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Thread: San Fran advice

  1. #1
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    San Francisco advice

    Hey-
    I have decided to move to San Francisco with my girlfriend from the glorious area of Buffalo, NY. She has visited there and loves it, I have been through Hermosa Beach and Manhatten Beach and thought Cali was awesome.

    So, we are planning on going out there in August and am pretty damn excited. I need some insight on decent areas to live, possible employment opportunities, and any and all advice on the area. I am currently a civil engineer for an environmental consulting company and am going to just move out to SanFran without any gig. I am very open minded and do not need to stay in the engineering field, I also have an MBA with concentrations in finance and operations. I would love to get into the bicycling industry (of course), but don't know what the opportunities are for that in the area. I realize the area is very costly in terms of living, but would like to get your thoughts on it.

    I have no family or friends out there except for a sister in Hermosa Beach that is out of town until August/September, and my plan is to be there by mid-August. We are considering getting a realtor for the apartment hunting since we don't know the area and aren't in the area.

    And just so this is mtb related, I hear there are sweet trails within riding distance, is this true?

    Thanks for your time and thoughts,
    Jason
    Last edited by diiulio; 06-29-2004 at 08:42 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by diiulio
    Hey-
    I have decided to move to San Fran with my girlfriend from the glorious area of Buffalo, NY. She has visited there and loves it, I have been through Hermosa Beach and Manhatten Beach and thought Cali was awesome.
    First piece of advice......Don't call it San Fran. Nobody here does. The worst is when we get people that have seen too many Frank Sinatra movies and call it 'Frisco.

    People here call it San Francisco, or The City (a lot like New Yorkers refer to their own city).

    Quote Originally Posted by diiulio
    Snip moving details


    And just so this is mtb related, I hear there are sweet trails within riding distance, is this true?

    Thanks for your time and thoughts,
    Jason
    There are sweet trails all over the place here. The SF Bay Area, Monterey Bay Area and to some degree, Marin, have wonderful trails. You're also only a few hours from the Sierras where there are great trails...Downieville, Auburn, Tahoe, etc. ....
    Let us know when you make the move!

  3. #3
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    There are some trails you can ride to if you live in the city, but most of the really really sweet ones require a drive.

  4. #4
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    start looking for work

    Job ecomimy still sucks out here - definately look for work starting now. San Francisco is also really expensive - way way too expensive if you don't have a job.

    Hermosa and Manhatan beach are not close - about a 6 hour drive so don't expect to hook up with your sister every weekend. But still it is closer than the east coast.

    The excellent trails are a drive away but there are still a lot of fun ones really close. I have daily loops that go through golden gate park or over the bridge and into Marin. Nothing epic but an good am or pm weekday ride.

    All in all it's nice location with lots of good food - just wish housing was cheaper.

  5. #5
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    Just don't expect southern california weather if you

    want to actually live in San Francisco itself, it's not like that. Hermosa Beach is very different, and has warmer, clearer weather, particularly in the summer (we get cooler, foggier weather in the summer; our warmest weather is usually September/October). If you go to the 'burbs you'll find warmer weather. Personally I like the weather here in the city, but I know a lot of people who don't (it's a hell of a lot better than Buffalo in winter, I guarantee you).

    Housing costs are high here, especially in the city (and the burbs are no bargain either unless you go pretty far out). Might be a bit of a shock compared to Buffalo...a typical 2 or 3 bedroom house will sell for 750 thousand to 1.5 million and up. Try looking at http://www.sfgate.com for classifieds to get an idea. Salaries tend to be higher here so that helps a little bit.

    Employment isn't as good as it was a couple of years ago, but if you're good you'll find something. Sounds like you've got good credentials and hopefully you'll find something good in short time. I'd think that your current field would have more opportunities and pay better than the bike biz, but don't let that get in the way of your (and my) dream.

    If you like food, this is one of the best areas in the world, whether you like to cook or eat out.

    Glad to show you around our trails or even, maybe if you're real lucky, a local's tour of the city when you get here, just drop me an email/message. We've got limited mountain riding here in the city (I usually road ride here in town), but you can ride over the bridge to Marin fairly easily but most other spots will require a drive.


    Good luck on your move in any case,
    Cheers
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
    suum quique

  6. #6
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    Alright,
    Thanks for the tips guys. Yea, I am not expecting Hermosa weather, but am expecting weather better than 6 1/2ft of snow combined with -20 degree temperatures. There aren't any places to ride without a drive here too, but I am sure the riding there is alot better than it is here. I know Hermosa isn't close, but a 6 hour drive is not too bad compared to the current travelling required. I am pretty excited to ride the west coast.

    What's the deal with driving in San Francisco? I have my truck and Jeep, plus my girlfriends lease is up next month. I was thinking of only bringing my truck and not having her get another car because from what I have heard you don't really need/want a car in San Francisco. I would obviously keep the truck because of field related work and of course, driving to trails, Tahoe, travelling around the west coast, etc.
    Thanks,
    Jason

  7. #7
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    Seriously doubt you'll need 3 vehicles in the city.
    Various friends who've lived in the city own cars but rarely drove them unless heading out of town. (I'm out in the suburbs) San Francisco is very walkable or bikable. The muni system is OK (not great). Many times the only time the vehicle was moved because of street cleaning.... move the car to another block and park.
    Another cost to consider though is the parking spot. Often the monthly rent does not include a spot. That may hit you for another suprise bill.
    The other advice has been quite good. Start looking now for a gig. Maybe lining up those interview since the economy has not bounced back from the dot bomb. The real annoying part (for folks moving into the area) is that many folks are unemployed but the housing prices still are going up. Not sure about the rental market though. Supposedly that has softened a bit in SF.

    Werner
    Don't harsh my mello

  8. #8
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    I think a car's a must

    I've been living in San Francisco for 8 years after having lived in NYC and it's suburbs for 10 years. NYC isn't car-friendly, but San Francisco is.

    Most houses and apartments in SF have garages. If renting, though, you'll probably have to pay $100-$150 extra a month for one of the garage spots. Much better than the $300-$400 a month a garage costs in NYC. Street parking is tough, but not impossible like NY. I wouldn't consider an apartment without a garage space - what, do you want to carry bags of groceries for 4 blocks?

    Traffic isn't bad at all (speaking as one coming from NYC), even downtown. The only time there's gridlock is in the streets where Bay Bridge entrances are at 5:00pm. I have no problem picking my wife up at her work downtown and being home in 15 minutes during "rush hour".

    You can walk around your local neighborhood, but you generally need a car to get around to other neighborhoods and of course to go out of the city to get to the good singletrack. Public transportation here is primarily organized to get you from anywhere TO/FROM DOWNTOWN only. Getting "around" the city with public transportation is possible but much less convenient than if where you want to be is in a line with downtown.

    All neighborhoods will have small groceries. But we also have several "real" suburb-sized supermarkets like Safeway and Albertson's (plus CostCo) that you'd want a car for. You'd likely need a car for going to the movies, and for enjoying the vast array of great restaurants that are all around the city, not just downtown.

    If possible come out for a weekend before you decide, to talk to a rental agent about neighborhoods and get a real handle on what an apartment will cost. We did that and it was VERY helpful. After talking to us about what we wanted, she took us to various neighborhoods to see each neighborhood's "main street" and some apartments. You'll spend more than you think. And have good humor if you look at places to buy!

    Bottom line - don't sell all your cars before you move. Take one here. And get some real apartment prices before you make the decision to move. But it's a great city and we don't plan on leaving, unless we win the lottery and buy a vineyard.
    Last edited by Mikey; 06-29-2004 at 10:05 AM.

  9. #9
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    Alright,
    Thanks alot for all of your help. I was wondering if anybody could give me a good contact for a realtor that could hook me up with a good apartment for rent in or around the city? I would really appreciate it. And if anybody knows of any good engineering companies looking for someone please let me know.
    Thanks again,
    Jason

  10. #10
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    No realtor help, but

    Craigslist.org will give you mucho pointers to check rentals and jobs in the city.

  11. #11
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    rental listings...

    I know only one person who's used a realtor to find an apartment here in SF, and then all the agent was doing was checking the listings that are available to everyone. Craigslist tends to be pricier than average (in my experience).

    I'd look at the online listing services, RentTech and MetroRent. I've found my last three apartments here using them, and it's a pretty good deal. You can review the listings for free (even before you come here: a good way to get a sense of neighborhoods, prices, availability, etc.), and once you pay your $100 fee, you can access the landlord phone numbers. If you find an apartment through another source, I think they'll refund some of your money. It's easy (and free) for landlords to list with them, so they have the largest selection, too.

    Good luck!!!

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