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  1. #1
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    Curious about Chattanooga

    Considering checking Chattanooga out for relocation. My riding style is epic singletrack rides with lots of climbing and flow. I ride a ridged 29er, race expert class, and like to have quality trails to ride to from where I live as well as sweet 1-3 hour get aways on the weekends. Enjoy a down to earth, open minded, friendly community. I am currently living on the Front Range of Colorado where the yuppies are taking over the granola vibe.

  2. #2
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    Paging Asahi,
    for Chattanooga but, from my perspective.. Great town & Chat.Sorba is kickin some serious a$$. Lots to choose from and even more close.
    But, as an alternative, have you considered Asheville NC?Another great city with countless biking options and a demographic you may like.

  3. #3
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    For granola, I think JAG may be right, Asheville, NC is the king of Granola. Also for Epic Asheville is a good place to be with Pisgah out the back door.

    On to Chattanooga:
    Chattanooga is in a unique position in that from downtown we have tons of private and public lands that we are able to build singletrack on. I wouldn't say we have any epic rides just yet but we are in the process of building them and could always use some help. To give you an idea of the change, rewind to 2005 when we had 7 miles of legal singletrack within 30 minutes of downtown Chattanooga. Now to present day where we now have 28-30 miles. This is the tip of things where we are looking to reopen some old trails and some private land will with trails should open soon. In the next 2 years I'd expect to double the 30 miles we have. Our big picture goal is 100 miles of single track within 10 miles of Chattanooga by 2010. (My inner realist says we'll get more like 75 miles by 2012 )

    What you did describe that is Chattanooga to a tee is a jumping point for all sorts of weekend trips. 1 hour to Tanasi, 1 hour to Chilhowee, 1.25 Hours to Bear Creek / Pinhoti, 2.5 Hours to Tsali, 2.5 Hours to Dauset, 2.25 Hours to Conyers, 4 hours to Pisgah and dozen of other trails within 2 hours of town.

    I wouldn't say any place in the south is really open minded being in the bible belt but I find if you seek out a good community you'll find what you are looking for. We have all kinds in the Mtn bike community. I am the SORBA President and do lots fo trail work and fund raising for the organization but I am also the Mountain bike race team director for Scenic City Velo which is a local race club approaching 300 members (Road, Multisport and Mtn biking).

    It's a beautiful place to live and lots of things are a days drive or less. I moved back here on purpose and don't plan to ever live somewhere else, just plan to visit lots of other places.
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  4. #4
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    Thank you much for the info on Chatt. I think Asheville is out of my price range as far as housing is concerned, and I know the locals have had it with people moving in. Ill have to make a vacation to check it out. Chattanooga seems to have more friendly locals and good living for the middle class/blue collar type.

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    That is a pretty fair assessment. Feel free to PM me or post at www.sorbachattanooga.org if you come into town and we'd be happy to give you a tour (Mountain Bike and Real Estate)
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  6. #6
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    Chatanooga is a great place. I Live in Ringgold just south. Don't think you would find a better bunch of people in the south than around the Chatt. and Northwest Ga area.

  7. #7
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    Thanks to all! Yes, everyone I've spoken with from Chattanooga has been very friendly and helpful! Cheers to you all!

  8. #8
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    Just a quick post...my wife and I seriously considered moving back out west a couple of years ago. We looked at San Diego, different parts of Utah, and Colorado. When the dust settled we found that Chattanooga was actually pretty hard to beat as far as outdoor activities, cost of liveing, school systems, and the general vibe.

    Trey hit the nail on the head as far as the riding, but their is so much else to do. Our climbing is worldclass, and we are in the epicenter of east coast whitewater. In addition, their is a ton of good backpacking within an hour of downtown.

    On the downside, the snowbaording just plain sucks

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkalkopf
    Thank you much for the info on Chatt. I think Asheville is out of my price range as far as housing is concerned, and I know the locals have had it with people moving in. Ill have to make a vacation to check it out. Chattanooga seems to have more friendly locals and good living for the middle class/blue collar type.
    There are few locals left to p!$$ off in Asheville as far as moving there goes. As i moved from there to here a year ago, I can give a pretty good comparison of the two.

    The city of Chattanooga is awesome. We really love the balance of conservative/liberal (in the city). The further you move out from the epicenter of the city I find that balance skewing to one side. Their is actually a middle class here vs. asheville. There isn't this huge divide between the haves and have nots.

    The beer is much better in Asheville. This was a consideration for me in moving to Chatt but I felt my personal cons were outweighed.

    I consider the coffee places to be on par with each other. No clear winner there.

    The restaurants on the whole are equal but here are some further views. Some of the choices are better in Asheville but you have more choices in Chatt. BBQ FAR better in Chatt, no question there, and the southern cooking is better as well. Better sushi in Ash but Chatt has decent stuff as well. Pizza is a push, I think both cities have excellent places.

    Much better movie theaters in Chatt but no indie place. Asheville also has a brewpub/2nd run theater, hard to put a price on that.

    Chatt an 1.5 hours from Atl. Take that how you want. I find it a pro and con.

    HOTTER here!

    Now the riding IMHO. There riding here in Chatt is good. Options are good but I find myself riding the same stuff a lot but what I ride I like and I have choices. N ga is awesome, raccoon is awesome, tanasi has some of the best flow ever. There's more but that covers a lot.

    Asheville, I hate to say it, has superior riding. There's already tons said about Pisgah and Dupont and WNC on this website so I won't go into it.

    Both cities' people are extremely nice. We made TONS of friends in both cities. Chatt's people are very inviting and down to earth. Asheville, nobody is from there and there is an incredible diversity of people.

    The job market is strange in Asheville and I'd be happy to give some advice on that if you'd like to PM me. Hope some or all of this helps.
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  10. #10
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    mmmmm I'm hungey for BBQ now

  11. #11
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    All these Chattanooga threads make me want to move right now..

    Although realistically I will be relocating in probably a year.. maybe two and Chattanooga is very high on my list.. if not number one with Huntsville maybe tied with it. Out of school I opted for the "go back home and live with mom & dad for free" option while I saved up some money since Network Admins don't exactly knock down piles of cash right away..

  12. #12
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    I here ya! Just need a good career, a cool roommate with cheap rent.

  13. #13
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    The good news is cost of living isn't out of control here. You can find a nice small 2 bedroom house for ~$135k which is well under a lot of places. Being a Network admin myself I will say the job market for them is a bit sparce but fairly competitive on pay. I do know we have a job opening for a Technical analyst in our Network group about to open though.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asahi
    The good news is cost of living isn't out of control here. You can find a nice small 2 bedroom house for ~$135k which is well under a lot of places. Being a Network admin myself I will say the job market for them is a bit sparce but fairly competitive on pay. I do know we have a job opening for a Technical analyst in our Network group about to open though.

    DO you know what the network analyst reg. would be? I do network support trouble shooting and repair for a school system, kinda looking around at other options. Or stuff closer to home.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkalkopf
    I here ya! Just need a good career, a cool roommate with cheap rent.
    Not sure I would go the roommate route again.. did in college... pretty much hated it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demonsmasher
    DO you know what the network analyst reg. would be? I do network support trouble shooting and repair for a school system, kinda looking around at other options. Or stuff closer to home.
    reg? I'm sure I can answer this question but can't figure out what reg should stand for. Worst part is I know I'm going to feel stupid in a second . . .
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asahi
    reg? I'm sure I can answer this question but can't figure out what reg should stand for. Worst part is I know I'm going to feel stupid in a second . . .

    Sorry that was bad on my part. I meant to put what are the requirements for that type of position.

  18. #18
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    That's a good question. I have an engineering degree and 7 years of pc support when I moved into the position. The one they are about to post will support SNA Gateways and DHCP reservations and such. I know theres much more but that's all I've heard mentioend repeatedly. I'm sure some experience and/or a CS/tech degree would likely get you an interview.
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  19. #19
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    I currently live in El Paso, TX. and have an offer to move to Chattanooga making about the same $. For me, biking is definitely a consideration, but I also have my wife and two kids as a hobby .
    What's the demografics like out there? My wife's worried a little about culture shock, opportunites for my 7 year old daughter (schools, sports, culture) and my 10 month old son. My wife is from Mexico and is worried about being accepted by all you Gringos. How open are people, accepting to "outsiders", etc.
    As for riding, I visited the area two weeks ago to check it out, and man, I was craving to hit the trails. Lots different from the rocky, cactus needle stuff we have a round here.
    Any ideas, advise is appreciated. Thanks.

  20. #20
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    The biking community is very accepting. In general the the place is fairly diverse and welcoming. It's a little over religious being in the bible belt but nothing you can't chose to participate in or ignore.

    Dalton, GA has a strong hispanic population and is about 20-25 min south of Chattanooga. Not sure if that makes your wife feel any better but just info for the demographics.

    Funny Raccoon Mountain story. . . .There is an area near Laurel Point that we ran acrosse while building the trails that had a very pronounced circle and crosses carved on the trees. Sort of a freaky area. Was called the witches circle for a while. One Saturday one of the guys working on the trail stumbled on a group in the circle. Turned out to be a hispanic group (Not sure where they are from) that celebrates Church in that circle. Turns out they feel closer to God and come up to the mountain on Saturdays for church. Just this Saturday we rode past them as they were singing hymns. We need more churches like that.

    Anytime you are in the area and want a tour just shout.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flankerdog
    I currently live in El Paso, TX. and have an offer to move to Chattanooga making about the same $. For me, biking is definitely a consideration, but I also have my wife and two kids as a hobby .
    What's the demografics like out there? My wife's worried a little about culture shock, opportunites for my 7 year old daughter (schools, sports, culture) and my 10 month old son. My wife is from Mexico and is worried about being accepted by all you Gringos. How open are people, accepting to "outsiders", etc.
    As for riding, I visited the area two weeks ago to check it out, and man, I was craving to hit the trails. Lots different from the rocky, cactus needle stuff we have a round here.
    Any ideas, advise is appreciated. Thanks.
    No worries at all. Signal Mountain (right next to Chattanooga, like 10 minutes from town) has two of the highest ranked public schools in the state. There are also excellent public schools right in the downtown area. If you're going the private route there are nationally recognized schools in abundance. As far as the racial thing - two families that my own is close too are both "mixed" (one Latino, one Caucasion). No problem there either, not at all. There is at least some diversity across the economic spectrum, even in the so-called "exclusive" communities.

    Oh, and the trails at Raccoon Mountain absolutley rock!

  22. #22
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    little bump..

    southerners that are considering a move closer to home (columbia, SC)

    currently live in boise. tons of trails right out my back door..literally blocks...to various trailheads...not the most exciting trails in our foothills..but, rubber on dirt..plenty of climbing and descending...

    ridge riding is great in the trees. and, great riding in idaho...boise is a great launching pad for road trips as well..

    anyway...my wife and i are considering a move closer to home...but, not all the way home.

    so, i read this thread....and hear about trails...in town...and lots of it...that sounds fantastic.

    i hear good BBQ...that sounds fantastic..people out here call grilling burgers and dogs BBQ... haha

    so, how much more trail is there. how much progress.

    we have to be in the hills. riding is a priority. we do not like to commute for work. obviously, we don't know the layout of town....and have no idea where we'd live/work..

    but, just doing some preliminary scoping.. for consideration.

    we're also considering greenville, sc....asheville (both closer to our family in columbia).

    obviously, i know a whole lot more about those two towns. spent a lot of time in each...

    anyway...just a little bump...

    no timetable really.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by garnetspur
    so, how much more trail is there. how much progress.

    we have to be in the hills. riding is a priority. we do not like to commute for work. obviously, we don't know the layout of town....and have no idea where we'd live/work..

    but, just doing some preliminary scoping.. for consideration.
    Okay, quick overview. Hopefully Jeffery will chime right in with more detailed info (he's particularly in the know about future trails, plans for expansion, etc.). I'll name a couple of general areas you can probably scope out on a map online:

    The best trails in (or quite close to) town would be the network on Raccoon Mountain. You almost have to drive there as it's on a TVA Reservation. There are two neighborhoods close enough to ride from though. Lookout Valley is at the base of the mountain. It may or may not suit your aspirations for a place to dwell. It's nice enough, but is generally thought of as an "other than middle class" area. Big big road climb from Lookout Valley up to Raccoon. The other option is Elder Mountain, a private gated community. Elder is typically out of reach for anyone other than the "elite"; I suspect prices start in the 7 digit range and go up quickly.

    Other choices:

    Signal Mountain - there is a diverse housing stock, excellent schools, and limited (but enough) shopping, dining, etc. It's about 15 minutes from downtown. I live there and can be on trail from my driveway in about 1/4 mile. Good trails are a 2-3 mile road ride or 5 minute car ride away. The fully legal trails (Edward's Point primarily) tend to be multi-use. They're not the most scenic, and they're often double track, but it's great "work out riding". There are other lesser known trails as well, some legal, some not entirely legal but use is generally tolerated so long as parking / trail access is discrete.

    North Chattanooga - quite close to downtown, again with a relatively diverse housing stock. Trails aren't fully in place yet, but the Trust for Public Land and SORBA Chattanooga are working hard to change this. Last I heard at least some of the trail will be open by early 2010. Trail system is called Stringer's Ridge and is easily accessible by bike from anywhere in North Chat. You'll be close to lots of shopping and a good bit of night life.

    St. Elmo and / or Lookout Mountain - you'll find pockets of housing ranging from quite poor (St. Elmo in particular) up to quite elaborate (Tennessee side of Lookout) in these neighborhoods. Existing trails are accessed from either the top or the bottom. The trails that are currently open are the Guild Trail and the Upper and Lower Truck Trails. These are primarily on National Park Service Land. There are additional "hiking only" trails in the area that end up creating a relatively large trail network. I certainly wouldn't condone riding the hiking only trails, but one in particular is only about a mile "hike a bike" and enables you to stitch together a good 20 mile pull with plenty of climb. The bike legal trails are primarily non technical double track, but the good news is that they're perfectly fine to ride in the wet weather and provide a good workout.

    Back to work now. I'm sure others will chime in with more. Feel free to drop me a PM or an email if you want more detail.

  24. #24
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    I really need to book mark a thread where I post this so I don't have to rework this every time.

    Chattanooga trails ~ all within 30 minutes of downtown:

    Currently opened

    Booker T. Washington State Park - 5.6 miles with goal of adding 1.5 more in the next year.

    Harrison Bay State Park - 4.5 very beginner trails, goal of board walking about 1000 of trail to raise it above the mud in this marshy area.

    Raccoon Mountain - 20 miles of trail. We have recently been approved to construct a new trail that will take the trail from the top of the mountain to the bottom and all the way back up again, adding about 8 to 8.5 miles of trail.

    Stringer's Ridge - 5 miles of trail. This property is being acquired by the Trust for Public Lands and will eventually become a city park. We will be doing a major trail rehab and expansion project here in the next 1 to 1.5 years. Grants are available to cover our expenses. When completed I expect we will have about 7 miles of trail, with the possibility of 3 to 5 more if we can get permission to construct trail in White Oak Park which boarders Stringer's Ridge.

    Lula Lake Land Trust - 10 miles of double track and 2 miles of singletrack.

    Pinky's Point - 5 miles of trail. No one really takes care of this trail system. It is on county property but the neighbors view the park as their own and at least one is politically connected (former head of one of the political parties), so our efforts there are presently stalled. The trails are open, but could use some TLC, which will not happen under the current political position.

    Edward's Point - 4.5 miles of out and back trail. The trail is mostly in Prientice Cooper State Forest but does pass through some private property for about a half mile. ATVs and Motorcycles are specifically prohibited but there is zero enforcement. What used to be 18" to 24" wide single track has been trashed by the motorized users and is now 10 foot wide in some areas. All of the creek crossings are trashed and there is at least one 30 wide and 70 long mud puddle thanks to the motorized users mud bogging and growing it. Side trails have also been formed. This is not great mountain biking (sad because it used to be great), but serves as a local "trail" for those that live in the area. We don't have any plans to work on this trail due to the motorized users.

    SORBA-Chattanooga on going projects

    Enterprise South Nature Park - We are currently constructing 10 miles of trial. We have permission to construct pump tracks and technical trail features here and possibly a dirt jumping park. Once stage one is complete we will seek get premission to build stage two, which should take the trail system up to 30 miles. This park will not open to the public until mid 2011.

    Lookout Mountain Trails - This trail system will connect Lula Lake Land Trust to Cloudland Canyon State Park (GA) with a 15 mile liner trail, which will be opened to hikers, bikers and horses. At about the halfway point we will be able to construct 10 to 12 miles of singletrack trail that will be opened to bikers and hikers (no horses). I have already secured a $50k grant for this project. As soon as GA-DNR signs off on the agreement we will start construction. There is also the possibility to open some of the trails in CCSP to mountain biking, trails which were closed to all traffic several years ago.

    The River Gorge Trail. - A liner 65 to 70 mile trail that will make its way through the Tennessee River George. I have been working on this project for 2.5 years. We finally made some real progress at the last meeting. I suspect it will be another 1 to 2 years before we break ground. There is a private foundation that is interested in this project so there is the possibility of some funding. This delay with this project is the number of private, quasi-public and public land owners/manager we will need to convince. That last meeting was great with nearly all the main players in attendance. When completed this trail will connect with the Raccoon Mountain Trail system go down the gorge about 20 miles, cross a bridge and head back towards Chattanooga connecting in with the Chattanooga River Walk.

    There are two other projects that I cannot mention until I am a little further along in the process. I don't want to alert the three anti-mountain bikers that reside in the region whose opinions are given more weight than they should.

    Finally, the State of Tennessee owns 5000 acres in the northern part of the county. The people in TN's Environment and Conversations mentioned that we could build trails there. We will take them up on this offer but need to complete some of our other pending projects first. Probably looking at two years before we seriously start looking at trail possibilities there. Of course, we are a volunteer organization and if we got more volunteers at our trail days we could be more productive and move this projects along quicker.

    Hopes this helps.

  25. #25
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    thanks guys...appreciate the info...

    hope your fingers didn't fall off with all that typing..

    sorry, i could have used the search feature better....and, the SORBA site has some good info/overview of riding.

    i understand what you guys mean by lack of volunteers...

    we'll check in to chattanooga more. seems like it would suit us well.

    of course...lots of planning and preparing to make the move back east. we're pretty liquid...but, there is quite a bit to take care of.

    oh yeah..there's that job thing...

  26. #26
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    also dont forget Monte Sano which is 1.5 hours to the south.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by schaarschmidt
    There are two other projects that I cannot mention until I am a little further along in the process. I don't want to alert the three anti-mountain bikers that reside in the region whose opinions are given more weight than they should.
    Anti-mountain bikers in Chattanooga? Surely you jest...

    I know who one of them is. You'll have to fill me in on the other two at some point.

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