Questions for Bay Area riders

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Quadsweep, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. Quadsweep

    Quadsweep New Member

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    Hi all.

    I have a job offer in Santa Clara and San Rafael. Which is the better area to live and train? My housing is paid for by my employer so cost of housing in not a factor.

    Thanx a million
     
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  2. Catabolic_Jones

    Catabolic_Jones New Member

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    Come back to Victoria. We've got a few more good races this year. [​IMG]
     
  3. Catabolic_Jones

    Catabolic_Jones New Member

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    Come back to Victoria. We've got a few more good races this year. [​IMG]
     
  4. friedmikey

    friedmikey New Member

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    Lots of cyclists in both areas. I don't know the south bay or peninsula all that well, but I'd say if you were on the west part of Santa Clara, closer to Cupertino, you'd have good access to cycling (road and mountain) in some very hilly terrain. I DO know the north bay well and think that you'll have very slightly more readily available cycling in San Rafael vs. Santa Clara. Marin County has lots of varying terrain, big hills, lots of rolling stuff, and a few somewhat flat routes. If you take the San Rafael job, consider Larkspur or Mill Valley, or if you make serious dough, Kentfield or Ross. They're much nicer, a bit quieter, and ever so slightly closer to the common cycling routes. I'd pick any of those places over San Rafael, yet the furthest (Mill Valley) is only a ten minute drive from San Rafael.
     
  5. friedmikey

    friedmikey New Member

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    Lots of cyclists in both areas. I don't know the south bay or peninsula all that well, but I'd say if you were on the west part of Santa Clara, closer to Cupertino, you'd have good access to cycling (road and mountain) in some very hilly terrain. I DO know the north bay well and think that you'll have very slightly more readily available cycling in San Rafael vs. Santa Clara. Marin County has lots of varying terrain, big hills, lots of rolling stuff, and a few somewhat flat routes. If you take the San Rafael job, consider Larkspur or Mill Valley, or if you make serious dough, Kentfield or Ross. They're much nicer, a bit quieter, and ever so slightly closer to the common cycling routes. I'd pick any of those places over San Rafael, yet the furthest (Mill Valley) is only a ten minute drive from San Rafael.
     
  6. lumpy

    lumpy New Member

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    Either one really. Lots of cyclists and good roads in both place. If I had to chose however I'd pick Marin for the same reasons as friedmikey.
     
  7. achtervolger

    achtervolger New Member

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    While there are a lot of cyclist in the south bay and peninsula, and there is actually some fantastic terrain, I actually find the terrain somwhat limited. There are some great rides around Palo Alto, but they all tend to branch off the same loop, and it can get repetitive. The other limiting factor is that the hills available are all fairly severe in steepness, which is a great option, but kind of a drag as the only option, especially in the early season. You're either doing flat or rolling terrain or cranking up 7 degree + (and emphasis on the plus) hills. The ridge that separates the valley from the coast is filled with fantastic rides, but they are not easy or short.

    I think you get much more varied terrain and more options both in Marin and the East bay. You can't go wrong with Marin, it's just gorgeous, and if your housing is paid for you're livin' the life as far as I'm concerned. On the other hand, the weather is termendous and if I was back in Seattle I'd just be thinking about the bike now, and I've been on it for 2 months already.

    Early season observations from a relatively new to the bay area guy. Maybe someone with more experience can correct me?
     
  8. tfstrum

    tfstrum New Member

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    You'd probably get more traffic and smog in the Bay Area. Marin seems cleaner, less crowded and there's a lot of people riding.
     
  9. Woofer

    Woofer New Member

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    I agree with your assessment of the terrain in the peninsula, however I hope this one loop you are talking about is about 200 miles. Los Altos is where many clubs start their weekend rides. From there you can head south on Foothill to either go up 9 to boulder creek or south on 9 to Los Gatos to Kennedy to Hicks to Uvas or you can head west on Page Mill to Skyline then to the coast and the options go up from there or you can head north on Foothill to do either Portola Valley and go to the coast via Old La Honda (then meet up with those folks from Page Mill on 84) or you can go farther north and choose Canada or Kings Mountain/Tunitas or 92 to Half Moon Bay or Skyline or El Camino and if you wish continue to Sausalito.

    I've only ridden in Marin a few times so really can't comment on that other than I didn't realize there were flat areas in that area, of course the old Two Rock Road Race is pretty flat by Bay Area standards.

    edit: depending upon where the OP lives, the Santa Cruz mountains may be either huge or tiny.
     
  10. achtervolger

    achtervolger New Member

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    Every climb you mention goes over the same ridge, and all of them originate within 20 miles of one another in the San Mateo/Palo Alto/Los Altos area Yes, they all fan out to very different areas from Pescadero to Santa Cruz, but they all originate in the same area, and all are on or a short ride from "the Loop" a well known designation for the loop roads around Woodside/Palo Alto. So no, I'm not talking about a 200 mile loop.

    Many clubs start at Canada/92, which is north of "the Loop", but connects, and is in the same 25 mile general area. "The Loop" is in the middle, and some part of it is in a great number of the possible rides in the area.

    Point being, unless you want to tackle > 8% grades for 3.5 to 14 miles, a lot of the riding in the Peninsula is not particularly varied compared to Marin or the East Bay. For those interested in more variation and grades of all kinds (for all times of the year), the terrain elsewhere is to me more interesting.

    Here's a map which illustrates things a lot better.
    http://home.earthlink.net/~chrisrfox/theloop.gif
     
  11. ChesterY

    ChesterY New Member

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    Santa Clara doesn't offer right-out-the-door riding, but it's a short drive from great riding in all directions.

    You can go with all the Peninsula routes like others have detailed. You can also access the lower East Bay from Milpitas/Fremont (Calaveras Road). There's South San Jose routes. There's the hills of the West Valley.

    There's a lot.

    I think it's really more about whether you'd consider yourself a South Bay sort of a guy or a North Bay sort of a guy, regardless of the riding. In the end, overall lifestyle/environmental issues are probably going to create more pronounced distinctions.
     
  12. Quadsweep

    Quadsweep New Member

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    Tell me more regarding this. I think you have hit on something that I have not really thought about but that is actually very important.
     
  13. Woofer

    Woofer New Member

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    I was tempted to ask this, too. :)
     
  14. DiabloScott

    DiabloScott New Member

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    In general, Marin folks consider themselves less urban and more naturalist even though they may work in San Francisco or one of the larger business parks in the North Bay. They may also consider themselves to be more established Bay Areans.

    Santa Clara folks generally like more urban living conditions even though naturalist areas are all around them, and are more likely to work in Silicon Valley than in San Francisco. They are also more likely to be from somewhere else in the country or from another country.

    That's just my East Bay perception of the difference. The perception of someone outside of the Bay Area would be that the North and South are much more alike than they are different.

    North Bay cyclists ride Mt. Tamalpais
    South Bay cyclists ride Mt. Hamilton
    East Bay cyclists ride Mt. Diablo
    ...all great rides.
     
  15. ChesterY

    ChesterY New Member

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    DiabloScott generally sums it up well, I think. Beyond "personality" differences, you may prefer to hang out in one place more than the other.

    An advantage of San Rafael is that you're closer to San Francisco, if you want to go to "the city". But it takes less time to go from Santa Clara to San Jose, next door, and the small difference would be significant if it's something you'd do all the time.

    Then again, just because you work in San Rafael/Santa Clara doesn't mean you have to live in those cities.

    Without knowing anything about what sort of stuff you do, aside from working and biking, it would be hard to recommend one over the other.
     
  16. friedmikey

    friedmikey New Member

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    In Marin, we're a bunch of elitists. Everywhere else... well, they just suck.

    ;)
     
  17. achtervolger

    achtervolger New Member

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    Totally. I'm often ashamed to even be alive living here on the Peninsula. :)

    It's all good man, I'd love to live up there, and it ain't bad at all down here. But you're too far away from the choice surf.

    It's not expensive to live here for no reason. BAY AREA ROCKS.
     
  18. Quadsweep

    Quadsweep New Member

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    Someone mentioned air quality. Tell me about the air quality on the Peninsula. Is there smog in the Santa Clara area ?
     
  19. Woofer

    Woofer New Member

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    Now if you're going to get all paranoid on us :) - on a typical weekday, the morning fog over Santa Clara Valley is brown when I look at it from the Santa Cruz mountains. On weekends it's white.
    http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/10.17.96/smog2-9642.html
    http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.showlocal&CityID=229
    OTOH, Marin supposedly has the highest rate of breast cancer in the country. Somebody splain that.



    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2003/04/04/national1719EST0783.DTL

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/artic...rchive/2004/11/08/MNG389NPCT1.DTL&type=health
     
  20. friedmikey

    friedmikey New Member

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    There's the theory about local tendencies towards choosing a career over childbearing in their twenties...
     
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