Outside magazine Tuesday named Minneapolis and St. Paul as one of the top 25 “Best Towns” ever, singling out the Twin Cities as the best place to bike-commute year-round.

Kansas City, Mo., made the list for biking and barbecue, and Fort Collins, Colo., took honors as the best “bike-to-happy-hour town.”

“Sure, the Twin Cities have affordable homes, a mellow pace of life, and a great economy [it’s home to tech, retail, and finance giants 3M, Target and U.S. Bank],” the magazine stated. “But the real reason to move here is the biking [median household income $71,000].”

The Twin Cities being named as a good biking town may be news for the nation, but it’s something Minnesotans have known for some time.

“Bike commuting in Minneapolis has tripled in the last 15 years,” said Ethan Fawley, executive director of Our Streets Minneapolis. “In that time, the rate for winter biking has increased even faster.”

Chalk that up to new equipment, including fat-tire bikes and studded bike tires that make it easier to bike in the winter, he said. The numerous bike lanes and protected bike lanes make bikers feel safe, he said.

Added to that is an outdoor culture that lures Minnesotans to embrace its seasons, Fawley said. “We have this bit of ruggedness that has people saying they’ll give [winter biking] a try.”


See a collection of ongoing profiles of Twin Cities bike commuters at startribune.com/icycle.