college more bike friendly. One of the changes that the students have implemented on campus is a free 24-hour rental policy of 60 bikes. The college also has bike lanes installed all across the campus and a 25 to 35 mile per hour speed limit on cars driving near campus. However, the college does have to deal with being in Orlando, which still has some improvements to make for cyclists. Hopefully, the city can learn from the university and adopt greater bike safety rules. In 2017, The League of American Bicyclists granted University of Central Florida a bronze award. College Xpress names it one of America’s best colleges for cycling.
49. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo, California
In 2017, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo gained a bronze award from The League of American Bicyclists. College Xpress’s expert-curated list also names it as being one of the best cycling colleges. Since being recognized by these sources, the college has made even more strides at improving the bike-friendly nature of its campus. For instance, it has installed over 500 new bike parking spaces. This brings its total number of bike parking spaces to over 8,000.
48. Southern Illinois University
When Southern Illinois University won a bronze award from The League of American Bicyclists in 2016, the college’s sustainability coordinator said: “This designation recognizes one of the ways our students, faculty, and staff are working together to make our campus more sustainable.” The college runs a range of programs that ensure that bike enthusiast students can ride with confidence and safety. One is Saluki Spokes, an on-campus bike watch community that combats bike theft through registering bikes and alerting the community if a bike is stolen. It also offers free bike repairs. In addition, the college recently created a new trail system for mountain bikers, showing that it is expanding in innovative ways. Southern Illinois University is one of College Xpress’s cycling friendly colleges.
47. Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
The students at Brown University have really taken it upon themselves to help other students with their biking needs. The student group Bikes@Brown offers other students “free bike rentals, repair, and other services.” By 2017, this group had 20 bikes and repaired thousands of student bicycles. Thanks to the impact of this group, Brown’s status as a bike-friendly college has improved drastically in recent years. In 2017, The League of American Bicyclists named it one of America’s best biking colleges, giving it a bronze award. People for Bikes names Providence, the college’s home city, as the third-best medium-sized city for biking.
46. Colorado College
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado College has joined the elite list of colleges that give their students access to bikes at no cost! In 2018, the college partnered with PikeRide, Colorado Springs’s bike share program. Now students can ride any of the bikes in the system for free. There are two bike stations on campus, so all of the college’s students should have easy access to bikes. The only catch is that each free bike ride can only last up to 60 minutes. In 2015, The League of American Bicyclists gave Colorado College a bronze award. When the organization sees the free bike share system, it is almost certain to rise in the rankings! College Xpress also names it one of America’s top bike-friendly colleges.
45. American University
In 2017, American University became the second Washington DC-based college to feature on The League of American Bicyclists top biker friendly colleges list, with a bronze award. And it is true that more and more, students, faculty and staff at American University are embracing cycling. For instance, in 2018, the college’s Chaplain biked 505 miles to raise money for college programming. His efforts succeeded in raising $5,050. Washington, DC itself is People for Bikes’ fourth-best large city for biking.
44. Pitzer College
IvyWise considers Pitzer College to be one of the five best colleges in America for biking. College Xpress also names it a great college for cycling. The pride of this college’s pro-biking activities is its Green Bike Program. This program takes old bikes, refurbishes them and loans them to community members (including students) for free. The program also gives free bike repair services to any student, faculty member or staff member of any of the Claremont Consortium colleges. To get the most value out of this system, a Pitzer student needs to volunteer at the Green Bike program’s shop for four hours. After this, they will be given a bike for the entire semester.
43. James Madison University
In the year after James Madison University was given a bronze award from The League of American Bicyclists, the college began a major improvement project on its bike-friendly options. 2014 saw the college spend over $1.4 million on bike paths. The college also allows students to rent bikes for just $7 a week. This rental includes a helmet, bike lock, and lights. National Geographic also considers James Madison University’s hometown, Harrisonburg, to be one of the 20 best mountain biking towns in America.
42. University of Texas at Austin
Each year, the University of Texas at Austin continues “to work on improving bicycling on campus.” Its most recent innovation was a $1 per month bike share program for students. B-cycle is currently in the middle of an 18-month trial, meaning that once this is completed there may be a higher charge for students to use this service. At the moment, students can bike for an unlimited number of 60-minute rides for free across Austin. In 2013, The League of American Bicyclists gave the University of Texas at Austin a bronze award. College Xpress considers it to be one of the best cycling colleges in America.
41. University of San Diego
San Diego, California
When the University of San Diego was first featured on The League of American Bicyclists’ list at a bronze level in 2013, it was incredibly pleased. It attained the award due to having over 440 bike parking spaces, bike repair stands, and an air pump. The college has since expanded its bike-friendly offerings. For instance, it organizes mountain biking outdoor adventures for $10 a day for people with their own bikes or $30 a day for people without bikes. People for Bikes also names San Diego as the fifth best large city for biking.
40. Georgetown University
People for Bikes has named Washington DC as the fourth best large city for biking. The source notes that the city always uses infrastructure development as an excuse to improve its biking facilities. For instance, in summer 2018, the city finished a new sports stadium and added bike lanes to the surrounding area. Georgetown University itself has held a bronze award from The League of American Bicyclists since 2013. However, a recent addition to Georgetown University’s bike accessibility offerings could ensure that it gets a higher award in future years. It has partnered with LimeBike, which allows students to access bikes from campus and around the city for the price of 50 cents for 30 minutes of biking.
39. Colorado Mesa University
Grand Junction, Colorado
Singletracks states that Colorado Mesa may have the best year-round mountain biking opportunities in America. College Xpress’s experts also state that the college is one of the best for biking. Colorado Mesa University is more than happy to ensure that students can access this incredible nearby biking mecca. For instance, it offers very affordable adventure trips in mountain biking. Colorado Mesa University’s competitive cycling team is also one of the best in America. It recently placed second in the Mountain Bike National Championships standings.
38. University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The two lists that feature the University of New Mexico place it in polarizing positions. Singletracks names it one of the 10 best colleges for mountain bikers. The League of American Bicyclists, however, only gives the college a bronze award. The University of New Mexico appears to be increasing its bike-friendly activities. For instance, in 2018 it participated in the City of Albuquerque’s Bike to Work Day. On that day, the college’s cycle stops offered students who biked into college “free coffee, fruit, t-shirts and fun cycling gear.”
37. Eastern Mennonite University
The greatest asset to biking at Eastern Mennonite University isn’t a bike share system or the number of bikes on campus. It’s a person. In 2019, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine named the college’s resident bike repairer, Ben Wyse, the best bike mechanic in the Blue Ridge region. Wyse makes house calls and on-site visits to students, towing a trailer of tools that comprise a mobile bike shop, making his services both affordable and convenient. College Magazine also included Eastern Mennonite University as the 10th best college for biking because it rents bikes out at just $20 per semester. National Geographic names the college’s hometown, Harrisonburg, as one of the best cities in America for mountain biking.
36. North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina
The discount bike share program that was launched by North Carolina State University in 2017 has been a huge success. This program brought 300 bikes to campus, charging just 50 cents for 30 minutes of bike riding. Many students, staff and faculty of the college began using this incredibly low-cost system. The college even had to add 200 more bikes to the system in 2018, due to the huge demand created. College Xpress names the college as one of the best for cycling, and The League of American Bicyclists gives it a silver award.
35. Michigan State University
Since 2015, Michigan State University has offered students a free bike share program. There are currently 40 bikes and 1 handcycle available to students. This program works on a seven-hour basis, and the bike must be returned to campus by 8 pm on the same day as the rental. This is just one part of the college’s initiative to increase the number of bike commuters on campus, which also includes offering secure bike garages. Michigan State University has a silver award from The League of American Bicyclists and is College Magazine’s ninth-best cycling college.
34. University of Florida
Gator Gears is University of Florida’s bike rental and repair service. Any student who joins this can receive a bicycle for unlimited use from $40 for one semester to $100 for the full academic year. This price includes a U lock for the bike. Students are also allowed free repairs during this time. Thanks to this incredible service, University of Florida has been ranked at silver on The League of American Bicyclists’ list since 2016. It also appears on College Xpress’s list of the best cycling colleges.
33. Emory University
Graduate students really get the most perks when it comes to biking at Emory University. These students can register their bike as their primary commute method, which gives them 40 free trips on public transportation in case of bad weather. The college also rents bikes out, with the cost from May to August being just $50. The term time rental price from August to May is $175. Emory University has a silver award from The League of American Bicyclists and is College Magazine’s sixth-best biking college.
32. Lewis and Clark College
The leadership at Lewis and Clark College wants to create a culture of biking. It is well placed for this goal, being located in Portland, Oregon, People for Bikes’ number one large city for bicyclists. Students at Lewis and Clark College can enjoy access to bikes year round for next to no cost. An annual membership with the college’s bike share partnership costs just $10. This gives students trips for three hours on one of the thousands of bikes in the system at no additional cost. Any trip that lasts longer than three hours costs $1 an hour. College Xpress names Lewis and Clark College as one of the best universities for biking in America.
31. University of Nebraska, Lincoln
University of Nebraska, Lincoln has made it its mission “to empower bicycling and bicycle education in the UNL community.” A core part of this is through offering affordable bike rentals and repair services. It offers students single speed bicycles for a whole semester for just $75. Mountain bikes can be rented for $50 a week. New tire installations are done for just $3. In 2013, The League of American Bicyclists gave the college a silver award. College Magazine names the University of Nebraska, Lincoln as being the eighth best college for biking.
30. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Thanks to MIT’s strong connection to the local area, students can access its city’s bike share program for only $35 a year. This gives students a discounted hourly rate access to over 200 bike docking stations in Cambridge, Boston, Somerville, and Brookline. The college also has eight fix-it stations, which offer students free access to bike repair tools. Students attending MIT have many opportunities to enjoy its low-cost access to bikes and repair services. For instance, The Active Times notes that Cambridge has the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway, which has played a strong role in the source naming the city the fifth best biking college town in America. Massachusetts Institute of Technology also has a silver award in The League of American Bicyclists top biking colleges list.
29. Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania
Students at Pennsylvania State University are able to access Pennsylvania State University’s bike share program for $25 a year, which gives students free one-hour bike rides. These bikes are available from 17 different locations on campus. PSU also runs bike workshops every month which are free for students to attend. Pennsylvania State University has enjoyed a silver ranking on The League of American Bicyclists’ bike-friendly college list since 2012. The college is also ranked on College Xpress’s cycle-friendly schools list.
28. Fort Lewis College
There are over 500 miles of mountain biking tracks around Fort Lewis College according to Singletracks. National Geographic considers the college’s town to be one of the 20 best places in America for mountain biking. The school is also on College Xpress’s list of the top cycling colleges. Fort Lewis College has removed all barriers that students might face with enjoying the mountain biking opportunities in the area. That’s because For Lewis College’s Outdoor Pursuits Center allows students to rent mountain bikes, bike helmets and locks entirely for free for two days of the week. There are late fees and excessive damage fees, should a student incur them, but this is still an incredible deal!
27. Virginia Tech
Singletracks is the source most impressed with Virginia Tech’s biking opportunities. It notes that the college has incredible mountain biking trails less than three miles from campus. College Xpress considers the college to be great for cycling. And The League of American Bicyclists gives it a bronze award for bike friendliness. And the college has kept up to date with the national trend of introducing bike share services. In August 2018, it launched Roam NRV, installing 12 bike stations (eight on campus) with 75 bikes on offer overall. This bike share system costs $60 a year, which offers riders 120 minutes of riding time a day.
26. Indiana University, Bloomington
Indiana University, Bloomington is rising in The League of American Bicyclists’ rankings. In 2011, it attained a bronze award. But in 2017, this was upgraded to a silver award. The college appears to have set its sights on a gold or even platinum level award in the future, as it has improved biking opportunities since this award. For instance, in 2018, it teamed up with the City of Bloomington to offer an affordable bike share program. Students are able to sign up for a membership that costs $5 a month for the first three months and $10 a month afterward. This membership offers an unlimited number of 60-minute bike rides for no extra charge. Bike rides longer than one hour cost $1 every 30 minutes. College Xpress and IvyWise also consider Indiana University, Bloomington to be one of the top biking colleges.
25. University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California
The bike rental services at the University of California, Santa Cruz have an unusual system for students obtaining a bike. Students are entitled to use a college-owned bike for free for a quarter of the year, but they must first “submit a 500 to 700-word essay which says why you need a bike, what will you use the bike for, and how will you contribute to the bike community.” The college also offers students free bicycle maintenance during fall, winter, and spring (with no essay necessary.) Since 2014, The League of American Bicyclists has considered University of California, Santa Cruz to be a silver level bike-friendly college. College Xpress also lists the college as a great place for cyclists. Singletracks also name the college as one of the 10 best for mountain bikers.
24. Lees-McRae College
Banner Elk, North Carolina
With an enrollment of just 660, Lees-McRae College has the second smallest enrollment of any college on The League of American Bicyclists’ awards list. This makes it the perfect destination for students that love to bike and integrate with small communities. It earned its silver award from the organization in 2016. Lees-McRae College also features on Singletracks’s list of the best colleges for mountain bikes and on College Xpress’s list of the best cycling colleges. And for people that want to involve biking in their careers, then Lees McRae College is likely to be their best possible college destination. That’s because it has America’s only cycling studies minor.
23. University of Louisville
The campus of the University of Louisville offers six different fix-it stations that have the basic tools and pumps required for bike maintenance. Students can access these stations entirely for free. But if a student can’t repair their bike’s issues themselves, then they can contact the Louisville Cycling Coalition, which offers free repairs. The college’s bike share program is also one of the best in the country, allowing students to take a bike, lock, and helmet out for free for one day. The League of American Bicyclists gives University of Louisville a silver award for bike friendliness. National Geographic names the college as being in one of the 20 best cities for mountain biking. College Magazine names it the fifth best college for biking.
22. Santa Monica College
Santa Monica, California
In 2018, Santa Monica College improved its League of American Bicyclists award from bronze to silver. In future years it could definitely increase to gold and maybe even platinum. That’s because Santa Monica College and the City of Santa Monica have collaborated to create safer bike paths and built many more bike parking stations both on campus and in the city itself. The city of Santa Monica is Livability’s seventh-best surprisingly bike-friendly city and People for Bikes’ second-best small biking city.
21. University of Vermont
In 2018, the University of Vermont managed to upgrade its award with The League of American Bicyclists from silver to gold. The college has really done all that it can to provide bikes to students at incredibly low costs. For students that want to bike intensively throughout their time of study, the college rents bikes to students for $50 a year. However, for more casual bikers, students can access a discount plan from Burlington’s bike share service, Greenride, which allows them to get 60 minutes of free ride time per day for $25 per year. College Xpress also considers the University of Vermont to be a great cycling college.
20. Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire
Students at Dartmouth College get to access a bike share program for just $20 a year. This money gives students one hour of riding on weekdays and three hours on weekends with no extra charges. Additional hours cost $3, and 24 hours costs $24. Bikes are available from nine different stations across the college’s campus. Dartmouth College also enjoys a gold award from The League of American Bicyclists and has been named as one of the best colleges for cycling on College Xpress.
19. Oregon State University
In addition to a low-cost bike share program and inexpensive term-long bike rentals, Oregon State University also runs a program that allows their students to earn prizes for biking. ZAP is the program that gives students a prize just for trying out the program and enters students into a monthly prize draw for biking a certain distance. Oregon State University is currently listed as having a gold award on The League of American Bicyclists and is on College Xpress’s top cycling colleges list.
18. University of Washington
There are three main campuses that make up the University of Washington. Both sources that list the college point out that it is the Seattle campus that is great for biking. College Xpress features the college, and The League of American Bicyclists grants it a gold award. Students, faculty, and staff at the University of Washington have developed an interesting alternative to the bike sharing services that are taking over other colleges. It has created something called Bike Buddy, which matches inexperienced bikers with experienced ones. This system allows more people to gain confidence in biking to college. On top of Bike Buddy, University of Washington offers half price on all rides on the city’s bike share program.
17. Harvard University
Two Cambridge, Massachusetts (which is part of the greater Boston metropolitan area) have made The League of American Bicyclists’ awards list. Harvard University received the higher award, winning gold compared to MIT’s silver. Part of the reason why Harvard outperformed MIT is due to the low-cost services on offer to students. Anyone affiliated with the college is able to purchase a bike helmet for $10 and able to access a range of free bike workshops. The Active Times names Cambridge as the fifth best bike college town in America.
16. University of Utah
Salt Lake City
In 2018, the University of Utah rose on The League of American Bicyclists’ list from having a silver award to a gold award. The college has ascended in these rankings due to its innovative approach to getting students to bike to college. For instance, one former impediment to biking was a hill that is en route to the college. But the University of Utah has created three different routes over the hill, with each stating that they are of different levels of difficulty. Additionally, students who attend the University of Utah are guaranteed to receive the best prices in Salt Lake City at the college bike shop. Singletracks considers the University of Utah to be one of the top 10 mountain biking colleges.
15. University of Oregon
Since 2011, The League of American Bicyclists has named University of Oregon a gold level college for student bikers. The Active Times also lists Eugene, Oregon as the fourth best college town for bikers. One reason for the University of Oregon and its home city’s strong reputation as a bike-friendly area is its shared bike loan program, which is constantly growing. In 2018, this program was greatly expanded, installing eight bike share stations on campus and 27 more in the city of Eugene. Students, faculty, and staff at the University of Oregon are given 15 free minutes of riding a day and then charged at 10 cents per minute. However, a $5 monthly pass offers one hour of riding a day at no extra charge.
14. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, Michigan
The primary reason that Livability includes the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor at fourth in its surprisingly bike-friendly cities list is that it has over 79 miles of bike lanes. This amount is impressive for a city of only 100,000 residents. Ann Arbor is also People for Bikes’ fourth-best medium-sized city for biking. It ranks on College Xpress’s unnumbered best biking colleges list. On The League of American Bicyclists, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor currently has a silver award for biking friendliness. The college has stated that it is planning to increase the quality and quantity of its biking facilities in the future. For instance, it is currently installing 14 bike share docking stations on campus.
13. Northern Arizona University
Since 2012, Northern Arizona University has retained its gold award on The League of American Bicyclists’ best biking colleges list. However, in 2018, it trialed something that could see it attain the incredibly rare platinum award from the organization. The college worked with its home city, Flagstaff, to launch a bike share program that undercuts almost all others across the country. There were 300 bikes in the city and on campus that students were able to ride for the incredible price of only 50 cents per hour. The system that the college had implemented also allowed students to lock and leave a bike anywhere they wished within the city of Flagstaff, as opposed to just in a docking station. The trial was deemed a success at its end, and the college and city are currently working together to create a permanent bike share program that is bigger and better than the trial. The college also features on Singletrack’s best mountain biking colleges list and College Xpress’s best cycling colleges list.
12. Boise State University
Boise State University has retained a gold award from The League of American Bicyclists since 2011. Its Cycle Learning Center, in particular, is a source of pride for the college. This center provides free bike maintenance classes for students every Wednesday. The center also encourages students to bike by offering free incentives, such as free bike tune-ups and t-shirts for every 1,000 to 10,000 miles cycled. And lastly, the Center also organizes group bike rides every week into its nearby mountains. This is a great way for the college to utilize its local resources, which is why Boise State University has been named one of the 10 best colleges for mountain bikers by Singletracks. The city of Boise itself is in the top 20 mountain biking towns in National Geographic.
11. University of California, Berkeley
In 2013, the University of California Berkeley gained a gold award for being bike friendly from The League of American Bicyclists. The Active Times also names it the seventh best college town for biking. Lastly, College Xpress names it one of the best colleges for cycling. University of California, Berkeley recently expanded its biking system with a bike share option being offered to educational opportunity students for free for one year and $5 a month after the first year. Other students can receive memberships for $13 a month These memberships allow students to access over 3,000 bikes in more than 250 stations located in Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville, San Francisco, and San Jose. Bike rides in this system are free for 45 minutes.
10. University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California
Like many other colleges in the University of California System, The League of American Bicyclists considers the University of California, Santa Barbara to be an incredible college for biking students. The organization awarded it a gold status in 2011. College Xpress ranks the UC, Santa Barbara on its pro-cycling colleges list. The Active Times also considers the college’s home city to be the eighth best college town for biking. Lastly, College Magazine names it the third best biking college. University of California, Santa Barbara has a range of great initiatives to encourage its students to bike. For instance, it runs a yearly bike fair where students can buy used bikes for only $50.
9. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
While most colleges are only just beginning to offer their students access to low-cost bike sharing systems, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities has had one in place for almost a decade. For $75 per year, students can access 60-minute bike rides for free from 190 stations in Minneapolis and St Paul. The college even has more than 20 bike docking stations on campus. The college’s early adoption of this bike sharing technology led to it being named a platinum level bike-friendly college by The League of American Bicyclists in 2011. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities also features on College Xpress’s cycling colleges list and is College Magazine’s fourth-best biking college.
8. Portland State University
Portland State University is one of five platinum level colleges on The League of American Bicyclists’ award list. It also ranks at seventh on College Magazine’s list of the best biking colleges. What’s even more impressive is that the city of Portland is People for Bikes’ top large city for biking in America. Portland State University is filled with bike-friendly initiatives. Perhaps the best one is the VikeBike Program. This program refurbishes abandoned bikes that can be rented out to students either for free or for $45 per term, depending on a student’s needs. These bike rentals come with a free set of fenders, rack or basket, front and rear lights, U-lock with mounting bracket, a helmet and more.
7. Stanford University
The leadership at Stanford University is incredibly committed to maintaining its status as a fantastic biking college. It releases the Bicycle Commuter Access Study, which identifies the different ways that it and the city of Stanford can improve conditions for bikers. It notes that despite an incredible platinum award from The League of American Bicyclists, it still has areas for improvement, such as the need to create more bypass systems across highways. Despite this, College Magazine names it the top biking college in America. College Xpress also ranks Stanford University as a great cycling college in its expert sourced list.
6. University of California, Davis
The League of American Bicyclists considers the University of California, Davis to be one of only five colleges that is worthy of its platinum award. College Xpress also names it one of the best colleges for cycling. College Magazine considers it to be the second best biking college in America. Additionally, The Active Times names the college’s city as the best biking town in America. It notes that an incredible 19% of the town’s residents commute by bike. And University of California, Davis is also proud to note that it is constantly updating and improving conditions for bikers. Since 2013, it has installed 5,000 new bike racks, given students thousands of free bicycle lights and restricted car traffic in favor of bike zones.
5. University of Colorado, Boulder
In 2016, University of Colorado, Boulder gained a gold award in The League of American Bicyclists’ top bike-friendly universities list. College Xpress names it one of the most bike-friendly colleges. Livability names Boulder the fifth best surprisingly bike-friendly city. People for Bikes also ranks Boulder as being the second best medium-sized city for bikers. University of Colorado, Boulder and Boulder have gained this recognition, as both the college and the city have developed its bike networks in recent years. However, The Active Times names Boulder as the second best college town for biking largely because of the University of Colorado, Boulder’s affordable bike share program, which costs from $0 to $40 a year and has 40 stations across the city.
4. University of Montana
The city of Missoula, Montana has something for every kind of biker. Singletracks considers the town to have some of the very best mountain bike trails in America. The Active Times also names it the 10th best college town for cycling due to its amazing surrounding environment. In 2013, the University of Montana gained a gold award from The League of American Bicyclists. College Xpress’s experts name it one of the best cycling colleges. The college is really doing everything it can to encourage its students to take advantage of the biking options available. Students can check out bikes for free for up to 48 hours. It also rents bikes for $60 per semester to students who want to use bikes for more dedicated periods of time. Lastly, it offers 18-month interest-free loans of $1,000 to allow students to buy the best possible bikes in an easy way.
3. University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona enjoys two second place rankings on the methodology lists. It is Livability’s second-best surprisingly bike-friendly city and People for Bike’s second-best large city for biking. The University of Arizona has also claimed a gold award since 2011 on The League of American Bicyclists’ list and is on College Xpress’s list and Ivywise’s list. One thing that really sets the University of Arizona apart from many others is that it offers its students free bike repairs on campus, meaning that students really have no excuse to not use their bikes!
2. University of Wisconsin, Madison
Livability ranks Madison as America’s number one surprisingly bike friendly town for several reasons. Most prominently, it states that during the winter, bike paths are plowed more often than streets. It also notes that the city has over 240 miles of bikeways. For similar reasons, People for Bikes also names the city as the third best large city for biking, and The Active Times names it the ninth best college town for biking. The University of Wisconsin, Madison itself has a gold award from The League of American Bicyclists and is featured on College Xpress’s list of the top cycling colleges. The college even boasts that it has more bicycle parking than car parking on campus. And students can even access bikes for zero dollars. Madison has a program called the Red Bike Project which allows its residents to ride a bike for free. It runs from April to November every year. It requires a refundable deposit of $100, which is returned when the bike is checked back in.
1. Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado
Fort Collins and its local college, Colorado State University, appear on five methodology lists. Most impressively, The League of American Bicyclists names the college one of five in America to have platinum level biking services for students. College Xpress names it one of the top colleges for biking. Fort Collins also tops People for Bikes’ list of the best medium-sized cities for biking, comes in third on Livability’s list of surprisingly bike-friendly cities and comes in at sixth on The Active Times’s list of America’s best college towns for biking. Colorado State University has fully embraced its identity as a bike lover’s college. It currently has over 17,000 bike parking spaces, has the Campus Bicycle Advisory Committee and has committed to continue to “invest in cycling infrastructure.”
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