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  1. #1
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    How is the riding in NC?

    The Mrs. just sent off an application for a job in the triangle area and was just wondering how big cycling is there. I have lived in CA most of my life and TX for the last 10 years. Been looking at street views all night and it does not seem promising. No shoulders and no bike lanes?

  2. #2
    Senior Member NealH's Avatar
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    Its great. Numerous clubs and quite a few events in the surrounding area. Good roads however, its far safer to ride the rural roads and these are the areas where the club rides generally take place. The mountains about 3-4 hours away and offer very good riding and scenery. If fact I would argue the western part of the state is one of the best cycling areas in the country.

  3. #3
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    I'm skeptical about that but still some good news. The only way to know for sure is to go see for myself, if/when an interview takes place. Looking to live car free. I spend the summers in Colorado and Oregon, how is NC compared to those states if you have ridden them?

  4. #4
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Hey Luke,

    Toured there in 2009.

    Loved it.

    Beats the heck out of Texas Riding.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member NealH's Avatar
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    I don't think this is the place for you if you're looking for a car free lifestyle. The Triangle area is an upbeat go out and do it type place. Most of the time you'll need a car for that because go out and do it type places are not at your doorstep. Salaries are good though, so no excuse for not buying one.

    The cycling clubs here are great. Some good rides about every night of the week and both weekend days. Weekdays also for retirees.

    I have not ridden out west. I've ridden from Florida up into PA (event type rides). NC and VA are my favorites - the western sections in particular.

  6. #6
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    I'll chime in for a second - I used to live in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, and I still visit. Raleigh has added a bunch of traffic circles and some other means of "calming" relatively recently, and some bike lanes - a bunch of infrastructure that wasn't there thirteen years ago. Chapel Hill proper has a lot of cyclists, and some decently low speed limits depending on which roads you take. Both towns seem a lot more receptive to biking than they were when I was there, and Raleigh in particular had a lot more bike traffic. My impression was that the bike traffic, at times, outpaced the infrastructure. I do have to say that I've found the suburban/country roads to be less hospitable, and that I'd rather not venture out on some of the more twisty back-roads - speed limits between 50 and 60, cars doing 70, no shoulder or visibility... and +1 to probably needing a car. FWIW I prefer riding in NYC! Totally different ball game, and it's what I'm used to. Good luck.

  7. #7
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    Seems pretty good to me in Chapel Hill, but I've only been here three months next week (we came from the Bay Area). I haven't made it any farther than White Cross to the west, the American Tobacco trail to the east and south, and Arthur Minnis Rd to the north.

    Terrain is rolling, roads are narrow. Both are doubly true once you leave town. At least where I have been, the drivers seem okay... except for the college students, they're silly wherever you go. Years of riding Central Expressway in Santa Clara county inured me to riding with high-speed traffic.

    As to the car question, Mrs. A and I have no trouble sharing a car (well, it's more of a 95/5 division, as she is home with the kids) like we did in CA. But we are only three miles from the office (I usually take the longer routes) and the house is on a bus route. So I ride and they have the car. No intention of getting another one yet... we need that money for the mortgage.
    Last edited by bigbenaugust; 07-18-13 at 09:31 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Spent three years there, ending this past March. Bike commuted without issue from ~Merideth College 12 miles east to Knightdale. Mountain biked most Wednesday nights in Crabtree with TORC. Did the Benelux Cafe urban ride Tuesday nights. Rode with OnDraft for road rides some weekends, TORC for a huge variety of weekend mountain rides. Raced the Coastal Carolina Series every Spring. Did long road rides at the coast. Went to the Smokies for beyond excellent road and MtB rides in the Spring and Fall. The people are great, the food is great-both the BBQ and farm to table stuff. Excellent craft brews.

    As much as I love SoCal, I hated to leave NC.

  9. #9
    Not quite there yet Matariki's Avatar
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    I live in Durham and have commuted for the past 4 years. My commute is short and so I have to extend it by a number of different routes - mostly urban. I don't have much weekend time for "recreational" riding but have found a number of rural routes that provided great scenery, a mix of hills, and some great destinations. I have, like most, had some encounters with drivers who didn't exactly attend to their task the way I would have wanted; however scary encounters are rare. I've lived here close to 30 years and can say that if you don't like the area you probably will have problems elsewhere too. Being car-free is definitely possible with good planning. I rarely drive my truck - mostly on the weekend for other hobbies (can't pull the boat on my bike). Infrastructure is much better than 10-15 years ago and the greenway projects are blossoming.

  10. #10
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matariki View Post
    can't pull the boat on my bike
    I don't think you're trying hard enough.
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  11. #11
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    Thanks for all the input everyone, much appreciated.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Notgrownup's Avatar
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    Never cycled there but every time i am up there it is bustling with cyling activity...I would really look at where you are gonna work VS live...There are some nicer places in the Triangle but depends where the work will be...Seems pretty biker friendly...I ride my Motorcycle there quite a bite, few good shops up there...What kind of work will you be looking for...I see the Mrs. is the one looking there...Just being nosey...LOL
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    I think car-free is possible depending on your situation and on what you mean by car-free. I'm "car-lite" right now in that I gave up my car a few years ago, but my wife relies heavily on hers. And while me ditching the car didn't really affect me in a major way as I was already barely using it, it's hard to see how my wife could do the same. The Triangle is a pretty big area. I live and work in Raleigh and I work fairly regular hours. That means I can bike and/or take public transit every day. My wife works in Durham and often works of weekends and 2nd shift. To do that commute by bike would mean 20+ miles each way, and public transit options get scarce once you step outside of traditional commute times and days. To me the biggest impediment to going car-free in the area isn't road quality or bike infrastructure, it's how spread out everything is. The biggest change to my routine in terms of ditching the car is that I don't visit the neighboring cities as much. There's plenty to do in Raleigh, but every now and then there's music in Chapel Hill or a movie in Durham that sounds really tempting until I picture riding 20 miles home after midnight. On the other hand, I do have friends who think nothing of those trips, so it depends on the rider.

    As for the road quality and bike infrastructure, I think each city is a little different. Raleigh has increased its bike lanes and MUPs recently, but not to the extent that they make a useful transportation network. Random bike lanes sprinkled throughout the city, and MUPS are almost always on the edges of town, out of the way. Great for a leisurely ride, but less useful if you're trying to get somewhere. Basically, while I know Raleigh and the other cities are trying, if you're not comfortable riding in the road with traffic, you may not find the roads too friendly. But it's largely a question of your comfort level. I find that I'm happier in the urban areas where there is usually an alternate route if you don't like your current road. If you're just riding to ride, I know there's plenty of pleasant, lower traffic roads, but somehow whenever I leave the city, I find myself spending some time riding on roads that I don't care for because they're the roads that go places.

  14. #14
    An Average Joe Cyclelogikal's Avatar
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    Numerous clubs but what is that "Bike Lane" thing you make mention of????? < Just kidding! Some cities have them and alot not! I ride on the road regardless. I am from the central part of the state but live in the NC mountains where cycling is the best in my opinion! You have flats; rolling valleys; and very steep climbs if your froggy! So to answer your question you will be okay if you move here. There will always be a Jackwagon no matter what state or where you live that hates bikers! Just be as visible as you can!

  15. #15
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    Interesting thread as I'm trying to decide whether to retire to Asheville or the triangle area. I'm an A/A- rider who likes to climb and do paceline group rides. I assume Chapel Hill will have more clubs and regularly scheduled group rides than would Asheville...is this correct? My other assumption is that Asheville will have the best rides (scenery, low traffic, topological variety). So I see it as a toss up. I guess I need to visit and ride the roads.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Notgrownup's Avatar
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    I don't know about that...Asheville will be pretty progressive with bike clubs also... i would look... Hell the Triad area is bretty nice also and close to the foothills...If you want climbs though, ASHEVILLE...
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  17. #17
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    Just an update. First round on interviews to commence soon. Not sure if me flying out for some riding and sight seeing if/when round two comes is possible right now.

  18. #18
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by springs View Post
    Interesting thread as I'm trying to decide whether to retire to Asheville or the triangle area. I'm an A/A- rider who likes to climb and do paceline group rides. I assume Chapel Hill will have more clubs and regularly scheduled group rides than would Asheville...is this correct? My other assumption is that Asheville will have the best rides (scenery, low traffic, topological variety). So I see it as a toss up. I guess I need to visit and ride the roads.
    Can't speak for Asheville, but all of the clubs in CH pass my house on their way out into the country. Makes me feel like such a fred riding my singlespeed in to work.
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  19. #19
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    My wife and I moved to Winston Salem in June 2013 (two months ago) for her job. Prior to that, we lived in San Diego. The comparison of the bicycle riding infrastructure between these two cities is like night and day. Bike lanes are practically absent in Winston Salem unless you are only in the downtown area of 5 blocks. They begin all of a sudden and end where the road is not wide enough.
    Lots of businesses and work places do not have bicycle racks to park. You will be left to find a light pole in the parking lot to leash your bike to, if commuting or running errands, and will have to let it be rained on, since it has rained here almost every day for two months.
    Most roads, including bridges, do not have side-walks even. Otherwise, the road shoulder is all grass.
    Vehicle drivers are not used to encountering bicycle riders on the road. The city bicycle rules need you to ride as close to the right of the road as possible. This is very subjective, and so in case of an incident, "you could have been not riding to the right".
    If you ride a bicycle without bicycling clothes, like I do, you will be profiled as someone who committed a driving sin to get their driving license suspended.
    Having vented so far, I will say we have rode a couple of times outside town (in the country), and it was a fun experience (as long as there were no pick ups chasing us) and there are "greenways" which are also fun to ride on, but way too short.
    Good luck.

  20. #20
    Not quite there yet Matariki's Avatar
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    Never cycled in Winston-Salem, but I can say that I don't like driving there. OTOH, I have a very limited experience and should not be judgmental. You've only been there two months so perhaps in a year you may have a more optimistic report (let's be hopeful, what!).

  21. #21
    Senior Member Blue_Bulldog's Avatar
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    I live in Greenville, NC... and well, I kind of have mixed experience compared to my fellow Tarheels up there.

    First of all, Eastern NC is the most beautiful place I've ever ridden through. For long rides, this place is unbeaten. Just incredible. That being said, if you're not in one of the big towns up there^ and you try to live car free, like I do... prepare for some flack. People will immediately assume you had a DUI or something and *cant* drive, as opposed to not wanting to. Also, I have had more motorists fly dangerously close to me than I care to recall. I've also had a stack of people scream obscenities at me for not riding on the sidewalk... despite the fact that riding on the sidewalk is illegal as hell here. That all being said, it's actually not horrendous to ride here. If you can ignore the cockeyed looks and occasional shouts, it's pretty awesome.

    Just finished my first Century Ride here last weekend. Went from Washington, NC to Nags Head, NC. It was probably right behind the day my daughter was born, as one of the most amazing experiences in my life. Utterly beautiful, amazing... you cannot imagine the thrill of riding over the Pamlico Sound.

    You're gonna move here, I say bring your bike and enjoy the heck out of our state! I've heard people call NC "The Lord's Masterpiece"... and they're right!!

  22. #22
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    I'm not impressed with bicycle riding in the Raleigh area. I am a frequent visitor. The web sites for the local bike clubs are a disaster. The site for the North Carolina BC contains malware. In the years I've been visiting, I can count the number of road cyclists I have seen out riding in my two hands. The roads are narrow with no shoulders and drivers who speed. There are a lot of unrestrained dogs. There's is a lot of garbage on the grassy shoulders of the roads. There is no bottle deposit, so folks just throw them out the window. I have not come a cross anything I would call a hill around raleigh. The bicycling and running communities of western New York put this area around raleigh to shame. I have a friend that is going to give me guidance. I'm certainly going to try to hook up with one of the local bike clubs as a guest. I did like Crank Arm brew pub which is a very cool bicycle themed brewery in raleigh.

  23. #23
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
    I'm not impressed with bicycle riding in the Raleigh area. I am a frequent visitor. The web sites for the local bike clubs are a disaster. The site for the North Carolina BC contains malware. In the years I've been visiting, I can count the number of road cyclists I have seen out riding in my two hands. The roads are narrow with no shoulders and drivers who speed. There are a lot of unrestrained dogs. There's is a lot of garbage on the grassy shoulders of the roads. There is no bottle deposit, so folks just throw them out the window. I have not come a cross anything I would call a hill around raleigh. The bicycling and running communities of western New York put this area around raleigh to shame. I have a friend that is going to give me guidance. I'm certainly going to try to hook up with one of the local bike clubs as a guest. I did like Crank Arm brew pub which is a very cool bicycle themed brewery in raleigh.
    ... come on out to Carrboro? The narrow roads, speeding drivers and the trash are unfortunately all true. I was beginning to wonder if the Bojangles container was the official mascot of Alamance county while I was on a metric this past weekend.You need to head west for bigger hills. But there are plenty of roadies out here on this side of the Triangle.
    --Ben
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  24. #24
    Junior Member xbrizzax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
    I'm not impressed with bicycle riding in the Raleigh area. I am a frequent visitor. The web sites for the local bike clubs are a disaster. The site for the North Carolina BC contains malware. In the years I've been visiting, I can count the number of road cyclists I have seen out riding in my two hands. The roads are narrow with no shoulders and drivers who speed. There are a lot of unrestrained dogs. There's is a lot of garbage on the grassy shoulders of the roads. There is no bottle deposit, so folks just throw them out the window. I have not come a cross anything I would call a hill around raleigh. The bicycling and running communities of western New York put this area around raleigh to shame. I have a friend that is going to give me guidance. I'm certainly going to try to hook up with one of the local bike clubs as a guest. I did like Crank Arm brew pub which is a very cool bicycle themed brewery in raleigh.
    If you are new to the area, it can be tough to figure out where to ride around here. I have been looking for a club to ride with here, but like you said the websites offer little to no information that it's almost like it's supposed to be a secret. So instead, I do some rides with my local LBS and organized some of my own with friends. I can tell you though the best areas to ride are in North Raleigh around Falls Lake/Granville County, or southern Wake, Chatham, and Orange Counties. You will see plenty of cyclists and group rides on those roads Saturday and Sunday mornings. The roads in these areas are decent, less trafficked (though the spawl keeps moving in all directions), drivers tend to be tolerable to cyclists, and while not hilly, you can still get about 2,500 feet over 50 miles.

  25. #25
    Senior Member BikePackin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by springs View Post
    I guess I need to visit and ride the roads.
    Let us know what you think about 'riding the Ridge.'... as I imagine you are already aware, The Blueridge Parkway encircles about 180 degrees of Asheville. BlueRidgeParkway.org

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