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Best place to live (to cycle)

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Best place to live (to cycle)

Old 11-05-12, 12:39 PM
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Lamabb
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Best place to live (to cycle)

Where is the best place to live for cycling? Taking all factors into consideration.

For me, I believe an ideal place would include these factors:

- Living near a big city but not in one. (jobs/activity)
- Good hills/mountains ( I can't stand flat)
- Good cycling community
- Good Mountain bike trails AND good-condition roads
- Low traffic in immediate area
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Old 11-05-12, 12:58 PM
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That is a tall order but I have an opinion. There are several places in California that fit your description. San Marcos, Escondido in North San Diego County. Ventura or Santa Barbra County. Carmel or Monteray area. The wine country. However, I have very happy in Orange County. Maybe a little more populated than you might like but road and mountain biking is very good here any time of year.
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Old 11-05-12, 01:08 PM
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When I lived in Chico, CA 25 years ago, it seemed to me to easily meet all your criteria. Matter of fact, it was cycling Nirvana for me. But things change, so it may not be the Mecca for riding it used to be. Still, I'd be willing to bet there are a few Norther CA communities that come close to the ideal even today.
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Old 11-05-12, 01:10 PM
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Marin and Sonoma Counties. Great weather, close to San Francisco, Mt. Tam, Marin Headlands, yada yada.
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Old 11-05-12, 01:18 PM
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Californina. NEXT!
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Old 11-05-12, 01:23 PM
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Whidbey Island in Washington.
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Old 11-05-12, 01:27 PM
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Boulder.
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Old 11-05-12, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by VA_Esquire View Post
Californina. NEXT!
California in general has some great cycling and community, but I was thinking internationally as well as locally. Possibly one of the european countries such as France, the UK, the netherlands or Germany. Or possibly Japan (outside of the cities), where I know many people cycle but not as avidly as we do.
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Old 11-05-12, 01:37 PM
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Seattle. Or maybe Cle Elum.

Originally Posted by Lamabb View Post
Where is the best place to live for cycling? Taking all factors into consideration.

For me, I believe an ideal place would include these factors:

- Living near a big city but not in one. (jobs/activity)
- Good hills/mountains ( I can't stand flat)
- Good cycling community
- Good Mountain bike trails AND good-condition roads
- Low traffic in immediate area
Well, we don't get to talk about mountain bike trails very often in here. But here are a couple nice ones:



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Old 11-05-12, 01:40 PM
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Belgium
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Old 11-05-12, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Blade-Runner View Post
Belgium
Heh ... care to elaborate?
I would ... but I'm curious about your view on this
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Old 11-05-12, 01:56 PM
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Caledon (1/2hr north of Toronto). Rolling country hills with minimal traffic and great views. Amazing mountain bike trail systems. Not a huge cycling community but there are some groups if you're inclined to go looking for them (I'm more of a solo rider).

Only downside (and it's a big one) is the cold weather from Dec-April.
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Old 11-05-12, 02:00 PM
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not chicago.
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Old 11-05-12, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Lamabb View Post
California in general has some great cycling and community, but I was thinking internationally as well as locally. Possibly one of the european countries such as France, the UK, the netherlands or Germany. Or possibly Japan (outside of the cities), where I know many people cycle but not as avidly as we do.
Is this academic or are you planning to move out of the country? If I were looking internationally, I would look at Spain, Italy or France. My choice would be Italy some where near Florence.
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Old 11-05-12, 02:05 PM
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Internationally, I used to live outside Venice, in a town called Vicenza. Pretty good cycling in that area. I live in the SF Bay Area now and it's fantastic. Really close to Oakland and SF you are in area that feels very rural. Lots of wide bike lanes on roads, and there is a big variety in terrain. Lots of low mountains up to about 1500 feet, and plenty of flat too.
also, the winter weather doesn't get severe enough to prevent riding. No snow, and not really all that much rain either.
i know Colorado is another big cycling Mecca but I've never been there so can't comment.
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Old 11-05-12, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by chi-james View Post
not chicago.
haha. that narrows it down.
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Old 11-05-12, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Lamabb View Post
Where is the best place to live for cycling? Taking all factors into consideration.

For me, I believe an ideal place would include these factors:

- Living near a big city but not in one. (jobs/activity)
...
- Low traffic in immediate area
for year-round riding in above 50 Fahrenheit conditions ? mostly 'dry' ?

the "near big city low traffic" is really really tough. throw in good cuisine...

in the US...
iff'n I was to move - Santa Cruz area, or maybe a bit North of SFO - Olema to Pt reyes Station and slightly east area, is close enough to SFO... actually it's hard to beat anything north of SFO when it comes to riding country... closer to the coast is cooler

Lots nice in Spain, and So France, but I prefer Italy from about Abruzzo north to the just above the A4, that line from Venice to Torino, I like Treviso, MonteBelluna, Verona (almost too big) and the areas around Bergamo and the small towns northeasterly of Torino. It's really hard to land in a bad spot in Northern Italy... Winter sports would have me cozy up closer to Bigger Hills where ever... Winter comes to No Italy, but nothing you couldn't deal with using some arm & leg warmers and breathable jackets.
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Old 11-05-12, 02:09 PM
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Not a big city, but Grand Junction/Fruita in western Colorado has awesome year round road and mtn biking.

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Old 11-05-12, 02:12 PM
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For me: Italy, France and Belgium. The way they treat cyclists is just a thing of beauty. Loved it there, probably why my sister lives in Milan haha.
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Old 11-05-12, 03:05 PM
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In the US - it's really hard to be where I live, "South bay" near san francisco. It's Silicon valley, which means the towns around Stanford/Palo Alto.

Pros:
- TRUE year-round riding. It never really snows here, and stays sunny year round. Rains just enough in the spring (only) to have good tree cover, unlike LA/San Diego, which are mostly bereft of tree cover. You can't really compare Boulder or or other lovely areas as many other places have inclement weather (snow or heat) that shut down cycling for several months of the year. As lovely as those places are, some cycling >>> no cycling, even if it's just for a month.
- Mountains galore.
- HUGE cycling community. Even bigger than San diego or LA. There are lots of riders year-round, and when it's spring/summer and 75F out, there will be so many riders on the main roads that they will easily outnumber cars.
- Great roads for riding - very low traffic but mostly not so isolated that you feel desolate.

CON
- There is only one con, but it's a big one. It's hella expensive to buy/rent real estate here. Not NYC bad, but pretty much more expensive than any other suburb-type place in the US.


Ok, I guess there's on more con for all you Strava users. Cycling is so popular here that all the real climbs are absolutely stacked with professional-level results in the leaderboard. Unless you're a national-level pro, forget about KOMing any of the real climbs here.
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Old 11-05-12, 03:15 PM
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As it turns out, my location (Tallahassee, FL) is pretty perfect for me. Near a city (albeit a very small one) with miles and miles of great roads ride outside my door. And by and large very bike-friendly drivers in relatively small numbers. Certainly no mountains, but a lot of hills by Florida standards. And although I'm not really involved in it, it appears there is a pretty active community as good sized groups of riders go past my house regularly. I bought my house long before I got back into riding, so I'm pretty fortunate it happens to be in the middle of what is considered the prime cycling area in the county.
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Old 11-05-12, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by hhnngg1 View Post
Pros:
- TRUE year-round riding. It never really snows here, and stays sunny year round.
"The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco." -Mark Twain
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Old 11-05-12, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
"The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco." -Mark Twain
San Francisco has a TOTALLY different microclimate than the South bay just 20 minutes south. Sounds ridiculous, but it's absolutely true. Sf proper is gray and dreary most of the year - last summer, the avg temp in the summer during the day was barely 65F - sweater season the entire summer. In contrast, where I live, just 35 mins south of SF, it's 300+ days of sun and avg winter temp of lo 60s during the afternoon. Doesn't get any better than that.
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Old 11-05-12, 03:32 PM
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Off the beaten path... Kelowna, BC.
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Old 11-05-12, 03:53 PM
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Living in the Bay Area (California) has it's benefits. Too many places to go to when it comes to biking. I live 1/2 a mile from Quimby Road, so I can create a 10 mile route for a quick warm up before tackling Quimby Road from the base all the way to Mt Hamilton Road and continue up to the Observatory. Then take it back down all the way down to Alum Rock before heading back home. Or I can drive to Monterey and take the PCH to Big Sur (or for some, all the way to Hearst Castle). Or go to Mt Diablo or Mt Tamalpais. Or a quick one off Hwy 35 from the Great Highway to Canada (missing the little squiggle on top of the "n" so it's pronounced as Can "ya" da) all the way to Los Altos. Or Hwy 9. Or drive down to San Luis Obispo and ride up PCH. The Wine Country. Too many to mention and there are already a lot mentioned from previous posts.

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