• To See The Future of Cycling in the U.S., I Slipped Over the Border

    by  • August 16, 2013 • Bicycle Friendly Places • 8 Comments

    Last week I slipped over the border to get a glimpse into a possible future for U.S. cycling.

    Less than 40 miles from the U.S. border is a city of 1.8 million people at the heart of the 15th largest metropolitan area in North America.

    I woke up the first morning of my visit to this city and took a walk to find some breakfast. But within a few blocks all thoughts of breakfast were forgotten. I stood, stupefied, on a corner and witnessed a scene I have never before seen.

    Cyclists. Lots of cyclists. Streams of cyclists. Not on an organized ride or tour but simply on their way somewhere. Finally, I took out my camera phone and took these pictures:

















    I’ll talk a little bit more next week about the lessons that this unbelievably bicycle-friendly place has for the U.S. But if you know where this is and you’ve been there yourself, please share your own comments.



      James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware.






    James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware. He is a member of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (by whom he was named the 2014 Professional of the Year, Nonprofit Sector), the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Delaware Bicycle Council. He serves on the board of directors of Delaware Greenways and the Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance and as the co-chair of the policy committee of the Advisory Council on Walkability and Pedestrian Awareness. He holds engineering degrees from Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin and is the only registered lobbyist for cycling and walking in Delaware. He helped create, and continues to lead Bike Delaware's participation in, the Walkable Bikeable Delaware campaign. During his tenure as Bike Delaware's executive director, Delaware advanced in the national Bicycle Friendly State rankings for five years in a row, farther and faster than any other state, ever.

    8 Responses to To See The Future of Cycling in the U.S., I Slipped Over the Border

    1. Josh
      August 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      Great stuff but you never actually say where you went. I’m not located anywhere near Delaware so although slipping over the border, 40 miles away, may mean something to you, it unfortunately means nothing to me.

      So… where is this magical city you spent time in?

      • James
        August 16, 2013 at 3:47 pm

        Chris J figured it out!

    2. Chris J
      August 16, 2013 at 3:43 pm


      • James
        August 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm


    3. August 17, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      I’m not against protected cycletracks where appropriate or even two way cycletracks in limited applications but you can really just keep Montreal’s blanket application of two-way cycletracks all over their city.

      Yes, I know. I’m such the LCI but other cities have done a marvelous job making their cities bicycle friendly without throwing out the traffic rulebook.

      • James
        August 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm

        >>>other cities have done a marvelous job making their cities bicycle friendly without throwing out the traffic rulebook

        The most bicycle-friendly places in North American (Montreal, Boulder, Portland and Davis) have all definitely colored way outside the approved AASHTO road design rulebook (though their traffic regulations I believe are all just like anyplace else).

        • Max
          August 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm

          I live in Boulder and would not consider it one of the most bike friendly places in the US. Berkeley and Oakland, CA never make these lists and are both much more bike friendly with their systems of bicycle boulevards and generally more observant drivers. Boulder has bike paths that meander too much for people who actually ride to get somewhere and bike lanes on only the busiest streets. Combine that with a populace that thinks a 4 ton vehicle is normal, that traffic rules, lane markings, and speed limits do not apply to them, and that nothing is wrong with being on the cell phone or texting while driving, and you have a recipe for a mediocre cycling city. That said, once you get out of town the country and mountain road riding is pretty spectacular.

        • August 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm

          I was just in Boulder and was majorly UNDERWHELMED by its supposed Platinum rated bike friendliness. It is good but it ain’t no Davis. Much of the facilities in Boulder look more like sidewalks and often just lead into older, narrow sidewalks in places.

          Davis BTW, did NOT throw out the traffic rule book making its city bicycle friendly and in my opinion blows every other city in the US out of the water. Their facilities are useful for the entire spectrum of cyclists, from beginner 5yo to Cat 2 racer and does so by not violating the basic rules of the road. Davis is still the model by which all others should be measured.

          I have not spent enough time in Portland to form an opinion but I’m no fan of the bike box that was first developed there. I also find it VERY suspicious that Portland’s own bike box report to the feds, that indicated that bike boxes are likely even more dangerous, has been entirely ignored by the the bike advocacy and planning communities.


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