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  1. #1
    Killer of Chains
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    Places with Passion: Year Round Riding on Budget

    Girlfriend/future fiance wants to live it up for a few years before settling down near parents back home (Pittsburgh). Her only request: someplace warm. My only request: riding out my back door. Together we'll need someplace cheap and with plentiful jobs in any field.

    So I'm looking for someplace with passion for riding all year long. Riding does not include snowboards or skis.

  2. #2
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    Socal? Utah?

  3. #3
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    Asheville NC

    Though you will need a jacket and tights or pants for the winter months. But it's generally warm enough for shorts 9-10 months of the year.

  4. #4
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    Tucson, AZ

  5. #5
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    Southern Utah. I ride all year.

    <a href="http://s1079.photobucket.com/albums/w501/Dirt-Hound/?action=view&amp;current=IMG_0465.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1079.photobucket.com/albums/w501/Dirt-Hound/IMG_0465.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

  6. #6
    Killer of Chains
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    Utah is high up on the list.

    My biggest problem is cost of living and employment opportunities. My girlfriend and I both have "big city" job experience, but I would work anything to pay live someplace like Southern Utah. I don't think I could afford living in SoCal, and especially couldn't afford plane tickets back home to the east coast.

    Asheville and Chatty are high on this list as well, mostly because I can drive home for the holidays.

  7. #7
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    Does your girlfriend ride or is she outdoorsy? I would start looking at university towns if it were me. Realistically, that would probably be your best bet for maxmizing affordable living, employment, cultural things to do, outdoors stuff, etc.

  8. #8
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    Normally the nice places to live with good jobs and riding out of the back door are also the places that are more expensive to live in.

  9. #9
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    Ashville, NC (which someone mentioned) is a really nice area. It's a very young town that has some great riding opportunities.

  10. #10
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    Phoenix Az

    By getting up early I rode all summer long. Now we are into the good season.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", Fetish Fixation SS 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  11. #11
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    Florida - no mountains but plenty of challenging trails. Ride trails in the AM and have beer on the beach in the PM

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tflounder View Post
    Florida - no mountains but plenty of challenging trails. Ride trails in the AM and have beer on the beach in the PM
    I've ridden in Florida (Alifia, Santos etc) and it was much better than I expected but if you could live anywhere to ride year round, you would choose FL? Seriously?
    Last edited by far raider; 11-19-2012 at 02:36 PM.
    "It's NEVER all downhill" DMR

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by far raider View Post
    I've ridden in Florida (Alifia, Santos etc) and it was much better than I expected but if you could live anywhere to ride year round, you would choose FL? Seriously?
    lol, I suppose you might if you never left Florida.

    Lived all over the country and from your other posts in the North and South Carolina Forum, I think Asheville would be a good fit for you. I am not going to tell you that sometimes it doesn't get down right cold here because it does. However, generally there are enough breaks in the winter that you don't go insane. Last winter, I never even wore a jacket except for a few mornings. Of course a couple winters before we got more snow then my parents did in Wisconsin.

    Also, keep in mind that although some of the places listed may never get cold but the trade off is 100-120 degree summers. Extreme heat will kill a ride just as fast.
    I have never seen triple digit temperatures here.

  14. #14
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    I'd suggest the PNW. If we can ride all year in BC, they certainly can just south of us. Not too hot in summer and not too cold in winter. And no, it doesn't rain all the time. I know there are some great trails in Washington & Oregon.
    I have no idea what the employment situation is like.
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  15. #15
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    I know maybe it's not "cheap" to live here but Hawaii's got all kinds of great riding year round and if you live in the right place, riding's right out your doorstep. If this piques your interest, you can PM for information or chime in on the Hawaii board.

  16. #16
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    Have you looked at Knoxville? South Knox is a cheap place to live and it has a killer trail system to ride. AMBC Trails | Appalachian Mountain Bike Club Jobs are pretty easy to come by plus there are green ways everywhere now to ride from one side of town to the other.

    There is Downhill riding in the area if you into that. Just you tube wind rock downhill and you will get plenty of hits. Check out Profro's videos, they are pretty good. He has also help develop the trails as well.

    Here is a link with all the trails around the area, East Tennessee mountain bike rides
    Some of the maps are old, but you get the picture. Chattanooga is a couple hrs away, and so is Asheville.

  17. #17
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    I'll throw Colorado into the mix... either the Front Range (Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs) or the Western Slope (Fruita, Grand Junction). In a "normal" winter, we have a few weeks where there's too much snow on the trails- but if that's the case, just head up into the mountains and ski. This past winter was pretty dismal for snow and I've been riding all year long. Most of the time, in shorts.

    I think if you're willing to deal with some cold weather when you ride, you can mountain bike year round in a lot of locations. It's just a matter of what kind of riding do you want? I live in Boulder but if I were looking for a year-round location just for biking, I'd go to St. George, UT.

  18. #18
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    Phoenix. Jobs and affordable housing. ASU. Road and trail rides/races nearly every weekend for half of the year. Lots of riders out at 4:45 am in the Summer, or up the road to Sedona, Flag, Payson, Prescott, etc. , but yep, it's hot. Then the riding is perfectamundo for another 8 months.

    And lots of unbelievably good riding out my front door in the McDowell Mountain parks, or any of the other dozen or so ridin areas nearby.

  19. #19
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    Anywhere on the east coast within reach of the Appalachian chain.. Good riding year round and tolerable through the winter months. Plenty of job opportunities and decent cost of living in the southeast.
    We can't stop here, this is bat country..

  20. #20
    I hate sugar sand.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tflounder View Post
    Florida - no mountains but plenty of challenging trails. Ride trails in the AM and have beer on the beach in the PM
    I believe this dude said he would like a job, of which there are ZERO in Florida.

    Florida is great for fishing, boating, kayaking, being old, and sweating...being devoid of mountains makes it a pretty poor choice for mountain biking though.

  21. #21
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    If you are from the East Coast and plan to go back there to settle down, then go West and have a totally different experience. You'll be able to ride rocky, tight, east coast trails for the rest of your life. Go to UT/CO/AZ/OR/WA or just suck it up and pay the CA premium for a few years. It's a whole different experience riding out West and you'll look back with fond memories for the rest of your life.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott In MD View Post
    ..
    And lots of unbelievably good riding out my front door in the McDowell Mountain parks, or any of the other dozen or so riding areas nearby.
    Out the door if my house I have connector trail about a 5 min spin away. From here I hit the dirt an can go east and have single track for a good 20 miles on way with 2500+ feet of elevation gain. I could easily do 35 miles on these trails and not ride them all. If I take the connector west I have 2 miles before I get to the Black Canyon Trail. This is a 69 mile long epic that climbs from 1600 feet to 4000feet. Now mostly I end up driving to the trail heads for these trails as the connector is ok, but mostly flat boring 6 miles each way and I would rather use up those 6 miles on better sections of trail. Hey I can be picky. Then there is another new trail system another 6-7 miles away to the south. This one does not have nice dirt connector trail to it. I could ride the roads again, but with 25-35 miles of trails there... Far better to just drive there and save my energy for the good stuff.

    And I have not even mention the McDowells which is a 35 min drive from house or all the good stuff at south mountain like National.

    As for the summer temps. It is hot in the middle of the day, but I you hit the trails at the crack of dawn you can still see 60-and 70 as late as July. My hottest ride this year was in the McDowells in August. I started the ride at 85F and finish at 95F at 8:30am. Hot, but it got to 115F that day I spent the rest of the day in the pool.

    Oh and if you want cooler riding flagstaff is 2-3 hr drive and is the 70-80's all summer long.

    BTW... this photo was taken from a trail system right in the middle of the city.




    The trails in this are are good for 5 miles of great riding or 30 miles if you want (little to no re-ridig of any section). Just depends on how many loops and which ones you pick.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", Fetish Fixation SS 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  23. #23
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    I would rule out the PacNW, Seattle area at least. Not the most budget-friendly place to live, and it's certainly not an area I would consider living if warmth was a factor.

    Granted, the summers here are beautiful, but they're relatively short. July-September is normally pretty dry and warm, but as soon as October and November hit, it's 50º, gray and rainy until mid-May.

    Throw in a few weeks-worth of 30 and 40 degree weather, and 60-80% of the trails being mostly, if not completely, unrideable due to snow or mud... Would probably make for a pretty miserable girlfriend, methinks...

    On the other hand, it is a beautiful place to live, and the economy around here wasn't hit nearly as bad as other regions, and it's on its way back a lot quicker too, I think. Budget concerns go out the window if you land a decent gig... Lots of tech opportunity, as well as health and environment related work. Construction seems to always be in demand as well.

    Any thoughts toward Texas... Austin, maybe?
    trust the tread

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoinkMobb View Post
    I believe this dude said he would like a job, of which there are ZERO in Florida.

    Florida is great for fishing, boating, kayaking, being old, and sweating...being devoid of mountains makes it a pretty poor choice for mountain biking though.
    Zero jobs? How can you say this when you have no idea which field he and his significant other are in? Last time I checked there are plenty of jobs in various fields.

    Poor choice for mountain biking? Seriously? We don't have mountains but there are TONS of trails here with plenty of whatever sort of riding you are into (aside from DH).
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by A1an View Post
    Poor choice for mountain biking? Seriously? We don't have mountains....
    I am not trying to turn this into a pissing match of any kind but it is called mountain biking, not hot, flat, sandy biking. It's mountain biking. Why the hell would anyone MOVE to Florida who stated that they are seeking the best year-round mountain biking in the country?

    This obstinance is not really helping me to change the opinion I formed of Florida while I was there.
    "It's NEVER all downhill" DMR

  26. #26
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    <<Spent the first 21 years of my life in Florida before Idaho, Southern California, Hawaii, SoCal again, Arizona, northern Alabama, Oklahoma, and Maryland, and now Arizona again.

    Florida has a lot going for it, but not trail biking. Florida may not be the worst mountain biking in the USA but it's the worst of anywhere I've lived.

    It's probably better than ....

    ......hmmmmmm

    .... Well at least it is year round riding so it must be better than somewhere. Maybe Kansas. (Not trying to offend the Kansas crew. Kansas might be better).

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by A1an View Post
    Zero jobs? How can you say this when you have no idea which field he and his significant other are in? Last time I checked there are plenty of jobs in various fields.

    Poor choice for mountain biking? Seriously? We don't have mountains but there are TONS of trails here with plenty of whatever sort of riding you are into (aside from DH).
    The economy, as a whole, is pretty bad in Florida. I wouldn't recommend that anybody comes here looking for work. People from up north are in for a shock when they realize they'll take a 30-50% paycut for the doing the same job. I know the cost of living is lower here, but still, that pay decrease can make it seem like you're taking a step back in your career.

    There's several trails around the Tampa area, the closest one to me is a 30 min drive away and it seems like all of them are inside state parks. I wish I could ride 10 minutes from my house and hit the local trails whenever I wanted, and not have to worry about paying parking fees or making sure I finish my ride before closing time. I imagine people out west are able to do this kind of thing.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by seancs14 View Post
    If you are from the East Coast and plan to go back there to settle down, then go West and have a totally different experience. You'll be able to ride rocky, tight, east coast trails for the rest of your life. Go to UT/CO/AZ/OR/WA or just suck it up and pay the CA premium for a few years. It's a whole different experience riding out West and you'll look back with fond memories for the rest of your life.
    This.

    I grew up in Pittsburgh. I had a lot of fun riding the trails in South Park and basically developed my passion for riding there. My family is all on the east coast, and there's a good chance that's where I'd want to be if I were starting a family. With that in mind, my girlfriend and I just moved to Reno.

    If you and the lady are up for some adventure, a new pace of life, a massive change of scenery, and an opportunity to grow as people - move out west. You'll be more inclined to explore totally different landscapes and cultures, and will likely get some stories for the kids out of it.

    If you do move to an area with access to big, western mountains, you're riding will improve quickly. You'll become much, much better at extended climbing. You'll learn how to really rip a downhill. You'll learn how to handle loose conditions. And you'll still be able to head back to Pittsburgh.

    P.S. Go Steelers.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by far raider View Post
    I've ridden in Florida (Alifia, Santos etc) and it was much better than I expected but if you could live anywhere to ride year round, you would choose FL? Seriously?
    I rode Santos trail while on vacation down there this past summer. Nice network of trails. I even managed to get seriously lost for a couple of hours.
    Nobody told me about how the banana spiders build webs between the trees to catch unsuspecting MTB'ers though!
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  30. #30
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    Austin, TX. Not only year around riding, but year around everything. Plus awesome nightlife and social scene. Real Estate is relatively cheap and job market is strong. If you dont mind 100+ degree summers

  31. #31
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    Front Range, CO......way more mild here than people realize. Still riding everything at the lower elevations here with temps in the 60's....even some of the stuff up high east of the divide is still good to go.

    I ride year round here.....typically only one or two months a year are actually cold and snowy. 200 days on the bike this year and counting......

  32. #32
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    I'll second the vote for Tucson, AZ. All the good things people have said about Phoenix, and cooler enough to make a difference. It may only be 5 degrees cooler for daytime highs, but it's typically about 10 degrees cooler when you're starting your summer morning rides. I usually see about 75 degrees when starting my rides in the summer. Sometimes it gets downright chilly and I have to zip up my jersey because it's only 71 degrees or so... Plus, we have Mt. Lemmon - about 6000ft of elevation gain over about 21 miles. It's hard to overstate how sweet this is for training if you're racing. There's a reason so many pro teams train in Tucson in the winter. Housing is reasonable also. I would think jobs are picking up, depends on your field... We definitely have the "warm" part covered for your GF though.
    Fall in Fruita/GJ. F' yeah! Lunch Loops are riding sweet and so is everything else.

  33. #33
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    My list of cheap(er?), year round riding, warm places, with city type jobs nearby.
    - Phoenix
    - Las Vegas
    - suburbs east of Sacramento, CA

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaintPeelinPbody View Post
    Girlfriend/future fiance wants to live it up for a few years before settling down near parents back home (Pittsburgh). Her only request: someplace warm. My only request: riding out my back door. Together we'll need someplace cheap and with plentiful jobs in any field.

    So I'm looking for someplace with passion for riding all year long. Riding does not include snowboards or skis.
    And what about mediterranean europe?
    If you are interested in a long stay in Europe as native speakers of English it will be not impossible for you to get a job. Some places are cheap, some are not, but it could be a great experience.
    Warm places where you ride out your back door are so many: from Spain to France, Italy, Croazia and Greece.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by far raider View Post
    This obstinance is not really helping me to change the opinion I formed of Florida while I was there.
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  36. #36
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    Nashville. Economy is nuts and climate is good.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by luthermc315 View Post
    Austin, TX. Not only year around riding, but year around everything. Plus awesome nightlife and social scene. Real Estate is relatively cheap and job market is strong. If you dont mind 100+ degree summers
    Yes, Austin would be a good choice.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by smmokan View Post
    I'll throw Colorado into the mix... either the Front Range (Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs) or the Western Slope (Fruita, Grand Junction). In a "normal" winter, we have a few weeks where there's too much snow on the trails- but if that's the case, just head up into the mountains and ski. This past winter was pretty dismal for snow and I've been riding all year long. Most of the time, in shorts.

    I think if you're willing to deal with some cold weather when you ride, you can mountain bike year round in a lot of locations. It's just a matter of what kind of riding do you want? I live in Boulder but if I were looking for a year-round location just for biking, I'd go to St. George, UT.
    I'll second this. If your emphasis is on low cost, the Colorado Springs fits that bill very well. If you check cost of living comparisons, you'll find COS is below the national average. There are jobs here, but I don't know what field or experience level you're looking for, so.... Plenty of riding all over town with some epic rides in the high country not far away (from about June through September, maybe October, depending on the snow; I rode Monarch Crest in late September this year).

    Plus you're about 5 hours from Fruita and just under 7 to Moab; easy weekend adventures.

    Yes, you get a bit of cold in December and January. In my 5 years here, the snow has been negligible, with storms dropping a few inches, maybe up to 6 or 7, but then it warms to the 50s and it all melts. It's dry enough that the trails dry out in short order and are ready to ride again quickly.

    I'd throw in the PNW, too, but the cost of living there is much higher, though jobs may be more plentiful, too.

    Good luck!

  39. #39
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    I vote Phoenix (never stopped in Tuscon, but imagine it's equally viable). I lived in the Denver area for a long time and I thought that although it has a long season, it's hit or miss in the fall and spring, and the foothills can get some snow in three months of winter. Phoenix has plenty of trails in the metro area and practically any direction outside. I live in New Mexico now, and I think the Las Cruces/Alamogordo area would be reasonable weather and trails nearby - not quite up there with Phoenix, in my limited experience. Southeastern New Mexico, where I am, is fine for weather, but sucks for trails.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by tex540 View Post
    Yes, Austin would be a good choice.
    No, not Austin. No mountain biking here. You're on the right track with Phx or Tucson.
    Work to Ride - Ride to Work
    There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing...

  41. #41
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    All of Arizona and Southern Utah are awesome. But Phx. gets you the local awesome trails plus really easy weekend trips up into higher elevation mountains with trees. Sedona, Flagstaff, Mogollon Rim territory, Tucson, Payson, Prescott and on and on. If you need a cheap place to live, a job and the best mountain biking in the bargain I think it's no contest. (Unless you really, really don't like desert riding, because that will be your everyday reality)
    Work to Ride - Ride to Work
    There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing...

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