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10 Best U.S. Bike Cities of 2011

Stocks in this article: WMT TGT

9. Somerville, Mass.
Number of bicycle commuters: 2,413
Bicycle commuters' share of overall population: 5%
It's easy to point to Tufts University up on the hill near Medford and credit it with all of Somerville's bike-laden streets and squares, but even a freshman fixed-gear rider would consider that a gross oversimplification.

While it's true 16% of Somerville's population consists of students from Tufts, MIT, Harvard and elsewhere, the strength of Somerville's bike community lies in its walkable, accessible squares, their bike-friendly businesses and the streets that connect them.

Somerville's Davis Square lies just off of Massachusetts Avenue, part of the 10-mile Minuteman Bikeway from Boston to Bedford with bike lanes that provide a straight-shot commute to the universities and businesses in neighboring Cambridge or the commercial and financial districts in Boston. Once commuters come home, they're surrounded by shops, bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and a movie theater/concert venue, all within walking distance and all on streets lined with bike racks.

Those neighborhood businesses are big fans of the bikes and host events that include a bike party that shuts down a portion of Davis Square for riders to fix their gear or buy equipment, enjoy some barbecue or craft beer and meet up with fellow bikers. Restaurants host Tour de France specials, bicycle valet services and benefits for local bicycle charities. In Union Square, farther north, bicycles aren't just ubiquitous at events such as the annual Marshmallow Fluff fest, but are also the preferred means of transportation for a neighborhood that lacks the subway options of some of its Somerville neighbors.

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