Go By Bike


Cycle Commuting in Salt Lake City

As you finish your orange juice and cereal, the kitchen radio crackles with the latest traffic report: “It’s looking pretty slow out there this morning, folks. A two-car accident is blocking the right lane on I-15 North at I-215, and road construction means twenty-minute delays at…”

You grab your bike helmet and water bottle and simply smile. Instead of being stuck on the freeway or stopping for gas this morning, you’ll be burning calories, building muscle and sparing the air instead.

Commuting by bike in Salt Lake City is easier than ever, thanks to bike-friendly policies that guarantee cyclists a place on the road. In the last year alone, 38 miles of bike lanes have been added to SLC streets, and more improvements are coming online every month. With the tips and resources we’ve gathered here, you can be ready to hit the road—safely, economically and confidently—in no time at all.

Why Bike?

Looking for a reason to get out of the car and into the saddle? Check out these facts:

Shrink your footprint. According to the EPA, each gallon of gas a car uses pumps 19.4 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. With transportation accounting for 29% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., every trip taken by bike instead of car makes a real difference.

Shrink your waistline. A one-hour round trip by bike uses about 700 calories, depending on your weight. Keep it up for a work week and you’ll have burned the equivalent of a full pound of fat.

Expand your horizons. Bike commuters mention a surprising advantage to their mode of transportation: a sense of being more connected to their neighborhood and what’s going on around them. Slow down and experience it for yourself.

Safety First

Especially if you were a kid last time you took your bike for a spin around town, it’s important to keep safety factors in mind. Protect yourself with these common-sense tips.

Put a lid on it. For safe cycling, a helmet is not an option—it’s a requirement. Price and style aren’t as important as proper fit. Find a bike shop with experienced staff who can help you fit your helmet correctly to your head. We recommend Limar’s Ultralight Helmets because they offer professional performance, comfort, and are the world’s lightest helmets. limar.com.

Lock it up. Keep your investment safe by locking your bike with a sturdy U-lock, not a cheap and easily broken cable lock. Bike registration—required by Utah law—can also help reunite you with your ride if it’s ever lost or stolen.

Be predictable. The top safety rule for cyclists, according to Dave Iltis, Chair of Salt Lake City’s Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee: “If you wouldn’t do it in a car, don’t do it on your bike.” That means stopping at red lights and stop signs, obeying one-way signs and other traffic laws, and being aware of your surroundings all the time. “Cyclists can be their own worst enemies,” Iltis says. “It’s important to ride predictably.”

Getting Around

Salt Lake City is committed to safe, convenient bike transportation, as its certification by the League of American Bicyclists demonstrates. Try one of these resources for a quick, even pleasant, commute.

Bikeways. The latest version of this comprehensive map of bike-friendly routes around Salt Lake City is available now in printed and online versions. Use it to plan a safe and comfortable ride. Pick up a copy at a local bike shop or see slcgov.com/bike.

Jordan River Parkway. Take the scenic route! This trail winds alongside the Jordan River through Salt Lake City, crossing nine urban parks and three golf courses along the way. Pack a lunch for a picnic in the International Peace Gardens, or reconnect with nature at Bend-in-the-River.

Ample parking. Looking for a safe place to lock up for the day? Over 100 bike-shaped racks are located throughout Salt Lake City’s downtown. Some events, such as the Downtown Farmer’s Market, even offer valet bike parking for the ultimate in convenience.

Get involved. Support for bike commuting depends on an informed, aware group of cyclists willing to make their voices heard. Check out utahbikes.org or slcbac.org to help ensure a bike-friendly future for Salt Lake City.

Learn more. For information about all kinds of bike riding and events in Utah—from cyclocross races to new mountain bike trails—get the scoop at cyclingutah.com.

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About Author

Jenny Willden is the Managing Editor of Outdoor Sports Guide and a self-proclaimed gear and grammar nut. She's a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Adventure Travel Trade Association. A lover of adventure and travel, she's happiest when riding horses or snowboarding in Utah’s mountains. Follow Jenny’s exploits on Twitter @jennywillden or Instagram @jlwillden.

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