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Discussion Starter #1
Im thinking about going to college in Boulder
or Berkeley. Im having a lot of trouble deciding. One of many factors is mountain biking. I realize its not directly related to the education, buts definatly important to my daily life. I visited Berkeley and got to do some biking near there, I'm going to boulder next week.
I was wondering what way of you had to say about the access and quality of the trails andthe mountain biking community in both those places. Access is important because I wont have car (public transit will work though), but so is a good group to ride with.

Thanks in advance for any info and advice
 

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I've only visited Berkeley but used to live in Boulder. I think Boulder would have more close trails. Boulder backs right into the mountains although not all trails are biking allowed. But both have near by mountain goodness and strong cycling communities. Just go with the school that would be best for you. But, I'd probably pick Boulder with what you said.
 

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Stiff yet compliant
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For Boulder there are some trails you can ride to from town but not all that many. Check the map. Trails in yellow are open to bikes. If you are willing to put in some longer miles on pavement it opens up a few more trails to you, Walker ranch, Heil ranch, Betasso. Farther back in the mountains there is plenty of great riding but most is too far for most people to ride to.
I know some people will take their bike on the bus into the mountains to ride. Or find a riding buddy that has a car.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Are there a lot of buses that go to the trails? How long a bus ride is it usually? What kind of trails are accesssble? I Live in West Virginia and we have a lot of XC and short technical downhill. Also how is riding during the winter/rainy seasons?
 

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Stucco Bucket
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with those choices for college Im guessing youre not supporting yourself? Boulder is retarded expensive to live in.
That said, Boulder would be an awesome place to spend those years. Access to so much recreation within a few hundred miles. Including LoDo :)
 

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Berkeley is even more expensive to live in than Boulder. My friends in Cali all lived in south Berkeley and Oakland, both places coming with their own set of charms-keep your bikes stashed inside.
 

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Ride Instigator
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At the risk of sounding like your dad. I think it would better to choose a school based on scholastic offerings and how they will benefit your career goals rather then outside recreational activities.
 

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Ricko said:
At the risk of sounding like your dad. I think it would better to choose a school based on scholastic offerings and how they will benefit your career goals rather then outside recreational activities.
That does not really work in practice. 80% of college students will change their major, many of those will change it three times.
 

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OMG are you kidding????!!!!!! I can't believe this is even a choice requiring deliberation.

You can get to multiple great trails directly from Boulder by bicycle, bus, short car ride, etc. Great road/dirt road climbs starting right in Boulder. Not to mention all the road, mountain and cyclocross race series in the area.

You can get to Marshall Mesa, Eldorado Canyon, Heil Ranch, Walker Ranch all from Boulder with at the most a 30 minute ride to the trail head. To me that is fricking awesome to have that many options without having to drive. You will very quickly meet people to catch a ride to other trails too.

Of course I am biased, but I lived in the Bay area for 2 years and had to drive 45 minutes and pay a $4 toll to even get to a single track to ride that wasn't "illegal". So many trails are closed to bicycles due to the hiker and equestrian lobby's. Not to mention the fact that California is bankrupt and closing state parks is on their agenda since there are no funds.

Boulder all the way!!!!
 

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Beach or snow? look farther than just biking. I would pick Boulder because of the opportunities it has beyond school and biking, camping, snow sports, a good downtown and scene, relatively safe and a very outdoorsy community. I just didn't have a good vibe in Berkley. surrounding area can get a little scary.
 

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Yeah, in a dark alley in Boulder you look over your shoulder for mountain lions and bears. I prefer that personally to muggers.
 

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dapozer said:
Beach or snow? look farther than just biking. I would pick Boulder because of the opportunities it has beyond school and biking, camping, snow sports, a good downtown and scene, relatively safe and a very outdoorsy community. I just didn't have a good vibe in Berkley. surrounding area can get a little scary.
Agreed. Both are good schools. Both are prestigious schools and will give you a good education, although Berkeley has a reputation as being a pretty impersonal experience for undergrads. Both are "liberal" communities, but Berkeley strikes me as having all kinds of off the scale weirdness, along with the urban crime issue already mentioned.

If you were going to pick a college in California based on cycling, there would be several better choices. But as Ricko said, you should look at the overall quality of the educational experience you'll get. Look at costs, graduation rates, ease or difficulty of getting classes, meeting with advisers, switching majors if you find you need or want to. And go with your gut about how you feel about the place after visiting. You'll be there for a few years, and it won't always be fun.
 

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Boulder and Berkeley are full of clean reformed hippies. You want real dirty hippies go to school in Durango, CO or Arcadia, CA

EDIT: Arcadia, Arcata, whichever one has Humboldt State
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Appreciate the info. Just to clear things up Im not choosing a college solely on mountain biking. I've narrowed it down to two main choices and am trying to gather as much information as I can on the things that matter to me. Im not really concerned with the name associated with the education, but I know that wherever I go to school if im not happy with my surroundings I wont do well. Its a difficult decision, im just trying to be as informed as I can.
 

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Both locations have attractions but MTB around Berkeley will be disappointing compared to Boulder. The Bay Area trails access issues are amongst the worst in the world.

That said the Cal Cycling Team is pretty successful against very stiff competition from San Luis Obispo, Davis, Stanford and such. Yet at the National level the riders from the higher altitude teams do best.

Berkeley plays a much bigger part in the world, though, and its academic reputation is hard to beat. It is far more cosmopolitan, diverse, and richer in culture.

The population of the Boulder metropolitan area is around 300,000. The population of the San Francisco Bay Area is over 7,000,000. From Wikipedia:

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the wealthiest regions in the U.S, due, primarily, to the economic power engines of San Francisco and San Jose.Pleasanton has the second highest household income in the country after New Canaan, CT. However, discretionary income is very comparable with the rest of the country, primarily because the higher cost of living offsets the increased income.[25]

Ii think the last sentance is the most important for you. In addition the incumbent urban stresses are real and must be considered. Neighboring Oakland and Richmond have some of the highest crime rates you will find. If you come from some sleepy little 'burb outside of Denver it can be quite a shock.;)

California has long attracted people looking for the gold. The best talents from all over the world come here and that is a two edged sword. I have a phrase for people who come here:

"In order to stay where you are you have to run as fast as you can. In order to get anywhere you must run even faster."

The Red Queen, Alice in Wonderland.

Fill us in when you get back from Boulder.
 

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CU football games have to be better than Berkely; but back to biking, You could explore the glorious state of Colorado. I have lived in numerous towns there including Boulder and those were some amazing years. Have you heard of Fruita? Moab is close too.
 

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jmmorath said:
Boulder and Berkeley are full of clean reformed hippies. You want real dirty hippies go to school in Durango, CO or Arcadia, CA

EDIT: Arcadia, Arcata, whichever one has Humboldt State
It's Arcata, a really great town. A biking bummer, though.
 

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Semi-Hairless Sasquatch
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I lived in Berkeley and North Oakland (SOMA and Portrero in SF proper as well) in the 90s and loved them as far as places to live. Only went trail riding twice on a friends spare bike while I was living out there though and both times we drove more than 1.5 hours to the trailhead.

Definitely expensive and seems like it would be more urban than Boulder. Neither Berkeley or North Oakland struck me a particularly sketchy from a crime perspective, although there were certainly some bad spots towards Emeryville or further south in Oakland. I'm sure things may have got worse since then though.

Never even visited Boulder but had a good friend in college who was a native. My impression would be that it would probably have much better access to trails and a good deal less urban feel.

At the risk of sounding like a preachy, responsible type old guy, neither school is going to be cheap and I would advise making this decision more based on which school has the better programs in the areas you think you're going to be interested in studying/majoring in than which offers better distraction from them. Berkeley overall seems to have more academic prestige on a generic level in my view, but that isn't necessarily always the end all, be all of which will give you a better education (but might potentially get you more calls for interviews when you get out).
 
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