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Old 04-08-07, 06:01 PM   #1
BigDaddyPete
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Where to live?

So the wife and I have decided that we want to move out of California in the next year mostly because it is too expensive to buy a house. I am going to want to continue commuting by bike as much as possible. Assuming that my job can and will transfer me anywhere in the continental U.S., where should we move and why? I want a bike friendly community with a lower cost of living.
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Old 04-08-07, 06:38 PM   #2
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Front Range of Colorado for one. My sister builds homes near Boulder and is desparate to sell right now.
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Old 04-08-07, 07:08 PM   #3
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PDX and Seattle - both bike friendly, and theoretically cheaper then CA. Seattle can be depressing, though.
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Old 04-08-07, 07:35 PM   #4
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Portland. The real estate is cheaper than what you're used to in Northern CA and in Seattle, so you may well be able to afford housing in the inner core of the city. There is a strong culture of bike riding for transportation purposes, something that to me is almost more important than the actual bike facilities. We've also got a bit more sun than Seattle, although nothing like what you're used to. Our winters are mild - commuting year-round by bike is easy to do. People are also very civic-minded here, and so it's a friendly place to live.
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Old 04-09-07, 07:53 AM   #5
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I have lived in Kirkland, WA; Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; Vancouver, WA; Kingston, WA & now Olympia, WA. All are great for cycling but wind is a Winter factor in East Portland & Kingston. Summer heat is more frequent in Portland & Olympia. Seattle housing has gotten very expensive. I would probably choose Olympia for overall liveability, still has some affordable housing, low traffic & a bicycle friendly area. I am currently in the process of relocating to Stayton, OR which is a small town near Salem & Corvallis, OR. It appears to be reasonably liveable for the NW & cycle friendly to boot but not as good as Olympia & we are giving up a lakefront home to live closer to our kids & grandchildren. You should make a short list & visit each area then ask lots of questions. Don
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Old 04-09-07, 08:12 AM   #6
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I just moved to Madison, WI about six months ago. Great place for cycling, it is right in the middle of two lakes and is beautiful. Winter would probably be quite an adjustment for Californians though.
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Old 04-09-07, 08:30 AM   #7
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Seattle and Portland may be bike friendly, but they're rated with Chicago, NY and SF as the most over priced real estate markets right now, so, if you want affordability, not those places. Wisconsin is dirt cheap, cold as heck in the winter, hot and humid in the summer, but still beautiful. Madison is very bike friendly too.
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Old 04-09-07, 08:36 AM   #8
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as the Rancid song goes "I wish I was on the highway, back to Olympia(WA)"
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Old 04-09-07, 11:32 AM   #9
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Hard to beat Boulder except for the overpriced real estate. We are continuously improving and expanding the bike paths and bike lanes around here. Almost too much so, major construction snarl on one major street because they are making an underpass for a bike path so we don't have to cross the intersection. I moved here from Boston where I commuted for about six years so I feel guilty about how much easier it is to ride around here compared to that cold, wet, traffic-filled city. Lots of sunshine (300+ days), dry climate (high desert), mild winters, Bike-to-Work, bike-racks on all public buses, lots of good bike shops, Thursday night cruiser nights, events, etc.

Not that cheap to live here though.
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Old 04-09-07, 11:42 AM   #10
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I think a manageable climate depends a lot on your personal metabolism. I can't fathom ever leaving the house in a place like central NY, biting frost or suffocating humidity (I know, interrupted by beautiful muddy spring and fall), yet at one point in my past I did it for 8 yrs.
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Old 04-09-07, 11:45 AM   #11
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Ah but you can get all that Boulder has to offer by checking out its neighboring cities: Longmont, Superior, Broomfield, etc. Heck, Denver and south (Englewood, Greenwood Village, Highlands Ranch) are very affordable. Denver-metro deserves some serious consideration. Denver has TONS of MUPs and designated bike routes, I've yet to see a dog get even flustered much less bark or seem aggressive (yeah, for you I just jinxed myself). and the city is very bike-friendly.

I bought my house (2br/1ba) a year ago in a (slowly) gentrifying neighborhood 5mi east of downtown for (well) under 200k. Low-mid 200s buys a lot here, especially in the 'burbs. State tax, yeah, but dirt cheap property taxes (mine are $800/year).
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Old 04-09-07, 12:09 PM   #12
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Big City? Little City? Small town?

Portland is bike friendly, but just don't plan on locking up an expensive bike outside. There's probably the best bike infrastructure of anywhere I've seen, but theft is a problem like any city, especially downtown.
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Old 04-09-07, 02:48 PM   #13
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Texas has a reasonable balance between house prices and job availability. I hear you about CA house prices. That's what prompted me to look for a way out.
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Old 04-09-07, 02:50 PM   #14
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I would say "Come to Tempe"... I love it here, but you've gotta be able to take the heat above 100 degrees for 5-6 months of the year. 6 months of great weather, though. and about 300 days of sunshine a year. Housing prices are rising, but still below those in CA. the 2200 sf house we bought ten years ago for $175,000 is now valued at 300,000...
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Old 04-09-07, 02:52 PM   #15
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I would choose based on affordability and then a lack of open-container laws.
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Old 04-09-07, 02:55 PM   #16
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How about some more details like weather, population density, etc.

I would say for my list
Minneapolis/St. Paul MN
Austin TX
Tucson, AZ
Denver, CO
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Old 04-09-07, 03:21 PM   #17
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No! Not Austin.
We've got too many people here already.
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Old 04-09-07, 03:36 PM   #18
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Stay away from Houston.
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Old 04-09-07, 03:43 PM   #19
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Stay away from Houston.
Gladly.
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Old 04-09-07, 03:48 PM   #20
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The average price of a home in Willits, a very progressive NorCal town, is less than $175K.

Look outside the big cities.

I live in Germantown, TN, it's quiet and safe. Bike lanes, nearby shopping for everything you could possibly need. Some of the houses are huge and expensive. Others are more reasonable.

Good water, good soil and TVA utilities which are very affordable.

You just have to be able to tolerate lots of fundies and hard core repugs.
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Old 04-09-07, 03:49 PM   #21
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My house in Vermont is for sale !!
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Old 04-09-07, 03:50 PM   #22
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Someone mentioned Tucson....great desert scenery and mountains...horrible for water. Damn hot in the summer, and soon to combine with the great blob of Phoenix.

I'd avoid Tucson.
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Old 04-09-07, 04:18 PM   #23
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I would nominate, Portland, St. Paul, Burlington, and Santa Fe.
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Old 04-09-07, 07:17 PM   #24
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The Research Triangle Park area of NC (Raleigh/Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill/Carrboro). Raleigh is reportedly one of the 10 fastest growing cities in the U.S. Cary is very bike friendly. There are a number of LBS' in the area. Traffic sucks at times, but that also depends on what roads you're on. Housing costs are high for NC but probably very reasonable compared to CA, I bought a 2400sq ft, 13yr old, 4br, 2 story house on 1/3 acre on a cul de sac in a nice neighborhood in Cary for $255k in 2005.
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Old 04-09-07, 07:43 PM   #25
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I know nothing about the area, but in general it's nice to try to live either north, south, or east of work. If you live west, or have any westerly roads, you have to ride into the sun in the morning and in the evening.
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