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  1. #1
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    Moving from Texas

    I'm planning to move out to So. Cal. in July from Dallas, and I'm trying to decide between Simi Valley, Woodland Hills and Pasadena. Calabasas is my first choice, but I don't have that kind of money. Which one is going to get me closest to the best trails? I'm an intermediate rider. Decent at technical stuff (though chicken at times) but, after four years in very flat North Texas, my climbing skills need work.

    I'll be working from home mostly so a commute really isn't a factor. I do, however, need to be in north L.A. so when I do have to drive in it won't kill me.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Over the Hill
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    Coming from Dallas I would think that any of those would be an improvement.

    I am not fond of the planned communities concept and prefer having a downtown area…so my vote is Pasadena. There are some great old neighbors in Pasadena and you have Mt. Wilson in your back yard. Best riding in the LA area are the San Gabriel Mountains.

    You will learn to climb! Or become a roadie.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon
    I'm planning to move out to So. Cal. in July from Dallas, and I'm trying to decide between Simi Valley, Woodland Hills and Pasadena. Calabasas is my first choice, but I don't have that kind of money. Which one is going to get me closest to the best trails? I'm an intermediate rider. Decent at technical stuff (though chicken at times) but, after four years in very flat North Texas, my climbing skills need work.

    I'll be working from home mostly so a commute really isn't a factor. I do, however, need to be in north L.A. so when I do have to drive in it won't kill me.

    Thoughts?
    I moved from Fort Worth 6 years ago and it took me about a year before I could hang on the climbs with my SoCal friends. I was granny gearing almost every climb I encountered, while my Bros were middle ringing'em like it was nothing...

    If you move to Pasadena you will be close to the San Gabriel mountains and there are some killer trails to be ridden. I'm not sure about Simi Valley or Woodland Hills as that's way north from where I live, but I think anywhere you move in SoCal there will be good trails with in minimal driving distance.

    You're gonna love the bike culture here. There's nothing in Texas like it..

    Good luck,
    AC

  4. #4
    34N 118W
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    Pasadena

    closest to great riding and the best off-bike scene of the three listed.

    the smog in the San Gabriel Valley can get really crappy at times though, the way it just hangs there.

  5. #5
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    First thought - get out here and ride.

    Woodland Hills is the best of the 3. You'll have easy access (even carless) to the Santa Monicas with all types of riding available. Flat(ish) slopes to steep. Shady (Sullivan Canyon) to sunny. Simi and Pasadena are limited in scope.

  6. #6
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    Pasadena

    I live in and work for the City of Pasadena and it is a great city. We are going through impressive urban renewal. The City is a model for other cities in the area for integrating commerce, residential, and transit into a livable community. Nothing like planned suburban communities of Irvine or the South. Much more European. This is speculation but in spite of the purchase prices in Pasadena, rental prices are pretty good. However in any of the communities you listed prices are going to be outrageous. Unless you make over $100,000 it is going to be hard for you to afford anything, and I mean a total fixer upper in a neighborhood that will likely scare you.

    What type of job are you getting and where is the job located. That should be your deciding factor. I used to commute 32 miles to work and that took over an hour. I moved 1 mile from my office and it was a life changing move. Commuting around LA will take years off you life.

    As for the trail, I'm partial to the San Gabriel Mountains/Angeles National Forest above Pasadena. The trails are older, steeper, rockier, and more technical. The Santa Monica Mountains are also very nice. There is a wide variety of trails in that range. I haven't spent as much time there as I have in the San Gabriel Mountains/ANF.
    I thought of that while riding my bicycle. ~ Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

  7. #7
    Over the Hill
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon
    I am really excited about getting to road ride on the PCH
    Hope you have life insurance.

  8. #8
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    I'm not really looking at buying a house since I don't plan to be in L.A. longer than about two years. I do freelance voiceovers out of my house, and I'm moving there to work with some voice coaches in L.A. Plus, I might work part-time in radio. I haven't decided yet.

    Any good biking clubs in that part of town? DORBA here in DFW is great, and I'd like to find some people to ride with as soon as possible. Girl groups? I probably will be out sometime in the spring to scout some more and try to get some riding in then. Plus, I am really excited about getting to road ride on the PCH though I'm most definitely a mountain biker first.

  9. #9
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    It can't possibly be any worse than riding on the road with Kamakazi Wannabe Cowboys in their huge pickups that they then park in front of their McMansions in Plano. If you've ever been to Dallas, you'll get that. But yes, my life insurance is paid up.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon
    It can't possibly be any worse than riding on the road with Kamakazi Wannabe Cowboys in their huge pickups that they then park in front of their McMansions in Plano. If you've ever been to Dallas, you'll get that. But yes, my life insurance is paid up.

    PCH isn't that bad and we have our share of huge pickups, but I think people in California are much more aware of cyclist than in Texas. We also have bike lanes everywhere so that makes a difference.

    Check out: Geoladders for a good details about trails ...

    Regards,
    AC

  11. #11
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    L.A. vs Big D

    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon
    It can't possibly be any worse than riding on the road with Kamakazi Wannabe Cowboys in their huge pickups that they then park in front of their McMansions in Plano. If you've ever been to Dallas, you'll get that. But yes, my life insurance is paid up.
    I lived in Dallas/Richardson/Plano for 5 years and found it to be one of the most bike un-friendly places to ride roads. I'll take PCH any day! People here understand that bikes share the road with them, they're not shocked to see you. In Dallas I would get looks like "Boy, what are you and your bicycle doing on MY streets???".

    analogy: Woodland Hills and Simi are more suburban, like Richardson or Plano. Lots of houses with pockets of strip malls. Pasadena is more like Oak Lawn. Cool shops and restaurants, all walking distance if you live in the area. Much more of a "community" feel than the others, IMO.

    use these forums or socalmtb.com when you're close to coming out to get in touch with locals.

  12. #12
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    not even close

    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon
    It can't possibly be any worse than riding on the road with Kamakazi Wannabe Cowboys in their huge pickups that they then park in front of their McMansions in Plano. If you've ever been to Dallas, you'll get that. But yes, my life insurance is paid up.
    I moved from dallas to murrieta at the begining of the year it took me a while to adjust, you can ride on the road here, not even close to dallas where I almost got hit several times, I am still a droba member too. I havent found a club yet but cool trails are here for sure, I love San Juan, you should put that on your schedule.
    http://www.caddesignwork.com/ where CAD Design and drafting happens.

  13. #13
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    Gotta second everything Mtnfiend says about Pasadena. Can't beat having a huge national forest with tons of great trails right in your backyard. There'a also good road riding in the mountains. Pasadena's got a lot more charm that the typical sprawl/fauxdobe/cookie cutter development that prevails in the majority of So Cal.

  14. #14
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    My Vote is for Pasadena

    The San Gabriels offers all kinds of riding and Pasadena has more to do when you're not biking.

  15. #15
    Just another Homer
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    Pasadena

    would get my vote too. If you want to road ride also check out the Rose Bowl on Thursday nights at about 5:30. They have a group that does laps and if you can hang, it's a hoot.I'm good for about two laps and then I'm spent. Lots of other road rides in the area with many clubs,both road and mountain.
    Santa Monicas are really not that far from Pasadena so you still have the opportunity to ride there too. They are at a lower elevation and mountains might be stretching it,but they are still one of my favorite rides, both road and mountain. You really can't go wrong with either in my opinion.
    I may not be as good as I once was.
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  16. #16
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    of the 3, if I were single, definitely Pasadena. I HATE the San Fernando Valley personally so I could never live in Woodland Hills and Simi Valley is a great choice with a family but if you are single, forget about it! Pasadena is a pretty cool area.....riding around all 3 will be great, they will have their own pluses and minues I am sure.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 'fiend
    Gotta second everything Mtnfiend says about Pasadena. Can't beat having a huge national forest with tons of great trails right in your backyard. There'a also good road riding in the mountains. Pasadena's got a lot more charm that the typical sprawl/fauxdobe/cookie cutter development that prevails in the majority of So Cal.
    Thanks young Padawon. Maybe one day we can get a mtn in front of your name.
    I thought of that while riding my bicycle. ~ Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

  18. #18
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    I'm a recent Texas transplant out here. I was in college station for the past few years.

    Won't comment on where to live, but the MTB is absolutely incredible out here! You'll get the hang of all the climbing with time as long as you just keep riding!

    It's wicked expensive out here, but highly enjoyable!

    ...and I can't get myself to compete with road traffic when there are so many killer mtb spots all over the place!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon
    I'm planning to move out to So. Cal. in July from Dallas, and I'm trying to decide between Simi Valley, Woodland Hills and Pasadena. Calabasas is my first choice, but I don't have that kind of money.
    Are rental rates really that much cheaper in Woodland Hills versus Calabasas? I lived in Calabasas for a while, and got the impression that Woodland Hills wasn't that much less expensive.

  20. #20
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    I lived in Woodland Hills for three years. I would NOT recommend this area. The 101 on the weekends is just about as close to hell as you can get. Most people seemed pretty rude. And it seems like it is always one of the hottest spots in the Valley during the summer (probably nothing, though, compared to the Texas summer sizzle). Simi is OK. I grew up there, and there is some pretty good riding in the immediate area. I would have to agree with the majority. Pasadena is the place to hang out for a while and enjoy the So Cal biking scene.

  21. #21
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    Wow! I never expected this much agreement about anything on a bike forum. Sounds like I'll be living somewhere around Pasadena. Now if I can just learn to climb....

    I was in Orange County for two weeks in February excited to ride. Unfortunately, L.A. was in monsoon season so I didn't get to.

  22. #22
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    in all fairness, just remember, none of these places are bad. people are simply commenting relative to the "closest" riding to the 3 places mentioned. I live even further West/North than Simi Valley and ride everywhere in LA county, to include by Pasadena (granted, on weekends). The riding by Simi is great and that then puts you close to Ojai and Santa Barbara which also have killer riding....so the moral is that you frankly cant lose; live where the best place is for your entire lifestyle, not just biking. my 2 cents...

    cheers and keep us posted

  23. #23
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    Refugee

    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon
    Wow! I never expected this much agreement about anything on a bike forum. Sounds like I'll be living somewhere around Pasadena. Now if I can just learn to climb....

    I was in Orange County for two weeks in February excited to ride. Unfortunately, L.A. was in monsoon season so I didn't get to.
    Agreement about riding or the city? Sure the town is OK (I lived there 4 years and worked at JPL), but the smog is a killer and the trails don't compare in variety to the Santa Monicas. The prevailing winds push LA pollution against the San Gabriels. For the cleanest air the Conejo Valley is not much farther than Calabasas and has even more trails. I rate CV as the best area in the nation for MTB. Come out and try it.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacman
    Agreement about riding or the city? Sure the town is OK (I lived there 4 years and worked at JPL), but the smog is a killer and the trails don't compare in variety to the Santa Monicas. The prevailing winds push LA pollution against the San Gabriels. For the cleanest air the Conejo Valley is not much farther than Calabasas and has even more trails. I rate CV as the best area in the nation for MTB. Come out and try it.
    I can vouch for the Conejo Valley as well. Quiet, no smog, and the area is literally surrounded by 5 or 6 seperate trail complexes. I'm not sure what the rent is like compared to Pasadena, but it's somewhat cheaper then Calabasas. It's still close enough to L.A. and the SF Valley to be convenient if you don't have to drive there every day.

  25. #25
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    What towns does that include? I know parts of L.A. pretty well. But those are the only parts of town I know.
    Last edited by Oregon; 12-23-2005 at 09:10 AM.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon
    What towns does that include? I know parts of L.A. pretty well. But those are the only parts of town I know.
    Going from east to west it includes Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park. On the far east end, Calabasas sorta straddles both the SF Valley and the Conejo. Simi Valley is just on the other side of the mountains, to the north.

    Here's a map that shows the trails in the area...

    http://www.venturacountytrails.org/T.../MapsHome.html

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon
    Any good biking clubs in that part of town? DORBA here in DFW is great, and I'd like to find some people to ride with as soon as possible. Girl groups? I probably will be out sometime in the spring to scout some more and try to get some riding in then. Plus, I am really excited about getting to road ride on the PCH though I'm most definitely a mountain biker first.
    socaltrailriders.org

    Sure, I might be biased just a tad.

    I'm sure you'll love socal - just consider yourself warned about traffic. It's not that bad if you avoid rush hour though.
    "With that said, until you have done a STR group ride- YOU HAVE NOT LIVED!"
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon
    I'm planning to move out to So. Cal. in July from Dallas, and I'm trying to decide between Simi Valley, Woodland Hills and Pasadena. Calabasas is my first choice, but I don't have that kind of money. Which one is going to get me closest to the best trails? I'm an intermediate rider. Decent at technical stuff (though chicken at times) but, after four years in very flat North Texas, my climbing skills need work.

    I'll be working from home mostly so a commute really isn't a factor. I do, however, need to be in north L.A. so when I do have to drive in it won't kill me.

    Thoughts?
    My brother and his wife live in Sierra Madre right next to Pasadena. Tons of trails (climbing). Houses are a bit cheaper there and it's just as nice. Quiet though. It's a really nice area.

  29. #29
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    If you are looking for epic rides that are more remote and challenging, Pasadena may be your kind of place. Culturally, it is not your typical SoCal 'burbs type neighborhood. The Rose Bowl road scene is also pretty good.

    Woodland Hills? Pass. Mostly because there are IMHO, better options. Nothing personal, but it does get a little hotter than most other areas and the traffic is always something to contend with (even moreso than usual LA traffic).

    Simi Valley? Better than Woodland Hills, but as others have pointed out, Conejo Valley is probably a better choice in the same general area. The riding there ranges from "do-able at lunch" to epic and there is plenty of road riding in some nice locales as well. BUT, one of the biggest perks of living in Conejo Valley (especially if you work from home) is that it has some of the absolute best weather to be had anywhere in southern California. I have worked in Thousand Oaks for 12+ years and have lived my entire life in various corners of Los Angeles County and have to give this area high marks in almost every area.

    If you want night life, Pasadena would be the tops for the places mentioned, but you can always drive there or other places for that.

    JMHO.

    Regards,
    Jeff

  30. #30
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    I am a former resident of Woodland Hills. I moved up to the Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village area (20-25 minutes west on the 101 Fwy) about 11 years ago. Woodland Hills definitely has some good variety for riding but is way too hot in the summer. You will likely end up driving to other areas to ride (like Thousand Oaks!) and have to deal with some of the worst traffic. I also did not care for the city and people weren't very friendly.

    Simi Valley is also quite hot. I personally find the area a bit limited for riding, but there are plenty of trails within reasonable driving distance and the community is a bit friendlier. Night life is dead, though.

    Pasadena is a great town and has some great riding. But you will pay to play. I don't know of that many trails out there that don't involve lots of climbing. The smog in the summer can really burn the lungs if you are out riding after 10am.
    Fat fanatic.

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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by dstepper
    Coming from Dallas I would think that any of those would be an improvement.

    I am not fond of the planned communities concept and prefer having a downtown area…so my vote is Pasadena. There are some great old neighbors in Pasadena and you have Mt. Wilson in your back yard. Best riding in the LA area are the San Gabriel Mountains.

    You will learn to climb! Or become a roadie.
    yes.!

  32. #32
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    Thank you! I totally forgot to ask about the heat. I hate the heat in Texas. When I was out in August last year it was great by the coast where I was working, but when I drove inland I thought I was going to die! After years in Oregon, I can't take the heat anymore which is ironic since I grew up in Hotlanta.

  33. #33
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    Then I recommend you stay away from Woodland Hills and Simi Valley. Pasadena is probably your best choice for weather, variety of trails, and a good mix of cultural nightlife.

    Like others said earlier, there are so many trail systems throughout SoCal, even if the local stuff is a little tough at first, you are within reasonable driving distance of several great trails that offer less vertical challenges. I'd say your bigger concern would be the technical difficulty of the SoCal trails. I hear many transplants to the area remark that our local trails are much harder to negotiate due to the rocky terrain. (Though I've never ridden in Texas)
    Fat fanatic.

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  34. #34
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    Riding in Texas=rocky, rooted, often cacti lined trails. I've also ridden in Colorado on some of those rocky monsters so I'm not too concerned about the rocks. It's the climbs that scare the bejesus out of me.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon
    Thank you! I totally forgot to ask about the heat. I hate the heat in Texas. When I was out in August last year it was great by the coast where I was working, but when I drove inland I thought I was going to die! After years in Oregon, I can't take the heat anymore which is ironic since I grew up in Hotlanta.
    It's hot but it's a dry heat. As you noted the coast is cooler, Thousand Oaks gets hot and cool depending on the influence of the sea breezes. (My mid-west folks were out here one August and needed blankets to get through the night!) Inland areas are just plain old hot. Camarillo is probably the best for a Mediterranean climate but it's far from the good trails. The Conejo Valley is a compromise but from there you can pick and choose the right trail for the weather of the day. We have variety of trails and climates and a lot of seasonal dependencies to learn. North-South canyons can be hot or cool (perpetual shade) depending on the sun angle. I don't stick to a club's ride schedule made out a month in advance, weather is important. (In fact I made this for my planning, hmmm do I like Mt. Pinos?)
    Last edited by pacman; 12-27-2005 at 08:09 AM. Reason: weather

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon
    Thank you! I totally forgot to ask about the heat. I hate the heat in Texas. When I was out in August last year it was great by the coast where I was working, but when I drove inland I thought I was going to die! After years in Oregon, I can't take the heat anymore which is ironic since I grew up in Hotlanta.
    Yep, Woodland Hills is, I believe, known as the hottest part of the SF Valley. I dunno if that's statistically true, but I've worked there in the summertime, and it gets HOT. The Conejo Valley is generally cooler, especially as you go further west, where the marine layer often has more of an effect. Often times, Newbury Park, at the west end of the Conejo will be totally clouded over while Agoura and Calabasas on the eastern edge will be sunny and 10-15 degrees warmer.

  37. #37
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    Hey Doug, on Sunday I met up with a couple of guys you ride with - Ruben and Albert. Nice guys. Shoot me a line if you don't mind me joining you guys some time.
    -Vince
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Upchuck
    Hey Doug, on Sunday I met up with a couple of guys you ride with - Ruben and Albert. Nice guys. Shoot me a line if you don't mind me joining you guys some time.
    -Vince
    Sure, right now it's "family week".

  39. #39
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    Simi...it still has a small town feel..............and great trails
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHIVER ME TIMBERS
    Simi...it still has a small town feel..............and great trails
    Spoken like a true father of a red-headed step-child.
    Fat fanatic.

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  41. #41
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    Climbling is good!

    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon
    ..... It's the climbs that scare the bejesus out of me.
    Remember, just keep pedaling and you'll get to the top...

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