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  1. #1
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    Berkeley versus San Fran for the summer?

    Hey,

    I'll be in NoCal for the summer and I'm trying to decide between living in downtown SF or Berkeley. I've never been to the area and don't know much about it. I want to ride 30-40 miles a few times a week, some longer rides on weekends, and do some running. Based only on that (yeah, there are other factors, but this is what matters), which is preferable?

    thanks!
    j

  2. #2
    experience over lungs
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    For what you are describing, I'd go Berkeley, since you would have easier access to nice places to run and ride. There are a few nice loops for riding in the 35 mile range, and they can be extended by squeezing through a few urban area along the way. I'm not a runner, but I see lots up in the many parks in the hills which are very accessible from all parts of Berkeley. If you said you preferred rides of around 60 miles, I'd say SF, since once you cross the Golden Gate Bridge, you have lots of longer options.

  3. #3
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Based on your stated criteria, Berkeley. Easier access to more variety of good rides of pretty much whatever distance and terrain you want. Also, it's easier and quicker to get out of town from Berkeley, and the traffic is generally easier to deal with until you do get out of town.

    Be advised - if you are a devoted Obama or Hillary Democrat, you are on the looney-tunes conservative fringe by Berzerkeley standards, and a mainstream conservative by SF standards.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  4. #4
    Senior Member powpow's Avatar
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    Berkeley. Not even close. I've have lived in SF, and now I'm in north Berkeley. The riding in the East Bay is amazing. Although SF is a cool city, riding from the city can be a pain (depending on your neighborhood). There are tons of options from Berkeley, tons of climbing, and you can ride right from your house and be in the hills within minutes.

  5. #5
    Senior Member murphstahoe's Avatar
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    Your question is not specific enough. Both Berkeley and SF are decent sized places. It can vary neighborhood to neighborhood really.

    Running:
    From my experience, the running is probably better in SF. Crissy Field, GG Park, Lake Merced and the Ocean Beach waterfront are all very good spots, all of those trails include non-paved options and there are plenty of pure off road options. These spots are spread across town and are all in good transit locales from each other. Berkeley, I think you probably run near the campus or you go up top to Wildcat - which means driving or locking your bike in a possibly insecure area. I prefer not to have to drive anywhere myself.

    For riding, Berkeley offers better "out the door" riding in general, but this isn't really simple. If you are living near I-80 in Berkley you need to painfully cross town to get to Tunnel or Shasta. If you live in the Marina in SF, the GG Bridge is 3 minutes from your door and you are quickly in some pretty good riding territory. One thing I like about SF is that there is quick access to BART, Caltrain, and GG Transit which will take you directly - with your bike - to where you want to ride in a number of areas quickly - for example I can get from my house in Noe Valley (SF) to Orinda in 30 minutes without starting my car. The same can be said for Berkeley regarding the East Bay but the access to Peninsula riding is not good at all, whereas I can grab breakfast on Saturday AM, board Caltrain at 8:05, eat and read the paper, and be in Woodside shortly after 9 AM.

    An additional factor is that since you will be here this summer, Marin County and the Peninsula, which are both much more accessible from SF (both via transit and car) are much better places to ride mid-summer, the East Bay can get extremely hot in July/August.

  6. #6
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    Cool. Thanks folks. I'll probably live in Berkeley. I definitely want to ride the Golden Gate area a bit, but I can hop on the BART for that. Looking forward to it.

    Berzerkely. I'm coming from the People's Republic of Cambridge, Mass. so it shouldn't be too much of an adjustment.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by murphstahoe View Post
    Your question is not specific enough. Both Berkeley and SF are decent sized places. It can vary neighborhood to neighborhood really.

    Running:
    From my experience, the running is probably better in SF. Crissy Field, GG Park, Lake Merced and the Ocean Beach waterfront are all very good spots, all of those trails include non-paved options and there are plenty of pure off road options. These spots are spread across town and are all in good transit locales from each other. Berkeley, I think you probably run near the campus or you go up top to Wildcat - which means driving or locking your bike in a possibly insecure area. I prefer not to have to drive anywhere myself.

    For riding, Berkeley offers better "out the door" riding in general, but this isn't really simple. If you are living near I-80 in Berkley you need to painfully cross town to get to Tunnel or Shasta. If you live in the Marina in SF, the GG Bridge is 3 minutes from your door and you are quickly in some pretty good riding territory. One thing I like about SF is that there is quick access to BART, Caltrain, and GG Transit which will take you directly - with your bike - to where you want to ride in a number of areas quickly - for example I can get from my house in Noe Valley (SF) to Orinda in 30 minutes without starting my car. The same can be said for Berkeley regarding the East Bay but the access to Peninsula riding is not good at all, whereas I can grab breakfast on Saturday AM, board Caltrain at 8:05, eat and read the paper, and be in Woodside shortly after 9 AM.

    An additional factor is that since you will be here this summer, Marin County and the Peninsula, which are both much more accessible from SF (both via transit and car) are much better places to ride mid-summer, the East Bay can get extremely hot in July/August.
    Sounds like I can't go wrong with either. The deciding factor is that I'll be working in Berkeley. Less time commuting is more time for riding.

  8. #8
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jooaa View Post
    Sounds like I can't go wrong with either. The deciding factor is that I'll be working in Berkeley. Less time commuting is more time for riding.
    Oh yeah in that case no questions about it: Berkeley. Besides SF is just a short BART ride away. Although you will be somewhat limited by when you can come back. Although taxi from SF to Berkeley is pretty cheap. I think it was like 30 bucks after tip, and money for toll.
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
    Stay calm and bring a towel.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
    Oh yeah in that case no questions about it: Berkeley. Besides SF is just a short BART ride away. Although you will be somewhat limited by when you can come back. Although taxi from SF to Berkeley is pretty cheap. I think it was like 30 bucks after tip, and money for toll.
    Access to riding is top priority, but if they're pretty much equal the commute is the tiebreaker.

  10. #10
    Mo No steelblue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jooaa View Post
    Access to riding is top priority, but if they're pretty much equal the commute is the tiebreaker.
    The weather is nicer in Berkley (and the eastbay) too. It can be cold, windy and foggy here in SF in the summer.

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