It’s Stanley Cup time and if you’re a hockey fan like I am, there’s no better time of the year. The snows of winter are (mostly) gone, so if you’re heading to a playoff game, why not bicycle there instead of taking a car? I thought it might be fun to make a list of the most bicycle friendly NHL venues. Here are my top five.
#5: Tampa Florida ( Lightning)
Yes, there’s hockey in Florida and that’s very good news for cyclists. The Lightning’s home, Amalie Arena, is located in downtown Tampa just eight miles from the airport. Tampa has limited bus service through Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), and the #30 will take you downtown from the airport. Once you get there, you’ll find plenty of Coast Bike Share stations. If you’re a local, Amalie Arena is one of just a handful of NHL rinks with dedicated bike parking so you can ride your beach cruiser right to the arena and with all that Florida sunshine to keep you company, you’d be crazy not to.
#4: Toronto Ontario (Maple Leafs)
The Maple Leafs are one of the most iconic franchises in all of sports. They play at Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto which is just 180 meters from Toronto Union Station. That’s important because Union Station has one of North America’s largest protected bicycle parking facilities with indoor, secure parking for 120 bicycles. You can attend the game knowing that your bicycle will be safe, even if the opposition takes the Leafs to double overtime, eh? Air Canada Centre is also served by BikeShare Toronto. If you’re coming from out of town, there are a number of transit options between Lester Pearson International Airport and downtown including GO and TTC transit.
#3: St. Paul Minnesota (Wild)
The Wild hang out in St. Paul, the smaller of the two Twin Cities. It’s also part of the only North American metro ranked among the world’s most bike friendly areas by Copenhagenize.EU. If you’re traveling from out of town, hop a Metro Blue Line train underneath the main terminal at MSP and transfer to the Green Line for the trip to downtown St. Paul. Once you get there, you can use the extensive NiceRideMN bikeshare network to get around. It’s one of the largest bikeshare systems in the world. If you live in the Cities, there are five designated bicycle parking locations at Xcel Energy Center and the adjacent Rivercentre development.
#2: New York, New York (Rangers)
The Rangers play at Madison Square Garden which sits on top of Penn Station on 34th Street in the heart of Manhattan. New York is one of the best cities in the US for cyclists, and MSG’s primo location makes it perfect for those of us who prefer to balance on two wheels instead of blades. There are a variety of transit options between New York’s three airports and midtown Manhattan. Once here, take advantage of Citibike, one of America’s largest bikeshare networks. There are four stations right outside the Garden. If you’re local, you can park your bike securely at Penn Station.
#1: Denver Colorado (Avalanche)
The Colorado Avalanche play at the Pepsi Center (The Can) on downtown Denver’s Auraria campus. This is just a few short blocks from Union Station and many downtown hotels. Getting into the city from far-flung Denver International Airport is a breeze now that RTD’s A line trains are up and operational. Once downtown, you can use Denver’s extensive B-Cycle network to access the arena and other attractions. What makes this trip special is that two of America’s great urban trails (South Platte River Trail and the Cherry Creek Trail) converge within blocks of Pepsi Center. Denver is a serious city for cyclists. If you’re local, you’ll find four bicycle parking areas at Pepsi Center.