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  1. #1
    Senioritis Member
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    Portland Vs. Everywhere

    I got my acceptance to NYU this afternoon, so I seriously have to start considering where I want to go to college. No matter where I go I'll be in NYC, Washington, Boston, or Montreal.

    The problem is, I've only ever biked in the (so-called) biker's heaven of Portland, and I have no idea what to expect in a new city. By stereotypes, I'll get killed in NYC or freeze to death in Montreal, and that is about all I know about these places (as far as biking goes.)

    Biking convenience isn't going to be THE deciding factor, but it will play into my final decision, so I'm wondering if anyone can give me an idea of what to expect (biking-wise) in any of these cities, especially coming from Portland (where the streets are paved with disused NJS parts)

  2. #2
    Pretty Prince of Parties chadbrochill17's Avatar
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    Travel. Test the waters.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by chadbrochill17 View Post
    Travel. Test the waters.
    I've been to all the cities except Montreal, and I know them pretty well (I used to live in NJ and was in NYC all the time), but I've never had the chance to bike in any of them. I don't expect to have the chance to see them all with a bike before the May 1st reply deadline, so I'm trying to ride vicariously through others and see what their opinions of the experience is.

  4. #4
    gz_
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    Well, choosing a college on bike-ability is just stupid, but since you asked you should go with DC or NYC since school generally runs through the winter so you won't get much time to ride in Boston or Montreal unless you are a fan of winter cycling.

  5. #5
    Senioritis Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by gz_ View Post
    Well, choosing a college on bike-ability is just stupid, but since you asked you should go with DC or NYC since school generally runs through the winter so you won't get much time to ride in Boston or Montreal unless you are a fan of winter cycling.
    Quote Originally Posted by felldownthewell
    Biking convenience isn't going to be THE deciding factor, but it will play into my final decision
    Just to clarify.

    But thanks for the input, I didn't know Boston had a ton of winter weather (I've only been in the fall), is it generally pretty snowy?

  6. #6
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    in New York City, you can bike forever and keep exploring the corners of a city that's so big it keeps surprising you. In the summer you can ride out to Fort Tilden, in the Fall you can bring your bike on the Staten Island ferry and explore Staten Island then then watch on the ferry coming back as lower Manhattan somehow looks like a diorama, slowly getting bigger and bigger. In Winter you can feel hardcore cause you're still biking, and exchange those solidarity looks with other bundled up riders. You can fall once (you're only allowed one) on ice on the Williamsburg Bridge. In the Spring you can get hell of excited about racing at Kissena, and soak up the warm weather in Central Park, and high-five your bike friends who you haven't seen all in one place in months cause it's been stupid and cold and winter and you hate your job.

    Riding in this city is ****ing awesome.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    nyc will be hustlin' and bustlin'

  8. #8
    70mm4$!n! freeskihp's Avatar
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    tommasini has a pretty big following in portland
    "The only reasons anyone should ever ride in the rain is because a) you’ve had your license to operate a motor vehicle suspended by the state. b) you’re in a bike race in which case you’re not allowed to use fenders anyway. c) you’re from Portland- in which case my main problem is with your neck beard- not your bicycle...If you need to train when it’s pissing rain- buy a trainer or one of those cheap charter flights to Mallorca."

  9. #9
    Banned zelah's Avatar
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    i hear people like boston

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by freeskihp View Post
    tommasini has a pretty big following in portland
    Yeah I heard there was some controversy? On one of those "forums" on the internet tubes?

    Anyway, thanks queerpunk, that sounds amazing. Does the traffic seem to be more dangerous than traffic elsewhere might? Or is that just a misconception?

  11. #11
    NitroPye
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    Quote Originally Posted by zelah View Post
    i hear people like boston
    Please don't send anymore college students my way! NOOOOOOOOOOO!

  12. #12
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    What schools are you thinking of attending and what is your planned major?

  13. #13
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felldownthewell View Post
    I got my acceptance to NYU this afternoon, so I seriously have to start considering where I want to go to college. No matter where I go I'll be in NYC, Washington, Boston, or Montreal.

    The problem is, I've only ever biked in the (so-called) biker's heaven of Portland, and I have no idea what to expect in a new city. By stereotypes, I'll get killed in NYC or freeze to death in Montreal, and that is about all I know about these places (as far as biking goes.)

    Biking convenience isn't going to be THE deciding factor, but it will play into my final decision, so I'm wondering if anyone can give me an idea of what to expect (biking-wise) in any of these cities, especially coming from Portland (where the streets are paved with disused NJS parts)
    Those all seem like places you can ride a bike. You're just going to have to become more hard-ass than you ever had to be in Portland. (I grew up riding a bike in metro Detroit, but none of those places are as bad as that.)

    Quote Originally Posted by freeskihp View Post
    tommasini has a pretty big following in portland
    <snort>
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  14. #14
    gz_
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    Quote Originally Posted by felldownthewell View Post
    Just to clarify.

    But thanks for the input, I didn't know Boston had a ton of winter weather (I've only been in the fall), is it generally pretty snowy?
    Yes it is very snowy and very, very cold. Average low in January is 22 and February is 24. Unless you grew up in a cold area you'll be pretty annoyed with this and probably won't be biking. Also the public transportation in Boston sucks and shuts down at like 1am.

  15. #15
    Senioritis Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by schleven View Post
    What schools are you thinking of attending and what is your planned major?
    NYC- NYU

    Boston- Boston University

    DC- Georgetown or George Washington

    Montreal- McGill

    My major will be political science, photojournalism, or international relations, depending on where I go (no matter what I major in I want to be a photojournalist.)

    gz- Sucks about the transit. I actually love the cold, I just hate biking in the rain (which I have to do a lot of here anyway.) Never tried it in the snow but I can imagine its a similar experience but quite a bit more slippery.

    Donna- That seems to be some pretty good general advice. I feel like I've been spoiled here!

  16. #16
    tinydr
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    The T is a pain that way (public transit) but Boston's geographically quite small... and for the most part quite safe, so it's really easy to walk a lot of places, or bike. With its lack of grids, Boston also tends to make for some great cycling.

    Boston winters are hard to classify, some years it barely snows, some years the city gets pounded repeatedly. Snowy winters usually seem to come in groups... followed by a few years of less snow. Most years the snow will melt quickly.

    I spent a little time in Portland, and admittedly riding would be a little different in Boston, but it's really not that bad in my opinion.

    It should be said that Boston's weather changes a lot.... I spent a few days up there in January and it was in the 40s and 50s while I was there (put properly, Boston weather likes to tease... you'll get a few days of milder weather and then back to colder weather). The mid 20s in Boston is also far more doable than mid 20s in the Plains states...

    If you keep considering Boston and need any advice feel free to pm me... between growing up in Boston, driving a cab, and chasing cheap rents all over town I've lived in or am familiar with almost anywhere in metro Boston.

    ----

    Edited response below:

    B.U. is located pretty ideally because it leaves you with a lot of options in terms of where to live...

    Honestly I was never much for taking the T... it's great if you're going "into town" (ie downtown) but most places you'd want to go aren't hard to get to walking or cycling.

    After 4 years of messengering in Boston, snow is better than rain. Boston, most years, is unlikely to be a place you'd end up dealing with snow on the ground more than... 10-20 days in a winter (could be anytime between October and March... not unusual to have it be really cold in Oct and Nov, then milder in December and January, then back to cold for a few months). The problem most people have with Boston winters is when it gets to be early March and it's even colder than December.

  17. #17
    Banned zelah's Avatar
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    yeah riding anywhere but portland is going to kick your ass at first.

  18. #18
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Exactly. This is like sugar plum fairy riding land.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by felldownthewell View Post
    Boston- Boston University
    Well, since BU has the best photojournalism program in the nation and I'm assuming you were accepted into that program, I would go there.

    Just my 2 cents.

  20. #20
    Senior Member kzac's Avatar
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    I'm a student at George Washington and I have definitely enjoyed DC. Our campus has the best location in the city, if you ask me. Right next to Georgetown, the National Mall, and a 10 minutes ride from Chinatown. It doesn't have quite the hustle and bustle of NYC, but that means there is a whole lot less traffic. Not as much of a city to explore, but still tons to see and do. It also stays considerably warmer in the winter. Public transportation is pretty amazing, as far as ease-of-use and cleanliness. Plus there are some sweet on-campus biking jobs. 8)

    Oh, and the International Relations program is kick ass (I'm in it)... Political Science is great too, from what I hear.
    Boy on the bike, what are you like
    As you cycle round the town?
    You're going up, youre going down
    You're going nowhere.

  21. #21
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    Have no problems riding in Philly, but I'd probably be dead right now if I spent the same amount of time riding in NYC, specifically Manhattan.

  22. #22
    tinydr
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    I felt compelled to add: "Stop the B.U.ification of Allston!!!"

    If you go to BU and move off campus, live in Cambridge or something!

    seriously though, stop jacking up the rents.

  23. #23
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure all 4 of those cities in the OP have regional fixed gear/bike forums. If that's any indication of bike-ability.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Irwin Goldstein
    Men should never ride bicycles. Riding should be banned and outlawed. It is
    the most irrational form of exercise I could ever bring to discussion.

  24. #24
    kinda useless.
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    I have a friend who goes to McGill. There's a pretty good fixed scene there, and the drinking age is 18 or 19, but apparently it's pretty unimportant. Speaking of alcohol in Canada, it's supposedly more expensive and you can't get down and dirty liquor. But there's more to college than booze.

    On the downside, it is cold as balls and they get a ridiculous amount of snowfall. So much, that a lot of things are done underground. I don't imagine that'll be very bike friendly.

    That's all I really know, can't give any first-hand experiences, so take it with a grain of salt.

    And biking in the snow sucks way more than biking in the rain. It's way way way more slippery and the snow kills your speed and efficiency so much it's almost depressing. And then if you have incompetent plowers, the bike lanes are filled with the snow from the road. Plus, I don't know what they do in other places but here in Michigan they throw ridiculous amounts of salt all over everything, killing every ferrous metal in the area. Hell, one of our counties actually ran out of salt. Bah I hate Michigan. End rant, sry.

  25. #25
    Senioritis Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by schleven View Post
    Well, since BU has the best photojournalism program in the nation and I'm assuming you were accepted into that program, I would go there.

    Just my 2 cents.
    I am considering it, but I'm torn for several reasons. (mainly because I've gone to an arts high school and have plenty of photography training, but I'd like a more general grounding in poly sci/history/international relations so in case running around battlefields gets difficult I'll have something else to fall back on)

    Anyway, I'm glad to hear all these cities have pretty strong biking cultures, although Montreal sounds like it'll be tough. And going from French French to Canadian French isn't going to be easy either...

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