Davis is the No. 1 cycling town in the country, according to USA Today and 10Best, a list website.
Both organizations cited 95 percent of Davis’ arterial roadways having a bike lane, an estimated 22 percent of residents who commute by bike and the city’s prominence as the first to earn a platinum designation from the League of American Bicyclists. Not to mention the fact that Davis is the home of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.
The honor is the end result of a readers’ choice contest where people across the country could vote for the best bicycling towns.
The Yolo County Visitors and Convention Bureau spearheaded a campaign locally to make sure Davis residents voted in numbers.
“I am pleased and excited to see the hard work of the YoloCVB team pay off in such a big way,” said Reed Youmans, bureau president. “This is a top honor for our city to have won and it’s because of the hard-working staff we have at the YoloCVB.”
The contest results will appear in print in Friday’s edition of USA Today. They’re also available online at www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-u-s-cycling-town.
Sacramento came in at ninth place because it is often the starting point for the Amgen Tour of California and it has the 32-mile American River Parkway bike trail, “with plenty of access points to hop on and off to explore the city.” The organizations also cite a network of bike lanes and green-painted bike zones near the Capitol Mall that are thought to make travel safer for bicyclists.
The full list of winners from first to last is: Davis; Fort Collins, Colo.; Minneapolis; Madison, Wis.; Greenville, S.C.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Tucson, Ariz.; Durango, Colo.; Sacramento; and Bend, Ore.
Davis’ active transportation coordinator, Dave “DK” Kemp, said the honor is representative of how locals feel about Davis.
“It definitely captures what people feel about Davis: that being a bicycling community is part of the quality of life,” he said, adding that the honor indicates the pride and gratitude people have for the city’s continued support of cycling.
As nice as the USA Today honor is, the city government heart’s desire is to win the coveted diamond certification from the League of American Bicyclists, a Washington, D.C.-based bicycling booster organization.
On Tuesday, Steve Clark, a representative from the League of American Bicyclists, addressed the City Council during public comment. Local bicycle boosters had taken him on a ride through the city.
At first he was complimentary, saying that many towns are trying to catch up to how bike-friendly Davis is. But he added that the league envisions that diamond certification “will be tough” because the organization is looking at European models and he didn’t like all the “debris” — or yard waste — he found in the Davis bike lanes.
Kemp, though, is optimistic about Davis one day getting diamond certification.
“I think (Clark) was challenging the City Council to maintain the support of cycling,” he said, adding that the yard waste piles wouldn’t keep Davis from the diamond certification. “I don’t think this particular issue is going to hold us back.”
— Reach Dave Ryan at email@example.com or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews