View Poll Results: Where would you live for mountain biking?

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  • Boston, MA

    1 2.08%
  • Denver, CO

    22 45.83%
  • Philadelphia, PA

    2 4.17%
  • Portland, OR

    6 12.50%
  • San Francisco, CA

    3 6.25%
  • Sacramento, CA

    7 14.58%
  • Seattle, WA

    11 22.92%
  • Winston Salem, NC

    7 14.58%
Multiple Choice Poll.
Results 1 to 36 of 36
  1. #1
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    Deciding what city to live in, HELP!

    Hey folks,
    I have the opportunity to pick/choose what city I'm going to live in for the next 4+ years of my life starting next June. I have a narrowed-down list below

    I'm hoping to ride year round, cross country singletrack. Trying to get strong on climbing, so mountains would probably be a good idea. Hopefully some after work routes of 5-10mi and also possibility of 20+mi routes nearby or within a 2 hour drive
    (Edit: Pasted from below)

    Based on quality of riding and ease getting out to go mountain biking, rank them for quality of riding and say anything about any of these cities and riding, also anecdotal comparisons between these cities would be much appreciated too.

    Boston, MA
    Denver, CO
    Philadelphia, PA
    Portland, OR
    San Francisco, CA
    Sacramento, CA
    Seattle, WA
    Winston Salem, NC

    Thanks for the input!!
    Last edited by evuvanun; 09-29-2013 at 08:59 PM.

  2. #2
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    Riding year 'round?

    If you want to ride year 'round scratch off several of those. And you didn't say what kind of riding nor what types of terrain/mileage.

  3. #3
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    Whoops sorry. I'm hoping to ride year round, cross country singletrack. Hopefully some after work routes of 5-10mi and also possibility of 20+mi routes nearby or within a 2 hour drive.

    Just bought a 2013 trek stache 8 (29er hardtail) and would love to ride it as much as possible going into the future.

  4. #4
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    I have lived in the bay area, Portland and am now living in Asheville NC (up the hill from Winston-Salem). Portland is not a great place for mountain biking. At all. San Fran is better, but you'll still have to drive to ride single track. Winston-Salem kinda sucks, but there's good year-round riding up here in the mountains West of there...

    The rest of your cities won't offer year-round riding as snow takes over most of those places...

    Portland is my favorite city on your list (by far) and is VERY bike-friendly. The bike culture in Portland, however, is much more focused on commuter/road biking and you'll have to drive at least 40 minutes for good singletrack.

    I really dislike the bay area, but you're close to the Santa Cruz Mountains, and Marin county.
    ​mountain biking is fun.

  5. #5
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    Wow, what an interesting topic for a thread. I don't think this has ever been discussed before.

  6. #6
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    San Francisco sucks. too expensive, still have to drive to the goods. Trails are crowded. STAY AWAY

  7. #7
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    Massachusetts will be very tough to ride year-round. Traffic is miserable in Boston and a lot of the good trail systems within an hour of Boston are very busy.. If you can a live outside of Boston and commute in that would be a great choice.. preferably further to the West around Maynard, Leominster, or even Worcester. Obviously if you need to be closer to Boston that won't work.. I'm 10 minutes away from Leominster and there are dozens of trail systems within 30 minutes that are almost always completely empty. There is enough solid biking within 20-25 minutes of my house that I can ride 4-6 days a week sometimes twice a day and never get bored and there are still plenty of areas I haven't tried.. also doesn't hurt that I can ride out my door to save gas.

    MA is a great choice for biking, but Boston is not the best or even a good place to live in order to optimize your enjoyment, in my opinion.

  8. #8
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    Deciding what city to live in, HELP!

    Not on your list but I'll go for VEGAS BABY!
    And if you are single I say VEGAS +1
    Riding all year round tons of trails of all kinds from fast flow single track to super sketchy chunky downhill and everything in between 2 or 3 different neighborhoods where you can jump on your bike and hit the trails with out even getting in your car you can get to most any trail system around the valley within 30 minutes. Did I mention Bootleg Canyon "The Mountain Bike Mecca"
    And if that's not enough then you have some of the best riding in the country at Southern UTAH: Gooseberry, Guacamole, Grafton, Hurricane Rim, JEM, Little Creek, Gould's Rim, The Zen trail, Barrel Roll, Bearclaw Poppy, Dino Cliffs, Prospector, Suicidal Tendencies, etc...etc or Big Bear Mountain Bike Park (Just remodeled) within a 2.5 - 3 hr drive so totally doable as a day trip or you can also put another hour and you can be riding the Santa Monica Mountains, El Moro Canyon, Crystal Cove, Laguna Coast, Aliso Woods, Chino Hills, San Juan trail, Los Pinos and then enjoy the Cali beach afterwards.
    Last edited by Camaleon; 09-30-2013 at 07:05 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Denver is a terrible terrible place. We have no biking, no mountains, no beer, no skiing, no perfect weather. Don't move here.

    Sincerely,
    Your friendly Denverite who hates I-70 traffic.

  10. #10
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    Ditto on Vegas. I moved here for the year round mountain biking and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The trails are better and higher in number than what I anticipated. I never thought about what it would be like to live in the town itself before I got here, but I like that too. The only thing that isn't good is the traffic and crazy drivers.

  11. #11
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    Colorado is full, try California......... Lol

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by martynda View Post
    Denver is a terrible terrible place. We have no biking, no mountains, no beer, no skiing, no perfect weather. Don't move here.

    Sincerely,
    Your friendly Denverite who hates I-70 traffic.
    Unequivocally the worst part about living in Denver Metro. I suppose if you had to waste you live commuting to the DTC that would be right up there too.

    Personally, the desert SW has the best riding for my dollar Every. Single. day. Sadly, the economy just doesn't really compare in that part of the country :/

  13. #13
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    You can choose all those places? Interesting. I only know about 3 of those:

    Portland--as said, really nothing to mountain bike in the city or surrounding burbs. Possibly great riding within an hour though, and you can pretty much ride year round (as long as you do not mind rain and constant clouds). I lived there only one year (many years ago). It is still my favorite city for social stuff like beer, coffee, food, music, bookstores, etc.

    Seattle--I only know about from visiting. I do not think there is much ST in or next to the city, but, like Portland, fairly close to great riding and can ride year round. Also, great beer, etc.

    Denver--again, just from visiting (lived near Aspen for a few years). Nothing in town, but amazing trails in the mountains (when no snow). I think biking season in the foothills can go pretty long into Fall, but spring opening can certainly vary by snow amounts. If into snow also, good place to live of course.

    Not certain what is taking you to a new place, but there are better biking places. I live in the SW, so Tucson, Phoenix, Sedona, Flagstaff, even Las Cruces and Albuquerque are pretty good.

  14. #14
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    So I'm in medical school and I'm applying to residency next year. I am going into anesthesiology and will be in the city for at least 4 years, hopefully longer if I find myself loving it. I mountain bike, road bike, rock climb. Originally from Seattle, now in Winston-Salem, NC.

    These places I listed are my top choices for residency programs. Vegas and the others sound awesome (great climbing at Red Rock) but unfortunately no anesthesiology residency programs there, at least ones that I am interested in!!

    Sorry this type of thread is beaten to death but I am truly interested and tried to make it as relevant, purposeful, and easy to participate in as possible. I really appreciate all your responses, this is helping me learn a LOT about my future areas to live.

  15. #15
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    I am also a rock climbing-mountain biker. I currently live in Bishop CA, obviously for the climbing. The biking here is seriously lacking though.

    If you can do Vegas you should consider it, as well as Tucson or one of the other hotter-than hell in the summer places, but great 9 months of the year.

    I moved here from Portland, and while I enjoyed my time there I did not enjoy the 9 months of rain. The majority of the biking there is a drive (the hikers do not let bikers on their precious trails in the city). The biking is more aggressive than what I would call XC, but I did everything on a 29er hardtail. The climbing is great when it's on, but that is also only 3 months of the year, and you still have to drive at least 45 minutes from downtown Portland.

    None of the cities you listed would be on my list for cycling/climbing. If you value cycling and climbing as much as your career than you may want to look at the desert SW. If you value things outside of climbing/cycling like great food, beer, coffee, girls, then I would pick San Francisco and start surfing.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by unrooted View Post
    If you value things outside of climbing/cycling like great food, beer, coffee, girls, then I would pick San Francisco and start surfing.
    Dang, going right for my gizzard. How'd you know I was single and I like all those things? I promised I was done buying more shit for new sports but hey maybe there's something to surfing...

    I was hoping climbing/yoga would be enough to rope some chicks.

  17. #17
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    Western burbs of Beantown has a lot of places to ride. Easy to get north into the mountains on the weekends. You can bike ride March thru November consistently. Take the train into work. Tons of hospitals around.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nail Every Trail View Post
    Western burbs of Beantown has a lot of places to ride. Easy to get north into the mountains on the weekends. You can bike ride March thru November consistently. Take the train into work. Tons of hospitals around.
    Ya from what I understand, The Gunks is less than 3h away (for rock climbing) and there's a lot of forest NW of Boston

  19. #19
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    Try to get in at Stanford where nearby riding is good most of the year. Forget SF and PDX

  20. #20
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    As for climbing, there's some nearby bouldering in the SC mtns and supreme climbing as close as 3 to 4 hours away in the Sierras. So many places and the granite is mostly sandpaper! Only other place I can think of that I'm familiar with is up in Bend OR which has Smith rock and more year round trails at various elevation than west of the Cascades.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by evuvanun View Post
    So I'm in medical school and I'm applying to residency next year.
    You think you are going to have time to ride?

  22. #22
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    Seattle is a great area and there are some parks and somewhat nearby riding for "after work" type stuff. That said it's fairly congested and the traffic sucks. It sucks in a nice-way though, in the sense that the city is not really run-down, it's beautiful and lush, they seem to pour a lot of money into infrastructure and making it a very livable place. I go through Seattle a lot and I'm always impressed. Get away from the city even and it's just a great area in general. It's kind of similar to the Bay Area IMO, but a little easier to get to the hills and bigger riding, because they are much closer, a little dissimilar to the Bay Area in terms of how wet it is at times. I'm living in AK now and I can relate to the rain quite well now. You adapt and sometimes just deal with it, and it's not everywhere mind you due to rain-shadows and other features, but you have to be ok with a much wetter environment, even when it's "dry", although you can always travel a bit further to the Eastern side of the Cascades, so there should be good options up there.

    The Bay Area is kind of "locked in". The good news is that there are lots of great places to ride in the Bay Area. There's also great culture like the Seattle area. Going a little bit further even gets you to Mendicino County up North and Santa Cruz down South. The bad news is that to get to Tahoe or Tahoe riding, it's around a 4hr or more drive, assuming no traffic issues. Thinking about a day-trip, you spend a crazy amount of time in your car, even if it's a 2-day trip. This means it's "hard" to get "out" of the Bay Area. But again, the good news is that this area is an amazing place. Lots to do, lots of culture, lots of trails, lots of community, etc. I think Seattle takes the edge due to the proximity of the mountains, but the rain is more limited in SF to the winter pacific storms in the SF area, and they may last a few days for sure, but then it'll clear out and you'll just have cool coastal fog most of the time. For me it was always fun to visit SF, but I didn't think I'd want to live there due to the logistics of getting out. SF is also very much like Phoenix, except for the climate. Phoenix has lots of "mountain parks" around the city with great riding. It's only more like 2hrs to high altitude cool riding in Flagstaff and on the Mogollon rim from Phoenix, but the idea of all the riding in and around the metro area is similar. I wouldn't live in Phoenix just for this reason, the air quality literally chokes people to death, but the riding is good.

    Sacramento is not even worth it. It's way inland, way hot in the summer, no good mountain biking close, a few trails in the Folsom area and Auburn, but having been to quite a few riding destinations, there isn't that much here. Auburn for example can be all ridden over in about a day. The only benefit to Sacramento is that it's kind of the "halfway" point between the Sierras and the Bay Area, but nearby there isn't much, it's flat as a plate. It's gotten better in some places over the years, but it's nowhere near the culture of SF or Seattle. North Sac has turned into a war zone compared to years past when the military bases were still open. I don't think Sac is a major city to consider for riding. SF is, due to all the riding around it.

    Denver is not near riding, it's out on the plains, yet if you could live somewhere a little closer to the mountains, it could work out well. Denver is kind of like Sacramento, but a little closer to mountains and more of a "gateway" to the Rockies. The thing is that you got a bunch of these great places strung up and down the Eastern slope, Ft Collins, Colorado Springs, etc. All of these have some great stuff and can be switched up. If you're going to live somewhere that you don't mind driving a bit, this is going to have some of the biggest rewards IMO.

    I've researched Portland, as I was looking at a job there. I see a lot of conflicting reports. There appear to be some trail areas near the city, depending on where you live, yet a lot of people say you have to get pretty far outside and that most of it gets closed down during the winter. Bend, Ashland and Eugene are supposed to be fantastic of course.

    I moved to Alaska last year and I'm amazed at the riding. I didn't really know what to expect, but we have lots of riding near/in the city and I can ride from my house. These trails get major work and have huge berms and fun features, which is just awesome. Out on our Kenai Peninsula there are huge epic rides that blow your mind with the trail and scenery. Of course we have winter starting sometime soon, but we've adapted to that quite well too, with snow-bikes and those same trail areas converted for winter mountain biking. I also like climbing too and am a member of a climbing gym. Obviously the climbing is world class, but for me the mountain biking has to be good. It definitely is. The only part that really sucks IMO is not being connected with the rest of the country and able to drive to different places. We can drive for hours and get to different parts of our state, but driving for 6hrs doesn't get us to Idaho or Utah, etc...

    Before I lived in Arizona in Prescott, up above 5000'. Pretty nice climate for riding, never as hot as Phoenix (death zone), winter snow never stayed but a few days, the snow would stay above 6500-7000' for maybe 3-4 months, yet there was plenty of riding below that and you never had any problems riding in the winter. If it was a colder day, you could always head down to Sedona or Phoenix, or if it was a hotter day you could get up to Flagstaff. Kind of a nice spot to be, able to get to alpine stuff, even just around the city with hundreds of miles of trails that could be ridden with no traveling. This is key IMO, being able to reach different climates relatively easily or over short distance. You can do this in many places in CO, NM, UT, WA, OR, and CA.
    "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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  23. #23
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    Have yo looked at Salt Lake City?

  24. #24
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    The air chokes people to death and calling it death zone? Good lord over exaggerate much? While not perfect by any means I think Phoenix deserves a little better praise then that. Year round riding is easily possible regardless if you head up north in the summer or not. Tons of trails. You can easily live within riding distance of one trail system and have 3-4 others within 30 min. I personally dont know of many places where I would be 15 min from a good paying engineering job and 5 minutes from the 5th largest national forest in the US.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post

    Denver is not near riding, it's out on the plains, yet if you could live somewhere a little closer to the mountains, it could work out well. Denver is kind of like Sacramento, but a little closer to mountains and more of a "gateway" to the Rockies. The thing is that you got a bunch of these great places strung up and down the Eastern slope, Ft Collins, Colorado Springs, etc. All of these have some great stuff and can be switched up. If you're going to live somewhere that you don't mind driving a bit, this is going to have some of the biggest rewards IMO.
    Um not really. As much as it kills me to say this, of the above cities Denver is by far the most accessible. I can walk to Downtown Denver. I can also have tires on dirt within 25minutes on quality trail - and thats during rush hour. Like here:Deciding what city to live in, HELP!-1238141_10153231478765710_1555635380_n.jpg

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by evuvanun View Post
    I'm hoping to ride year round, cross country singletrack. Trying to get strong on climbing, so mountains would probably be a good idea. Hopefully some after work routes of 5-10mi and also possibility of 20+mi routes nearby or within a 2 hour drive
    (Edit: Pasted from below)

    Based on quality of riding and ease getting out to go mountain biking, rank them for quality of riding and say anything about any of these cities and riding, also anecdotal comparisons between these cities would be much appreciated too.

    Boston, MA
    Denver, CO
    Philadelphia, PA
    Portland, OR
    San Francisco, CA
    Sacramento, CA
    Seattle, WA
    Winston Salem, NC

    Thanks for the input!!
    If these were my only cities I could possibly live in then this would be my preferred order (given that I had enough money to live well in any of them)

    San Francisco, CA
    Sacramento, CA
    Portland, OR
    Denver, CO
    Seattle, WA

    I've never been to the following, but I think this would still be my order, but I can't imagine living on the East Coast due to what my friends have said about competetive attitudes, distance to good climbing/biking, cold ass winters, & humidity.

    Winston Salem, NC
    Boston, MA
    Philadelphia, PA

    I should mention that I really don't like the idea of being a "californian", but that may have to do with being born and raised in Oregon.

    If I had to live in any city in the US it would probably be Salt Lake, Flagstaff, Tucson (which I don't really like that much) or Vegas, but I just can't handle shitty weather, I start getting super depressed after a few days of rain.

    The great thing about San Francisco is that there are numerous climbing gyms, which is why there are so many rippers coming to the Eastside during winter! If you have any ambitions for climbing El Cap/Half Dome then San Francisco is a good location.

  27. #27
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    Philly is a choice? the most miserable populace in the nation calls this hole home. I'd say mmmmmmmmm no.
    Keep trying to do the awesomest thing you've ever done.

  28. #28
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    I voted before seeing 'year round' which rules out a lot... Denver is the closest to what I would like, but winter is brutal. I live in Tucson, so can truly ride year round, and the heat of summer aint so bad. You get used to it, and Mt Lemmon is an hour up to the top. 9000' is cool thru summer, and there's great trails. I ride all year where I live right by the Tortolitas at 3 to 4000', and even tho some idiots die when they go hiking unprepared, if you take the right precautions you will be fine. Of course, early mornings are always good.

    I know Tucson has huge medical thingies going on, but not sure if there's anything for you there?
    It's all Here. Now.

  29. #29
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    December 2nd 2012 Front Range, CO 10,400 feet.......

    Deciding what city to live in, HELP!-005.jpg

  30. #30
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    Was faced with this a few years ago. Seattle, WA got my bid, well, near it anyways. I won't post pictures because the best pics are all over the bike magazines and videos. A few hours from the mother land (Whistler) and countless amazing places to ride that offer anything from pure pucker to absolute ease. Year round riding and shuttling. We get some snow, but it's only around for a few days typically. Usually it isn't enough to really cancel any riding. The beauty is that the "hot" summer days cap out around 90 degrees while the "cold" winter days usually bottom out in the upper 30's/lower 40's. Pretty mellow.

    Lived in Colorado near Denver for a few years. Lot's of fun, but I prefer PNW loam.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douger-1 View Post
    The air chokes people to death and calling it death zone? Good lord over exaggerate much? While not perfect by any means I think Phoenix deserves a little better praise then that. Year round riding is easily possible regardless if you head up north in the summer or not. Tons of trails. You can easily live within riding distance of one trail system and have 3-4 others within 30 min. I personally dont know of many places where I would be 15 min from a good paying engineering job and 5 minutes from the 5th largest national forest in the US.
    Lets be honest though, it's not a "forest" like in most other states.
    "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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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Lets be honest though, it's not a "forest" like in most other states.


    Really? The largest stand of Ponderosa Pines not forest like in most other states? Stop before everyone thinks you're an idiot.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirty $anchez View Post
    Really? The largest stand of Ponderosa Pines not forest like in most other states? Stop before everyone thinks you're an idiot.
    He said 5 minutes from the largest forest. The ponderosa pine stands you speak of are on the Mogollon Rim and in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon, but mostly to the North of it.

    Last time I checked, those are nowhere near Phoenix.

    You might want to reconsider that last...

    It's mostly cactus with little to no shade up to about 3000', then it's a bit less cactus and bit more scrub up to around 5000', but still not much shade except for in the riparian zones, 5000' and above is getting more into oaks, a few ponderosa pines, etc, above 6000' is mostly ponderosa pines, few firs around 6500-7000', and above 7000' you start to see the Aspens. There are a couple sky-islands within an hour or so of Phoenix where you can experience this a little, but they are fairly isolated and there aren't necessarily great trails in all of them either. You really have to get up to the Rim, Prescott, Flagstaff, etc.

    I think he may have been being idealistic, but there are plenty of places where you can be quite close to the forested areas, like Seattle, Front Range, Salt Lake City, etc.

    If we are talking about around Phoenix or the desert floor, um, yeah, there IS "forest land", but not really any forest.
    "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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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by evuvanun View Post
    So I'm in medical school and I'm applying to residency next year. I am going into anesthesiology . . . .


    /thread.

    Doesn't matter where you go . . . you ain't gonna have time or energy to ride during residency.
    Alcohol may lead nowhere, but it sure is the scenic route!

  35. #35
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    you'll have time to ride during residency, but it is hard, exhausting and did I mention don't have any kids during residency if you expect things to be pleasant. I get out 1x/week if lucky, but one of my colleagues likely rides 3-4 times/ week.
    enjoy, its painful.

  36. #36
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    I bet you have the time to bike, but not to climb, unless you live in Portland next door to a gym since the trails are a drive.

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  5. need help deciding!!!
    By pscott80 in forum Bike and Frame discussion
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