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  1. #1
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    Possible move to Burlington

    I've got a tempting offer to move to Burlington for a job. I spent much of my youth outside of Lake Placid, so I'm not entirely ignorant of what to expect, except my youth was 40 years ago, way before I got into bikes and looked for places to ride them. I'm coming from Colorado where I am extremely spoiled for both trails and weather, can ride several hundred miles of trail essentially from my house and the riding season is every one of them. I'm riding an Intense T-29 with 160/150 front/rear, I like technical, rocky, fast flowy and I climb to descend. I also ride road and commuter bikes. I've been riding mtbs since 1985 and designing and building trails for over a decade.

    What am I in for? You can bike commute from @ when to when? Mountain bike season is? Fatbike is key for winter? What are the trails like around Burlington? Lots of nested loops? I looked on various trail sites and it looks limited, is there a bunch of stuff under the radar? The road riding looks great, should I resign myself to that?

    What parts of town are better for trail accessability? I'd be working downtown.

    I ski/ski tour/nordic ski, so if riding shuts down in the winter, I'm ok with that.

    I know it's a lot of questions, thanks in advance for the help.

  2. #2
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    The trail riding from Burlington without a drive is limited. Within an hour there is a lot. Biking goes from April to hunting season in late November. Sometimes a little riding after that...maybe quite a bit in the Champlain Valley.
    Bike commuting....depends on how bad you want it. Within Burlington, probably all year except snow days if you really want it.

    If you really want to ride from your house on good trail you'll need to live elsewhere. Pressure on trail in Vermont, particularly close to Burlington, is high, and more so every year. The isses that arise in such scenes are prevalent, but the better you get to know the riding areas, the more you can escape the degradation and emasculation. There are great ride spots but we are at a point where some have to be hit mid-week, and some are being transformed into parodies of their former selves with dumbing down, and over saturation.

    Of Course most folks think I'm an A hole for not embracing the new version of trail development, but like you I have been a trail builder for longer than a decade, and most of them are not.

    Vermont is still a great MTB state, but we are facing the problems associated with too many users, not enough helpers, and a small amount of public lands close to many population centers.

    Same goes with BC skiing. Hopefully you move here. We need more engaged users and less entitled visitors.

  3. #3
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    Burlington has 10 places to rent and buy Mountain bikes and no where to ride them.

    You can commute by road bike if you move to the city, they have been making a push to make the roads more bike friendly. If you wanna ride trails you basically need to be anywhere outside of the Champlain Valley, not enough trail/elevation change in Chittenden.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the info.

    I'm not fanatical about commuting, if it's really hateful out, I'll drive. It's nice to know that the option is there though for most or many days. My options are to live close enough, <10 miles, so I can ride to work often and use that to keep my head on straight or live farther out, closer to trails that I probably would ride less (a few days/evenings a week) and drive everyday. It sounds like that the second option doesn't get me into good mtb riding anyway unless I want to spend a couple of hours a day in the car, which I don't. If being able to work remotely part of the time gets on the table, that could change the equation.

    Yep, our local org gets whined at that we don't build tech enough trails, and then when we actually get approval to do so, they immediately get sanitized by riders. I used to take it personally, but I've gotten over it. I just don't understand it. I like to build features that only the minority can ride, things I can't unless the stars align and people obviously hate getting off their bikes to walk over anything.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryman View Post
    Thanks for the info.

    I'm not fanatical about commuting, if it's really hateful out, I'll drive. It's nice to know that the option is there though for most or many days. My options are to live close enough, <10 miles, so I can ride to work often and use that to keep my head on straight or live farther out, closer to trails that I probably would ride less (a few days/evenings a week) and drive everyday. It sounds like that the second option doesn't get me into good mtb riding anyway unless I want to spend a couple of hours a day in the car, which I don't. If being able to work remotely part of the time gets on the table, that could change the equation.

    Yep, our local org gets whined at that we don't build tech enough trails, and then when we actually get approval to do so, they immediately get sanitized by riders. I used to take it personally, but I've gotten over it. I just don't understand it. I like to build features that only the minority can ride, things I can't unless the stars align and people obviously hate getting off their bikes to walk over anything.
    Richmond, Hinesburg, Huntington areas. Also out rt 15 towards Underhill are your sweet spots.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVt View Post
    Richmond, Hinesburg, Huntington areas. Also out rt 15 towards Underhill are your sweet spots.

    I agree with this, I commute to Burlington from Central Vermont during the work week (50miles each way). If I needed to live closer I would pick Richmond. Burlington has insane property values because of the multiple colleges but isn't a real city that has public transport/booming nightlife.

    Richmond is out of the busyness, cheaper, is a few miles to the closest trail and not far from where they actually start picking up in volume. Also you would be a couple minutes from the closets ski area.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by momikey View Post
    I agree with this, I commute to Burlington from Central Vermont during the work week (50miles each way). If I needed to live closer I would pick Richmond. Burlington has insane property values because of the multiple colleges but isn't a real city that has public transport/booming nightlife.

    Richmond is out of the busyness, cheaper, is a few miles to the closest trail and not far from where they actually start picking up in volume. Also you would be a couple minutes from the closets ski area.
    Living in downtown Burlington has its merits for sure, but for an avid mountain biker it can be a challenge. If you do live in Burlington, proximity to Interstate 89 is key and will save you much time and many pre-ride rushhour headaches.

    It is a pity that for as many mountain bikers live in Burlington, there are very few places to legally ride your MTB without driving. The local trail org is working on trying to change that, but Burlington just doesn't have the vertical or acreage to ever become a true MTB town.

  8. #8
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    I just moved from Burlington (15 years there) to SW Colorado last year. Here is what I can tell you. Burlington is the coolest city in the country. Diverse (for VT), hip, and is home to the best people I have ever met. The city is super bikeable, and there are a lot of people who are working on keeping it that way. The road, and dirt road riding is amazing also. You can be on dirt roads in 5 miles from downtown and meander around some of the most beautiful rural mountainscapes imaginable. Combining the dirt roads with trails can lead to some BIG days or multi-day tours if desired. Vermont is the best state in this miserable country. It is beautiful, remote, but still connected to the bustling northeast. the riding is amazing! but if you live in burlington you will be driving 20-40mins everytime you want to do a fulfilling ride. there are a couple small and super fun networks that are within 4 miles of the city but you will quickly tire of them. One thing, coming form colorado that will take some getting used to is the weather. lots or grey, lots of rain. And although I think winter is easier in VT because there is no expectation that it will ever get better (colorado is full of teases). You will want a fat bike or if the snow falls, you will be relieved to not have to worry about an avalanche everytime you want to ski and the xc touring/backcountry terrain is amazing and relatively safe compared to colorado. I'm holding it down in Durango for now, but i must say i'm a little jealous. Cheers!

  9. #9
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    Harryman, as said above, if you would like to commute by bike, and like road riding as much as mt biking, than living downtown is a good choice. But if you like to ride to trails from your house, move to Richmond. We can ride approximately 100 miles of trails (once you learn the unmapped, along with the mapped terrain) from town, connecting to the majority of the Fellowship of the Wheel networks. We've actually just formed our own Richmond Mountain Trails chapter of VMBA, so you could immediately be part of the local trail community. The riding here is steep and challenging. More old school than machine built. It's about 25 minute drive to downtown BTV. And yes, a Fat Bike is very necessary with our current types of winters.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tylerm70 View Post
    Harryman, as said above, if you would like to commute by bike, and like road riding as much as mt biking, than living downtown is a good choice. But if you like to ride to trails from your house, move to Richmond. We can ride approximately 100 miles of trails (once you learn the unmapped, along with the mapped terrain) from town, connecting to the majority of the Fellowship of the Wheel networks. We've actually just formed our own Richmond Mountain Trails chapter of VMBA, so you could immediately be part of the local trail community. The riding here is steep and challenging. More old school than machine built. It's about 25 minute drive to downtown BTV. And yes, a Fat Bike is very necessary with our current types of winters.
    Just saw that in the VMBA email today, heard some fatbikers talking about it but didn't think it would be set up this soon. Should be fun to check out this summer.

  11. #11
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    Burlington is nice if you live and work in the city, otherwise find a place just outside of town. Hinesburg is a great as well as Richmond.
    There is public transport in Burlington if that interests you. Buses run all day and take you to Montpelier if you want.
    There is riding in town, not mapped or necessarily condoned - some of it is actually pretty good. Not a lot of elevation in town. The closest legal riding is Sunny Hollow in Colchester, like 5 rideable miles from Burlington.
    I commute by bike year round - there's not been a ton of snow the last few years, and only a couple bitter cold days. Some parts of the bike path are cleared for winter, others sections are not but the roads are typically in good shape unless its during or just after a storm.
    Like everyone has said, within an hour's drive you have many hundreds of miles of great mountain biking to be had. A lot is mapped by VMBA, but a lot is not.

    Oh and fat biking is fun and there's that too.

  12. #12
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    Thanks everyone, that's all great info and gives me a better feel for where to look around for housing, I don't need to be in town, so Richmond/Hinesburg and similar would be the best fit. Night skiing at Bolton would be a nice option, I raced for decades, so I kind of miss getting out at night for a couple of hours.

    It's still early in the job negotiations, I'll let you know if I'm headed your way.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryman View Post
    Thanks everyone, that's all great info and gives me a better feel for where to look around for housing, I don't need to be in town, so Richmond/Hinesburg and similar would be the best fit. Night skiing at Bolton would be a nice option, I raced for decades, so I kind of miss getting out at night for a couple of hours.

    It's still early in the job negotiations, I'll let you know if I'm headed your way.
    Please do let us know if/when you find a great little place in the Richmond or Hinesburg area, because it's currently impossible, and I'd like to live there too. Maybe a roommate situation. Oh, and it has to be dog friendly, which excludes 99% of rentals, and it needs to have a gas range and a wood stove. These areas are in very high demand since they provide that sought-after rural living experience so close to Burlington. I dream of the day to be able to mountain bike out my front door directly onto singletrack. Good luck!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenMtnRider View Post
    Please do let us know if/when you find a great little place in the Richmond or Hinesburg area, because it's currently impossible, and I'd like to live there too. Maybe a roommate situation. Oh, and it has to be dog friendly, which excludes 99% of rentals, and it needs to have a gas range and a wood stove. These areas are in very high demand since they provide that sought-after rural living experience so close to Burlington. I dream of the day to be able to mountain bike out my front door directly onto singletrack. Good luck!
    This is certainly true. Out rt 15 is a comparable situation....but there are a few pockets north of 15 that still put you 30 mins from town that are still untapped. Near underhill is a great place to be a biker in vt.

  15. #15
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    Sshhhhh!!!!!!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockpharmer View Post
    Sshhhhh!!!!!!
    I hear that. Seems like this guy IS they type you want to come to your neighborhood. Be happy to have more trail builders move to Northfield.

  17. #17
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    I come in peace and with tools. Also with a lot of experience wading through the bureaucracy of various agencies getting trails approved.

  18. #18
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    Enter Salesman and Marketing department...now.

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    Meh, it was all tongue in cheek. Underhill still seems too far out there for most of Burlington. I have never felt crowded riding out here. The local club is ALWAYS looking for extra hands when it comes to maintenance and construction.

  20. #20
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    Bolton is reporting 60" since Tuesday, you in town yet?

  21. #21
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    I'm in aspen working the world Cup finals, have fun!

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    Wow. I am a bit taken a back by the first few replies here. I don't know if it is just locals trying to persuade people outside of VT not to come check out their awesome state or if they are being serious. IMO Burlington is one of the raddest cities I have been to. If there was a good paying job waiting for me up there, I would pack my bags today and move on up there in a heart beat. I have plenty of friends that moved up there and they mostly live at the edge of the city, but in 10 minutes they can be downtown by the lake or 10 minutes the other direction they can be out in the middle of cow country riding sweet trails. True there are not trails you can ride to from downtown, but I can't think of many awesome cities where this is an option. You can however, ride some of the best trails on the east coast within 30 minutes of Burlington and if you want to drive another 30 minutes you can ride Waterbury and Stowe.
    Also, to the guy that said there is no nightlife in Burlington are you serious? Have you been downtown on a Friday or Saturday night? I have been to two bachelor parties in Burlington, one of them being my own and downtown has one of the coolest nightlife scenes around.
    Anyway, my point is the OP should be stoked to be moving to Burlington and I for one am quite jealous of your new adventure. Have fun!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomB15 View Post
    Wow. I am a bit taken a back by the first few replies here. I don't know if it is just locals trying to persuade people outside of VT not to come check out their awesome state or if they are being serious. IMO Burlington is one of the raddest cities I have been to. If there was a good paying job waiting for me up there, I would pack my bags today and move on up there in a heart beat. I have plenty of friends that moved up there and they mostly live at the edge of the city, but in 10 minutes they can be downtown by the lake or 10 minutes the other direction they can be out in the middle of cow country riding sweet trails. True there are not trails you can ride to from downtown, but I can't think of many awesome cities where this is an option. You can however, ride some of the best trails on the east coast within 30 minutes of Burlington and if you want to drive another 30 minutes you can ride Waterbury and Stowe.
    Also, to the guy that said there is no nightlife in Burlington are you serious? Have you been downtown on a Friday or Saturday night? I have been to two bachelor parties in Burlington, one of them being my own and downtown has one of the coolest nightlife scenes around.
    Anyway, my point is the OP should be stoked to be moving to Burlington and I for one am quite jealous of your new adventure. Have fun!
    Burlington is barely a city, first off. A fun "Town" for sure. On the riding you basically echoed what we said.

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    OP says his youth was 40 years ago, I forgot to tell him about the bachelor parties that could be.

    OP, if you wanna head out each night and have college age ladies grind on you, night life is great. Its not a bad night scene, just not always something going on.

    Some good concerts though, this summer is Shins, My morning jacket, slightly stupid all on the waterfront or close to town.

  25. #25
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    Possible move to Burlington

    Get plenty of good (better) concerts year-round (without the grinding) on nearly a nightly basis in the greater Burlington area. The local musicians around here are phenomenal. No need to wait till the big acts come though during summer. That being said, PRIMUS!

    If you're looking for a truly big-city experience, Montreal makes a great weekend getaway.

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