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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    Considering Relocation - Advice?

    While my ID says "Bay Area, CA" I am here on a temporary basis. I was traveling overseas for the past 7 months and I used to live in Los Angeles. I haven't had a permanent residence since August 2002. Anyway, I don't think I will return to Los Angeles, and I have decided that housing in California is too expensive. I am considering relocation to another state. I want to move somewhere that has good bicycling (mountain, road, commuting) and other outdoor pursuits, decent night life, job opportunities (if they exist anywhere now) and affordable housing (compared to CA, that's almost anywhere). Some places I am considering:

    Portland, Eugene, OR
    Austin, TX
    Raleigh-Durham, Wilmington, Asheville, NC
    Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami, FL

    Can anyone in these areas give me the pros and cons? As you can tell from most cities I have listed, I like warm weather. I would choose Portland in a heartbeat if not for the weather. Is it really as bad as they say it is? Any other suggestions would be welcome.

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    While Austin is a great city, it has become overgrown and the infrastucture has not kept up. Is now a difficult city to get around in. Lots of car traffic. Great for bike riding due to the hills and Lance's influence and also the home of UT, one of the largest of state universities. Austin has a great attitude. But car traffic really sucks. Only good thing I can say about traffic is that they are working on it. I really liked the hot, humid weather. Can ride 12 months if you can take the heat. I prefer living south and west side of city, but most all is OK. Is bicycle friendly.

    Portland is also great. I didn't have nearly as much trouble commuting around there. But the state economy is in the pits. And it is wet pretty much 8 months out of the year. Not a heavy rain. But wet and drizzly. I didn't mind, but it did keep me off the bike most of that time. But its good weather is truly great and the is very bicycle friendly. One of my favorite cities.

    Without having ever lived there, I would pick Asheville as it is the smallest city on your list and I have really enjoyed my two visits there. The others I have not lived in and know little about and you will need to wait for replies from others.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    Thanks Paramount. That's the exactly the type of stuff I'm looking for. Asheville, does sound nice, but I have no idea what the job market is like there. As far as car traffic in Austin, it can't be as bad as what I am used to (Los Angeles). And 12 months of riding sounds good to me.

  4. #4
    On Your Right ZackJones's Avatar
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    Brennan: I used to live in San Antonio, TX and loved it. There are some great roads there for riding. If given an opportunity to move back to San Antonio I'd go.

    Raleigh (Cary is where I lived and worked for a while) is an expensive area to live. I did a little riding when I was there. Asheville has been talked about in another thread.

    Jacksonville, FL is a happin' town from what of it I have seen. I went down there a year and 1/2 ago for a weekend and there were several groups out riding. The roads looked nice as well. I'd move there without much hesitation.

    BTW, what type of work do you do?

    Zack
    "You never fail, you simply produce results. Learn from these" - Anonymous

  5. #5
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    Zack,

    I've heard good things about San Antonio. I would certainly consider that city as well.

    My work background is in video production, dvd production, and streaming media.

  6. #6
    Jungle lady cbhungry's Avatar
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    In your line of work, Ashville would be a job dead end. Try here near atlanta. You are 4 hrs from asheville, great road rides in the North georgia region (1 hr from atlanta, and to the east , south of atlanta. ) Great mountain bike trails (yellow river with 20+ miles within 20 minutes of atlanta, not to mention the olympic horse park mountain bike trail, the north georgia mountains etc.) You can bike almost all year around, I'm cold natured so I don;t even notice the heat in the summer... I was biking 15 miles at a time while 8 months pregnant in the middle of august. The job market for your field is probably better.
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    You might find some useful info from these two sites:

    San Antonio Wheelmen
    http://www.sawheelmen.com/

    Austin Cycling Association
    http://www.ccsi.com/~aca/

    Austin has the most active cycling community and enough political influence to restrain anti-cycling forces. San Antonio is much larger but has a less active biking community...centered largely on the northern outskirts of the city, adjacent to the Texas Hill Country. If you don't need to be located in a large urban area, consider New Braunfels, Boerne, Canyon Lake, or Kerrville. These areas have an active cycling scene, and are located in the most beautiful areas of the Hill Country.
    Im not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said whatever it was.

  8. #8
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    In N.C. R-D would have the high tech opportunities but the other two would have small town lifestyle opportunties depending on whether you preferred mountains or shore.In Fl. Gainesville is nice college town atmosphere with good cycling but job opportunities might be limited to university related.The South Beach area of Miami might give you some video type opportunities if you like the more urban atmosphere there .There are a few spots where Mtn. bikers talk about in Miami but overall it is not particularly cycle friendly (though I like cycling around South Beach when I get down that way).As to Jacksonville I'm not particularly impressed with the urban area I'd prefer to live somewhere near there such as St. Augustine if I lived in that area.

  9. #9
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    ok, well so you can get more perspective from my post: i am from Texas and went to UT so was in Austni 5 years and my parents live in New Braunfels between Austin and San Antonio (although i grew up in Dalls). i lived in Portland 3 years, Massachusetts 9 months and now in Germany 2 years... i love the outdoors, ride my bike to work, hate sprawl and am pretty liberal (although i have conservative Texas roots)...

    Austin: well, i love the old Austin the way it used to be and it is in my opinion the only place i would every consider living in in the the whole South (although i must admit the Southeast i don't know so well). as far as social stuff to do Austin's great with an "alternative" culture nestled in the conservative South. as for cycling: the attitude is pretty good with Lance and there are decent hills to ride... as for mountain biking it just doesn't compare with most other places as there just aren't any big mountains for a few hundred miles. for commuting you can do it in Austin, but you will be an "outsider" as every "real" Texan drives a car or better yet a big truck. "cycling" in Austin means driving home from work in traffic, throwing the bike in the pickup bed and driving to the trail - in Eugen or Portland it means riding to and from work and then hitting from trail from your doorstep. i.e. Austin has a recreational bike community but not a ful "bike community" like somewhere in the Northwest or even northern California. as was said above, the traffic in Austin has gotten REALLY bad and the growth and sprawl is horrible (i was there in the late 80s early 90s and areas of open hills i used to ride are now full of new houses for miles and miles). my mom has been trying to convince me to move back to Austin for years - i just can't b/c i love mountains so much AND even though it's liberal Austin, it's still in consevative Texas.

    Eugene: well, first, you seem to be ruling Portland out b/c of the rain and Eugene is basically the same - it's only 90 miles away and in the same valley. i think Eugene is cool although it's a tough choice between Portland. as was said above, the economy is crap in Oregon, but if you can get a job then it should mean that the cost of livign will be going down rather than up. as to the weather: it's really hard to say --- as for cycling the rain is no problem and you can ride all year round - you just take a jacket with you. as opposed to most places where rain means hard downpour where you can't do much and it's miserable, in Portland it almost never rains hard - it's just a light drissle. the total rainfall is less than 40" a year (less than Houston TX for instance and about the same as much of the Northeast). it's mainly that you just don't see the sun for about 8-9 months of the year. i think it is only bearable IF you do lots of outdoor sports like cycling that don't necessarily require sunny skies... Portland/Oregon is on my list of places to move back to when i return to the US (Boulder CO is my top choice). oh, mountain biking is awesome. other outdoor sports great. cost of living is reasonable. both Eugene and Portland are not "social" places so if you want a Chicago or LA or Dallas, it ain't there, but the social scene is cool. also, both Eugen and Portland are soe of the best places in the US for bike commuting and the general cyclin community - cyclists are really positively seen as both commuters and recreational riders

    NC- i must say about 6 years ago when i ended up moving to Portland i did a big search of cities -- end list of 4 was Boulder CO, Portland OR, San Francisco CA and Munich Germany where i then moved 4 years later --- and NC was on my original list of 10 or so. i never did a real visit and i've only been there while driving through the Blue Ridge Parkway on vacation and a half-day in Raleigh... but i decided for me i thought the area would be too conservative as i had conservative friends from Texas who went out there and found it conservative. but might be a great choice.

    FL - i love mountains so Florida would never be a choice for me.

    oh, since San Antonio was mentioned a lot, i'll give my opion: i think San Antonio is OK and great compared to Dallas and Houston (i've lived in both - Houston is one of the worst cities in the US). it is still a huge sprawling city, although the dry desert hill on the west side are nice - lots of sun, descent small hills and rivers --- but for cycling the traffic makes it less than ideal and like Austin, the hills just aren't so big. i think socially SA has less than what it should for it's size - it just think it's way too boring for it's size and you pay for it with TRAFFIC (not that it's any worse than Austin, Dallas or Houston). i would tolerate living in SA is i had to, but i wouldn't choose it.

    Boulder/Denver CO is high on my list...

    what about northern California? i don't know much about the possibilities and especially work... but i've been a little intriqued by Redding recently. know anything about it?

    well, good luck. let me know how it turns out, as i will probably be facing the same type of choice at the end of the summer - assuming Bush stops srweing the country and the US economy improves sometime so i could find a job. my current list: real options: Boulder CO, Portland OR.... plus consideration for Salt Lake City (would like to like it, but it is SO conservative), Flagstaff Arizona (don't know much about it), Redding California (don't know anything about it)... plus unrealisitc places like Bozeman or Missoula Mountana or Sante Fe NM or some other cool mountain town where i probably couldn't get a job.
    Last edited by nathank; 04-06-03 at 04:22 AM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member trmcgeehan's Avatar
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    Consider San Diego. I left there in 1989, and have always regretted it.
    "I am a true laborer. I earn that I eat, get that I wear, owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness, glad of other men's good, content with my harm." As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 2. Shakespeare.
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    If you are thinking of OR, you might want to investigate Salem. I was between two consulting gigs there (and in Hillsboro) for a year and really liked it. Is the state capital, smaller, friendlier and less expensive than either Eugene or Portland. Is an easy shot on the interstate from both (about halfway between).

    Also, someone mentioned in one of the earlier threads along these lines that Boone, NC was not yet as yuppified as Asheville and was bicycle friendly. You might ask the people that run Classic Rendezvous about NC. They are out of Greensboro, I think.

  12. #12
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    If you're talking Jacksonville Fla. it isn't the
    most cycling friendly place in the world.
    Nasty traffic on most of the main roads
    and not a hill in sight.

    Dallas ain't great either. . .

    Marty
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  13. #13
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    If you are thinking of OR, you might want to investigate Salem. I was between two consulting gigs there (and in Hillsboro) for a year and really liked it. Is the state capital, smaller, friendlier and less expensive than either Eugene or Portland. Is an easy shot on the interstate from both (about halfway between).
    well, it is smaller and quieter maybe and maybe cheaper, but i personally would NOT pick Salem over either Eugene or Portland. i worked for 6 months in downtown Salem (for the State of Oregon) and considered living in Salem and decided to live in Portland and commute the 6 months. i guess if quiet is really important, then maybe, but Salem has much less going on, both socially and with sports, and much less of a "sport and cycling" crowd than either Portland or Eugene which also both are "younger" places -- Eugene has the university influence and Portland is just Portland - i think Salem is much more conservative in the social sense (it's still politcally liberal compared to the US average). i guess for me, Salem is too small of a place without having something "special" about it like a university or a major outdoor scene (like say Hood River that is awesome but there are no jobs).

    if you were seeking some place small and quiet, i would pick Ashland over Salem - but i have no idea what kind of job possibilities there are there, but it is a cool quiet small town!
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for the assist. Nathank, that's a wealth of information. I will have to take all this good inside info into account. I would probably miss the mountains in some of these areas, but I am still happy riding a bike on any kind of terrain (even flat pavement). I'm thinking what I need to do is visit some of these places and get a feel for them.

    As for N. California (Redding, etc.) I really know very little about it. All my excursions have led me south and east. Biking in the Bay Area is pretty good, but as I said, it is expensive here.

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    I lived in wilmington over 10 years and love it.But there are few trails.There can be good road riding but you'd be limited for mtb.It would be a great area for your line of work. Ashevillie is a nice place with tons of great trails close by.I'm not sure about the job market though.
    gary fisher big sur w/ c. king/mavic wheelset gunnar roadie ultegra/duraace and oh so smooth steel! In south alabama

  16. #16
    Senior Member diamondback's Avatar
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    Move where you fit in, where people share your interests and similiar life views.

  17. #17
    Rider in the Storm
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    I've no reference for comparison since I've not lived in any of the cities you mentioned other than Portland. I will say that Portland is an excellent city to cycle in. It is also offers a proximity to mountains, ocean, desert that is hard to beat. This allows a person to quite easily engage in many other outdoor activities. Although I've considered moving for a variety of reasons, I am hard pressed to find a better alternative - so I remain.

    And yes, it rains often. But I ride to work each day and it doesn't much bother me.

  18. #18
    Senior Member neguypdx's Avatar
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    Portland is a great city for all types of sports. Bicycling is possible all year around (though invest in a good rain jacket), skiing is nearby, water sports, coast, etc.

    Really, those are what keep me sane through the winter. I see many people begin to hibernate here because the weather can be a bit tough on newcomers. I try to remain as active as possible, and a week somewhere with more sun and warmth is great about February.

    I wouldn't recommend Salem. I lived there in college and there really isn't much going on there. It is one big suburb.

    I often think about experimenting and moving somewhere else for a while, but I make a list and Portland still stands as number one. SF is up there (but TOO expensive) and Boulder, CO is there too. Lots of sunshine, but probably as expensive as SF.
    Joe Price
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  19. #19
    wonderer, wanderer gonesh9's Avatar
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    i'll just say i haven't been to anywhere i'd rather live than oregon. well, maybe british columbia.
    i grew up in eugene, went to school in corvallis (a really nice college town) and now live in portland. overall, the people are much friendlier here than anywhere else i've visited. eugene and portland are very similar, portland's just a lot bigger than eugene. for a city (although not that large), portland has a small-town feel to it that you don't get from any other city i've been to. also, it feels much cleaner than any city i've been to-- the hippy thing with eugene is starting to become a thing of the past, although it is still a very liberal city. there is rain here, but like others have said, it doesn't really rain hard, just drizzles often. but it needs to to keep it so lush and green. the summers actually get fairly hot-
    with other outdoor activities, portland and eugene are hard to beat. both have large kayaking, rock climbing, sailboarding, and cycling communities.
    portland is also growing into sort of a multi-media arts mecca. it's true the economy is in the toilet here, but if you can get a job, it's all good.
    someone suggested salem, or. STAY away from salem! there is nothing good in salem other than a few trails 10 miles outside of town.
    other than oregon, other cities i have been impressed with are:
    - boulder, co. - i lived there for a summer. it's almost exactly the same city as eugene, although i found it a little pretentious. the weather is pretty much perfect all year long. it sits right up against the rocky mountains. biking is great there. people are moderately friendly, but imo not really in a genuine way.
    - flagstaff, az. - nice town, spent a little time there and thought it would be a nice place to live. close to grand canyon. the weather is a bonus, too.

    anyways, hope this helps. it's awesome you are at a point where you can just decide somewhere seems cool, and go there! good luck on your journey.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    Again, thanks for the info everyone. So some high recommendations for OR. I'm not too surprised, it really does seem great up there. Could I adapt to the weather? I guess the only way to find out is try. Quite a few Boulder suggestions as well. Another town that I'm sure would be great to live in, but probably a bit pricey. I feel lucky that I have so many cool places to choose from. This is a tough decision, but maybe the determining factor will be where I can find work.

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