Boise: The City of Biking

Red and Black Bike

Boise is one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the west – and for several outstanding reasons. Boise, Idaho is designated as a “Bicycle Friendly Community” by the League of American Bicyclists, which is no surprise – with over 220 miles of on-street bike lanes and more than 46 miles of bike routes, it's ideally suited for those who are searching for an alternative way to get to work – or to ramp up their training.

Rick Overton is a member of the Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance board, and in a May 2013 interview with Boise State Public Radio, he claimed that Boise's cycling culture is more active than it was a decade ago, which is keeping up with the national trend. He went on to say that the attraction of living in Boise for a lot of people is its access to the outdoors – people are skiing, hiking, biking – visiting the foothills. “It's kind of the new Boisean – they tend to be more active.” He also states that there's been roughly a 40 percent increase in cycling here in Boise – which isn't out of sync with the rest of the country.

In keeping up with Boise's increased biking community, you may notice new symbols popping up on various Ada County roads – done in an effort to increase awareness and safety for those who take it to the pedals. The symbols are often referred to as “sharrows,” shared lane markings that have a large white colored bicycle stencil accompanied with two arrows – in an effort to help guide bicyclists in the right direction, to ride with traffic, and stay as predictable as possible.

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Ridge to Rivers Trail System

Biking doesn't stop with our streets. The surrounding geography makes for the perfect backdrop for bikers of any skill level to take it to the trails and enjoy Idaho's great outdoors. The Boise Foothills rise above the city and not only provide gorgeous postcard views for everyone, but also a playground that has been providing countless hours of fun and excitement. Whether you choose to explore the foothill terrain on foot or with pedals, you'll quickly find it to be one of the best local adventures of the summer. A connected network of trails carve their way through these hills that not only connect some of Boise's premier neighborhoods with public lands, but give folks the opportunity to truly enjoy the natural surroundings Boise has to offer. There are more than 130 miles of trails that weave through the Foothills and through the exciting and diverse land – connecting you with plants and animals.

The Boise Foothills provides an exciting challenge while promoting overall health and wellness. Extending all the way from the Boise River to the top of Bogus Basin, hundreds of miles of trails are the bicyclist’s dream. Come across routes that challenge beginners, seasoned recreationalists, and even the most advanced riders out there. If you're looking for some exciting trails, don't miss the Shafer Butte Trails that weave their way around Bogus Basin Ski Area that total over 36 miles.

Boise River Greenbelt

The Boise River Greenbelt is perhaps the most loved and most frequented system used by cyclists. It follows the Boise River roughly 25 miles, and connects downtown, neighborhoods, and businesses with a meandering paved pathway that is popular for scenic views, wildlife and easy access to some of Boise's most visited destinations. The Greenbelt is largely a non motorized pathway ideal for those who bike to work as well as avid cyclists looking to train for their next triathlon. It extends from Lucky Peak State Recreation Area through Garden City, and touches upon a plethora of Boise's best points of interest, including Kathryn Albertson Park, Julia Davis Park, Boise State University, and Ann Morrison Park.

Boise State University

Boise State University is no stranger to the League of American Bicyclists. It's visited the national honorees role more than once in its Bicycle Friendly Universities program, which recognizes universities and colleges that create an exceptional environment for biking to thrive. Schools who have made the list also provide road maps as well as technical assistance to further promote bicycling. In 2012, the University received the Silver Award – out of platinum, gold, silver, and bronze categories.

BSU is proud of the League's recognition, and a number of improvements and programs have helped launch the campus into silver status, including but not limited to:

Bike lanes and sharrows on campus
Showers, lockers and towels available after ride in the Rec center
Two free compressed air stations
Bike Barns and Corrals
2,677 bike racks on campus and an online map for users

Starting back in 2002, BSU implemented the Cycle Learning Center, now located in the Lincoln Avenue Parking Garage. The center is a partnership between Transportation and Parking Services and University health and Recreation – which culminates into an invaluable resource for basic bike repair services, instructional clinics, in addition to providing alternative transportation information.

What's More

In an effort to further establish a sustainable transportation alternative, be on the lookout for the hopeful Boise Bike Share Program. Officials and supporters are fighting to see the program hit downtown Boise, which would introduce a fleet of 120 bicycles at 12 to 14 stations throughout the city's downtown area and at the University. According to Boise Weekly, the bike share stations would be strategically placed by roughly quarter mile distances, and each bike outfitted with GPS technology so that riders can find and return the bikes to open stations. The city is working with the Central District Health Department to develop the bike share program.  Proposed pricing for the program would allow users to ride 30 minutes for free, $1.50 for an additional 30 minutes, and $4 for each successive 30 minutes. There will be 24 hour, weekly, and annual passes for long term users.

Contact Hughes Real Estate Group anytime at (208) 571-7145 for more information on Boise, Idaho living.

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