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Old 05-11-08, 09:07 AM   #1
pgoat
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where should we ride in Chapel Hill?

Hi all. We're visiting NC next week....maybe thinking of relocating soon.

Might try to rent bikes one day; I'd be interested in off-road riding eventually if we moved there, but I am more concerned with road riding and especially commuting at first.

Any good bike shops for rentals we should check out?

Also, any particular areas I should try riding through during rush hour? My idea is to judge the area at its worst to see if bike commuting is feasible. For example, if someone was considering moving to new york, I'd tell them if they could ride through Times Square or use a bridge here during rush hour and not be freaked out by it, they'd probably be fine anywhere else.

Of course, if there are some beautiful places to ride that show the city at its best, we'd be interested in that as well....
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Old 05-11-08, 09:08 AM   #2
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also - any good bike shops for shopping, good eats, clubs, etc?
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Old 05-11-08, 11:51 AM   #3
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Try the Bicycle Chain for rentals:

http://thebicyclechain.com/

You don't need to worry about bike commuting, it is a very good town for it. I can't think of a road in town that I wouldn't ride on. I don't know your threshold, though. The busiest streets are Franklin, Martin Luther King/Columbia.

I would ask the bike store for a good ride out of town and enjoy the weather for a few hours. Many of the popular rides around end up at Maple View Creamery for ice cream.
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Old 05-11-08, 11:59 AM   #4
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also - any good bike shops for shopping, good eats, clubs, etc?
I would recommend, among others: Milltown (in Carrboro, technically) and Lantern are good pretty casual restaurants (Lantern is a bit pricier). Sand Wich has good, but expensive sandwiches (I like the sardines). Jack Sprat and 3 Cups have good coffee. Local 506 and Cat's Cradle usually have good music.
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Old 05-11-08, 02:00 PM   #5
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Thanks. Those sound great. My threshold is pretty high!

I just figure 'let me see this place at its worst' - if I can handle that, the rest will be cake.

btw, places like Times Square are hectic but not necessarily the most dangerous - traffic tends to move more slowly there due to tons of pedestrians and whatnot.

It's more the odd ramps and approaches to bridges and highways that scare the poop out of me, and these can be a lot hairier in less populated areas.
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Old 05-11-08, 02:59 PM   #6
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Well, now that I think about it, the scariest places are the small county highways that come into town. In particular, Old Chapel Hill Road between I-40 and Garrett Road is bad as are Smith Level and Jones Ferry Road on the south west side of town.
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Old 05-12-08, 07:18 AM   #7
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Try posting in the Road Racing forum. Some Triangleists hang out in there more.
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Old 05-12-08, 08:07 AM   #8
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cool, thanks
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Old 05-12-08, 09:35 AM   #9
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Unfortunately, this appeared in the local rag this morning:
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1069290.html

But, don't let that put you off. There are several bike/multipurpose paths in the area. I sometimes jog on the path that runs from MLK Blvd to the Community Center off Estes Drive and see plenty of cyclists there. That's the Bolin Creek path. At the Comm Center, you can also access several other paths, including the Battle Park Pathways. The Bolin Creek path is going to be extended and connected this summer so you'll be able to ride from the east side of Chapel Hill (Eastgate Shopping Center) to Wilson Park in Carrboro. That will be very sweet!

Apparently there is a huge mt. bike park west of town off Hwy 54, check with the guys at The Clean Machine in Carrboro - they are always inviting me out there but I'm too much of a roadie to do the MTB thing.

I commute from Hillsborough to the UNC campus most days (weather permitting). It's not too bad. On weekends I do the roads in the western part of the county - that's a good workout as it's hilly and the traffic pretty slim. I've done Sunday morning rides (40, 50, and 60 miles) and only had to deal with minimal traffic. Most newcomers to this area have this odd fear of rednecks in pickup trucks. I've never had a problem with those folks - mostly I fear the soccer mom texting while letting her SUV wander all over the road. In the Chapel Hill area, I mostly worry about the elderly fool in the Lincoln land yacht who hasn't had an eye check in several years.

Riding through the UNC campus is always nice. The primo cycling area is Dairyland Road west of town. You can park your car on the roadside at the Maple View Farm Store at the corner of Dairyland Road and Rocky Ridge Road and have your choice of several very nice rural rides. On Saturday and Sunday mornings you'll actually have to look for a parking space - there's usually 20-30 cars all with bike racks. The Tarwheels have their cue sheets posted at:

http://www.tarwheels.org/

Oddly enough, most of the bike clubs in the area tend to be Durham- or Raleigh-centric. I ride with the Tarwheels from time to time, but they tend to be mostly from Durham. Usually I ride by myself as my schedule tends to be early-bird (I keep farmers' hours).
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Old 05-12-08, 10:31 AM   #10
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There is also a Triangle based forum: http://www.trianglecycling.com/index.php that has lots people from the area. I do all my riding South of Chapel Hill. The roads are rural and most are lightly traveled.
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Old 05-12-08, 10:41 AM   #11
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thanks, nagsheadlocal

we would definitely ride on trails and paths on the weekends but i do like riding to work as well. so this stuff is good to know.
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Old 05-12-08, 10:50 AM   #12
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.... Most newcomers to this area have this odd fear of rednecks in pickup trucks. I've never had a problem with those folks - mostly I fear the soccer mom texting while letting her SUV wander all over the road.
Amen!

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...Oddly enough, most of the bike clubs in the area tend to be Durham- or Raleigh-centric. ....
Three most important ingredients for a "bike club" to exist are: population, people, and persons. In no particular order.


Btw, Hillsborough = Research Triangle? Hmmn.

23 years ago, shortly after moving to the area, I told my boss that I thought Hillsborough and Chapel Hill were only 15 miles and a universe apart. He said, "No, they are a university apart."
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Old 05-12-08, 12:54 PM   #13
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thanks, nagsheadlocal

we would definitely ride on trails and paths on the weekends but i do like riding to work as well. so this stuff is good to know.
No worries. Here's the link to the Chapel Hill Parks & Rec webpage with all their greenways:

http://townhall.townofchapelhill.org...rks/greenways/

Riding to work in Chapel Hill is like riding to work in any other urban area - you'll eventually learn the roads and routes that work best for you. I tend to use one route in the morning and another in the afternoon. In the morning I like to team up with a school bus as they serve to "calm" traffic - what patrolmen call the halo effect. In the afternoon I use a route that cuts through a number of large parking lots and down a backroad. It's a little longer, but I only have to ride three miles on a particularly busy stretch of highway.
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Old 05-12-08, 01:38 PM   #14
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gotcha - I have a similar am/pm schism route here.....
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Old 05-23-08, 07:21 AM   #15
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well, we rented mtbs at The Bicycle Chain on Franklin....the riding is certainly very doable down there! We loved the Chapel Hill area. Hillsborough was beautiful too, but that looked a bit long for a daily cycle commute....we shall see....
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Old 05-23-08, 10:16 AM   #16
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.... We loved the Chapel Hill area. Hillsborough was beautiful too, but that looked a bit long for a daily cycle commute....we shall see....
With gas headed for $5 a gallon, perhaps before the end of the summer, that bike commute might start looking shorter.
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Old 05-29-08, 07:35 AM   #17
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well, we rented mtbs at The Bicycle Chain on Franklin....the riding is certainly very doable down there! We loved the Chapel Hill area. Hillsborough was beautiful too, but that looked a bit long for a daily cycle commute....we shall see....
Glad you had a good visit. As for the commute from H-boro: you can do intra-modal by driving to a park-and-ride and cycling from there. I see more and more people doing that. You avoid the two narrow and traffic-filled roads between H-bor and CH but still get the benefits of cycling when you also avoid the gas-wasting stop-and-go traffic of town. It's a great alternative.
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