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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 04-28-06, 08:22 PM   #1
Brian_1
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Old 04-28-06, 09:11 PM   #2
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Bike and weather, we've got both here in Flagstaff
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Old 04-28-06, 09:14 PM   #3
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Ottawa, my home town. Well, the weather is iffy, but its possible to bike year-round. Certainly bike friendly. A lot of cars, but seldom grid-lock level traffic. Great public transit. A few festivals each month from spring to fall, and a handful over the winter, plus museums and concerts.
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Old 04-29-06, 06:49 AM   #4
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i dig boston. but dude! the right answer is BOULDER! i went to school there.

BOULDER.

no more responses are needed. this question is officially settled.
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Old 04-29-06, 07:12 AM   #5
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yeah, but how does Boulder rate for item 7 ? A score of -100,000 ?
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Old 04-29-06, 11:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kf5nd
yeah, but how does Boulder rate for item 7 ? A score of -100,000 ?
I looked on craigslist last week and found a bunch of places with fairly low rent there (compared to NJ). But I've never looked at the housing market.

You should also consider crime. I know a few places that meet most of the above but sure as hell wouldn't want to live there...
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Old 04-29-06, 11:54 AM   #7
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I vote for availability of diverse recreational activities and employment. For me, a densely populated, medium-size city is perfect for using bikes as primary transportation. In a city like this, most of your destinations will be within a 30 minute ride. I also like having other recreational bike opportunities readily available, like paved trails and mountain biking trails.

I think any city is bike friendly, if you know how to select routes and ride in traffic.
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Old 04-29-06, 03:04 PM   #8
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Its easy to be carfree in Richmond (Va) since its not that big of a city and if you live near carytown or in the fan all your day-to-day stuff is within walking distance. I just dont like anything else about Richmond at all so I'm leaving. Hopefully Portland is better
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Old 04-29-06, 03:21 PM   #9
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Boulder may also score well on age and gender diversity, but racial diversity? Not so much. (Speaking of which, is there really anyplace that doesn't have a diverse gender demographic?)

Quote:
1.bike friendly
2.weather friendly
3.least volume of motor vehicle traffic
4.cultural activities
5.access to creative shopping and diverse places to eat out
6.diverse age and gender demographic
7.diverse housing stock of moderate cost homes and/or rentals
8.average to above average air quality
A challenge to meeting the criteria on the OP's list is that "least volume of motor traffic" typically means a small town, which is often mutually exclusive with "cultural activities" and "creative shopping and diverse places to eat out". Where I live scores high on numbers 1,2,3,6, and 8; half of #5 (creative shopping yes - diverse places to eat out not as much); and arguably on #4, especially in the area, not just this town. #7, on the other hand - the real estate market here is out of control. I'm not recommending my town anyway, we already have a lot of growth projected, and I don't want most of that.
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Old 04-29-06, 03:27 PM   #10
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I had thought Northern San Diego county. Beautiful country. But the bulldozer is bulldozing it real fast.
Traffic looks more like LA everyday. Other than that; love northern San Diego.
Possibly, Santa Barbara county about Solvang?
But, then more than once motorists about Northern San Diego threated me with sudden death.
If you can swing it. The south of France. Roussillon. Mostly undeveloped compared to Cote de Azur. Cyclists are gods. Everyone bikes. One disadvantage. The bike paths near the beach areas on a nice summer day. SO many bikes, it is hard to pass. But, I bike 3-4 times a week. Have not experienced once any kind of resentment for cyclists. Climate almost like California's. and no earthquakes.
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Old 04-29-06, 03:52 PM   #11
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Imagine living only one mile to work in a city of 2000 folks. Eight miles to the next nearest town. Under 20 miles to the state capital. Living in a valley surrounded by mountains, but the valley is like 50 miles wide in places (and runs from Portland to south of Eugene. Living in Oregon is really super, except for the one time it rains (that's about from mid-november to early May!). Many bikers are year round, and even though we get 40+ inches of rain a year, it rarely snows in the valley. The valley is called the "Willamette". It is often incorrectly pronounced as will-la-met-te'. I take it in with my Felt 80, Specialized A-1 Crossroads Elite, and my Shogun. I hope everyone has it this good.
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Old 04-29-06, 03:56 PM   #12
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Northern San Deigo loses point for the cultural aspect and shopping. It has nice weather going for it though I'm afraid that it is mostly suburban type tract homes up there, too which isnt exactly bike centric, unless you live in a planned community where bicycling is king.

I would recommend prety much any medium or bigger city in the sunbelt. Most cities have older neighborhoods that are very conductive to cycling. Then theres the culture aspect you wont find in a small town, unless you're into that kind of culture. Most of these communities tend to be also denser, but not quite as dense as thier downtown (and not as sparse as the outlying suburbs), except perhaps the likes of Chicago and New York. The grid pattern is grid, not arterial, and gives you alot of routes to choose from. Mom and pop markets are also close by making cycling overr long distances to get something somewhat irrelevant and in many case impractical.
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Old 04-29-06, 04:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by attercoppe
(Speaking of which, is there really anyplace that doesn't have a diverse gender demographic?)
Haha, I was thinking the same.
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Old 04-29-06, 04:45 PM   #14
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chic . up there in northern san diego county, used to be great hill climbs amongst avocado fields. some areas still are. just traffic encroaches closer each and every day.
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Old 04-29-06, 04:55 PM   #15
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Valencia, Venezuela should meet all of these requirements and has a low cost of living to boot. I don't care for the lack of four seasons, but if you are in to biking that could prove to be a plus.

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Old 04-29-06, 05:39 PM   #16
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My town exhibits a lot of the things that I like to see in a community that aids and abets bicycling for transportation. I went down and the OP's list and answered each for Quincy, IL, and it was quite informative. Would it be appropriate to post such a long post just touching on the amenities of my town? I'll post it if anyone is interested.
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Old 04-29-06, 06:17 PM   #17
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Anywhere Colorado, Hands down.
Boulder, Durango, Cherry Creek, Highlands Ranch, Colorado Springs, Glenwood Springs, Steamboat, Brekenridge, Vail, Aspen....
Got yall beat, I'll never leave this place.. born and raised Colorado native.
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Old 04-29-06, 06:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by attercoppe
Boulder may also score well on age and gender diversity, but racial diversity? Not so much. (Speaking of which, is there really anyplace that doesn't have a diverse gender demographic?)
parts of Alaska, certainly!
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Old 04-29-06, 11:02 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick A
My town exhibits a lot of the things that I like to see in a community that aids and abets bicycling for transportation. I went down and the OP's list and answered each for Quincy, IL, and it was quite informative. Would it be appropriate to post such a long post just touching on the amenities of my town? I'll post it if anyone is interested.
I've been to Quincy a few times - I used to live in Kirksville MO and worked a service area (computer repair) that ran clear to Hannibal and Lagrange. I'd cross over to Quincy once in a while for lunch. I wasn't into cycling then, certainly wasn't car-free at the time (though I had been before), but thinking back, it doesn't seem like it would be all that great for bicycles. Please share!
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Old 04-30-06, 01:12 AM   #20
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Reminds me of that exchange in Blazing Saddles...

If you must pry...

I must! I must!



Sounds like you're also familiar with the area. Hannibal is starting to become more bike friendly as well.
Anyhow, since you asked...(and thanks for asking)

By applying the list to Quincy, it represents the things that I like about living here even though I did not choose to move here and it was never on my radar as a potential place to settle (moved here for professional job opportunity for my spouse). Sure, some places have some amenities that Quincy doesn’t, but that can change, and becoming active in your community can influence those types of things. I've also lived (and biked) all over the country, and this is one of the better places I've been for bicycling for transport. Thing is, I think that there are a lot of other overlooked towns everywhere that are just as good if not better for bicycling.

Going down the list:
1.bike friendly
Proactive government, good local bike shop and cycling club, recent advances in advocacy and accommodations, a citywide bike share program. No Davis, CA, for sure, but more progressive than one would think.
Being on the Mississippi River, it’s part of the MRT (Mississippi River Trail) and is in somewhat close proximity to the Katy trail (the trail head is about 1 ½ hours by car or three by bus).

2.weather friendly
Three good, solid seasons for riding - though summers can be very hot at times. Winters are generally mild (relatively speaking), with not much snow.

3.least volume of motor vehicle traffic
Aside from one or two bike unfriendly thoroughfares and limited sprawl, traffic is typical for a small city of 40,000 that is the biggest population center within 90 miles. Drivers are courteous, cautious, easy going, and deliberate.

4.cultural activities
Some live music, nice little art museum, lots of local art programming, supportive local businesses to the arts, quality small theatre scene, lots of music programming in public spaces during warmer months, weekend town square farmer's market. Great architecture.

5.access to creative shopping and diverse places to eat out
Getting there. Better than most towns it's size, but could stand considerable improvement. Young professionals from larger midwestern cities have discovered low property values and are starting to bring more interesting and diversified business to Quincy. Columbia, MO, St. Louis, MO, and Springfield, IL all within @ 90 minutes by car. Regular and cheap Amtrak service to Chicago that is actually an hour less in travel time than by car, with more routes to be added in the near future. Other small towns nearby with interesting shopping/culinary/cultural attractions: Hannibal, MO (15 miles), Louisiana, MO (30 miles), Clarksville, MO (40 miles). There are a number of good quality "mom & pop" business that seem to not be a prevalent in other areas of the country any more. Butchers, bakeries, hardware stores, florists, etc.

6.diverse age and gender demographic
LOL.
I'll use this slot for education. The city public schools are very good, and there are a number of good parochial schools as well. Excellent community college that is unfortunately one of the least bike accessible places in the city. Quincy University is a small Franciscan liberal arts college. With that said, Quincy is in no way a “college town”.

7.diverse housing stock of moderate cost homes and/or rentals
Housing is mostly prewar stock in relatively good repair. Rentals are extremely inexpensive (I have a 800 sf 2 bedroom apartment for $375 with pets, and this is a little on the high side) and plentiful. Homes are inexpensive with prices well below national standards. $150K will buy you a castle in Quincy. Utility rates are in line with national averages.

8.average to above average air quality
According to scorecard.org, Quincy's median Air Quality Index for calendar year 2003 was a 30, well within the top ranking category of "good".
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Old 04-30-06, 07:26 AM   #21
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Greensboro, NC used to be pretty bike friendly. Haven't lived there in a while so not sure. I lived in a older neighbourhood about 3 miles from my work, it was great. Rode my old 3sp Raleigh to work everyday rain or shine. Grocery store(s) were on the way What was funny was my wife (now ex) insisted on driving (we both worked at the same place) We would leave home at the same time but by the time she got the car parked and walked into the building I would be sitting by the window with a cup of coffee and see her walking by on the way to her office With a bit of choosing I think most cities can be bike friendly at least in certain spots.

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Old 04-30-06, 08:55 AM   #22
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Quote:
is there really anyplace that doesn't have a diverse gender demographic?)
Quote:
parts of Alaska, certainly!
I was just going to say that there used to be a lack of gender diversity in alaska, what with the gold mines. Nowadays, I think the only places without gender diversity (if there are any) would be oil rigs with only a couple people on them.
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Old 04-30-06, 12:11 PM   #23
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Thanks, Patrick, very informative.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick A
2.weather friendly
Three good, solid seasons for riding - though summers can be very hot at times.
This is a big part of the reason I moved to Colorado - couldn't stand that Midwest humidity. Come summertime I usually didn't even want to be outside, much less exert myself any more than necessary.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cerewa
Nowadays, I think the only places without gender diversity (if there are any) would be oil rigs with only a couple people on them.
Not such a good place for bike riding anyway. Though it would be even worse for driving a car...
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Old 04-30-06, 12:13 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by attercoppe
(Speaking of which, is there really anyplace that doesn't have a diverse gender demographic?)
I don't know about diverse, but if the OP meant approximately equal numbers of males and females, read this:

http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/...cb01cn181.html

Alaska has 107 males for every female and Philly has 86 males for every female.
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Old 04-30-06, 03:41 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian_1
Not a new topic, but just inquiring here:
If you had to name one or two of your favorite places to live a lifestyle based upon the following criteria, what places would you choose?
1.bike friendly
2.weather friendly
3.least volume of motor vehicle traffic
4.cultural activities
5.access to creative shopping and diverse places to eat out
6.culturally diverse populace
7.diverse housing stock of moderate cost homes and/or rentals
8.average to above average air quality

Corrected 6. Thank you for pointing out the error and yes, it was stupid as it originally read!
From your criterion, I'd have to say Isla Vista, CA.

Of course moderate cost homes is relative. A California bunaglow is more expensive than an Arkansas mansion.
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