Ebike Boomtowns: Top US Cities for Ebike Commuting in 2024
As we say goodbye to 2023 and step into 2024, what’s your New Year’s resolution? How about starting ebiking? Many urban dwellers across the USA have opted to ditch gas powered transport in favor of city ebikes for urban cycling. Cities are embracing green transportation as the ebike revolution spreads throughout the land. Ebikes are currently regulated at state level, and 36 states observe the three-class ebike system to classify bikes with up to 750 Watts of power.
- Class1: Ebikes that can only be ridden with pedal assist systems and with motors that cut out when they hit 20 mph.
- Class 2: Ebikes with a throttle and pedal assist systems with motors that cut out at 20 mph.
- Class 3: Ebikes with pedal assist systems with motor assistance up to 28 mph.
There are also classless bikes, so read up, be safe, and check out your local laws and regulations before hitting the road. Let’s take a road trip across the US, read on to discover the best cities for bike commuting!
1. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Let’s get our electric-assisted wheels rolling across the grain belt bridge into brand new Minneapolis. Ebike commuting is regulated like regular bicycling in the Mill City, making it one of the best cities to bike in the USA. Minneapolis is connected with a huge network of cyclist-friendly routes, including the Midtown Greenway, a 5.5 mile bike path cutting through the lively neighborhoods in the heart of Minneapolis. For ebikers looking for a more scenic route, the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway is a 50-mile loop encircling the city, with breathtaking views of the Twin Cities. Remember to wear a helmet, and read more about the local laws here.
2. San Francisco, California
Next in our lineup of ebike friendly cities in the US, let’s travel to the hilliest city in the United States, San Francisco. The assistance of an ebike will help you to conquer the slopes, see more and struggle less! Ebike users in California share the rights and restrictions of regular cyclists, but helmet laws differ slightly, depending on rider age as well as the type of ebike you choose. The city has sponsored several ebike incentive programs over the years, including giving away free ebikes to delivery workers. From downtown commuting, to the Presidio Loop Trail and Golden Gate Park, ebikes are the way to get around in San Fran.
3. Portland, Oregon
Consistently ranked as one of the best bike-friendly cities in the USA, Portlands has close to 400 miles of cycleways. Ebikes are regulated as bicycles, but must have pedals and a maximum output of 1000 Watts and top assisted speed of 20 mph. Follow the law: stay off sidewalks in Portland and explore the Springwater Corridor, linking the downtown area to Boring, 21 miles away. Many of the best bike paths in Portland snake along the Willamette River, try the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, site of the world famous Portland Saturday Market.
4. Boulder, Colorado
Commute and explore Boulder with a trusty ebike! From getting around town to exploring the natural beauty surrounding the city, Boulder is one of the best cities in the US for ebikers. Ebike from the historic downtown, to Dakota Ridge and the Wonderland Creek paths, the cycle routes in Boulder are truly an ebiker’s paradise. Recent legislation now allows riders to ebike on certain open space trails, opening up many great trails in and around Boulder to riders of Class 1 and Class 2 ebikes. Check your ebike legality before you put foot to pedal, and remember to be considerate for other path users.
5. Arlington, Virginia
Arlington represents the vanguard of urban mobility. The city first adopted bike share schemes over a decade ago, and recently added 400 Veo ebikes to the city streets. Ranked as the 17th most bikeable community in the U.S. Arlington is blessed with over 100 miles of dedicated bike paths. Among them, there are four major bike trails in Arlington, namely the Custis Trail, Four Mile Run Trail, Mt. Vernon Trail and the W & OD Trail. The Arlington Loop is an 18 mile ride featuring sections of each of these bike trails. Stay updated to the changing laws regarding escooters and ebikes in Arlington, and enjoy your ride.
6. Washington, D.C.
The great capital of the U.S. is also a great place to ebike to your heart’s content. Ebikes in D.C are a convenient, faster way to get around, with a little electrical assistance. No helmets are required for freedom loving ebikers in Washington, D.C. Riders must be over 16, however, and ebikes must have operable pedals and a maximum assisted speed of 20mph. The laws governing Class 3 ebikes are slightly more confusing, with ebikelovers reporting that a driver’s license is required to ride a Class 3 bike in Washington D.C.
7. Tucson, Arizona
Widely considered the biking capital of the world, ebike usage has been a hot topic in recent years in Tucson. The legendary Tucson Loop, in particular has recently changed laws, allowing ebikers to hit the road with a little electrical assistance, as long as their bikes are pedal assisted. Tucson is classified a gold-level bike friendly city by the League of American Bicyclists, and the 131 mile car free splendor of the shared use Tucson Loop is testament to this. Again, local laws change, so stay on the right side of the law by reading up before you ebike your way to a ticket!
8. Austin, Texas
Next we head to Austin, where the ebike revolution is in full swing. With its well developed bike lane infrastructure, Austin has ebike trails that offer both commuting convenience and scenic surprise. Take to the Lady Bird Lake Trail for a 10 mile loop around the lake in the downtown area. Shoal Creek Trail in the heart of the city is a 4 mile long trail linking key areas, while providing a breath of fresh air from the urban environment. While there are dedicated ebike paths in Austin, public city trails are currently off-limits for electrically-assisted bicycles. Read up on bicycle and micro mobility laws in Austin to stay legal.
9. Providence, Rhode Island
According to the Providence Journal, the state will pay Rhode Islanders to buy an ebike. Sounds good? Well they are currently offering to pay 30% of the purchase price, or $350, whichever is less. The smallest state in the U.S. has some great ebike paths. Explore the compact, ebike-friendly city of Rhode Island, and beyond, on the 12.5 miles of the East Bay Bike Path. An unclassified, two-wheeled outlaw, ebikes are technically illegal on bike paths in Rhode Island, and their use and classification is a bone of contention among certain citizens.
10. Madison, Wisconsin
Finally, let’s head to Madison, a city blessed with a bike-share fleet of BCycle electric-assist bikes, and a city wide proliferation of ebikes. Madison great for ebike commuting, as well as leisurely rides along the shores of the city’s lakes. From the vibrancy of Williamson Street, to the State Capitol, ebike paths connect Madison and keep it convenient. Bundle up in the winter if you opt to ebike, and remember to register your ebike and follow applicable laws.
We hope that you have enjoyed this article exploring the ebike boomtowns of the U.S. If you’re interested in getting an ebike, check out the Acer ebii, an innovative, minimalist ebike with personalizable features to make your ride unique. Maximum assist speed of 20 mph and fully charged in 2.5 hours, the ebii can get you as far as 74 miles on a single charge. This stylish, compact ebike also features ebiiAssist and ebiiGo, delivering intuitive power assist as well as route recommendation and auto lock settings. Have a good ride.
Edmund is an English copywriter based in New Taipei City, Taiwan. He is a widely published writer and translator with two decades of experience in the field of bridging linguistic and cultural gaps between Chinese and English.