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Get Ready For Bike To Work Day (And Share Your Photos)

Bike to Work Day is this Friday, May 18. And that prompts a question: Do you bike to work? If so, you should prove it — by taking a photo of yourself with your bike. Then share the picture, and we'll consider it for NPR's Bike to Work Day gallery.

Just post the image to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #NPRbike, and we'll take a look. To be considered for the gallery, post your pics by 2 p.m. EDT Thursday. If you miss that deadline, don't worry — on Bike to Work Day, you can use that same hashtag to see how NPR listeners roll.

If you love riding on a particular street, or maybe a certain hill really challenges you, show us what makes your commute special. You can also show off your bike's fenders, racks or baskets, but this is no beauty contest — it doesn't matter if the only TLC your bike gets is air for its tires and oil for the chain.

NPR's coverage of Bike to Work Day will also include a Morning Edition interview with Grant Petersen, the iconoclastic leader of Rivendell Bicycle Works (and the author of a new book, Just Ride). Check the Morning Edition page Friday for that story — and to see the gallery of bike commuters.

More than 730,000 Americans ride their bikes to work, according to data compiled by the U.S. Census' American Community Survey, taken in 2010. But many would-be cyclists say they're worried about riding alongside cars. And they don't want to be that pushy rider who weaves around folks on the sidewalk, either.

If you're looking to explore new routes, consider using a site like Bikely, which compiles the favorite bike routes of cyclists around the United States (and the world). The routes are tagged with words like "scenic," "intermediate," and "low traffic." You can search by state or region, and download a Google Map version of the ride. Even if you don't want to ride the full 15 or 20 miles of a route, you can still get good ideas about the roads and paths that cyclists prefer.

Another resource is the new Most Bikeable Cities list, compiled by Walk Score — the site that rates neighborhoods and cities based on how easy (and rewarding) it is to walk around in them. According to Walk Score, Minneapolis is the "most bikeable" large U.S. city, with a score of 79.

The runner-up position is held by Portland, with 70 points. San Francisco also has 70 points, but maybe Walk Score is against the idea of ties. Here's the full list:

  • Minneapolis
  • Portland
  • San Francisco
  • Boston
  • Madison
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Seattle
  • Tucson
  • New York City
  • Chicago

There are many ways to see how your area rates in terms of "bikeableness," from the League of American Cyclists' interactive map of Bicycle Friendly America, to Bicycling magazine's Top 50 American bike cities list. Both lists include criteria like bike lanes and racks, as well as bike-friendly businesses.

And their goal isn't just to make cyclists who don't live in those anointed cities jealous. As Bicycling writes, "If your town isn't named below — or if it falls on our worst-cities list — then use this as an opportunity to do something about it, like cyclists in Miami did after their city earned a black mark in 2008." Miami bounced back from that showing to place 44th in the magazine's most recent list.

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