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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How are you all doing?

I'm contemplating a move to the Raleigh area and am looking for some info on the trails in the surrounding area. I've read about a few (new light, crabtree, beaver dam, etc.), but looking for some first hand experience. I currently live in Boulder, CO but lived in Athens, GA for quite some time so I know what to expect from SE mountain bike trails. I wasn't sure if Raleigh is still considered Piedmont or Flatwoods, as I know you are not to far from the coast, so are the trails fairly flat and sandy or are they more hilly and rooty? If at all possible, l like to be able to at least have a trail or two that I can access via a short road ride, that being said can anyone suggest an area that we should look for houses?

Any additional info about the area would be appreciated. Also, if you happen to know of any potential job leads that would be greatly appreciated as well!
 

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Rogue Exterminator
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There are some good trails out there but not a lot of elevation change.
I have family in Apex which is near there and ride them occasionally.
For me I do enjoy them but it isn't enough to keep me entertained permanently (no offense because you guys do an excellent job on them out there).

So if you are moving in search of real mountains to mountain bike in you are a little far east of the gnar.
If you are moving in search of a good place to live with good job opportunities and decent trails then it could be for you.

You will be about 250 miles (4 hours) from the really good stuff.
You can cut that distance in half by choosing Charlotte NC. Still not in the mountains but good employment opportunities and decent trails (from what I hear).
And then Half of that by living in Greenville SC (same as above).

If you want to live in the mountains then the Asheville NC area is what you want. Opportunities depend greatly on what you do but there is work.
 

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^^Well said kjlued

Hop on the trianglemtb.com forums. So much info. I am of the opinion that the Triangle has the second best trail network in the state. First of course being Brevard/Asheville.

What kind of work do you do?
 

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I lived outside Raleigh for five years then upgraded to Asheville/WNC :).

Raleigh's not bad at all. The design aside, TriangleMTB.com is the best local mtb site I've seen: good forums, accurate trail conditions, good people.

Trail rundown, which is entirely my editorial opinion:

* Crabtree is most popular local racetrack where roadies put 1.9'' tires on to look good in lycra. It's fun for all ages, but talk to locals about some nearby alternatives.
* Beaver Dam and New Light, north of town, offer what's probably the best riding.
* Harris Lake, south of town, is just a solid fun XC circuit.
* Legend Park and Garner, east of town, are rougher than most of the above (save New Light and parts of Beaver Dam), and offer more of a tough cardio and technical workout.
* I only rode the Chapel Hill and Little River trails a few times - once in a race, once to preview them - but they were a very good XC circuits
 

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I'm the rare Raleigh native and live south of town by about 30 minutes. I've also traveled all over the US and of all the places I've been to, I've only flown my family out to one place to see where I wish we lived. Boulder, CO. Why you would want to reverse that move direction is incomprehensible to me. To each their own I guess.

The other replies have all summarized great. I add SanLee trail to the mix. Further south near Sanford. More rock gardens than anywhere else. Rolling landscape, some flow sections take advantage of this. If you choose to live south of the area, Uwharrie isn't too far away.

If you want to ride from home to the trails, target living in Cary and as close to the Black Creek Greenway as you can get. It's as close as what you are used to in CO to greenway access to different areas of town. Cary is clearly the leader in the area as far as bike friendly streets and greenway access. Other areas are okay, so don't think it is too bad if you don't have a Cary address.

Do the search for moving to Raleigh on trianglemtb.com and you'll find a plethora of info.

The area is growing fast, with my commute to work seemingly getting 5 minutes longer each year due to traffic.

It's possible to go to the beach for the day, as well as the mountains, though mountains is pushing it. I can pull off a day trip to Old Fort to ride Heartbreak, but that is about it. I did a Brevard day trip once and it nearly killed me.
 

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Agree with everything Goldfish said. Regarding terrain type, it varies by trail but I think you would find most Raleigh trails to be very similar to Athens: rooty rather than sandy or rocky, lots of rolling hills but nothing very long.

Goldfish also nailed it on housing: living near the Old Reedy Creek Road/Weston Parkway area is the best for riding options.

In general the trails here are pretty good for a metro area. I would add (and this may touch a nerve with some people) that the trails here seem to stay closed for a disproportionately long time after a rainfall. Most riders get around this by riding bandit trails in the winter which then end up getting hammered from getting all the traffic...fortunately the bandit trails here are very good and actually better maintained than the sanctioned trails (IMO).

Agree that Brevard/Asheville have the best riding and beer selection in the state (and arguably the best in the entire southeast) but good jobs there are rare as hens' teeth. Raleigh and Charlotte are the better places to find jobs.
 

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You will be about 250 miles (4 hours) from the really good stuff.
You can cut that distance in half by choosing Charlotte NC. Still not in the mountains but good employment opportunities and decent trails (from what I hear).
And then Half of that by living in Greenville SC (same as above).

If you want to live in the mountains then the Asheville NC area is what you want. Opportunities depend greatly on what you do but there is work.
All nice places to live. I live in Raleigh now lived in Greenville for 2 years and my fiancee lived in Charlotte for a couple of years (so I did too on the weekends). Both Charlotte and Greenville have better access to the WNC trails but I'd say Charlotte definitely wins for local trails. Charlotte also has a better racing scene if that matters to you. Several good series throughout the year including a winter short track series and a summer weeknight racing series that are tons of fun.

If you're really set on Raleigh though there's plenty around and lot's of good folks to ride with. Living near the black creek greenway as someone already suggested is a good spot and also there are some areas fairly close to the airport and brier creek which are a short road ride to umstead state park which can also get you to the crabtree area trails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the replies, some really good info on here. Haven't made any decisions yet but was really just looking for some direction.

As for what I do. I work in the biopharma / biotech field, specifically quality assurance and quality control type work. I've targeted RTP as I have some colleagues that work in the area and love it. Raleigh and the midwest seem to be a hub for people in my field, and I can't picture myself living in Iowa or Missouri!

As for why I am considering leaving Boulder... This is a really tough decision, but as great of a state as Colorado is, it really is overcrowded and extremely expensive in comparison to the South. Boulder is a bike friendly city, but not very mountain bike friendly. You really have to drive 25 min. north to Lyons for the better trails or 30 min south to Jefferson county for any real trails. Boulder has a handful, but they really aren't anything to write home about. And about the crowded part, some of these trails are really fun, but the whole user conflict thing is much more real out here than I ever experienced in the South. I've seen runners physically knock people off bikes and I've seen fights in parking lots (only once). Surprisingly horses and bikes seem to get along much better than runners and bikes out here. And the traffic...I snowboard in the Winter, and most of the resorts are 1.5 - 2 hours drive, throw in traffic and your 3- 4 hour round trip has been around a 7-12 hour round trip this past winter. Skiing isn't as fun when you spend more time driving and sitting in traffic than actually skiing. And that traffic isn't much better in the summer. Anyways, sorry to rant, but just trying to paint a picture as to what its really like.
 

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If your trying to escape crowds I'd avoid Raleigh and Charlotte unless you want to live out in the country. Both areas are some of the fastest growing metro-areas in the South and traffic sucks. I live about an hour southeast of Charlotte and its nice. Im out in the country and its nice and quiet...cows, corn, and plenty of breathing room. Although I have to drive into Charlotte to ride. There are several good trails within 30-45min drive. My only gripe is that if I want to go to any decent bar/brewery/concert hall I have to go into Charlotte to do so. I dont do that often enough to make it a problem.

I spent alot of time in Durham where my fiance lived. I would ride into Raleigh to get some miles in. The trails are ok. Nothing great. Theres some bootleg stuff out by the airport and there are a few other places that are fine. Mostly flat, rooty, tight and twisty through the woods.

Charlotte has slightly more diversity but overall more volume of mileage. There are close to 20 different trails within an hour of Uptown. Plus Pisgah is only 2.5 hours away. Theres a good riding community too.

If your looking for a job in your field go wherever that is. If your looking for good trails Charlotte trumps Raleigh by far. Asheville is the crowning jewel of southeast riding.

either way you'll be living in the South and we have Bojangles...that alone is reason enough to move.
 

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thecentralscrutinizer
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Raleigh is great, but you really need a roadbike to enjoy the riding.

Just kidding
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just to kind of bump this again...May have an opportunity in Rocky Mount, I know that its an hour east of Raleigh and its gonna be even flatter getting that much closer to the coast. But, anyone know anything about the town? Is it a decent place? Looking at places to potentially live in between I didn't see much, but did see Zebulon. If anyone could expand on these places please do.
 

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I don't mean to offend anyone who may happen to live there currently or be from there, but I would think long and hard before moving to Rocky Mount if I were you. Not only does it lack mtb trails but it's not a very fun or interesting town and it's mostly composed of chain stores. Even the road cycling there would suck.
 

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uh, uh...oh, i forget
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hah, i concur with jnroyal... it may look close to things on a map, but it's not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Not what I was hoping to hear, but after some research I can definitely see that there is little to do.

However, it seems this job is coming to fruition and may be a great opportunity for myself so I'm likely going to pursue.

How is Wilson, NC in comparison? Looks to be somewhat better than Rocky Mount. Also, if anyone has any advice on potential places to live between RM and Raleigh, ie. Zebulon...that would be great.

Any trails on the eastern side of Raleigh? Its going to be quite the change from the mountains, and I will look pretty funny riding a 6 in travel bike an hour from the coast but oh well.
 

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Rogue Exterminator
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The further east you go, the shittier the mountain biking gets and the further you move from the good stuff.

So if your goal is to achieve the best job possible then you gotta go where the money is.
If you goal is to find a decent job to support your passion to eat, breathe and sleep mountain biking you may want to hold out.

Only you can figure out what is best for you.
 

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The ENCSD trail in Wilson is the only trail between Raleigh and Greenville, NC that I am aware of.

I wouldn't want to live in any of the towns on the east side of Raleigh and can't recommend any of them.

If you're serious about taking the job I'd recommend you fly down and take a look around Rocky Mount/Wilson and see what you'd be getting into. You may be fine with the area but most find it quite lacking in character. On the plus side, the cost of living in eastern NC is very low.
 

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No amount of money would convince me to move from Boulder to Rocky Mount NC. I can give 420+/- reason not to move to from CO. :D Seriously need to see it with your own eyes to understand. But hey it all depends on your tolerance to being miserable and mind numbing boredom outside of work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yea this is quite depressing the more I think about it. Hoping that I can use this job as a quick step into something elsewhere, maybe just do a month to month lease until I can get closer to Raleigh or ideally, Asheville.

Snototter: does that name come from Hellbenders?

I know everyone thinks Boulder is such a great place and I did too. That's why I moved there. But trust me, when people say Colorado is crowded, that's an understatement. Hell, if you get a chance check out the Colorado Front Range forum discussion on Boulder politics that started up yesterday.
 

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Yea this is quite depressing the more I think about it. Hoping that I can use this job as a quick step into something elsewhere, maybe just do a month to month lease until I can get closer to Raleigh or ideally, Asheville.

Snototter: does that name come from Hellbenders?

I know everyone thinks Boulder is such a great place and I did too. That's why I moved there. But trust me, when people say Colorado is crowded, that's an understatement. Hell, if you get a chance check out the Colorado Front Range forum discussion on Boulder politics that started up yesterday.

You sir are one of only a handful that correctly made that association. :thumbsup:


Really just joking about Rocky Mount. It might be amazing, doubtful, but maybe. I only ever stop there to tank up on my way to Hatteras and every time I am grateful for just having to pass thru.

Good luck with wherever the wind takes you.
 
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