For many, learning to ride a bike is a favorite childhood memory. You might even remember exactly what your first bike looked like. But as the years pass, many people's interests switch from riding bicycles to driving cars. There's no reason to abandon biking in adulthood, however. From the environmental and financial savings to the body and mind benefits, biking could be one of the best things you can do for yourself. Strap that helmet on (safety first!) and check out the best places in the U.S. to ride a bike.
Oh, the Places You'll Go
Biking isn't just good for the biker — it's proven to be good for communities, too. The more people ride, the less a city deals with pollution and rush-hour traffic. The residents save money, too. Take Portland, for example: According to BikePortland.org, the city's increase in biking led to a 7 percent drop in car use that saved residents $138 million a year.
To determine the best U.S. spots for biking, the nonprofit PeopleforBikes spent two years analyzing cities in detail, surveying riders, city staffers, maps, and publicly available data to make a whopping 184 calculations per city. Their ranking system measures a city on five metrics: typical bike ridership, public safety measures, how connected the paths are to important areas of the city, how fast the path network is expanding, and how far that network reaches. If you prefer two wheels to four, this list has got you covered with the best places to ride.
1. Madison, Wisconsin
Madison is the definition of a bike-friendly city, with nearly 75 miles of off-street bicycle paths and 120 miles of on-street bicycle paths. They even have designated safety zones at intersections and bike-specific parking at the majority of businesses.
2. Tucson, Arizona
Tucson has ideal terrain for biking during all seasons, and it's even known as the go-to biking spot during the winter. Tucson earned its ranking thanks to 660 miles of bike lanes on the street, group friendly riding organizations, and even plenty of bike-friendly shops.
3. Portland, Oregon
Portland is home to the nation's highest percentage of bike commuters, not least of all because it boasts 315 miles of bikeways and several bike-themed events to partake in. Some people might go to Lollapalooza, but bike diehards go to Pedalpalooza, Portland's famous annual bike festival.
4. Boulder, Colorado
It's no secret Colorado is known for its outdoor activities and active lifestyles. Biking is one of the easiest ways to get around this mountainous town. Boulder earns its ranking for its safety laws and more than 300 miles of beautiful bike paths.
5. Wausau, Wisconsin
Don't let the size of this city fool you. With a population of just over 39,000, Wausau ranks second in the country for cyclists thanks to having long bike paths throughout the whole city, including everything from on-street bike lanes to picturesque mountain trails.
6. Fort Collins, Colorado
"Bikes, beers, and bands" are the three B's of Fort Collins, Colorado, so it's no wonder that it ranks as the number-one city for biking. It has about 185 miles of bikes lanes and special cyclist traffic signals, making it one of the easiest cities in which to run errands on your bike.
This article first appeared on Curiosity.com.