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  1. #1
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    Moving to Oregon, which would you choose and why....

    I have lived in Eugene (92-94), more recently I have ridden trails in many of the areas we may live, including Portland Fire Trail, Hood River, White Salmon, Sandy, Marys, Mt Ashland, Oakridge, Klamath Falls, and of course Bend.

    I ride everything, rugged, cruisers, DH, even snow, but what I like best is having trails near enough that I can ride after work. Weekends are great for doing epics, drive a few hours, and wear your self out. But most of my rides now, 2-3x week, are after work, 30-60min sprints to clear my head.

    I currently live in single track heaven, Knoxville Tennessee, so moving will be tough, but I sure won't miss the heat and humidity!

    So we're moving West next Spring, it'll either be Oregon or Washington, but I'm focused on Oregon today, not sure what area yet because it depends on where I get a job, but here are the most likely candidates in order or liklihood:

    Salem
    Eugene
    Corvallis
    Ashland

    Which one has the most diveristy of trails
    Which one has the best "after work" ride options?
    Which one has the most potential for future trail development?

    Bend is a small possibility, but I really doubt I'll find a job there, of course if I do then I'll move there! Portland is out of the question, it just has too many people. LeGrande, Klamah, and Hood River are too small, so I won't find a job there.

    So, let's here it, which location fits my riding needs best?

  2. #2
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    I live in Corvallis. You might like it for the McDonald Forest trails to get your after work riding done. However you might also find the politics of trail and forest access a little bothersome. Some searching will find you more details or discussion about that. It's also nice being within striking distance of Marys Peak, Black Rock, McKenzie River, Oakridge, and Bend. There is a local IMBA chapter (Team Dirt) that is working on some new options for purpose-built mountain bike trails, but they are just getting started. If you can find a job here, it's worth checking out, see if it feels right to you.

  3. #3
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    Good choice avoiding Portland, but not because of the population. There is NO SINGLETRACK... ZERO. Ashland is awfully nice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppa#1 View Post
    Good choice avoiding Portland, but not because of the population. There is NO SINGLETRACK... ZERO. Ashland is awfully nice.
    There are lots of singletracks--not very long though, longest is 5ml.-- in city limits, you just have to look. Using Singletracks.com works too!
    I drive more when the streets need repairs! -'95 ZJ

  5. #5
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    What do you do for a living? What job are you looking for?

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    Ooops. Nurse Ben. Ha

    Well if you are a nurse I would look at Bend and any area with good biking first. My wife is a nurse. She found a job pretty fast when we moved here from Portland

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sketchbook View Post
    What do you do for a living? What job are you looking for?
    I'm an NP with an uncommon specialty, so the job search is not as easy as it would be if I were an RN. Bend would be the first choice, but it's very unlikely.

    No way we'll go to Portland, I like to visit, but living there is a no go. I need more single track than five miles...seriously, why don't you guys have more trail miles??

    Corvallis is nice, we were just there, but it's small enough that I have yet to find any jobs recent past or present. I rode Marys and checked out McDonald. I'll keep looking...

    So what say ye, esp the after work riding on single track, also having an active trail crew and political involvement for expanding access:

    Cottage Grove/Eugene vs Salem vs Ashland/Medford

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    Bend has an outstanding medical infrastructure, far greater than we deserve. With the considerable amount of retirees, as well as a very healthy entrepreneurial sector, an "uncommon specialty" may have more feasibility than you would think. Nothing matches Bend for having abundant and diverse trails available after/before work (well, until the days get too short . . . too soon, I'm afraid). Further, if you consider the size of the Bend/Redmond MSA, it is actually larger than Corvallis on a population basis, and I believe St. Charles is higher rated than the Corvallis hospital.

    Ashland is going to be even smaller than Bend, and even when combined with Medford, it is only similar in size . . . I can't imagine it being any more conducive to supporting "uncommon specialties" than Bend.

    Salem is larger, but you do not have any convenient close-in riding without driving over to Black Rock, but you will not have nearly the diversity of riding that Bend offers. Having lived in both places, if you can, cross this one (Salem) off your list.

    Eugene, again, is larger, but you have to drive a ways to get to good riding.

  9. #9
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    salem sucks. Grew up there

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    Quote Originally Posted by sketchbook View Post
    salem sucks. Grew up there
    I agree.

    Ben I'd get a job in Bend and enjoy.

  11. #11
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    What's your nursing specialty?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    What's your nursing specialty?
    Looking for a new footman?
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Looking for a new footman?
    Who knows? Maybe I know a guy who knows a guy.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GauchoGreg View Post
    if you consider the size of the Bend/Redmond MSA, it is actually larger than Corvallis on a population basis
    You don't even have to qualify that. According to the 2010 census, the city of Bend by itself is straight-up larger than the city of Corvallis, with about 20k more people. Plus a wonderful trail network that is impeccably maintained.

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    With Bend the problem is the intense competition for available jobs.

  16. #16
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    Ashland hands down. Bend will be good now that they have lift assist riding at Bachelor but to me it's a fricken dust bowl until the fall and sometimes that season is really short before the snow levels drop into the good trails. Both towns are nice resort towns with great microbreweries! The trails are just better in Ashland and they terminate right in the middle of town. Some Bendites will say the same for Phil's trail but it's just NOT the same, trust me.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    "There's two shuttles, one to the top and one to the hospital" I LOVE this place!!!

  17. #17
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    Yeah, Bend is a dustbowl, we rode there in June and my wife dumped over a drop and rolled in it, she was coated

    So about Ashland, we rode a couple different loops, can't remember the names; I was following a buddy, but I did notice that they seem to be straight up and straight down.

    In Ashland/Medford, where do you go for cruiser, XC riding?
    How's the riding in the Winter months?

    BTW, I'm not trying to be cryptic on the job description, but this is the world wide web, and I'd just assume stay anonymous, esp if I'm looking for work.

    Okay, Salem is a flush, Portland only has fire lanes, Corvallis is a maybe, so what about Eugene/Cottage Grove? If Eugene trail riding is limited without a drive, is that going to change in time?

    We're also looking in Washington State, I got a job interview up near Olympia next month, it's cooler and cloudier, but the dust is better

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman086 View Post
    The trails are just better in Ashland and they terminate right in the middle of town. Some Bendites will say the same for Phil's trail but it's just NOT the same, trust me.
    I've never ridden Ashland. What makes the trails better? How is the poison oak over there?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    So about Ashland, we rode a couple different loops, can't remember the names; I was following a buddy, but I did notice that they seem to be straight up and straight down.
    Well, yes, that's why I prefer Ashland!
    In Ashland/Medford, where do you go for cruiser, XC riding?
    How's the riding in the Winter months?
    There's supposed to be some good XC type trails on the other side of the valley. Uncle Cliffy on here can give you the rundown. During the winter they get snow up top too (the downhill starts at Mt. Ashland SKI resort.

    Okay, Salem is a flush, Portland only has fire lanes, Corvallis is a maybe, so what about Eugene/Cottage Grove? If Eugene trail riding is limited without a drive, is that going to change in time?

    In my opinion, no. They only have MRT and have to travel as far as us Portlanders to good riding. Funny thing is Portland is in the center of most of the good riding in Oregon, you just have to travel 1-1.5 hours to get to them but they are the most diverse in the Pacific NW. Where else do you have easy access to Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams? NONE of the other places you list. I don't think I could live in the other towns because they are too one-dimensional!

    We're also looking in Washington State, I got a job interview up near Olympia next month, it's cooler and cloudier, but the dust is better
    Washington State keeps trying to "catch up" with Oregon IMHO. Can they get there? Sure but the best thing now about that state is the proximity to Whistler (though I will say that the southwestern trails near Portland are stellar)

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    "There's two shuttles, one to the top and one to the hospital" I LOVE this place!!!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Yeah, Bend is a dustbowl, we rode there in June and my wife dumped over a drop and rolled in it, she was coated

    So about Ashland, we rode a couple different loops, can't remember the names; I was following a buddy, but I did notice that they seem to be straight up and straight down.

    In Ashland/Medford, where do you go for cruiser, XC riding?
    How's the riding in the Winter months?

    BTW, I'm not trying to be cryptic on the job description, but this is the world wide web, and I'd just assume stay anonymous, esp if I'm looking for work.

    Okay, Salem is a flush, Portland only has fire lanes, Corvallis is a maybe, so what about Eugene/Cottage Grove? If Eugene trail riding is limited without a drive, is that going to change in time?

    We're also looking in Washington State, I got a job interview up near Olympia next month, it's cooler and cloudier, but the dust is better
    So best trail accessibilty from town in OR would have to be in this order: Bend, Ashland, Hood River, Corvallis, IMO. Bend is tough to beat with 300+ miles of trails at your fingertips and can almost ride year-round with the addition of Redmond area trails (Cline Butte, Maston and new Redmond trail network) and Horse Ridge east of Bend. Yes, dusty as you experienced come mid-summer especially, but riding is better the higer and more west you go towards the mountains. I personally wouldn't like to live in Bend, just because it always kind of feels crowded and congested to me with tons of people in town and surrounding area come summer with tons of people on the trails, but I always like visiting and riding since I have been going to Central OR every year for vacationing since I was a kid and the riding/climate/terrain is vastly different than on the western Cascade slopes that I am primarily used to. But, I am afraid if I lived there I would ultimately get tired of the same conditions (snow to dust) year after year despite all those miles "out your door". So, basically every town with trails have their pro's and cons, I would shoot for a balance I suppose. Portland, where I live and have lived for almost 40yrs pretty much sucks for mtb as you are well aware, but I just travel east 45-60 min when the weather is bad to ride in the area or to the western slopes of coastal range and cascades when super dry with a couple of places in town to ride when weather isn't too bad (now) to get my by during the week when I don't have time for out of town trip. So as crazy as it sounds and thought I would never ever say this, but might have to pick Portland since it works well for my kids and wife, and more jobs and better pay in my field (health care like you) than other smaller, more trail accessible towns. I am just hoping I can make it to "snowbird" life one day with part-time living in the SW come Nov-Apr here, that would be perfect as summers are pretty awesome here.
    Ride On!

  21. #21
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    Bend is a giant cat box but the town has great vibes. I really like Ashland a lot! Great weather and nice riding. However, I would strongly recommend Hood River if you can pull it off. But HR has taken some logging hits on some of its trails.

    Olympia is so dank and dark, but the riding at Capitol Forest is sweet.

    I would avoid Portland like the Bubonic Plaque. It sucks big time for mountain biking--as noted.

  22. #22
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    I ride 20 miles a day to and from work in Portland. It's on road and paths, but it keeps me in shape and the money I save in gas justifies the driving on my weekend to where I can find the good riding. Lots of weekends in Oakridge, day trips to Mt Hood and some great trails in SW Washington keeps my mtb stoke alive. The commute miles keep me fit so I get a lot out of those trips.

    Works for me, but obviously there are lots of different views on what works for different individuals.

    The Portland IMBA chapter, Northwest Trail Alliance is growing and making strides. Yes there its a lot of singletrack around Portland and hopefully more and more of it will become accessible in time. But some of us who have been around and witnessed being systematically excluded tend to lose faith. What we need is more people to keep pushing back.

    All that being said, I would probably move to Bend or Hood River given the chance.

    Happy hunting!

  23. #23
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    Take me with you Charlie...
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  24. #24
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    I like Portland and I can appreciate the non mtbiking stuff that a big city can offer, but I am about to be a post kid boomer, ie the clock is ticking, so I am not going to drive to ride.

    I want riding 24/7, close to home, the ideal situation would be to ride from my house to the trails, which I can do now. I am spoiled now, so I'm not wanting to give that up.

    Bend is awesome, but the trails shut down when it's cold. I love to ski, I will ski, but I ride a lot more than I ski.

    I'd rather ride in the rain than ride on a trainer; not that you can ride a muni on a trainer

  25. #25
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    Well, pretty much all of Oregon shuts down in Winter.

    Bend is obviously the least likely to "shut down" since it's drier. There are trails east of town and north of town which can be ridden all year round.

    You can get a fat bike and ride higher elevation snow. Groomed trails and snowmobile trails.

    But most of the riding you will need to drive to. I'd say 15 minute drive to pretty much anywhere you want to ride.

    I don't think there's anywhere in Oregon you will be mountain biking from your doorstep all year around.

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    Mountain biking is awesome, but there is nothing like face shots of blower powder.

    The nice thing about Bend is as the seasons change, so to do the activities. After the next month or two of tacky and cool single track riding it will be ski season. XC and skate skiing is also a great way to get exercise and enjoy the upper MTB trails when they are covered in snow.

    As noted you can still ride out east in the winter, but I find hanging the bike up for a few months is a good way to rekindle the mountain bike stoke.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben
    Bend is awesome, but the trails shut down when it's cold. I love to ski, I will ski, but I ride a lot more than I ski.
    You can ride all year around in Bend. It's doable. I've done it. I no longer fight the seasons though and now I go skiing/snowboarding during winter instead. If a person lets himself enjoy it winter sports are fun.

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    I want riding 24/7, close to home, the ideal situation would be to ride from my house to the trails, which I can do now. I am spoiled now, so I'm not wanting to give that up.


    Don't move then

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jing View Post
    I want riding 24/7, close to home, the ideal situation would be to ride from my house to the trails, which I can do now. I am spoiled now, so I'm not wanting to give that up.


    Don't move then
    exactly what I was thinking.

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    May be possible to find somewhere near Corvallis, Eugene/Cottage Grove, or Ashaland/Medford where you can ride most of the year, but it might be hard to ride there from your doorstep. Of the three, I read about more people riding year round in the Eugene area. The problem with Corvallis, as I understand, is that most of the riding is happening in National Forest, and already is being ridden on the down low, so I wouldn't be willing to tear up the trails during the wet months. I'm sure people do though. Ashland/Medford gets more snow in the area, so riders are forced to stay in low-lying areas. I believe most of the best riding is above the snow line, but the Ashland folks will have to chime in.

    Point being, you can ride at least 8 good months most anywhere in Oregon. The other 4 monts will offer riding, but you'll have to make certain concessions.

  31. #31
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    I have friends that ride all year round in Portland (not from their door of course), it looks absolutely miserable. I'm glad that I enjoy other hobbies in the winter months.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

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    And to actually answer your question, I'd look into Camas, Wa. It's not as romantic as Ashland, Bend or Hood River but you'll have some good riding out your door.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Danger View Post
    The problem with Corvallis, as I understand, is that most of the riding is happening in National Forest, and already is being ridden on the down low, so I wouldn't be willing to tear up the trails during the wet months.
    State research forests, part of OSU, managed by the College of Forestry. The singletrack is already soggy. There are still forest roads and some official year round trails (Dan's, Horse, Alpha, Uproute, Ridge) which are essentially rocked-in and widened beyond what anyone would consider singletrack.

    Unofficial trails are officially discouraged, and hence don't have the support and build crews and maintenance that you see being done by other organizations throughout Oregon. Even blowdown isn't cleaned up as fast, as volunteers who could do it aren't permitted to do it. So that means the damage caused by riding of saturated unofficial trails isn't getting enough repairs.

    Our local IMBA chapter is wisely focusing their efforts elsewhere for now. I see them trying to make inroads with the university and college as well but it will take some time.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbmaddux View Post
    State research forests, part of OSU, managed by the College of Forestry. The singletrack is already soggy. There are still forest roads and some official year round trails (Dan's, Horse, Alpha, Uproute, Ridge) which are essentially rocked-in and widened beyond what anyone would consider singletrack.
    Thanks for the clarification.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    I like Portland and I can appreciate the non mtbiking stuff that a big city can offer, but I am about to be a post kid boomer, ie the clock is ticking, so I am not going to drive to ride.

    I want riding 24/7, close to home, the ideal situation would be to ride from my house to the trails, which I can do now. I am spoiled now, so I'm not wanting to give that up.

    Bend is awesome, but the trails shut down when it's cold. I love to ski, I will ski, but I ride a lot more than I ski.

    I'd rather ride in the rain than ride on a trainer; not that you can ride a muni on a trainer

    In a typical year, you can get good rides in during any month of the year in Bend. That might mean you have windows of opportunity and can't go for a few weeks, but between Masten, Horse Ridge, Horse Butte, the new Redmond trails, and Smith Rock, you can anticipate being able to ride somewhere at any time between March and the end of November, and squeeze in rides during December-February.

    As for dust, sheesh, you can follow good conditions up and down as summer progresses, but even in July and August, Phils/Ben's/Kents trails and Mrazek all the way down to the bottom elevations are still very fun, even if not ideal. No matter where you live, you are going to have seasons where you will simply have less than ideal riding. It's not as though trails on the west side are great all year, either, well, that is unless you love riding in sideways piss from April through the end of June when we are starting to get amazing rides in without the constant drizzle.

    By the way, the reason Bend is great for XC riding is the gentle slopes we have. Drive into Ashland from any direction other than Dredford and you will realize is is like taking a base jump, dropping in. The terrain lends itself to steep downhills and shuttle riding. REALLY neat town to visit, but . . . .

    Yep, the trails in Bend are not in ideal condition year-round. Find me a place where riding is great year round without ANY decline in conditions (either it gets too hot, too cold, too snowy, too rainy, too muddy, too dry . . .). But one thing does not change, you can go on amazing XC rides from town, with TONS of trails, and a full-service city with great airport and fun culture. AND, we are now getting the full 4-year OSU campus, right over at the base of the trails.

  36. #36
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    I stopped noticing the dust in Bend when I started riding solo more often than not. If you're alone or in the lead then the dust is all behind you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    I stopped noticing the dust in Bend when I started riding solo more often than not. If you're alone or in the lead then the dust is all behind you.
    Absolutely. The only other time you notice detrimental softness/dryness is if you get on the outside of the trail on some of the turns on the lower elevations. But typically, you handle the turns well, and stay in the more packed middle of the turns, you are fine.

    But I did a ride over on the Coyote Loop a couple weeks ago, when you would think it would be brutally dry, and it was a blast. My guess is it may not have been fun to be following me, but I did not end up noticing any dust. And that trail will just start getting into its season in the next month or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    I stopped noticing the dust in Bend when I started riding solo more often than not. If you're alone or in the lead then the dust is all behind you.
    +1

  39. #39
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    Or, if you ride in a group, spread out so you're not all bunched up and eating dust.

  40. #40
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    Bend

    Eugene / Oakridge

    Corvallis

    Hood River

    Salem

    Portland - Metro
    Last edited by homer8; 10-02-2013 at 02:22 AM. Reason: Missed one

  41. #41
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    As everyone else has said, Bend is probably the choice. I've lived in Portland for 2 years (via DC via ID via ND) and I would move there in an instant but good jobs are tough to find and homes cost about the same as PDX. But really, if you want an all year mtb residence the Pacific NW is not for you. Even the DC area was better for winter riding than Oregon.

    And I know Portland isn't even on your list anymore but I'll say when the weather cooperates, it isn't too bad. My first year here I grumbled about the lack of trails just because everyone else does but I started focusing on what I can ride instead of what I can't. I live in NoPo and after a 20 minute warm up on the pavement I'm in Forest Park on the firelanes, which is great for weekday training rides. On the weekends it's Sandy Ridge, Capitol Forest, or Bend.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    I stopped noticing the dust in Bend when I started riding solo more often than not. If you're alone or in the lead then the dust is all behind you.
    +2

  43. #43
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    I don't know, I have ridden all over and I have to come back to suggesting my home, Corvallis. Sure, maybe it isn't the best trails in the state, but there are plenty to ride year round that are fun, even in the winter, and even with them being "unofficial". Most are more of an "all-mountain" style trails that are rooty, rocky, steep.

    But the good thing about Corvallis that not many of the other suggestions have, is the central location to all the other riding and recreation spots. An hour to the coast, two hours to Bend, an hour and a half to Portland, an hour and a half to Oakridge, 45 minutes to Black Rock, two hours to the McKenzie River trail head, 30 minutes to the new trails being built by IMBA and Team Dirt in Alsea, 30 minutes to Mary's Peak. Plus, all the local trails we have within riding distance to just about all homes in the Corvallis area. Truly, riding distance to the trails from your door.

    But keep the actual community in mind too, in addition to the riding options. Sure, you may ride a lot, but you also have to live and work within the community too. Corvallis is a nice sized town, if you like a "town" atmosphere anyways. We have OSU here, so summers are nice without students in town, good schools and hospital systems, and pretty laid back people.

    Good luck on your search.
    - 2014 Giant Trance 27.5 1
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  44. #44
    mtbr member
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    24/7 riding out your door... then don't move
    I can't take the heat any longer, the Tennessee Valley is brutal from June to September, makes the hot Summer Nights in Eugene seem like the dead of Winter.

    If I did stay, I'd move to Asheville NC, the Bend of the Southeast, but alas it's time to move back West, and not a moment to soon. I just got back from a ride, 80+ degrees and high humidity, it's friggin October!!!

    I interviewed today with a group in Eugene, it sounds promising. Next weekend I leave for an interview (maybe two) on the Olympic Peninsula. Still nothing in Corvallis, Bend, or Ashland.

    I love snow sports, I lived in Truckee for years, so part of this move is to get closer to real mountain and snow, BUT even if I had a banner ski year, say 60 days, it would still pale in comparison with my average days riding per year (150 days).

    But keep the actual community in mind too, in addition to the riding options. Sure, you may ride a lot, but you also have to live and work within the community too. Corvallis is a nice sized town, if you like a "town" atmosphere anyways. We have OSU here, so summers are nice without students in town, good schools and hospital systems, and pretty laid back people.
    You are right on target, riding is just what I do for exercise and sport, the place is what makes where you live a home. I like Corvallis, it's grown up a lot since I was first there in the early ninteies, it has everything I need BUT a job. Corvallis was our compromise choice, my wife's first choice was Ashland, my first choice was Bend.

    I'd take Bend in heartbeat, turn to snow biking, or drive for winter riding, but getting inroads into Bend is some sort of feat. The only way we're going to Bend is on my wife's job, and that's a big risk because then what will I do without a job...oh, yeah, ride and ski more

    Is the riding around Eugene improving? I read something about the Wypass trails becoming official, so does that mean there's some other "under the radar riding" that can be done near town?

  45. #45
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    Hope your wife gets a job in Bend! I know I'd move to Bend If I ever got the chance. I'm so sick of the wet and gray, gray, gray, gray.....

  46. #46
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    Ben, local IMBA chapter in Eugene is pretty active.

    Disciples of Dirt

  47. #47
    Www.rvmba.org
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    Ya. Ashland/Medford sucks. Nothing to see here. Seriously though. If you want trails from your doorstep it's hard to beat Ashland. But that's not where it ends. S. Oregon is underrated for its trail access. All people know S. Oregon for is Ashland. But we have hundreds of miles of trail that surround the area. And new trail systems will be popping up soon. 2 new trail networks adjacent to town. Both will be IMBA projects with flow trail, etc.
    We need more active trail advocates and builders down here. So if your into joining the local club and making things happen we welcome you.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Is the riding around Eugene improving? I read something about the Wypass trails becoming official, so does that mean there's some other "under the radar riding" that can be done near town?
    There's the Ridgeline trail system which has a couple trails open to bikes at Martin St. I found it by going to the DoD website and looking at where people ride in the forums, take a look at the link posted by rushman3.

    https://www.eugene-or.gov/facilities...ty/Details/129

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by sketchbook View Post
    salem sucks. Grew up there
    Yep, Salem does suck, living here now.
    "Let the wheels spin."

  50. #50
    Daniel the Dog
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    Living on the west side of the mountains is like living in a cave.

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