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Minneapolis makes top 10 best bike cities in US, St. Paul is 32nd

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Minneapolis' commitment to two wheels has landed it 6th place in a list of the 50 Best Bike Cities in the U.S.

The city is regularly lauded for its bike friendliness, but its latest ranking means a bit more considering the list is compiled by biking specialists at Bicycling magazine, who praised the city for its "vibrant bike culture."

This, it said, it owes to "decisions made decades ago" when the city converted abandoned railway lines into its now extensive bike path network.

Each city was ranked on a long list of criteria, including miles of bike lanes, the number of cyclist-friendly bars and businesses, and even the percentage of female bike commuters, which according to the magazine is a "key indicator of safe bike infrastructure."

Minneapolis gets props for its Nice Ride bike share system, which offers more bikes per resident than any other major city in the country.

But where it really scores big, it says, is the commitment ratified by the city last year to introduce 30 more miles of bike lanes, which according to the Star Tribune should all be open by 2020.

What about St. Paul?

St. Paul ranks a still impressive 32nd on the list, but this is likely to rise in future years with Bicycling noting the city last year "tentatively begun implementing more modern and safer cycling infrastructure" on major roads.

Looking further ahead, the city started working on its Grand Round project, which will eventually see the creation of a 26-mile bike trail loop that connects city parks including Phalen and Como with the downtown area along the Mississippi.

A map of this can be found here.

Also underway is work on the 1.7 mile Capital City Bikeway, a downtown protected bike lane loop that connects with the existing, 18-mile Gateway State Trail that stretches from St. Paul through Maplewood, North St. Paul and Oakdale, ending at the Pine Point Regional Park.

A point against St. Paul noted by Bicycling is its limited involvement in the Nice Ride system, and though more than a quarter of the total bike stations are located in St. Paul, only about 10 percent of total ridership is from the city.

The top five cities in the list are: Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, New York and Seattle.

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