Best Bike Cities In The U.S. 2012: Bicycling Magazine's Top-Rated Regions

May is National Bike Month, a time dedicated to the Earth- and body-friendly practice of cycling.

According to Rutgers University professor John Pucher, biking has been on the rise. Between 1990 and 2009, the number of cycling trips rose 64% in the United States, with biking specifically for transportation (as opposed to recreation) comprising 54% of all trips. Pucher notes in his study that there has been a major increase in bicycling funding, affecting people of all ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds.

This increase in funding has led to a cycling revolution in major American cities. Bicycling magazine has released their list of the Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities In The U.S. Some entries are expected (The no-shocker #1 spot is explained in depth), while others are a pleasant surprise (who knew Chicago was so two-wheel friendly?).

It’s no secret that biking is the superhero of transportation, benefiting your body, lifestyle, and community. According to the Discovery Channel, cycling not only benefits your heart and your muscles, but increases your lifespan and mental clarity as well. Want to know how much money you could personally save by biking instead of driving to work? Check out the Kiplinger bike calculator, which factors your commute distance, parking and tolls to tally up your biking-savings.

Bikers are becoming part of the daily landscape, receiving rights and recognition from their fellow road-sharers. The non-profit group Bikes Belong is working on the Green Lane Project, an initiative to add protected bikeways to U.S. cities including Austin, Memphis and D.C. The program, which has a two year roadmap, kicks off in Chicago on May 31st.

Have you had an inspiring or terrifying experience in the bike lane? Let us know in the comments below! Scroll through the slideshow to find out if your city made the United States’ top 25 bike-friendly places to be, and check out Bicycling magazine for the entire list.

America’s Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities