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  1. #1
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    More SF Moving Info

    Sorry about the post but this seems to be the highest concentration of like-minded (i.e. MTB) people in SF.

    All of the area research is driving me insane. There are so many possible places to live it's like a candy store, only I don't have the money for the real good candy.

    I will put up with a commute. It's the least I can do for moving my family 3000 miles. I like some of Santa Rosa, a little San Raphael, I love Sonoma and Napa. Now tell me why Fairfield seems to be more reasonable than most other places. Why? They seem to have huge new homes on good size parcels at far more affordable prices than similar properties in Santa Rosa.

    I also like a lot of the places in Livermore and they seem to be newer. It looks kind of flat there, though.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    Sorry about the post but this seems to be the highest concentration of like-minded (i.e. MTB) people in SF.

    All of the area research is driving me insane. There are so many possible places to live it's like a candy store, only I don't have the money for the real good candy.

    I will put up with a commute. It's the least I can do for moving my family 3000 miles. I like some of Santa Rosa, a little San Raphael, I love Sonoma and Napa. Now tell me why Fairfield seems to be more reasonable than most other places. Why? They seem to have huge new homes on good size parcels at far more affordable prices than similar properties in Santa Rosa.

    I also like a lot of the places in Livermore and they seem to be newer. It looks kind of flat there, though.
    Damn, Livermore to SF commute. You're a sucker for punishment, aren't you? That's probably 45 miles each way. To take BART, you still have to drive to Pleasanton, and 580 is a pretty bad commute any way you slice it. If you're willing to go that far, you would be better off looking at Dublin/Pleasanton. At least, you'd be right next to BART.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  3. #3
    smw
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    Sorry about the post but this seems to be the highest concentration of like-minded (i.e. MTB) people in SF.

    All of the area research is driving me insane. There are so many possible places to live it's like a candy store, only I don't have the money for the real good candy.

    I will put up with a commute. It's the least I can do for moving my family 3000 miles. I like some of Santa Rosa, a little San Raphael, I love Sonoma and Napa. Now tell me why Fairfield seems to be more reasonable than most other places. Why? They seem to have huge new homes on good size parcels at far more affordable prices than similar properties in Santa Rosa.

    I also like a lot of the places in Livermore and they seem to be newer. It looks kind of flat there, though.

    FairField is prolly a sweat box in the summer. Livermore is also smoking hot, but is nice in some areas. Your desired sq footage and lot size is limiting you, you may want to reconsider the size you are looking for, it coould really open alot of better area's for you and your family. Say about 2000 sq ft and 8000ft lot. I know its smaller then what you may be used to, but you can always add on later.

    Sean
    Gears and suspension are for girls and old men. Feel free to quote me in your signature. - Fast Eddy

  4. #4
    Master of '80s BMX tricks
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    Fairfield

    Fairfield is still an hour and a half drive (on a good day) to SF with no real public transportations options.
    frankly, if you MUST move to the bay area and price is a bigger issue than the commute time the farther east you go the cheaper the property gets. but if you have a half million to throw around and want a central location with good access to public transportation not to mention a reasonable drive to any of the bay area trails, I would reccomend Oakland, where I live. Before you get worried about oakland crime and all that, Oakland really does get a bad rap. there are a few bad areas but many many really great areas to live where the fact that it is a bad rap is most apparent. Some people like it that way, it keeps the property value from going nuts and keeps the stuck-up rich people from leaving san francisco for a warmer climate accross the bay.
    where are you moving from?

  5. #5
    ballbuster
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    San Rafael is nice

    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    Sorry about the post but this seems to be the highest concentration of like-minded (i.e. MTB) people in SF.

    All of the area research is driving me insane. There are so many possible places to live it's like a candy store, only I don't have the money for the real good candy.

    I will put up with a commute. It's the least I can do for moving my family 3000 miles. I like some of Santa Rosa, a little San Raphael, I love Sonoma and Napa. Now tell me why Fairfield seems to be more reasonable than most other places. Why? They seem to have huge new homes on good size parcels at far more affordable prices than similar properties in Santa Rosa.

    I also like a lot of the places in Livermore and they seem to be newer. It looks kind of flat there, though.
    I lived on Lincoln Ave for a few years. Not a great neighbor hood where I was, but it wasn't bad. The smack addicts were always lined outside the methodone clinic first thing in the morning, but they were all mellow.

    THe commute from there would not be bad. Good downtown. They used to have 'round the block' crits in the evenings during summer. I dunno if they do that any more. Prices will be up there, tho.

    Santa Rosa would be a brutal commute, but you will have Annadele State Park as your backyard. Great riding area.

    Fairfield is pretty far out there from SF, and it is mostly new construction. So that's probably why it is cheaper. It's also pretty brutal in summer heat.

    Oh, and I know you have not used it yet, but whatever you do, don't call it 'Frisco' . Since you have not used the forbidden word, I'll asume you got that memo already.


  6. #6
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    Agreed with Zorg. If Dublin and Pleasanton are in your price range you may want to take a look there.

    Personally I think Fairfield doesn't have a friendly commute system. If you didn't want to take the 35 mile drive to San Francisco you'll have to drive to Vallejo Ferry which is about 15-20 miles (depending where you live in Fairfield). Also where Hwy 80 and Hwy 680 connect is a huge traffic jam 3-4 days a week.

    My vote-Dublin area. Move to the East Bay, join the BTCEB(Bicycle Trails Counsel East Bay) if you do join I referred him!! and enjoy your commute by Bart!

    -Larry
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  7. #7
    ballbuster
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    Oh... and don't forget...

    Quote Originally Posted by LJ0913
    Agreed with Zorg. If Dublin and Pleasanton are in your price range you may want to take a look there.

    Personally I think Fairfield doesn't have a friendly commute system. If you didn't want to take the 35 mile drive to San Francisco you'll have to drive to Vallejo Ferry which is about 15-20 miles (depending where you live in Fairfield). Also where Hwy 80 and Hwy 680 connect is a huge traffic jam 3-4 days a week.

    My vote-Dublin area. Move to the East Bay, join the BTCEB(Bicycle Trails Counsel East Bay) if you do join I referred him!! and enjoy your commute by Bart!

    -Larry
    ... to join Brionesmafia! Tuesday night rides!

    see the link below.

  8. #8
    GMM
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    Too Big of an investment decision...

    That's too big of an investment decision to make from 3,000 miles away, or even based on a couple of trips. Fairfield commute is going to be absolutely horrendous, even by Bay Area standards.

    Your best best really would be to rent and decide what works for you. The areas out here are just too varied to make a decision without living here first. You will be a lot better educated after living here for a year, or at least several months.

    1) Livermore does have some nice areas; 2) it is Hot in the summer; 3) it would be a heck of a commute (probably closer to 1:20 door-to-door); it will take you 20 minutes to get to BART.

    I really can't imagine buying a $750K - $1M dollar home, or more, without living in the area first.

    Good Luck!

  9. #9
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    One more comment: if you want to remain sane, get to bike after work during the week, and see your family on days besides Saturday and Sunday, keep your commute to below 45mn each way. And it is nice here, so you can have a smaller house and go spend more time outdoors. It's a good trade-off.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  10. #10
    Master of '80s BMX tricks
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    Quote Originally Posted by smw
    FairField is prolly a sweat box in the summer.

    Sean
    everything is a sweatbox west of the Oakland hills during the summer.
    another reason to think about Oakland, avg. summer temps dont' break 80 that often plus it isn't freezing cold in july like S.F. is

  11. #11
    ballbuster
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    I'm not sure...

    Quote Originally Posted by Biker_Scout_Sparky
    Fairfield is still an hour and a half drive (on a good day) to SF with no real public transportations options.
    frankly, if you MUST move to the bay area and price is a bigger issue than the commute time the farther east you go the cheaper the property gets. but if you have a half million to throw around and want a central location with good access to public transportation not to mention a reasonable drive to any of the bay area trails, I would reccomend Oakland, where I live. Before you get worried about oakland crime and all that, Oakland really does get a bad rap. there are a few bad areas but many many really great areas to live where the fact that it is a bad rap is most apparent. Some people like it that way, it keeps the property value from going nuts and keeps the stuck-up rich people from leaving san francisco for a warmer climate accross the bay.
    where are you moving from?
    You can find anything for half a $M in Oakland where people are shooting each other nearby. Maybe, but I dunno.

    I'm in Glennview, and in my 'hood, 3br houses are going for $800k's therebouts to start, and even those are on small lots.

    True, Oakland does get a bad rap. The statistics look bad, but the bad stuff is concentrated in a few worst neighborhoods. Gang-Bangers on Gang-Bangers, mostly.

  12. #12
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    Rent for now

    I'd say rent at first. There's a lot of great rentals for 1/3 the price of a mortgage, and housing isn't going up much any more (if at all). It will give you time to know the areas (weather, schools, and MTB parks of course), and pick the right place, especially important for Oakland, where you'll likely want to send your kids to private school even if you find the low crime areas. (Note Oakland is a mix of luxury and low income housing areas - you need to understand it well to buy there.)

    I've lived in all directions from SF: Livermore, Petaluma, San Jose
    Of all these, we clearly loved Petaluma the best. Nice weather year round, relatively affordable, 45 minutes from SF, low crime, walking distance from everything, homey town,.... The commute is tough, as 101 is the only way into SF, and it jams up between Novato and the San Rafael bridge (not at Golden Gate like you'd expect). The buses (no BART) are 2X slower than cars. But other areas aren't much better on commute.
    Livermore/Pleasonton is 10 degrees hotter than the bay area, and bad commute, but it does have BART.
    San Jose means you just going from one metropolis to another, and same with everything in between that's south of SF.

    I also came from NJ, and sold my 7500 sq ft premium house with 6-car garage on top of 3 acre hill in the woods for a price that wouldn't buy a fixer-up condo here. Get ready for the shock. And rent for a year or so to adjust.

    But as others said, you can get by with the smaller space with all the outdoor parks and activities you can do. Toss out everything you can rather than move it. I have 10% of what I had in NJ, and still have a garage full.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  13. #13
    Master of '80s BMX tricks
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMM
    That's too big of an investment decision to make from 3,000 miles away, or even based on a couple of trips. Fairfield commute is going to be absolutely horrendous, even by Bay Area standards.

    Your best best really would be to rent and decide what works for you. The areas out here are just too varied to make a decision without living here first. You will be a lot better educated after living here for a year, or at least several months.

    1) Livermore does have some nice areas; 2) it is Hot in the summer; 3) it would be a heck of a commute (probably closer to 1:20 door-to-door); it will take you 20 minutes to get to BART.

    I really can't imagine buying a $750K - $1M dollar home, or more, without living in the area first.

    Good Luck!
    I think renting at first is a great idea!
    The bay area isnt' like any other place in california. The crime rate/ culture/ weather/ commute/ house prices/ house values can vary greatly from town to town, almost block to block and the only real way to know what's good and bad is to live here for a while and get a feel for the place.
    Renting here first will give you some flexibility to look around and wait for that "prince of a deal" to come along without having to cram seeing umpteen houses into a weekend flight out here then being dissappointed because the only one you want sold before you could even get your checkbook out
    Not trying to brag but when we bought our place in 2004 (1400 sq.ft. 3BR 2 Bath condo with garage near lake meritt for $300k which is now worth $450k+) we searched for months and viewed 4 or 5 places before we made an offer on this one adn were shocked when they accepted because we thought the price was too low and there would be a bidding war. My point is if you have the time to look around the right place for you will eventually come along.
    It still blows my mind that our condo's value went up %50 in 2 years. we could sell, pay off the loan and have enough left over pay cash for something bigger in a cheaper part of the country and live mortgage free. unfortuantely, i'm hopelessly addicted to the bay area now and could never leave.

  14. #14
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    You're right. It is a candy store. Knowing that you are into Mountain Biking, my one advise would be to look for a home that is close to a trailhead.

    A couple of options here.
    1. East Bay (Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Clayton).
    Here you can find a home that will allow you to ride to the trailhead in the hills. This area also has easy BART commute to the city. Homes can range from High $500k for a really big fix up job to $900 for another fixer.

    2. North Bay (San Rafel, etc) Also, a good area where trail access is easy to ride to or drive to. The commute could be a *****

    3. Fairfield/Vacaville. You will have to drive to get to the trails and the commute is a pain.

    4. Livermoore, Pleasanton. Good BART commute and you will have to drive to the trails.

    Check you pm.

    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    There are so many possible places to live it's like a candy store, only I don't have the money for the real good candy.
    Last edited by imjps; 05-02-2006 at 02:39 PM.

  15. #15
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    Just throwing this out there...

    How about renting in the Presidio area of San Francisco. Parking is easier, have your dogs, probably find a place that can accomdate your whole family allowing you time to find a more permanenet home within the bay area. Commute is much easier and it is in a more natural setting, almost like a park, but still in SF.

    http://www.presidio.gov/

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biker_Scout_Sparky
    Fairfield is still an hour and a half drive (on a good day) to SF with no real public transportations options.
    frankly, if you MUST move to the bay area and price is a bigger issue than the commute time the farther east you go the cheaper the property gets. but if you have a half million to throw around and want a central location with good access to public transportation not to mention a reasonable drive to any of the bay area trails, I would reccomend Oakland, where I live. Before you get worried about oakland crime and all that, Oakland really does get a bad rap. there are a few bad areas but many many really great areas to live where the fact that it is a bad rap is most apparent. Some people like it that way, it keeps the property value from going nuts and keeps the stuck-up rich people from leaving san francisco for a warmer climate accross the bay.
    where are you moving from?
    My idea of Oakland is exactly how you opened the statement. Is it more city like? I need more of a suburban feel. Well, not me but the family. Remember, schools (kids are 12 and 7) are THE most important consideration.

    I live in Marlton, NJ which is about 15 miles from Philadelphia. It's a town of about 40,000 and not to crowded in terms of close proximaty to your neighbor. Plus it's just far enough and a bridge away from Philthadelphia to keep the crime away.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    I'd say rent at first. There's a lot of great rentals for 1/3 the price of a mortgage, and housing isn't going up much any more (if at all). It will give you time to know the areas (weather, schools, and MTB parks of course), and pick the right place, especially important for Oakland, where you'll likely want to send your kids to private school even if you find the low crime areas. (Note Oakland is a mix of luxury and low income housing areas - you need to understand it well to buy there.)
    Well the good thing is that I will have to rent for at least 8 months since family obligations will keep everyone else in NJ until December. I may even push that until the following summer so the kids won't have to change schools mid-stream. I will certainly miss my family and probably not get to see them more than once a month, but playing a bachelor for a year could be fun, at least I won't get any grief about riding too much. .

    I was thinking about renting outside of the city since I need cheap and have a car that would require parking and still have to pay my existing mortgage. So I will have time to look around and find the ultimate place to live.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    I lived on Lincoln Ave for a few years. Not a great neighbor hood where I was, but it wasn't bad. The smack addicts were always lined outside the methodone clinic first thing in the morning, but they were all mellow.

    THe commute from there would not be bad. Good downtown. They used to have 'round the block' crits in the evenings during summer. I dunno if they do that any more. Prices will be up there, tho.

    Santa Rosa would be a brutal commute, but you will have Annadele State Park as your backyard. Great riding area.

    Fairfield is pretty far out there from SF, and it is mostly new construction. So that's probably why it is cheaper. It's also pretty brutal in summer heat.

    Oh, and I know you have not used it yet, but whatever you do, don't call it 'Frisco' . Since you have not used the forbidden word, I'll asume you got that memo already.

    Heat doesn't bother me. It's 100F and 100% humidity here in the summer. You don't know brutal until you've had that. Try doing a 28 mile epic in those conditions. There is not enough water you can carry.

    Which Frisco? Colorado? Texas?

    I would never do that, just like Philadelphia is not Philly.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg
    One more comment: if you want to remain sane, get to bike after work during the week, and see your family on days besides Saturday and Sunday, keep your commute to below 45mn each way. And it is nice here, so you can have a smaller house and go spend more time outdoors. It's a good trade-off.
    I agree 100%. I ride (mostly road cause the trails are not close) every night.

  20. #20

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    Fairfield is cheaper than SR IMO because it's just not as lush an area. SR is basically wine country whereas Fairfield is at the start of the flats between the Bay Area and Sacramento. It's also windy as hell out there compared to the northbay. There are other reasons but I don't really think it'd be proper or fair to discuss.

  21. #21
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    oakland

    oakland is a mix it's kind of like a small city busy but not as busy as, say, new york. In the hills it's more laid back residential. the southern and northern portions have some bad areas that are kind of run down but in general it's more of a suburban type area , more neighborhoods than skyscrapers.
    if schooling the kids is most important you may want to move elsewhere if you can't afford private schools. the public education system in all of california leaves something to be desired, and that something would be education. in think the state was dead last in the country when the gov't last ranked states by education quality. Sorry.
    that's the achilles heel for my wife and i when we have kids, we are gonna be hard strapped to stay in california when they get to be school age.

  22. #22
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    My parents moved us to Napa (from Clayton) before we entered school. They're reasoning was because they felt that Napa public schools were better than most areas.

    Now I rent in Napa, as I look for a house in the Bay Area as well. I also work for a major mortgage company. If you'd like more info about houses, commutes, and lending in the Bay Area, please feel free to PM or email me.

    Good luck! We look forward to having you here!

    -B
    I get paid to ride shotgun.

  23. #23
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    Not really familiar with your home town but I know Cherry Hill and Philly - I've got lots of relatives around there. I'm from CT and know all about the 105% humidity in the summer.

    Regardless of how hot people say it gets here - it's a drier heat than back east. It may be 110 for a few days in a row in some places over the summer but you adjust - wear shorts, thin materials, etc. every day.

    I'm going to throw the idea to you that Oakland is nice to a point that the commute will be short but to afford a nice house in a nice neighborhood will cost you a mint. And Fairfield, Livermore or Santa Rosa are nice to a point that you can afford more in a nicer neighborhood but the transportation will cost you your sanity.

    Let me suggest Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Concord or Clayton. Close to BART for the commute to the city and central enough for MTB. The houses you could afford are probably somewhat smaller than elsewhere but chances are the schools are walking distance and the parks are plentiful.

    edit - oh, yeah, forgot to mention - the drivers out here SUCK!!! They sell drivers licenses from gumball machines!
    There are no stupid questions but there are A LOT of inquisitive idiots.


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  24. #24
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan'ger
    Not really familiar with your home town but I know Cherry Hill and Philly - I've got lots of relatives around there. I'm from CT and know all about the 105% humidity in the summer.

    Regardless of how hot people say it gets here - it's a drier heat than back east. It may be 110 for a few days in a row in some places over the summer but you adjust - wear shorts, thin materials, etc. every day.

    I'm going to throw the idea to you that Oakland is nice to a point that the commute will be short but to afford a nice house in a nice neighborhood will cost you a mint. And Fairfield, Livermore or Santa Rosa are nice to a point that you can afford more in a nicer neighborhood but the transportation will cost you your sanity.

    Let me suggest Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Concord or Clayton. Close to BART for the commute to the city and central enough for MTB. The houses you could afford are probably somewhat smaller than elsewhere but chances are the schools are walking distance and the parks are plentiful.

    edit - oh, yeah, forgot to mention - the drivers out here SUCK!!! They sell drivers licenses from gumball machines!
    Marlton borders Cherry Hill. The difference between the two is property tax on a $250,000 home in Cherry Hill is $14,000/year and in Marlton it is $10,000/year. Yes, those are actual numbers!

    I have looked at the homes in the places you mentioned. Nothing really caught my eye and maybe I need to see them in person. My wife seems to have taken a liking to American Canyon but probably because she thinks she can get a new construction. I keep telling her that if we went that route there would be no money for a long time to upgrade inside or out. In other words, what the builder puts in (usually crap) is what you would get. I tend to look more at the "lived in" homes because even if they are only 3 or 4 years old a lot of the work has already been put into it (did I mention that if it's not bike riding I am lazy).

    I like the idea of a short commute from AC to Vallejo ferry and maybe even a bike commute. It looks like about 10-12 miles and there are plenty of side roads I could ride without getting smooshed .

  25. #25
    Slowest Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan'ger
    Regardless of how hot people say it gets here - it's a drier heat than back east. It may be 110 for a few days in a row in some places over the summer but you adjust - wear shorts, thin materials, etc. every day.
    But in NJ, you've got lots of shade. In summer it's almost dark at noon in the woods. Compared to NJ, California is pretty much a desert. So it may be near 100F outside, in the woods, it's under 80 in the shade. The high humidity is OK at that temperature, especially if you keep riding with a good breeze. So all in all, I didn't find the NJ humidity and heat too bad.

    Of course, I find I can ride Henry Coe and Kennedy Hills at over 100F, when no one else seems to want to go out, so maybe I'm acclimated.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  26. #26
    wg
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    I have looked at the homes in the places you mentioned. Nothing really caught my eye and maybe I need to see them in person. My wife seems to have taken a liking to American Canyon but probably because she thinks she can get a new construction. I keep telling her that if we went that route there would be no money for a long time to upgrade inside or out. In other words, what the builder puts in (usually crap) is what you would get. I tend to look more at the "lived in" homes because even if they are only 3 or 4 years old a lot of the work has already been put into it (did I mention that if it's not bike riding I am lazy).
    When we shopped 10 years ago, my wife was into the new construction too. Those were often too generic and often has no landscaping so guess who gets to put in all that stuff? Also as the developements get newer, the lots seem to get smaller.... I really hate the idea of being able to see into my neighbor's house and vice versa.
    A development that's got a couple years on it will have reveiled any inherent initial defects from the contractors' builds. Some landscaping will have matured a bit . Very important for shade.
    We ended up in a 1960's 4/2 on ..5 acres. in Walnut Creek. House a little small but the neighborhood was great. The yard was big enough for critters and kids. Property appreciation in this area has created enough equity to do some major remodelling to the house size. Since you're considering schools (and if I remember some of your other comments), you could rent an apt for a bit in the East Bay and have the family visit during summer vacation. Do some scouting. Check out commutes and schools. There are some really good schools around and that will drive property values too. The commute discussion has been hammered already. I don't think I'd want the commute from anywhere north of Novato nor come in from Fairfield. I value my sanity and family time too much.
    Oh, one comment on Fairfield/Vacaville. Hot (that's been discussed) and windy nearly everyday. Very windy. That corridor is one of the areas that the heated central valley pulls its cooler air through every night.
    Don't harsh my mello

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by wg
    When we shopped 10 years ago, my wife was into the new construction too. Those were often too generic and often has no landscaping so guess who gets to put in all that stuff? Also as the developements get newer, the lots seem to get smaller.... I really hate the idea of being able to see into my neighbor's house and vice versa.
    A development that's got a couple years on it will have reveiled any inherent initial defects from the contractors' builds. Some landscaping will have matured a bit . Very important for shade..
    Exactly my point! I should let her talk to your wife.

  28. #28
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    Welcome to the Bay Area.

    Looks like you have been getting good advice and opinions from folks around here. I have little else to add in terms of location.

    My comments are related but perhaps a little off-topic.

    When you get here, you will have instant MTB friends and riding buddies. That is one of the many nice things about the MTB community here. However, your wife and family might not have that benefit. They are coming in cold.

    I had great expectations before I arrived, that that I will be riding, hanging out etc. Certainly did not turn out that way the first year. Ended up spending a lot more family time than riding time. Set that expectation with yourself.

    I move my family literally half way around the world to the Bay Area. We rented for 2 years before we bought a town house. It was a very good move. Unlike me, my wife is a city gal and would not do well "living out there".

    In the end it was a good compromise. All is good now; but I tell you, in the summer, I still get the "Honey, we don't talk anymore".

    Cheers.

  29. #29
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    Sant Rosa has Annadel--great trails. There are also small suburban towns south of Santa Rosa, like Cotati and Rohnert Park, that are cheaper. It's maybe an hour from Santa Rosa to SF, but if you go outside of rush hours you can cut that down a lot. We have good schools (I'm a teacher), I ride my bike to the trails, and we have a really good pizza joint. There's no BART here, but they're planning a commuter train that will connect to a ferry to SF.


    Hey, why not come out for May by the Bay, the MTBR gathering. There are a bunch or rides all over the bay area. You could check things out when you're not riding
    功夫大师喜欢骑着他的自行车在山上。

  30. #30
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    I have been looking at Santa Rosa. Again the whole "wine country" thing appeals to me as an amateur chef (and not just from a cook book, I invent). Trail access is also important to me, but I currently have to drive 45 minutes to get anything half decent (flat and sandy where I live).

    I will actually be in SF on 5/21 - 5/23 for my final interview with the execs. 5/21 would be possible but the other days would not work and then I would still have to ship the bike.

    I am probably being overly confident, but I think I will be doing plenty of SF rides in the very near future. Especially, if I am playing bachelor for a few months.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    I am probably being overly confident, but I think I will be doing plenty of SF rides in the very near future. Especially, if I am playing bachelor for a few months.
    If you live in Santa Rosa, Fairfield, American Canyon, or some of those other northern areas, I think you will be doing very little riding given your two hour commute in each direction. Seriously, the Vallejo ferry takes over an hour alone, plus you have ground transportation on each end.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBrider
    If you live in Santa Rosa, Fairfield, American Canyon, or some of those other northern areas, I think you will be doing very little riding given your two hour commute in each direction. Seriously, the Vallejo ferry takes over an hour alone, plus you have ground transportation on each end.
    Yes, I know that. I have been painstakingly researching commute times and what is within my realm of sanity. American Canyon seems to put me at 15 minutes (car) to Vallejo ferry (I am an early riser and currently leave for work at 5:45 AM), another 50 minutes for the boat, and 10 blocks to the office from the pier of which I will do on bike (or so I think in my grand scheme of things).

    That's just one scenario. I still don't know where in SF I will end up, but I do know there will be at least a 45 minute commute from wherever it is. Whatever the outcome, this is not for me. It is for my family. I want to be able to afford a good college for my kids, so I need a higher paying job with a much more marketable title (for future movement - whatever is left at age 41). If that means a long commute, then that's what it means.

    Right now I only ride dirt on the weekend or an occassional friday night ride - too far to the trails for an after work ride. I do an hour (25 mile) road ride just about every night (winters are inside on the trainer).

  33. #33
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    Maybe not...

    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    ... I would still have to ship the bike.
    Hey! Anybody around here have more than one bike?


    /me raises hand

    Most everybody I know who rides regularly around here has 3-4 bikes. I have 5 myself, but I'm a gear freak. You're welcome to borrow one when you come out providing I'm on the ride with you. All my bikes are of the large-ish size. I'm 5'10" wtih a 33 inseam, and long arms.

    Bring a set of pedals and your shoes, and we'll get you rolling in 5 minutes.

  34. #34
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    True, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by EBrider
    If you live in Santa Rosa, Fairfield, American Canyon, or some of those other northern areas, I think you will be doing very little riding given your two hour commute in each direction. Seriously, the Vallejo ferry takes over an hour alone, plus you have ground transportation on each end.
    If you're driving (a sedan at least), stash the bike and gear in the trunk, and hit something on your way home. I used to hit China Camp when I worked in Sausalito before driving back to Oakalnd. It was great, eventhough China Camp isn't that interesting. It was still a decent workout.

    I have a bud who had a cruddy hatchback Nissan and worked it the Castro. His bike was stolen out of his car in broad daylight. THey smashed his rear bubble glass to get it out. You can only really get away with this if you can totally hide the bike.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    Hey! Anybody around here have more than one bike?


    /me raises hand

    Most everybody I know who rides regularly around here has 3-4 bikes. I have 5 myself, but I'm a gear freak. You're welcome to borrow one when you come out providing I'm on the ride with you. All my bikes are of the large-ish size. I'm 5'10" wtih a 33 inseam, and long arms.

    Bring a set of pedals and your shoes, and we'll get you rolling in 5 minutes.
    My bikes:
    Cdale Optima CAAD7 road / Titus Racer-X / Ventana X-5 / Niner One-9 / Trek 830 Clunker

    Thanks for the offer. I am vertically challenged, though. 5'5" / 30" inseam

    Don't worry, though. There will be plenty of rides in the near future. BTW, what areas are SS friendly and dont say all.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    If you're driving (a sedan at least), stash the bike and gear in the trunk, and hit something on your way home. I used to hit China Camp when I worked in Sausalito before driving back to Oakalnd. It was great, eventhough China Camp isn't that interesting. It was still a decent workout.

    I have a bud who had a cruddy hatchback Nissan and worked it the Castro. His bike was stolen out of his car in broad daylight. THey smashed his rear bubble glass to get it out. You can only really get away with this if you can totally hide the bike.
    Oh no. One of the must haves in addition to three weeks vaca is the ability to keep my bike in the office. I have that where I am now in Philadelphia.

  37. #37
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    holy sheet! you fit right in with that bike collection, welcome to the northern california bike whore association of mtbr riders


    There were some SSers, most of them, on a long ride from the Golden Gate Bridge to a local brewery and I was hurting on geared bikes.

    China Camp, Tamarancho are SS-friendly singletrack in Marin, Tamarancho more so!
    Last edited by Ryan G.; 05-04-2006 at 01:33 PM.

  38. #38
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    Help me obionespeedonly, your my only hope

    vertically challenged . that's a plus in my book. you're lighter, pound for pound, you're stronger than me 6'1" 200lbs and probably have an easier time finding clothing. i'd bet you probably break less bike hardware or can run lighter parts that have weight limits.
    SS isn't taboo out here and i've seen them on just about every trail (usually passing me at speed while i'm huffing and puffing in the granny gear) you may want to post that question in the SS forum, Obione, or Mr.s obione may chime in yet if they see this thread but you are sure to not have a shortage of trail choices and people to ride with. there are also pleanty of knee and foot specialists out here too that will help you with the wear and tear that going gearless will inevitibly have on your body. (that's what i tell myself everytime one of you SS guys dust me out there)

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    My bikes:
    Cdale Optima CAAD7 road / Titus Racer-X / Ventana X-5 / Niner One-9 / Trek 830 Clunker
    ...... BTW, what areas are SS friendly and dont say all.
    Nice collection.
    You said not to tell you but you're looking for info.....If you have the legs 'n lungs then all the trails are SS'able. But you'll find many things to play with for all your toys.
    Don't harsh my mello

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by baycat
    holy sheet! you fit right in with that bike collection, welcome to the northern california bike whore association of mtbr riders
    Oh now, come on. It's my addiction and I earned everyone of them by saving pennies, auctioning off computer crap, and slowly trading up older bikes. I don't have a disposable income like some other Norcal folk I have been aquainted with. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I earned every bike I have.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biker_Scout_Sparky
    vertically challenged . that's a plus in my book. you're lighter, pound for pound, you're stronger than me 6'1" 200lbs and probably have an easier time finding clothing. i'd bet you probably break less bike hardware or can run lighter parts that have weight limits.
    SS isn't taboo out here and i've seen them on just about every trail (usually passing me at speed while i'm huffing and puffing in the granny gear) you may want to post that question in the SS forum, Obione, or Mr.s obione may chime in yet if they see this thread but you are sure to not have a shortage of trail choices and people to ride with. there are also pleanty of knee and foot specialists out here too that will help you with the wear and tear that going gearless will inevitibly have on your body. (that's what i tell myself everytime one of you SS guys dust me out there)
    Ah, my thoughts on singlespeeding. I personally switch between my bikes as I believe each one has a purpose in life. The highest climb I have ever done on the SS is 400' and it's tough. I run a 17/34 because it is very flat here and I don't like spinning like a hamster. I find he SS much easier and faster for my local trails. I am not a racer, but I do like speed when I am not scared of the terrain. I find myself passing the geared bikes simply because they are worrying about which gear to choose and I am just trying to get enough momentum. It works for me, here. Steeper and longer climbs? I don't know. I have SSed at Blue Marsh which is considered an epic around here and never had to push the bike.

    I am 145 pounds at 5'5". The One-9 is around 21 pounds. It is noticable compared to the next lightest bike (mtb) I own at 26 pounds.

    Stronger than you? Probably not. I have muscular legs but zero upper body strength. Ridge rides with exposure wear me out because I use everything I got up top to keep my balance.

    I am also an old fart at 41. That must account for something, right?

    My knees and back are in great shape. I don't power the bike with either of them. I use my thighs to get up a hill. If you watch me climb a hill on the SS, you'd see it in the way I stand. My knees hardly bend. Again, it works for me.

    Overall I am more of a group rider. I'll adjust to keep up with whomever I am riding with and it doesn't bother me at all if no one is hammering.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    Oh now, come on. It's my addiction and I earned everyone of them by saving pennies, auctioning off computer crap, and slowly trading up older bikes. I don't have a disposable income like some other Norcal folk I have been aquainted with. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I earned every bike I have.
    Easy there. Baycat meant it tongue in cheek as a compliment. Most of us on this board are bike hos (i.e. we have too many bikes and we spend too much on them, at least that's what my wife says). Wear your Norcal bike whore association with pride.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg
    Easy there. Baycat meant it tongue in cheek as a compliment. Most of us on this board are bike hos (i.e. we have too many bikes and we spend too much on them, at least that's what my wife says). Wear your Norcal bike whore association with pride.
    Gotcha. Not the first time someone said that to me only they were not kidding. So, in that case I need to start saving for a CX/commuter rig.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    I am 145 pounds at 5'5". The One-9 is around 21 pounds. It is noticable compared to the next lightest bike (mtb) I own at 26 pounds.

    ...

    I am also an old fart at 41. That must account for something, right?
    Hey, as someone who's almost exactly your size, I always thought the 29ers would be too unwieldy, with too much toe overlap and too weird of a geometry. You don't find that's true?

    And also as someone who's almost exactly your size, how do you feel about letting other people try your bikes?

    (although I guess we're counting our schnauzers before they're hatched, here...)

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by sashax
    Hey, as someone who's almost exactly your size, I always thought the 29ers would be too unwieldy, with too much toe overlap and too weird of a geometry. You don't find that's true?
    That's what I thought until I spoke with Chris at Niner. He is 5'6" with a 29" inseam. He designed the small frame around his size. The bike looks a little odd but the handling is as tight as my racer-x. It's got great stand-over so I never feel like I am on a ladder. If you have big feet there would be a problem. My 7.5's don't even come close to the front tire. The geometry is compensated by using a 0mm DH stem. Here is my small frame 29er (http://tinyurl.com/ee4ph).

    Quote Originally Posted by sashax
    And also as someone who's almost exactly your size, how do you feel about letting other people try your bikes?

    (although I guess we're counting our schnauzers before they're hatched, here...)
    I have no problem with letting other people use my bikes. Just bring your pedals unless you use Time.

  46. #46
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    I just want your One-Niner

    A lot on these board seem to fiend that bike, me included!

  47. #47
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    sasha save up for the niner then you got at leas front suspension for rocky eldridge!

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by baycat
    I just want your One-Niner

    A lot on these board seem to fiend that bike, me included!
    Worth every penny! I just wish they didn't branch out into other realms. They should stay pure to the SS thing (Scandium or Steel) and not gear up or go full sus. But, ya got to make a living.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    Yes, I know that. I have been painstakingly researching commute times and what is within my realm of sanity. American Canyon seems to put me at 15 minutes (car) to Vallejo ferry (I am an early riser and currently leave for work at 5:45 AM), another 50 minutes for the boat, and 10 blocks to the office from the pier of which I will do on bike (or so I think in my grand scheme of things).
    For comparison, I am 6 miles from Larkspur ferry, ferry ride is 30 minutes and work 10 blocks from the ferry (other direction.) On the very best of days when I cut corners and take risks and all the stars are algined, the ferry commute is 1 hour. On the worst ( a boat in drydock, boat problems, etc.) it can take over an hour and a half. It's not a bad way to commute, nice view, bar, you can read, but I prefer to drive/bike since it's faster. You're looking at 1:45 on a good day.

    If you found a place in Novato, driving to the bridge could take 20 minutes and biking from there to your office 20-30 minutes.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by slide mon
    For comparison, I am 6 miles from Larkspur ferry, ferry ride is 30 minutes and work 10 blocks from the ferry (other direction.) On the very best of days when I cut corners and take risks and all the stars are algined, the ferry commute is 1 hour. On the worst ( a boat in drydock, boat problems, etc.) it can take over an hour and a half. It's not a bad way to commute, nice view, bar, you can read, but I prefer to drive/bike since it's faster. You're looking at 1:45 on a good day.

    If you found a place in Novato, driving to the bridge could take 20 minutes and biking from there to your office 20-30 minutes.
    As of a couple years ago when I was doing it, the worst traffic in the Bay Area is the section of 101 from Novato to San Rafael bridge. (With the San Rafael bridge traffic getting off of 101, it cleared up the rest of the way down to the Golden Gate). It was bad going south into SF in the morning, and bad going north out of SF in the evening on that same stretch between those cities. Stop and go for miles and miles up to an hour. Made me want to sponsor more birth control, or hope for a big earthquate, or get an M-1 tank or something.
    Last edited by BigLarry; 05-05-2006 at 03:50 PM.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    As of a couple years ago when I was doing it, the worst traffic in the Bay Area is the section of 101 from Novato to San Rafael bridge.
    It's pretty clear at 6am though. I had a buddy in Novato (Hamilton) who was commuting to Mountain View. He'd leave at 6am and get to Mountain View (61 miles) at 7. He would never tell me how long it took him to get back at 4pm but I'd guess at least 2 hours.

    BTW they're just getting started on the carpool lane through San Rafael now.

    -slide

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by slide mon
    It's pretty clear at 6am though. I had a buddy in Novato (Hamilton) who was commuting to Mountain View. He'd leave at 6am and get to Mountain View (61 miles) at 7. He would never tell me how long it took him to get back at 4pm but I'd guess at least 2 hours.
    That's about right, if you get through Novato before 6:15-6:30 AM, you're not slowed down too much.

    Quote Originally Posted by slide mon
    BTW they're just getting started on the carpool lane through San Rafael now.
    That carpool lane just means the contruction will make a real nasty traffic tie up for the next 2 or 3 years.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg
    One more comment: if you want to remain sane, get to bike after work during the week, and see your family on days besides Saturday and Sunday, keep your commute to below 45mn each way. And it is nice here, so you can have a smaller house and go spend more time outdoors. It's a good trade-off.
    This is key. I live in Oakland (Montclair, right near Joaquin Miller trails) and work in Walnut Creek. I have a heavenly bicycle commute to work down the backside of the ridge (Oakland hills) through the canyons to Walnut Creek, and back. In seventeen years of working in high-tech (dang!) I've only ever had to commute by car once, for a year, and I was miserable. You can be a happy bike commuter in the Bay Area.

    If you're gonna be working in SF, try to find a place to live where you can ride your bike to work. Marin County is nuts, but if you can live San Rafael or south, a bicycle commute to SF is possible. I used to do it, grew up in San Rafael and San Anselmo. Oakland is a nice place to live, but schools... bad subject. My kids are just making the transition to public schools from private and we're very happy with our school, which has HEAVY parental involvement to take up the slack. Anyway. Oakland is a nice bike commuting trajectory to SF and back. Hard to beat the ferry ride! Where else can you buy and drink a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on public transportation, in the salty wind, with fantastic views, and your bike on the ride with you? Fairfield is hell. Don't live there. (Sorry.) Some of the hot summer days I've been in my car wilting in the heat, waiting for the bottleneck at Fairfield to clear, I've felt like I must be in hell. There are some nice little places nearby tho. My mother-in-law lives in Benicia. The riding isn't great but it's a cute little town.

    I'm one who wants to leave the Bay Area, personally, but my wife wants to stay. So we're here, for now. We bought before the bubble went nuts, and we're in a good spot. If I had to pick a place to live in the Bay Area based on riding and lifestyle it would be Marin or Sonoma. Throw in SF commute and under seven figures and I'm right back in Oakland. Other nice places to live near the Bay Area are the Sierra Foothills (Auburn, Grass Valley, Pioneer) Sonoma North, (Occidental, Santa Rosa) Monterey, and of course the Lake Tahoe area is outdoor sports heaven. I could live at Tahoe and be happy year-round.

    Back to Oakland. (cue Tower of Power) Oakland is a cool town. Other posters are right, it has a bad rap. There is a big economic divide. If you're on the richer side of the divide and up in the hills it's great. There's even a secret municipality in the center of Oakland (think Andorra or Monte Carlo) called Piedmont, full of wealthy white people in very expensive homes. Schools in Oakland range from good to bad, food is very diverse and good, cultural attractions are excellent, SF access is excellent, riding is great (only better is Marin) and we even have city-maintained legal singletrack. Oakland also has very nice weather. On this side of the ridge it's cool, moist air, nice sunsets. On the west side it's hot and dry, which could be your kind of thing. Montclair is nice because we're often above the fog in the summer and fall, and close to the trails, and close to the good road riding on the west side of the ridge.

    One plus to living west of the ridge (AKA "through the tunnel") is great schools, Mt. Diablo road riding, low crime. It's kid heaven out there with community pools, lots of sidewalks, cul-de-sacs, etc. Downside is its culturally vacant, people are unfriendly (you pick up on that on bike commutes!) and very white. And hot. But nice. I do like riding Mt Diablo a lot.

    I've never lived in the Peninsula. It's crowded and expensive, but the good high-tech jobs are clustered there and if you can afford to live near the hills and/or in Palo Alto it's got great riding.

    Renting for a year sounds like a great idea. Do all the local riding spots and you'll meet people from around the Bay Area and learn all the neighborhoods.

    I'm rambling. Hope this helps.

    Morgan

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by morganfletcher
    This is key. I live in Oakland (Montclair, right near Joaquin Miller trails) and work in Walnut Creek. I have a heavenly bicycle commute to work down the backside of the ridge (Oakland hills) through the canyons to Walnut Creek, and back. In seventeen years of working in high-tech (dang!) I've only ever had to commute by car once, for a year, and I was miserable. You can be a happy bike commuter in the Bay Area.
    ----====SNIP GREAT INFO=====-------
    I'm rambling. Hope this helps.

    Morgan
    Wow! That's a lot of info. I would not mind commuting by bike if I new I could do it without getting hit. I don't mind hot weather. I wanted to move to Phoenix before this, but there are no jobs there for my experience.

    I am leaning towards American Canyon and it looks like I can take side roads to the Vallejo Ferry. Is it possible?

    It all comes down to how much money I get for my place in NJ. I'll have a year to scope things out. Hopefully real estate will continue on it's current slide in CA and continue going up in NJ. Here's to hoping the stars align.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    Wow! That's a lot of info. I would not mind commuting by bike if I new I could do it without getting hit. I don't mind hot weather. I wanted to move to Phoenix before this, but there are no jobs there for my experience.

    I am leaning towards American Canyon and it looks like I can take side roads to the Vallejo Ferry. Is it possible?

    It all comes down to how much money I get for my place in NJ. I'll have a year to scope things out. Hopefully real estate will continue on it's current slide in CA and continue going up in NJ. Here's to hoping the stars align.
    I don't know about American Canyon to SF via the Vallejo Ferry, sorry.

    My friend Mike does a bike commute from Richmond to Santa Clara via the CalTrain commuter train, which goes through SF. See http://www.capitolcorridor.org and http://caltrain.com/.

    Re commuting and not getting hit, how can you ever know something like that? This place is about riding bikes. I commute to work by bike. It's great. Consider it. I've been commuting by bike to work since I was a kid. I've been hit by a car twice, but never while commuting, for what it's worth. One time was at night and the other time... well the guy was so old and so feeble he was gonna hit something and it happened to be me. (That one actually happened not too far from you, somehere north of Moorestown, NJ when I was visiting my grandparents.) Both times the driver admitted fault and I recovered fine.

    Re the housing slide, I don't know, I haven't seen any drop in prices yet, just less frenzy.

    Good luck. Maybe I'll see you on the trails out here. Make sure you do the Turkey Day Appetite Seminar ride on Thanksgiving morning in Fairfax, CA. I'll be there, riding with about 1000 of my best friends

    Morgan

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