Year round riding near Reno? Possibly relocating.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Year round riding near Reno? Possibly relocating.

    Midwest guy here wishing to ride year round. Living in Kansas City we suffer from the freeze/thaw and clay soil making it hard to ride year round. I'm not a winter sports (ski, etc.) so snow doesn't appeal to me. My goal is to find a place to live where I can ride all year. Preferably a few hours inland from either coast.

    I've been lurking in this forum on occasion hoping to learn more about the Reno area. While it's not sunny and warm 365 days of the year at least you have more sunshine & less precipitation than KC. There are mountains to your west, & desert to the east.

    So tell me folks, are there places to ride in the winter? How far do you have to drive to get there? It doesn't have to be nice singletrack bike trail. I'm open to riding a gravel multi-purpose trail, or anything that doesn't have cars.

    Thanks for reading & hit me up with questions if I'm being to vague.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by pitdaddy View Post
    Midwest guy here wishing to ride year round. Living in Kansas City we suffer from the freeze/thaw and clay soil making it hard to ride year round. I'm not a winter sports (ski, etc.) so snow doesn't appeal to me. My goal is to find a place to live where I can ride all year. Preferably a few hours inland from either coast.

    I've been lurking in this forum on occasion hoping to learn more about the Reno area. While it's not sunny and warm 365 days of the year at least you have more sunshine & less precipitation than KC. There are mountains to your west, & desert to the east.

    So tell me folks, are there places to ride in the winter? How far do you have to drive to get there? It doesn't have to be nice single track bike trail. I'm open to riding a gravel multi-purpose trail, or anything that doesn't have cars.

    Thanks for reading & hit me up with questions if I'm being to vague.
    I ride year round, sometimes it's dirt double track, sometimes it's thin snow (2-4"), but mostly it's single track. Last year the snow persisted a little longer than I like (2 weeks) so I rode packed snow when during the work week, I drove one hour to Fallon to ride on their "hill" which was all dirt and firm, then one weekend I drove five five hours to Beatty for awesome XC styled single track.

    Worse case scenario, you drive eight hours to Las Vegas or St George. Las Vegas has year round riding, though half the year it's too hot, but for winter riding it's pretty good. Same can be said for St George, same distance, a little cooler and wetter, great riding most of the year but it can rain and be snowy.

    You can also drive over the Sierras to the foothills of California and ride year round, only issue there is mud.

    In the Carson-Reno area we do get snow and rain in the winter, there can be mud, but if you're used to cold and snow in the middle of the country, then your riding season is going to be like mine, eleven months locally on average. That said, what you can ride for those months is highly variable based on soil moisture content, temperature, and snow pack.

    Once the soils are saturated, freeze thaw makes it muddy if you ride after a thaw. Ride when the ground is frozen and you're golden.

    Snow on the ground in the valley is very short lived, a week or two at most, more often it melts the day it snows. I hate shoveling, but I don't shovel often,

    Snow season in the hills lasts longer the higher up you go, so stay low and the season is longer, go higher and the season is shorter:

    Eastern Foothills (Centennial): 11mo
    Western foothills (Ash to King): 6-8mo
    Tahoe Rim Trail (dependent on segment): 4-6mo
    Southern Foothills (Clear Creek, Pine Nuts, Peavine): 6-8mo
    California Foothills (below the snow line): Year round

    The upside of living in the Reno-Carson-Tahoe area is the excellent weather, never too hot and never too cold, riding year round if you're creative, and excellent riding as the snow melts.

    Even Moab gets too cold and snowy to ride.

    If you don't want extremes in temperature like you experience inter-continent, you're not into the southeast or Texas, but don't want to live in CA or coastal PNW, it's pretty hard to beat this area.

    If you're willing to be a little further central and south, take a look at Northern NM or Northern AZ, or maybe even St George if you can deal with the cultural issues.
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  3. #3
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    I second what Ben said. You can ride almost year round here, especially if youíre OK riding in the high 20s or low 30s to avoid the winter mud. Afternoons in the winter can be in the 40s and 50s quite frequently but if the ground is saturated, itís peanut butter on the trails in Reno. If the ground is dry, itís great.

    I donít bother to head to Las Vegas or St George but will go to Auburn in California during the winter. Itís less than 90 minutes from Reno and dries out fairly quickly. It is on the West Slope of the Sierras and takes the brunt of winter storms so you just have time it right and avoid the moisture.

    Iíve been in Reno nearly 20 years and some years are better than others; it just depends on the storm cycles.

    For the sake of full disclosure, Summer can have issues too. We get a lot of wind in the afternoons and it can be really hot (90+) with limited shade although virtually no humidity. If you can head up to Tahoe or get out earlier in the day, youíll be fine. Tahoe is cooler and, depending on the trail, more sheltered from the wind.

    Another issue that is hit or miss has been smoke from fires in the Sierras. Weíve had some really bad air quality at times and Iím just not willing to ride in it.

    The wind and smoke are minor in the grand scheme of things. In fact, the people Iíve met from the Midwest have had a harder time adjusting to the climbs than the weather. Itís not flat here!


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonesjus View Post
    ... The wind and smoke are minor in the grand scheme of things. In fact, the people Iíve met from the Midwest have had a harder time adjusting to the climbs than the weather. Itís not flat here!
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    I love the climbs, it's what makes this area so unique, you can get up high and get there fast, really rugged in places, all of which limits to those who can access it. It's nice to know that there places where you can ride and see few people even on a weekend.

    The smoke from fires, yeah, it's a thing, but coming from Eastern WA where smoke is all summer long, I can take a few days of smoke once in a while. Last summer there was hardly any smoke, the summer before the smoke was a little worse. About the only place I haven't experienced smoke from wild fires was in the southeast, but the weather there is far worse than any smoke!
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  5. #5
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    Riding in 20's-30's
    Yes I will do it. Sunday it was around 28-30 and overcast. We had about 2" of fresh snow. There is a nice trail system 5 minutes from my house. Rode a fairly flat route but at a rather slow safe pace. Took me 45 minutes. The prior Sunday when it was 50'ish I did it in 32 minutes just for comparison. My preference in the cold is dry frozen trails with no icy rocks. From what I have read in the "Reno Carson Trail Report" thread you guys have to deal with the freeze/thaw like us.

    Climbs-
    Our trails have about 50-100' of climbing per mile. Our climbs aren't sustained climbs but rather short bursts that may only go 1/4 mile at the most. The trails in Bentonville Arkansas are more of a challenge with 100-150' of climbing per mile. It's common for a group of us to drive 4 hours down there for an overnight/weekend trip.

    Shade-
    We have grass & trees. Our trail systems are mainly in wooded areas. We also have humid air. When traveling west I have to remind myself to hydrate and cover my skin.

    Air quality-
    We don't have any issues there, thankfully!

    Maybe I'll talk the wife into flying out to Reno in July. I've been looking at a road trip down 395 to Mono Lake, then taking 120 west towards Yosemite. It would give us a chance to see what the summers are like.

    Do any of you head toward the Pacific Ocean in the winter? Or is it necessary with options like Auburn & Placerville?

  6. #6
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    The 395 trip would be good. Iíd definitely spend some time up in Tahoe as well. Thatíll be high Summer season so itíll be busy.

    I go to the coast once or twice a year for events but donít usually bother to ride on those trips any more (just because Iím limited on time). Thereís plenty of good riding in Santa Cruz but you need a guide as many of the trails arenít sanctioned. I also enjoy Annadel in Santa Rosa. SC is about 5 hours and SR is about 4 hours.

    Iím not sure what your real goal is but if youíre just looking for places to move, check out this thread in NorCal. Itís been ongoing for a while and there may be good ideas for you to explore.

    Want to leave Bay Area. Where to go?
    https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink/top...ink_source=app



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  7. #7
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    I lived twenty years in VA and TN, humidity is awful, Iíll never go back.

    Any place that has moisture and freezes will have freeze-thaw.

    High desert, so more rock and less trees, which means no slippery roots.

    The climbing here is more significant than anything out East, there is mellow stuff and a few shuttles, but the high mountains have long steep climbs. 150í per mile is pretty mellow climbing, 500í per mile will get your heart rate up.

    Riding out West is very different from the East and Midwest, you probably need to experience it before you decide.
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  8. #8
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    My goal is to live someplace I can ride mtb year round. Thanks for the link Jonesjus.

    Nurse Ben- I want to visit the southeast. However, humidity is my concern just as you mentioned. Our summers are humid in KC. But places closer to the east coast are worse.

    Freeze/thaw. I hate it!

    The wife & I took a trip to Colorado in March of 2016. There was a small trail system a mile from our motel. Rented a bike & took off. First trail- green. Thinking easy-peasy. LOL! It was only about a 400' climb in one mile. I stopped 8 times trying to catch my breath. Arkansas- very similar. Trail system 1 mile from motel. First trail was up 300-400 feet. On the flip side I have seen smooth buff trails in Arizona that were 150+ feet of climbing in a mile.

    Back to location. I'm not opposed to driving an hour or two in the winter/summer to ride. But would want it to be the exception- once or twice a week.

    You guys have been helpful. And yes, I definitely plan to visit the area and visit with locals. I'd like to see how much diversity there is between Reno/Sparks, Carson City, and Gardnerville areas. Cost of living, healthcare, & basic needs are important to me. Living in a major metro area where grocery stores are open 24 hours and within 5-10 minutes have spoiled me. I'm also fortunate in that there are 3 good trail systems 5, 15, & 20 minutes from my front door. If I want to drive up to 30 minutes then there are about 4 more.

  9. #9
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    There aren't any compelling reasons from a riding standpoint to live in Gardnerville.

    Carson gives you the most and closest riding options.

    Reno is bigger, spreading out the riding, but gives you more amenities.

  10. #10
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    If you donít want freeze thaw and snow, you gotta head further south or go out to the coast. Even East Tennessee has winter weather; I just back from Knoxville, it was cold, wet, and muddy, classic winter riding.

    I think youíre best bet is Southern Nevada, central New Mexico, central Arizona, etc ...

    Most year round places have winter unless you do the snowbird thing.

    Las Vegas has some great riding, but your tires will melt if you try to ride mid summer during sun up.

    Good luck with the search 😊
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  11. #11
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    Visited Payson & Prescott Arizona in 2018. Really loved the area. Prescott is another city that has had an influx of people from the west similar to Bend Oregon, Boise ID, various areas with a climate that supports year round activities. Reno area has the appeal of Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, & the Pacific Ocean within close reach.

    Bend Oregon- turned out to be to much of a tourist town for me. Hood River Oregon on the other hand was nice! But housing is expensive. The Black Hills of SD are nice in the summer. To much snow for me in the winter. Still a few more places on my list- Boise ID area, Sante Fe, NM, southern Oregon west of the Cascades?

    I would love to experience the culture first hand. Someone mentioned the religious culture in Utah. Frankly, I think that particular group goes far & wide beyond Utah. We have Jehovah's Witnesses trying to evangelize our neighborhoods on occasion. I just tell them you aren't going to convince me & I'm not going to convince you so let's establish a friendship on something else. Elsewhere I've read down south the second question people ask you is "where do you go to church?". To be honest, I bet I've hooked up with people on trails and had a great time not knowing we are polar opposites on religion, politics, the environment, whatever. We just enjoy riding bikes.

    I would be happy to escape the humidity here as well as the freeze/thaw. It is nice to be able to use these forums to talk to others in different parts of the US. Nurse Ben- living near the Smokies in eastern TN or western NC is a thought as well. You may have influenced me away from there. To be honest, I've always liked it out west ever since my first visit. But I also want to see a few trees & some grass. That means someplace about a mile in elevation.

  12. #12
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    There will always be something that ďbrings a place downĒ, so Iím taking the long view and looking to what a place is now and envisioning what it could become.

    Strangely enough, Bend was a nothing burger thirty years ago, Carson even more so.

    Weíll be in Prescott this March, after the Hurricane Mountain Bike Fest, looking forward to it.

    FYI: Hood River is a swamp in the winter, lots of rain, some snow, mountain is only so-so at the best of times. Bend is a good choice is you can deal with XC riding, a little fat biking on the snow.


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