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  1. #1
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    Riding location advice - considering moving to AZ

    My gf and I are considering moving to either AZ or CO. If we choose AZ we need to be within commuting distance to a major AZ university (she needs to attend one of the big 3 universities).

    Can you guys help me out and tell me where the best locations are close to some great riding? Here in socal its perfect for me (well, except for the housing prices and superficial OC culture) because I'm within 30-40 minutes of a 5,500ft mountain on one end, 10 minutes away from 3 state parks with great singletrack to the west, and 20 minutes north of my workplace which has some so-so singletrack (enough to get a workout) I ride after work.

    I want to be in a similar situation out in AZ so I can continue to ride on the week days and do longer rides on the weekend and stay in shape, live a healthy lifestyle, come home bloody from time to time, etc.

    FWIW I'll be motoring around on a 29'er singlespeed

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tribune
    My gf and I are considering moving to either AZ or CO. If we choose AZ we need to be within commuting distance to a major AZ university (she needs to attend one of the big 3 universities).

    Can you guys help me out and tell me where the best locations are close to some great riding? Here in socal its perfect for me (well, except for the housing prices and superficial OC culture) because I'm within 30-40 minutes of a 5,500ft mountain on one end, 10 minutes away from 3 state parks with great singletrack to the west, and 20 minutes north of my workplace which has some so-so singletrack (enough to get a workout) I ride after work.

    I want to be in a similar situation out in AZ so I can continue to ride on the week days and do longer rides on the weekend and stay in shape, live a healthy lifestyle, come home bloody from time to time, etc.

    FWIW I'll be motoring around on a 29'er singlespeed

    Thanks
    You'll miss SoCal given your current set up and all and the "hot time" here in Phoenix is a grind. However, AZ has a lot to offer. You can avoid the "hot time" by moving to Flagstaff, but you will have "cold time." I suggest Tucson over Phoenix, but if you need a big city, Phoenix may have to be the place.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirdir
    You'll miss SoCal given your current set up and all and the "hot time" here in Phoenix is a grind. However, AZ has a lot to offer. You can avoid the "hot time" by moving to Flagstaff, but you will have "cold time." I suggest Tucson over Phoenix, but if you need a big city, Phoenix may have to be the place.
    I like to think I can take the heat. I go riding in the saddleback foothills on hot days where temps get in the high 90s and its mostly climbing. Its good conditioning for phx

    Can't live in flag, not enough tech to be able to support the bike habit.

  4. #4
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    Phx is a good software market. Tucson is ok, but Phx is a good market. Don't move to Flag - poverty w. a view, if you work in software

    Scottsdale Airpark, Tempe and near Tempe, Camelback corridor, Central corridor, with a few big companies around I-17\Deer Valley -- that's where the jobs are at mostly, in more-or-less that order imo. There are jobs all over, but that is where they are dense. Airpark & Tempe are 1 and 1A, imo.

    PM me what you do and I will see if I can offer more specific suggestions. Phx is a great city for riding w. job market, if you can deal with Phx.

  5. #5
    In the rear with the beer
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    one reason to consider phx over flag and tucson is that its gives you access to get to all 3 location. you've got a better job market in phx, and fine riding, plus you can be in either flag or tuscon is about 2 hours.....and can get to durango or moab in about 7 hours.....
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  6. #6
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    with all due respect, you're confused. Flag is the only real choice for total quality of life - plenty of tech too

  7. #7
    Tucson, AZ
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    Tucson or Flag are the best places to live... I'd love to live in Flag!

  8. #8
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    heat

    Tucson averages 7 degrees cooler daytime but close to 20 degrees cooler at night.
    100 at 10pm is not uncommon in Phoenix in the summer.
    If I had the choice, Boulder and Ft. Collins and it's surrounding lower cost cities are a much better summer life, but I am biased and have been looking for property there. Here in Arizona people stay inside ALL DAY. Summer just SUCKS, outside Flagstaff.
    Temps in the 90's does not prepare you for 110+.

  9. #9
    Ouch, I am hot!
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    Quote Originally Posted by tribune
    I like to think I can take the heat. I go riding in the saddleback foothills on hot days where temps get in the high 90s and its mostly climbing. Its good conditioning for phx

    Can't live in flag, not enough tech to be able to support the bike habit.
    I was once Mr. SoCal. Phoenix is different. One huge difference is that it does not cool down in the evenings/mornings here. Riding in the heat in SoCal, even in the interior areas, was nothing like Phoenix in that you could ride in SoCal as long as you took precautions - water, take it easy, etc. Here in Phoenix, riding mid-day in 110 weather is not an option, with the exception of a few 19 year old tat'ed out hooligans that claim to ride mid-day without issue. Indeed, by 10:00 am it is too late.

    Pluses and minuses of Phoenix over OC as follows:

    Much easier access to trails in Phoenix. There are three major trail systems in the city itself and several others just outside the city. Very little traffic compared to SoCal.

    Housing is more affordable in Phoenix.

    Life is more simple/easier in Phoenix. Parking is not an issue. Less complications, less traffic, etc.

    Although the mtbiking community in Phoenix is not really an advocacy type community, the people here are very friendly and if you want to, you can make a ton of friends in almost no time and have a ton of group rides available to you all the time. SoCal if very different. You can meet friends and such, but it is much less global. For example, in SoCal it was extremely rare that I ran into a friendly face or someone I knew out on a ride. It happens here all the time. I met more mountain biking pals here in one year than I did in 20 years in SoCal.

    But, if you prefer to stay unknown in the shadows, Phoenix is big enough to allow it.
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  10. #10
    sonoranbiker
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    I vote for Tucson

    Looking at PHX, Flag, or Tucson, I'd choose Tucson.

    Flag would be great except for that whole winter thing, and it seems to be very expensive with a mediocre job market.

    You couldn't pay me enough money to live in Phoenix. Wilderness is way too far away (although there is good in-town riding), it's way too hot, there are too many people, and I just don't like the lifestyle there. I spent most of last summer there, and I wanted to shoot myself on a daily basis (no offense to those of you who live there, it's just not for me).

    I moved to Tucson about a year ago from Prescott (smallish mtn town) and so far I love it. It seems to have a good balance between big city and small city. There's good food and music, lots of stuff to do, it's pretty easy to get around, it's a very bike friendly city, and there's loads of mtn biking. From my house (1/2 mile from U of A) it's a 20 minute drive to 2 great XC areas (Fantasy Island and Tucson Mtn Park), and 40 minutes to a variety of other areas. I thought summer was going to suck here, and while the heat was a challenge I still manage to ride 3 days a week. I just do night rides or get up super early. The MTB community here is great too, very welcoming. The local club is Sonoran Desert Mtn Bicyclists (www.sdmb.org). They have a good mix of advocacy/trail building and social/group rides and events.

    Good luck- Evan

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonoranbiker
    Looking at PHX, Flag, or Tucson, I'd choose Tucson.

    Flag would be great except for that whole winter thing, and it seems to be very expensive with a mediocre job market.

    You couldn't pay me enough money to live in Phoenix. Wilderness is way too far away (although there is good in-town riding), it's way too hot, there are too many people, and I just don't like the lifestyle there. I spent most of last summer there, and I wanted to shoot myself on a daily basis (no offense to those of you who live there, it's just not for me).

    I moved to Tucson about a year ago from Prescott (smallish mtn town) and so far I love it. It seems to have a good balance between big city and small city. There's good food and music, lots of stuff to do, it's pretty easy to get around, it's a very bike friendly city, and there's loads of mtn biking. From my house (1/2 mile from U of A) it's a 20 minute drive to 2 great XC areas (Fantasy Island and Tucson Mtn Park), and 40 minutes to a variety of other areas. I thought summer was going to suck here, and while the heat was a challenge I still manage to ride 3 days a week. I just do night rides or get up super early. The MTB community here is great too, very welcoming. The local club is Sonoran Desert Mtn Bicyclists (www.sdmb.org). They have a good mix of advocacy/trail building and social/group rides and events.

    Good luck- Evan
    Yes, but Phoenix has big city opportunities that Tucson does not. It all depends on one's needs. With my career, I would not want to start out in Tucson. Plus, if you find the right place, you can ride to the trails of either SoMo, NoMo or Lost Dog area and basically be living in the heart of the city.
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  12. #12
    parenting for gnarness
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirdir
    Yes, but Phoenix has big city opportunities that Tucson does not. It all depends on one's needs. With my career, I would not want to start out in Tucson. Plus, if you find the right place, you can ride to the trails of either SoMo, NoMo or Lost Dog area and basically be living in the heart of the city.
    Exactly!
    None of us who live here think Phx is without its warts, but you won't find the job market, corporate headquarters, start ups, and ASU's CS programs in a small city. Check out the Dice and Monster listings for all of Arizona, you'll find more options in Phx. I worked in Tucson for 4 years - there were jobs, but not as many, so the field is tilted in favor of the employer. Its a big lifestyle thing to know you don't have to worry about finding a good job or hanging onto a crappy one.

    The riding options of Phx stack up very well against a lot of other cities - large and small.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonoranbiker
    ... from Prescott (smallish mtn town) and so far I love it.
    Prescott is neither small nor in the mountains.

    It all depends on your preferances. I'd love to live in Flag, cuz you can ride to ride. No way I'd live in Phx, too hot and too big.

  14. #14
    sonoranbiker
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    Quote Originally Posted by ionsmuse
    Prescott is neither small nor in the mountains.

    It all depends on your preferances. I'd love to live in Flag, cuz you can ride to ride. No way I'd live in Phx, too hot and too big.

    What do you call those tall things around Prescott named the Bradshaws and the Sierra Prietas? I've heard them called mountains..... And while Prescott is growing at an alarming rate, in comparison to PHX, Tucson, or Flag, I would definitely call it small.

  15. #15
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    I was born and raised in Flag... lived there until I was 21 and then moved to Tucson. Honestly, if I could make a living in Flagstaff I would live there, but cost of living is high and jobs are hard to find.

    Nothing against our Phoenician friends here, but I just dislike the place. Too big, too many freeways, too many people, just too big (for me.) I love Tucson. It's big enough there is plenty to do, but small enough to still have a "small town" feel to it and the riding here is stellar.

    It all just depends on what you want. I would guess that jobs in Phoenix would be easier to find and probably better paid. But I prefer the style of living in Tucson over the big job and big house.

    Good luck in whichever you chose.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonoranbiker
    What do you call those tall things around Prescott named the Bradshaws and the Sierra Prietas? I've heard them called mountains..... And while Prescott is growing at an alarming rate, in comparison to PHX, Tucson, or Flag, I would definitely call it small.
    Well, PV and Chino Valley are not in the mountains, and only parts of Prescott are, so it's not like it's on the side of a mountain like Jerome or anything.

    I just got back from mtn biking in the clear up up here in Prescott. Gotta love year round riding.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    so it's not like it's on the side of a mountain like Jerome or anything.
    Nothing is quite like Jerome, the people that choose to live there are high.
    07 GF Rig

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonoranbiker
    What do you call those tall things around Prescott named the Bradshaws and the Sierra Prietas? I've heard them called mountains..... And while Prescott is growing at an alarming rate, in comparison to PHX, Tucson, or Flag, I would definitely call it small.
    Anything, including some celestial bodies and terrestrial governments, are small compared to Phoenix. Truly an absurd statement.

    I only count things as mountains if they go above treeline.

    In all seriousness, I'm moving. This is the last AZ summer I care to live through. You southern people are mad.

  19. #19
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    New question here.

    Quote Originally Posted by tribune
    (well, except for the housing prices and superficial OC culture)
    Where is OC are you at? That's my old hood. Whiting, STT, Harding, Aliso, San Juan, etc.
    Can you hear me now?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycljunkie
    Where is OC are you at? That's my old hood. Whiting, STT, Harding, Aliso, San Juan, etc.
    I'm in Irvine. I just did Whiting->Flag pole->Luge last weekend. I used to live in San Juan Capistrano a couple years ago and that was my local trail--only about 10 minutes from it

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tribune
    I'm in Irvine. I just did Whiting->Flag pole->Luge last weekend. I used to live in San Juan Capistrano a couple years ago and that was my local trail--only about 10 minutes from it
    Funny too that I just talked to a big time socal biker and he said the riding south of tempe blows socal away.

    What are the best places in phoenix to live in compromise of nearby riding and quality of life? How about tuscon? I know both are huge beyond huge so I'd like to get some idea of the pockets to start researching. I want to get a feel for home prices, nearby stuff (jobs, shopping), how safe the area is, cleanliness, etc. That way before I cruise out--I'll probably be visiting both phoenix and tuscon in the next 2 months--I know where to look at specifically.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tribune
    Funny too that I just talked to a big time socal biker and he said the riding south of tempe blows socal away.

    What are the best places in phoenix to live in compromise of nearby riding and quality of life? How about tuscon? I know both are huge beyond huge so I'd like to get some idea of the pockets to start researching. I want to get a feel for home prices, nearby stuff (jobs, shopping), how safe the area is, cleanliness, etc. That way before I cruise out--I'll probably be visiting both phoenix and tuscon in the next 2 months--I know where to look at specifically.
    Riding in Phoenix is definitely more technical than the Cleveland National Forest (at least up by OC). There aren't any really long or steep climbs though. Fun stuff overall, just different than what you're riding now. Lots of good trails for 29'er SS!

    Ahwatukee is a great area for South Mountain access but would suck if you end up working in Phoenix.

    Scottsdale has some really great riding in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve but homes are more $$$ than other parts of the valley.

    If you end up working in Phoenix you might want to consider living in Phoenix too. Driving into Phx from the E. Valley kind of blows. Plus you have T100 in close proximity to Phoenix.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycljunkie
    Riding in Phoenix is definitely more technical than the Cleveland National Forest (at least up by OC). There aren't any really long or steep climbs though. Fun stuff overall, just different than what you're riding now. Lots of good trails for 29'er SS!

    Ahwatukee is a great area for South Mountain access but would suck if you end up working in Phoenix.

    Scottsdale has some really great riding in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve but homes are more $$$ than other parts of the valley.

    If you end up working in Phoenix you might want to consider living in Phoenix too. Driving into Phx from the E. Valley kind of blows. Plus you have T100 in close proximity to Phoenix.
    I like central Phoenix. Very close to T100. Close to Cave Creek, Pima & Dynamite, South Mountain and McDowell. Not bad to Hawes, White Tanks or Estrella.

    My commute from Shea and 32nd into downtown is no more than 30 minutes at the height of traffic/rush hour. It is usually less.
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  24. #24
    kAZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by tribune
    What are the best places in phoenix to live in compromise of nearby riding and quality of life? How about tuscon? I know both are huge beyond huge so I'd like to get some idea of the pockets to start researching. I want to get a feel for home prices, nearby stuff (jobs, shopping), how safe the area is, cleanliness, etc. That way before I cruise out--I'll probably be visiting both phoenix and tuscon in the next 2 months--I know where to look at specifically.
    For Phoenix/ASU, sounds like you should look in south Tempe; around Rural Rd. and Guadalupe Rd, maybe McClintock and Guadalupe. That'd put you a little over 2 miles to the Pima trailhead at S.Mtn and about 4 miles to ASU. Nice part of town, albeit very bedroom community style.

    People like to rag on the Valley, but I've lived in Salt Lake City and Redondo Beach, and I prefer the Valley.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kAZ
    but I've lived in Salt Lake City and Redondo Beach, and I prefer the Valley.
    I lived on Esplanade & Avenue G in Redondo. Used to watch dolphins swim from my balcony. Lots 'o fun back in the partying daze...
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