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  1. #1
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    Any Cities in the Gulf Coast States Commuter Friendly?

    I'm a military member serving overseas. I'm originally from Jackson, MS and I've always thought that I would return home once I separated from the military. However, being stationed in Germany has made me realize that it would be nice to live in a city that is a lot more bicycle friendly than what I am used to back in the states. So much so that I am reconsidering where I really want settle down once I get out of the military. However, I would like to stay in the Southeast region of the U.S. (preferably one of the states that border the Gulf Coast so I wouldn't be too far from extended family). Do any of you commute in any of the Gulf Coast states? If so, how bicycle friendly would you rate your city?
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  2. #2
    smell the saddle...
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    I think you can rule out any big city as completely “bicycle friendly” even if bike paths exist. Of course, the south is worse (maybe behind times) – I often think of south Louisiana being the root of the worse in that category.

    This was published in a local newspaper last year in New Orleans “New Orleans has one of the highest percentages of people who ride bikes, estimated at about four times the national average in 2000. However, it is rated near the bottom for accommodating infrastructure, as is Louisiana, which has one of the highest fatality rates for cyclists.”

    So, I don’t know if there is a true place that is overwhelming biker friendly. However, there are ways to get around without putting yourself in jeopardy (even in your hometown of Jackson). Research an intelligent route from point A to B. I know there always isn’t the safest shorted route between 2 points, but look at multiple options and roads that are less traveled. I’ve done that on my own commute where I use a lot of side streets and neighborhood areas that people typically avoid.

    Another idea, would be to comb websites (there are many) with bike routes in various cities for commuting or other purposes. There may be some that already exist in Jackson.

    I wouldn’t automatically rule out your home town just yet. Dig around (talk to bike shops, road cyclist, etc.) and see if anyone else is doing the same thing. If there isn’t much presence, maybe step up and bring awareness to the city/county. That’s sort of what I am doing in my hometown currently.

  3. #3
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    Certainly NOT Birmingham ... check this out...
    http://www.velonews.com/article/8966...fightin--words

  4. #4
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    I've lived in New Orleans and commuted by bike almost every day (moving back in June!). There are tons of bike commuters in the city and since it's warm and flat, we have the physical environment going for us.

    The problem with New Orleans is that some parts of the city are more accessible by bike than others. If you want to bike commute, you can rule out about all the suburbs unless you want to live near one of the Levee Trails on either the East or West Bank. I've lived in Uptown and had no trouble with bike commuting. If you go out to Lakeview, Gentilly, of New Orleans East, you'll run into barriers such as dangerous over and underpasses and a total lack of bike accessible bridges.

    Good news is there are lots of people, including myself, who are working to make New Orleans a bike commuter's dream come true (through it'll take a while to realize that dream). I have links to almost all the bike organizations on my blog, www.nolacycle.com. My bike map isn't done yet, but it will be in June.

    Regardless, New Orleans is a kick-ass city. I love it. Other than my town, I hear Pensacola has an awesome bike community, but I'm not sure about riding there.

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