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  1. #1
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    Moving to Philly..need advice..

    Hi guys!
    I am an Italian guy who's coming to Philadelphia at the beginning of this february for doing an internship for 5/6 months.
    I have some questions..
    I would like your opinion..
    1) I am moving to a house in University city and going to do an internship at the Italian consulate... what do you think?is it too far? it should be around 35', am I correct?

    2) I am a XC rider and I currently own a Epic 29'. At first I was thinking of bringing my bike along..but then I started worrying about the travel and the way people at the airport 'take care' of luggage and etc.. so do you think it is a good idea to try to rent a mountain bike in Philadelphia? is it possible? how much would it cost? or is it better to buy one and try to sell it before I leave Philadelphia?

    3) I hope there will someone who will show me some trails and give me some info etc about mountain biking in Philadelphia..
    I have seen there is the PMBA site..great site..

    additional info.. I need a M and I would like to rent/buy a XC 29'..hardtail is fine..

    Thanks a lot!!

  2. #2
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    benvenuto! University city isn't too far from the Italian consulate- it isn't close, either, but it's not bad. I don't know of any places that rent mountain bikes in the city, personally, I'd bring my bike. I've not had any issues flying with mine, just make sure that it is well packed in a hard case and you'll most likely be fine.
    Philly has quite a number of trails in the region, with a wide variety of conditions, ranging from rocky, hilly and technical, to sandy, loamy soils and nice flow. Many of our trails are not well maintained, if at all, and that leads to their technical character as erosion exposes rocks and roots. Some are better than others. In addition to PMBA, JORBA has a chapter in South Jersey, they have a rather active outreach program and are quite friendly.

  3. #3
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    Phillys bicycle section of Craigslist is very busy, you could certainly find a bike you would be happy with pretty quickly, then you could easily sell it before you leave. I do a lot of buying and selling on there and would be glad to help you find something. Feel free to pm me to talk further.
    -jim

  4. #4
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    I would bring your bike. There is lots of fun riding around the city and you'd fit in well with your 29er. In University City you should be within riding distance to Belmont and maybe even the Wissahickon. I lived in Philly for 2 years and rode the Wiss a lot. It's good riding for being where it is.

    Do some reading up on ticks and lime disease!

  5. #5
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    in addition to Belmont & Wissahickon, you can get to Smedley/Swarthmore trails using either regional rail or the Media trolley line. Don Guanella is not far from there, either. you can also get to the Valley Forge trails by taking the Market line to 69th, then transfer to the Norristown High Speed line to bridgeport and from there, the 99 bus to Valley Forge.
    Pennypack Park is also accessible by regional rail.

  6. #6
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    I live in West Philly/University City and it's a great location, though not as close to the consulate as possible. Are you finding your own place and are you paying for it yourself? If so, affordable housing is generally west of 43rd St., while west of 50th or 52nd street starts to get a little shitty, not to mention farther away from downtown. Basically, south of Market, north of Kingsessing, and west of 50th are good rules of thumb for living in the nice parts of West Philly.

    If you have another bike with slick tires, your commute downtown can be about 20 minutes each way. And you're 3 and a half miles from the MTB trails at Belmont, and about 9 miles from the Wissahickon trails (you can also take a bus or train, though the time spent waiting might make it not worth it unless you're going to the far end of the Wissahickon Valley).

    Anyway, if you're looking for somebody to ride with, hit me up.

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    @Gigantic thanks for your reply!
    I see..I guess it's ok..I think it is hard to find a place close to the consulate at an affordable rate..but I chose university city also because I thought.. I am close to students = people of my age.. etc..
    Do you ride a lot? are you XC? maybe you can show me some trails..

    edit: second post: thanks again!!very important info!!gonna write them down..

    @Jim thanks for your reply!
    mmm.. I haven't thought about Craiglist..good advice! so do you think I can easily sell it before I leave Philly?that would be great..oh really??that would be awesome..
    great..as soon as I have time to have a look at it I'll bother you for help..
    Will you free to ride sometimes?
    thanks again!

    @Westeast
    thanks for your reply!
    yeah I was worried at first that in a big city like Philly I would have met some problems to find some good trails..but it seems quite the opposite!
    Diseases??should I be worried?? gonna google them..never heard anything about them..


    @Jbphilly
    Thanks for your email!
    I am to hear that someone that likes riding where I am going to live
    Yes but I have found it thanks..when I have more details I'll tell you.. so maybe you could give more info..
    So trails are not so far..that's good.. is it safe from university city to cycle to the trails?(I am thinking of traffic etc.)
    I am not a pro..so do not have many expectations.. but I would love to ride with you!it would be great!
    thanks a lot!

    @everybody
    about bringing my bike along.. I checked with delta airlines and It seems I can check in only one luggage..and I thought I had two..so bringing my bike is not an option anymore..
    considering of buying one and selling it before I leave..otherwise anything about renting one?
    thanks again!!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matte86 View Post
    @Gigantic thanks for your reply!
    I see..I guess it's ok..I think it is hard to find a place close to the consulate at an affordable rate..but I chose university city also because I thought.. I am close to students = people of my age.. etc..
    Do you ride a lot? are you XC? maybe you can show me some trails..


    @everybody
    about bringing my bike along.. I checked with delta airlines and It seems I can check in only one luggage..and I thought I had two..so bringing my bike is not an option anymore..
    considering of buying one and selling it before I leave..otherwise anything about renting one?
    thanks again!!
    my pleasure. I ride quite a bit, I'd be happy to show you the trails that I know. I ride XC, I have a Specialized 29er hard tail and a Surly Pugsley. You'll most likely have to pay for an additional bag and more for a bike. typically, it costs $150 extra for a bicycle on a domestic flight, not sure what they charge for international. Still, It's probably cheaper than buying when you get here.

  9. #9
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    @gigantic thanks again!
    Gonna rethink it..but I am still towards the solution of renting one...if it is possible..gonna email some shops and see if they know something..
    as soon as I have a bike I'll contact you and gonna schedule some riding!
    I think that for now I will ride at the week ends because I'll finish work at 5..so by the time I am at home it will be too dark too ride..but luckily we are going towards longer days..so I hope by march to hit the trails afterwork..

  10. #10
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    Ucity is definitely good if you are going to one of the colleges there, otherwise you don't really go to that side of the city. The upside is that Ucity is close to the Schuylkill River Trail which is a running/biking path linking you to Wissahickon (great trails) and Fairmount Park (Belmont trails, etc) and the art museum yada yada.

    About your bike... I personally would bring mine with me -- 6 months is long enough to justify it. I think the epic is a FS 29er? if so, it might be a bit more bike than you need - a lot of guys just ride hard tails around here. You can definitely find bikes on Craigslist or a local shop, depending on your budget, but it would probably take a little while to find one that suits you, so consider the downtime. .

    The Italian Consulate is on the other side of the city - about 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers?) or so. You can take a subway there easily though. Or get a commuter bike for a few bucks and ride.

    Philly is a great city, you should have a good time. Feel free to PM me when you get into town if you want to go trail riding. Also a local bike forum (not mtb specific) is PHLBikes.com.

  11. #11
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    If you bring a bike for 6 months time, bring the epic. It's semi-locked-out rear end will serve you well on trails like Wiss, but the FS nature will serve you well if you explore more bumpy stuff.

    Just my 2c.

  12. #12
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    Bring the 29er (that is most what you see at The WISS)-----

    --ALSO---just do the math (you will spend around 30-50 of you go to Human Zoom in Manayunk EACH TIME you ride)---Even if you 'hook up a deal' to rent a bike each week (say $20 each time you ride)--if you only ride one time each week it would still cost you $600 (on the low end)---

    but it all depends (you can break your bike while riding)--the WISS is tough and technical??

  13. #13
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    @Satanic Pizza
    Thanks for your reply!!
    I know that it's not the best location because it is far from where I'm going to intern..but it is what I found..I am happy to hear that you confirm the fact that's a 'smart' spot if you want to hit the trails
    All the people are telling me to bring mine with me..not sure anymore what to do..LOL..but that's great to have so many advice..it is so helpful..
    ASAP I find a bike or I have mine and I settle down I'm going to 'bother' you for organize ride together..

    @Bear
    Thanks for your reply!!!
    Mmm..that's right..that's what I was thinking..it's double nature it's really usefull...gonna think about it.

    @247
    Thanks for your reply!!!
    Mmm.. I was thinking that I could make a 'good' deal if I am going to rent it for 6 months, cause I do not need a lux bike..mmm..

    Btw is Philadelphia dangerous? I know it is a little bit off topic..but I heard a lot and I want to listen to locals.. .. do you think I should be concerned of riding in the parks you mentioned above?
    And if I take a bus do I need to pay an extra for my bike?

    THANKS for what you have done so far!! great help and support!
    I owe you one!!

  14. #14
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    there are parts of Philly that are considered "dangerous' however if you exercise caution and awareness, you'll be ok. If you stay away from them and where they congregate, the criminal element in Philly are no worse than the gypsies & turks in rome or milan.
    it's no charge to bring your bike on the train or bus. the busses and trackless trolleys have racks for bicycles on front. However, Trolleys with tracks don't seem to allow bikes.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matte86 View Post
    @Westeast
    thanks for your reply!
    yeah I was worried at first that in a big city like Philly I would have met some problems to find some good trails..but it seems quite the opposite!
    Diseases??should I be worried?? gonna google them..never heard anything about them..
    Nothing to stress out about, but you should do a bit of reading on lime disease and the precautions you should take. Basically try and wear some light colored clothing and check yourself out closely in the shower post ride. I also sprayed some of my riding gear with a product called permethrin that is supposed to kill any ticks that try and hop a ride or more. In the two years I spent riding the wiss and other nearby areas I only found a handful of ticks. Otherwise have fun riding there. I went to Philly with low expectations for riding and ended up very impressed and had a ton of fun on the trails. Lots of good riders there too.

  16. #16
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    The places you shouldn't go in Philly are fairly obvious.. you generally don't wander into them unless you are "wandering" into some drugs. That said, I live in Kenzington which most people think is one of those places you shouldn't go.

    It's an awesome city, you'll have a blast.

    I say take your bike! It's the simplest solution - have a shop pack it and ship it over or invest in a bike travel bag.

  17. #17
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    University City is about as tame as it can get. It's a good place to live. Very diverse. When I moved from Jersey to Philly in '97, I moved to UC. Best time of my life. Keep your mind open Matte86 and there will be many awesome times to be had there.

    Yes, there are places that get sketchy when you go outside of certain areas, but what area in Philly, (or any city for that matter) doesn't have that same issue/reality?

    I'm not familiar with the location of the Italian Consulate, but I am deducing that it is on the other side of the city in some way or another? Definitely ride there, if this is the case. You will develop great base strength doing this. It's not like that's far anyway.

    As said before, Wiss and Belmont are super easy rides from UC. Again, base miles.

    Dude, most of all, enjoy! I hope to see you out there. I live in Mt. Airy now, closer to Wiss, but miss UC and the extra miles I had in my legs during those years.
    Stay aware of those who hide in plain sight.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satanic Pizza View Post
    The places you shouldn't go in Philly are fairly obvious.. you generally don't wander into them unless you are "wandering" into some drugs. That said, I live in Kenzington which most people think is one of those places you shouldn't go.

    It's an awesome city, you'll have a blast.

    I say take your bike! It's the simplest solution - have a shop pack it and ship it over or invest in a bike travel bag.
    Satan, where are you in Kenzo?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    there are parts of Philly that are considered "dangerous' however if you exercise caution and awareness, you'll be ok. If you stay away from them and where they congregate, the criminal element in Philly are no worse than the gypsies & turks in rome or milan.
    it's no charge to bring your bike on the train or bus. the busses and trackless trolleys have racks for bicycles on front. However, Trolleys with tracks don't seem to allow bikes.
    Thanks for your reply..
    ahhaha..I got it..yeah gypsies are a problem here..
    I see..mm...thanks about that but I think I'll try to ride there everytime I can..

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by westeast View Post
    Nothing to stress out about, but you should do a bit of reading on lime disease and the precautions you should take. Basically try and wear some light colored clothing and check yourself out closely in the shower post ride. I also sprayed some of my riding gear with a product called permethrin that is supposed to kill any ticks that try and hop a ride or more. In the two years I spent riding the wiss and other nearby areas I only found a handful of ticks. Otherwise have fun riding there. I went to Philly with low expectations for riding and ended up very impressed and had a ton of fun on the trails. Lots of good riders there too.
    Thanks for your additional info! I have only dark clothes..LOL..gonna buy it asap..I have done some readings..but gonna do some more..looking forward to hit the trails..I hope I will have the chance to try as many trails as possible..maybe travelling a bit during the week end..

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satanic Pizza View Post
    The places you shouldn't go in Philly are fairly obvious.. you generally don't wander into them unless you are "wandering" into some drugs. That said, I live in Kenzington which most people think is one of those places you shouldn't go.

    It's an awesome city, you'll have a blast.

    I say take your bike! It's the simplest solution - have a shop pack it and ship it over or invest in a bike travel bag.
    Thanks for your reply!! Yeah.. I got it..I am sorry for my 'stupid' question..lol..
    Mmm..I know.. but I am too scared.. I think I have made up my mind..gonna try to rent one..otherwise gonna buy one and then resel it..

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    University City is about as tame as it can get. It's a good place to live. Very diverse. When I moved from Jersey to Philly in '97, I moved to UC. Best time of my life. Keep your mind open Matte86 and there will be many awesome times to be had there.

    Yes, there are places that get sketchy when you go outside of certain areas, but what area in Philly, (or any city for that matter) doesn't have that same issue/reality?

    I'm not familiar with the location of the Italian Consulate, but I am deducing that it is on the other side of the city in some way or another? Definitely ride there, if this is the case. You will develop great base strength doing this. It's not like that's far anyway.

    As said before, Wiss and Belmont are super easy rides from UC. Again, base miles.

    Dude, most of all, enjoy! I hope to see you out there. I live in Mt. Airy now, closer to Wiss, but miss UC and the extra miles I had in my legs during those years.
    Thanks for your reply!!
    I am more confident now..after all these replies..
    I hope to see you out there as well..maybe when I settle down we can organize a ride together..
    The Italian Consulate should be between mall street and south street..it should be 40 minutes away from where I will stay..

  23. #23
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    I wouldn't say University City is about as tame as it can get.... when I was in college, many of my friends got mugged on the UPenn portion of University City (I went to Drexel).

    The italian consulate is less than 30 blocks, down Chestnut Street, easily doable by bike, as well by Septa's subway (Market-Frankford Line)

    SEPTA | Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

    I always wanted to learn Italian to say 2 things:
    Can I get a cheesteak with wiz and onions

    And see if Geno's will allow me to order a cheese steak in Italian.

    anyway... I would buy a cheap hardtail whether be a LBS, Craigslist, or a Bikes Direct bike.

  24. #24
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    the main difference between our ganstas and gypsies is that gangstas won't pick your pockets as you walk down the street, they'll shoot you and wait til you're on the ground bleeding...
    seriously though, the neighborhoods that you're likely to frequent are safe. Going east from university city to Old City where the Italian consulate is located is very well gentrified and developed. Northern liberties is a nice neighborhood and Fishtown is becoming so hipster-infested, it's annoying. There have been reports of random attacks in Wissahickon, but I wouldn't let that stop you from riding there. It is advisable, however, to ride with a friend at wissahickon, mostly because the trails can be technical, rocky and mildly dangerous, but well worth riding.
    Last edited by Gigantic; 01-31-2013 at 02:24 PM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by tednugent View Post
    I wouldn't say University City is about as tame as it can get.... when I was in college, many of my friends got mugged on the UPenn portion of University City (I went to Drexel).

    The italian consulate is less than 30 blocks, down Chestnut Street, easily doable by bike, as well by Septa's subway (Market-Frankford Line)

    SEPTA | Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

    I always wanted to learn Italian to say 2 things:
    Can I get a cheesteak with wiz and onions

    And see if Geno's will allow me to order a cheese steak in Italian.

    anyway... I would buy a cheap hardtail whether be a LBS, Craigslist, or a Bikes Direct bike.
    Thanks for your reply!!
    good info there...
    Oh..well by Saturday afternoon I will be there..so gonna check soon..
    Ahahahah.. Posso avere una bistecca al formaggio con wiz e cipolle?
    Let me know if it works..
    yeah..that's what I'm thinking..

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