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Cycling Quality--Charlotte vs DC vs Houston vs Detroit?

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Cycling Quality--Charlotte vs DC vs Houston vs Detroit?

Old 04-12-24, 03:28 PM
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I've lived in a suburb of Detroit in late 80's/early 90's (Troy). I remember having to ride through the blocks of neighborhoods for safe riding. Not much for riding bikes on trails back then.
Afterwards, moving to Pennsylvania, definitely found some nice areas to go riding and plenty of rails to trails coming around.
About 15 years ago, lived in Charlotte with my then wife, but at time I simply didn't have time for riding, but only knew of a very few spots to go riding. Nice city, but just didn't feel it with living there.

I'm amazed at how many more trails and gravel areas the above regions now have as compared to when I lived there. Michigan now has the most rails to trails in the U.S. PA is still great. I had wished I explored more in Charlotte, but sometimes do wonder about moving to the Raleigh area with the trails they have.

Now that I work in the DC region, I have found myself very happy with the trails this entire region has. But will admit, the congestion does get to you after a while. Will be going after a new job that is no longer telework soon. Most likely will be using the Marc train to and from the DC area. Sometimes the Marc train has access for bikes. Hopeful that will be the case once I start using it.
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Old 04-12-24, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by travbikeman
I've lived in a suburb of Detroit in late 80's/early 90's (Troy). I remember having to ride through the blocks of neighborhoods for safe riding. Not much for riding bikes on trails back then.
Afterwards, moving to Pennsylvania, definitely found some nice areas to go riding and plenty of rails to trails coming around.
About 15 years ago, lived in Charlotte with my then wife, but at time I simply didn't have time for riding, but only knew of a very few spots to go riding. Nice city, but just didn't feel it with living there.

I'm amazed at how many more trails and gravel areas the above regions now have as compared to when I lived there. Michigan now has the most rails to trails in the U.S. PA is still great. I had wished I explored more in Charlotte, but sometimes do wonder about moving to the Raleigh area with the trails they have.

Now that I work in the DC region, I have found myself very happy with the trails this entire region has. But will admit, the congestion does get to you after a while. Will be going after a new job that is no longer telework soon. Most likely will be using the Marc train to and from the DC area. Sometimes the Marc train has access for bikes. Hopeful that will be the case once I start using it.
I have a colleague at my office that actually lives in Baltimore and commutes w/ the MARC train (we are not full time in the office a week so that helps) and he sometimes bring his bike on the train (then rides to the office from Union Station) and goes and does the Hains Point Loop during lunch because he doesn't want to miss a day of training. It can be done.
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Old 04-12-24, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Phatman
Good to know about the 485--there seems to be some nice houses/neighborhoods in the south part of Charlotte, but if that makes it an awful commute to go west, that adds a factor. I'd ideally like to bike commute but I know that it might not be possible.



Are you in Charlotte? If so, what part? Anywhere you'd recommend/not recommend?





Hm, Nashville, eh? I've visited for a wedding but didn't get a chance to ride. I've spent some time in Chattanooga too and its nice, but there's not much in the way of work for me there. I haven't investigated Nashville though.
Actually that parkway with the wide shoulders ran from way-west-Knoxville to Oak Ridge. Nice sized areas both and low housing costs, well, last I saw a couple decades ago. Some great biking areas on weekend deserted twolanes, such as up by Norris dam. Not long drive to the Smokeys.
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Old 04-13-24, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by travbikeman
I'm amazed at how many more trails and gravel areas the above regions now have as compared to when I lived there. Michigan now has the most rails to trails in the U.S. PA is still great. I had wished I explored more in Charlotte, but sometimes do wonder about moving to the Raleigh area with the trails they have.
For MTBers, trails are abundant from what I've ran across... For roadies that ride on pavement (non gravel, non dirt, surfaces that don't trash you and the bicycle) that is going to be tough to find if you're looking to actually ride to certain places. Riding in a metro park is not a roadies place as mph is enforced & the drivers looking for a parking spot that will use you as a speed bump.
Basically, if you ride a drop bar out on the public streets, you're very limited regarding locations & safety.
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Old 04-13-24, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul
For MTBers, trails are abundant from what I've ran across... For roadies that ride on pavement (non gravel, non dirt, surfaces that don't trash you and the bicycle) that is going to be tough to find if you're looking to actually ride to certain places. Riding in a metro park is not a roadies place as mph is enforced & the drivers looking for a parking spot that will use you as a speed bump.
Basically, if you ride a drop bar out on the public streets, you're very limited regarding locations & safety.
I can't say for certain now, been gone a long time, but in the '90s, in summer, yeah the metropark loop roads could be busy on weekends. But on weekdays, in evenings when I would bike there, around, and back (55k ride), traffic on the loop roads was really light, at least at Stoney Creek. I was only out at Kensington occasionally on weekends, would need to drive there, and a bit more busy. With housing expansion to the areas, both might be busier these days. The paved trail inboard of the road, I found too many pedestrians and narrow for the speed at which I would bike, but that was superb for inline skating, I used 5-wheelers and long poles with rubber tips to "skate-ski" like those in XC skiing that go on shorter skis to have a more skating motion then just sliding fore and aft. Great workout for arms too. Downhills were straight enough that I could do downhill-style gentle slaloming, and the 5-wheelers (longer blade and with no rocker) helped with stability for that. Always helmet, knee and elbow pads, but no wrist guards because that interfered with poling.
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Old 04-13-24, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
I can't say for certain now, been gone a long time, but in the '90s, in summer, yeah the metropark loop roads could be busy on weekends. But on weekdays, in evenings when I would bike there, around, and back (55k ride), traffic on the loop roads was really light, at least at Stoney Creek. I was only out at Kensington occasionally on weekends, would need to drive there, and a bit more busy. With housing expansion to the areas, both might be busier these days. The paved trail inboard of the road, I found too many pedestrians and narrow for the speed at which I would bike, but that was superb for inline skating, I used 5-wheelers and long poles with rubber tips to "skate-ski" like those in XC skiing that go on shorter skis to have a more skating motion then just sliding fore and aft. Great workout for arms too. Downhills were straight enough that I could do downhill-style gentle slaloming, and the 5-wheelers (longer blade and with no rocker) helped with stability for that. Always helmet, knee and elbow pads, but no wrist guards because that interfered with poling.
the route[s] that lead a rider to those east side metro parks have not been maintained since the mid 90s, so factoring in poor MUPs, the aroma of "herb" that loiter the same pathways, garbage such as broken glass/spent syringes, beggars that occupy select areas, & the normal users with extended pet leashes & kids wobbling their bikes along with E-bikes clipping 20+ mph... the window for those that respect the paths is very narrow. Oh & the cars that turn not obeying the No Turn On Reds.... it really brings about the mental fatigue.
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Old 04-13-24, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul
the route that lead a rider to those east side metro parks have not been maintained since the mid 90s, so factoring in poor MUPs, the aroma of "herb" that loiter the same pathways, garbage such as broken glass/spent syringes, beggars that occupy select areas, & the normal users with extended pet leashes & kids wobbling their bikes along with E-bikes clipping 20+ mph... the window for those that respect the paths is very narrow. Oh & the cars that turn not obeying the No Turn On Reds.... it really brings about the mental fatigue.
Wow, some of that is a surprise, some not. E-bikes on bike paths can be a menace even in bike friendly places, but increasingly the ones that are powerful and wired for higher-class speed go on the road. Bikers here often blow stoplights once traffic clears. Even in cities that are doing well, homelessness and an epidemic of opioid addiction are everywhere. The area around Stoney was going upward in the '90s; In the early '00s, Eminem (I'm not a fan) bought a mansion owned by the CEO of Kmart that backed up to Stoney Creek, sold it in 2017.

Those parks, Stoney and Kensington especially, were the crown jewels of the greater Detroit area, welcome places among the suburban sprawl. At least they are not being sold to developers, which means they can make a comeback.
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