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  1. #1
    Member eU_ExpaT's Avatar
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    50+ best biking place to retire to?

    Hi all, I've been thinking about retirement a little more since turning 52, and have some questions you may be able to help with. After living in Michigan, where we have 6 months of winter (and 6 months of bad skating!), I'd like an area that is more temperate. It would be nice to get out and bike more on a year round basis without snow and ice. Or maybe 6 mths. of Michigan and 6 mths. somewhere else?

    I've been to some retirement areas in Florida, really like the sunshine there, but they don't even have sidewalks let alone bike paths! Everyone uses a car!

    I know I'm spoiled after living in Europe where the mentality in some countries is very pro-bike. In Germany for example, you can bike to the train station and leave your bike there, while you comute to work. Or put bikes on the train and get off / on wherever you want. Or rent bikes right at the train stations.

    Soooooo....what is the most pro-biking area that you know of in the USA? What I mean is, do they have bike paths or trails? I'm not as keen on road biking these days, so I'd like designated trails if they exist. Or at least an attached bike shoulder? Or how about a pro-biking / pro-active, political will of the local govt? A community that passes pro-biking laws? Or public transport that allows bikes?

    I'd be interested in either rural or urban. Thanks for sharing any ideas.

  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    You want to get rid of the Snow and Ice and Wet and Cold? Can't blame you but Just think of what you really want. I know what I want but Ski lifts don't exist in the UK. I can just imagine it though-- Living up a mountain with the only way being down and the Ski lift to get home.

  3. #3
    Member eU_ExpaT's Avatar
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    Yeah, the old grass is greener syndrom! We do like snow, but not as much as we have in Michigan! It gets real old after several months and we can only ski so much.

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    I retired to Hawaii in 2000 and never looked back - it is great for cycling, but after a while there is a big case of "Been there - done that". Lots of good bike routes and all of the buses have a bike rack in case you need a ride home.

    Starting tour from San Diego to Dallas on monday!

    Tom Rush

  5. #5
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Great idea for a thread! For years I have been looking for the cycling nirvana but can't say I have found it. I agree about Europe, but I am not aware of an area in southern Europe with a plethora of bike paths. In summer I can't think of anywhere better than Passau, Bavaria, where you can cycle on paths both directions along the Danube, or up the Inn or Salzach valleys. Another place would be Koblenz, Germany, where you can choose between the Rhine and Mosel valleys. Met a man there who took a train about 60km up river and said he was going to cycle back. But they have winter at those two cities, though not as severe as Michigan.

    In North America I have heard good things about Portland Oregon, but I have not personally been there. Wasn't it named best city for cycling by some magazine? Winter should be moderate. Victoria B.C. has a moderate winter and you can take ferries to the Gulf Islands for day rides, as I did many years ago. But the islands are very hilly and you have to cycle on roads.

  6. #6
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    For a recenl lengthy thread on this identical topic, please see:

    Best cycling area to retire
    Almost gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for another fun new group of 50+ folks

  7. #7
    Member eU_ExpaT's Avatar
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    Thanks, didn't see that one, but will check it out.

  8. #8
    Posterior Transport Richard Arthur's Avatar
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    I think you are the guy asking about cycling from El Paso to Dallas. I20 would be the most direct route. I can only speak for the area where I live, but the service roads on I20 are great for cycling. I would be a little concerned around the citys. There are certain areas such as bridges over railroads where you have to get back on the interstate to cross. Where I have done this the shoulder is very wide and I try to catch traffic at a lull. I would think cycling from El Paso to Dallas via I20 would be pretty good due to the low population of West Texas. I have seen a number of cyclist passing through on the service road. From El Paso to Abilene is very desolate with a predominate SW wind of which we have had a lot of this spring. I live in Colorado City, Texas where I step out my door, mount my bike and take off in any direction I desire. Small town living isn't so bad if you are a cyclist. If you come through Colorado City stop and say Howdy! Hope you have a good tour. Richard Arthur

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    Yeah that's me - I'm leaving for San Diego tomorrow and heading for Decatur TX starting Mon morning.

    I finally decided to cut up thru NM and "experience" the climb from Alamogordo to cludcroft then heading into West Texas.

    Don't plan on hitting Colorado City- Lamesa Breckenridge etc.

    Tom

  10. #10
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    For a recenl lengthy thread on this identical topic, please see:

    Best cycling area to retire
    Thanks for the tip but I didn't think the responses were all that helpful. They were from people of all ages and many suggestions were for places that were not good for us older cyclists; ie they were hilly. Would love to see this thread continued on this forum.

  11. #11
    Member eU_ExpaT's Avatar
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    Yes, so would I!

    I wonder if the best way to go is to live wherever or anywhere, and live there as inexpensively as possible. Then just tavel to the best biking places, because they may be all over the planet! Tom and Ken mentioned a few great examples of places I'd like to go and did not know about, but not sure if I could/would move there.

    I know from living in Upper Michigan / Northern Wisconsin, they have awesome biking for June-Sept. I also know now from living in Europe, that they have some even better or just different biking, due to the cultural, geographical, and FOOD/BEER differences.

    Just another way of looking at the biking options I guess. 8-)

  12. #12
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Brown
    Thanks for the tip but I didn't think the responses were all that helpful. They were from people of all ages and many suggestions were for places that were not good for us older cyclists; ie they were hilly. Would love to see this thread continued on this forum.
    Greet idea.

    Sometimes threads get moved by moderators who don't understand that we 50+ type folks sort of speak a "different language." I don't think this happened with this thread, but it does happen at times!

    I wasn't suggesting that we not have a discussion. My neighbors 1) is moving to Florida 2) moving to phoenix. I would not wnat to go either place!
    Almost gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for another fun new group of 50+ folks

  13. #13
    Antique Collector kunzog's Avatar
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    Winter Park Florida is a nice upscale area near Orlando with a lot of bicycle commuters. Also another area in Florida is the community of Coco Beach, I was surprised when I visited there that everyone rode a bicycle.

  14. #14
    Fortunatissimo
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    eU-xPaT, when I was 52, I retired here, in Watsonville, CA, between Santa Cruz and Monterey on the Monterey Bay. In the eight years I have lived here I have gotten into the two sports best known around here: surfing and cycling. From my house, I can easily cycle on the Pacific Coast Bike Trail out by the beaches or gain easy access into the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Many of the mountain roads have very little traffic. Northern Monterey County is linked by a dedicated, two-lane bike and recreation trail from Castroville to Monterey and Pacific Grove. The trail hooks up with the scenic 17-mile drive around the peninsula to Carmel.

    In the summer, the hot inland pulls the fog in to give us natural air conditioning. It rarely goes above 75 or 80 deg F within a few miles of the coast. In the winter, we have a few frosty nights, with temps usually not going below about 28 deg. About 7 years ago we had a killer freeze that went down to 20 deg each night for a week. But that is very rare. It's never too cold to cycle around here. We get about 30 inches of rain, which comes between November and May. There is usually no rain in the summer and early fall. In the mountain areas, it is much hotter in the summer and rainier in the winter.

    This whole area is a cyclist's paradise. There are a lot of retirees here. The whole Monterey Bay area is a major center of orgainc farming, so we have a lot of good food around here.

    BTW, I got into cycling originally when I was living in Michigan and Germany in the 1970s--we have a few things in common.
    How is it that we have let the people who do not believe in the public good be in charge of the public good?

  15. #15
    Member eU_ExpaT's Avatar
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    Great info Kunzog and Figaro. I was in Zephyrhills / Lakeland area of Florida and everyone travels by car including my in-laws and my own Mother! Not for me but seems to work for them. It is great to hear about areas of FL that are into biking and will check them out next time we are there.

    CA sounds awesome! I hitch hiked the coast highway in '71 and remember it well! What is the cost of living like? We still have some property in Michigan, but we sort of missed out on the big escalation in housing prices like the coasts have. We wouldn't need anything special in housing, just affordable.

  16. #16
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kunzog
    Winter Park Florida is a nice upscale area near Orlando with a lot of bicycle commuters. Also another area in Florida is the community of Coco Beach, I was surprised when I visited there that everyone rode a bicycle.
    Furthermore, the Orlando area (Winter Park is in that area) was recently voted the most cycle friendly place in the nation. Many bike trails in many different areas of Central Florida. Great biking clubs (Florida Freewheelers, Orlando Road Club for examples), and many wonderful, organized rides. If you are into competition, there is a ton of that including the multi-venue series of Florida Senior Games culminating in the Florida State Senior Games in December for athletes aged 50 and over broken down into 5 year age groups.
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  17. #17
    Fortunatissimo
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    Quote Originally Posted by eU_ExpaT
    CA sounds awesome! I hitch hiked the coast highway in '71 and remember it well! What is the cost of living like?
    Alas, there is trouble in paradise. The house next door to mine, which the realtor calls "an affordable find," is up for sale for $670,000--nearly four times what I paid for mine 8 years ago. Both houses are of the same value. They have been trying to sell it for several months and I think the price is way out of line. The folks who sold it a year and half ago sold for $439,000. That seemed nuts back then. This is not an upscale area--it's a rural area on the outskirts of an ag town.

    That being said, my house was very affordable when I bought it. Eight months earlier, we were buying a smaller house, one block from the ocean, in an upscale area. It had no amenities, but it was affordable. Unfortunately, the sale of our house in LA fell through, so we had to give up on the house by the ocean. My point is that each time we looked for a house in the area, we found nice houses at good prices. So my advice is figure out where you really want to be and trust that the right housing will come up.
    How is it that we have let the people who do not believe in the public good be in charge of the public good?

  18. #18
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Try southwest Arizona.
    Ride 13 months out of the year!
    Tucson has 400 miles of bike lanes. Also some bike paths.

  19. #19
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    One of the reasons I ride a Mountain Bike is that I live very close to the Eastern end of the South Downs. --A hill that stretches across the South of England. They may call them the "Downs" but this hill can be quite undulating, and if you want the "Downs" you have to climb them. Only 200metres above sea level, but you climb from sea level so all the climbs are stiff ones. There are so many trails in this area that I could take you on 50 different rides, all around 30 miles, and each ride will be different. The only common part of each ride is the Breakfast though. You have to have one, at a choice of 3 or 4 restauarants, and each one is a "Full" english breakfast.
    I dare say that many of you have the same problem of too many cars on inadequate roads, and this is the reason I ride offroad. All I have to worry about are the Walkers, The horse's, the sheep, the dogs and other mountain bikers. We do get the occasional bit of exitement such as Hot air balloons crashing or the trail being churned up by the farmers Tractors, but in general, all we have is peace and quiet, and a good mornings riding burning off the calories for the Breakfast.
    To be quite honest, as far as biking goes, I don't want to live anywhere else. Weather is not too bad, quite a few sunny days in the summer and spring, a bit of dampness in the Autumn, AND THE EXCITEMENT OF 6 " OF MUD IN THE WINTER. Even that is not too bad as the ground is well drained, and unless the wind comes from the North, we Rarely get Cold weather.(By cold I mean lower than 0c.)

    The rest of you can dream of your nirvana for Biking, I've got mine. Now is it going to be the Best breakfast at Friston tomorrow, or a bigger one thats cheaper but not as good or healthy down at Eastbourne. B*%%^r it, just remembered its The Hastings 40 mile Randonnee tomorrow andI have promised to lead a group of 40 year olds on their first foray onto gentle trails for about 3 hours. I wonder if I can lose the route and still find a breakfast somewhere.

  20. #20
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Kippers or steak and kidney pie anyone?
    Yummmm!!!

  21. #21
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    In California you get a wide variety in one state. In the Los Angeles area there are two river trails, asphalt paved with no cars. One is the San Gabriel River Trail and the other is the Santa Ana River Trail. The main artery connecting these two is Pacific Coast Highway from Huntington Beach to Long Beach, maybe 10-12 miles apart. So between the two you can do 150 miles. The third is the Los Angeles River Trail which has not been completed yet. That will be another 100 miles of asphalt bike path without cars.

    There are all sorts of rides in different parts of Calif. In the Banning/Beaumont area riders climb 10,000 feet to do centuries. In the San Diego area, Lance Armstrong's teammate, Floyd Landis lives there and trains on rolling hills. In Lake Tahoe there's the ride around the lake, just beautiful. There's even the ride through Death Valley, the hottest spot in the U.S. So I think throughout the calendar, there's enough organized rides for a retiree to really enjoy it here, mostly with no snow. In the winter, there's Palm Springs where riders meet for organized rides.

  22. #22
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    Boise Idaho. Little hot in the summer for about 6 weeks. Year 'round road biking otherwise. I didn't shovel snow once last winter. Lots of good mountain biking right out of town and world class stuff within an hour or two. Big cycling community. Courteous drivers. Decent sized city. Fair amount of cultural amenities. Only drawback to retiring here is the tax structure. They claim to be republicans, but they're worse than any tax and spend liberals. The taxes go to subsidize the ranchers from mormon controlled southeast idaho that controls the state and big corporations like Micron. 7.5% income tax and a 6% sales tax presently. Hurts. But the sun is out most of the time.

  23. #23
    Senior Member sewupnut's Avatar
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    I still race and ride year around in and near Denver. I'd guess we have 320 or so good ride days per year; more if you're obsessed. And really good bike paths everywhere. Been thinking about New Mexico lately though.

    sun

  24. #24
    Member eU_ExpaT's Avatar
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    Amount of days of sunshine per year is a BIG factor and many of the places mentioned above have a lot of sun. Something MI is in short supply of unfortunately.

    The real estate prices in CA are scarey. It would be hard to duplicate what we have in MI for CA. I'm afraid. For example, we have 12 acres, a pond, and a commercial building with living quarters. It is probably worth $200,000 give or take. It might only get us a down payment in many places. 8-(
    you will miss 100% of the chances you never take....

  25. #25
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewupnut
    I still race and ride year around in and near Denver. I'd guess we have 320 or so good ride days per year; more if you're obsessed. And really good bike paths everywhere. Been thinking about New Mexico lately though.

    sun
    Actually, Denver has more annual hours of "sunshine" than San Diego.

    I rode every single week this past year.


    http://www.denver.org/StaticPage.aspx?pn=facts

    DENVER'S CLIMATE

    Nothing about Denver is more misunderstood than the city's climate. Located just east of a high mountain barrier and a long distance from any moisture source, Denver has a mild, dry and arid climate. The city receives only 8-15 inches (20.3 - 38 cm) of precipitation a year (about the same as Los Angeles), and records 300 days of sunshine a year -- more annual hours of sun than San Diego or Miami Beach.

    Winters are mild with an average daily high of 45 degrees Fahrenheit, 7 degrees Celsius in February, warmer than New York, Boston, Chicago or St. Louis. Snow does fall, but it usually melts in a short time. Golf courses remain open all year and have been played on as many as 30 days in January. Chinook winds (a wind blowing down from a mountain that gains heat as it loses elevation) can bring 60 degree F (16 degrees C) weather to Denver at any time throughout the winter.

    In summer, dry relative humidity makes Denver feel cool and comfortable, offering natural air conditioning. Fall is a particularly delightful time to visit the city and make day excursions to the mountains to view the colorful changing of the aspens, an event that takes place from mid-September until mid-October
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 04-24-05 at 06:15 AM.
    Almost gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for another fun new group of 50+ folks

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