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Ugly As F*ck
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
to ride your bike more?

I'm contemplating doing just that. Now I know some of you are spoiled and have the luxury of having a good job in a place that also has good riding, but I'm in Houston. I'm not sure if Houston is the armpit or the b*tthole of America, or both, but either way it sucks a** here.

My initial thought was to move to a city where I'd have a chance to find at least a half way decent paying job and still have close access to good riding. But now I'm thinking about dedicating an entire summer to nothing but riding, so I'd want to move some place epic, like Park City for example. Where I could ride literally every day and it could potentially be weeks or months before I'd hit the same trail twice.

So I'd like to get an idea of how much money I'd be looking at losing if I were to do this. Anyone ever taken an entire summer off and spent it riding in a resort town? I know everything will be more expensive, from housing to food and probably even gas. Also, how long is the riding season in a place like Park City? And when would be the optimum time to move there to begin this adventure? I haven't really had the opportunity to develop my pedaling legs living in a place that's flat as a pancake, so I tend to prefer DH and park riding. If I recall correctly the PC area has about 3 bike parks. I guess moving when the bike parks open would be the optimum time?

My loose plan would be to do this and then head south into the desert come winter time to a bigger city where I could still ride and hopefully find a job. And if it were financially possible, to repeat the process the following summer in a different location. Bend, OR is on the list, or maybe somewhere in BC if I'm feeling super adventurous and can ever get over my fears of possibly running into a grizzly while out on a ride by my lonesome.

Thoughts/input/suggestions/personal experiences?
 

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This can be done. For how much money you stand to lose by not working simply take your current income and that's it, right?

The 1st step is save as much money as you can. Then sell as much of your stuff you don't need as you can. Eliminate every monthly subscription you have...like internet stuff like netflix etc.

You can save a pile of money by not living in a building. Can you get your hands on a used van or a pick up truck with a camper shell and live in the back of it and cook your meals on a camping stove, never eat out and reduce or eliminate beer? You could also just live out of a car using a tent. I did this for 2 months in 2007 driving all around Colorado and Utah. It worked out really well. Had I stayed in building my trip would have lasted about a week and a half. I now have a Toyota Tacoma with a camper shell that's set up for sleeping in. I'm working toward setting it up for living in a few months at a time.

If you can find a cozy spot in a national forest and you have a vehicle you can live in I'd say you could reduce you're budget to just a few dollars per day if you're super careful.

You should check out expeditionportal.com for more ideas on how to live out a vehicle comfortably. Don't purchase anything new, scour craigslist and check out garage sales to stretch your dollar. If you really want to stretch your dollar you could always go dumpster diving too.

For hygiene etc maybe get a gym membership for the shower. Or use a solar shower or perhaps a portable instant hot water heater. These require a propane tank which you could also use for cooking.

You could also get a job as a server at a restaurant. The schedule is flexible, it's quick cash and you get to meet cool people. Also, often times at resort towns restaurants are looking for seasonal staff.

The other upside to living the dirtbag lifestyle is that being outside you need stuff to do. You won't have a TV to watch however you might find yourself going to the movies more often which is a plus. But mostly you'll have fewer distractions like TV and comfy bed to keep you from riding. You're going to ride a lot more with this life style.
 

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Rock n' Roller
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It can be done. Three years ago, I quit my teaching, tenure track job and moved to Crested Butte. Never looked back. Now, I teach online (flexible hours) and work as a freelance writer/copy editor and/or bartender whenever I need a little extra $$. I ski every day in the winter, bike every day in the summer, take months off at a time to ride in Sedona or Moab. As long as I have my laptop and internet, I can work from anywhere.

I shutter to think of what might have happened had I stayed in Denver (probably still be stuck in traffic...)

In other words, life is short. Do what you love, love what you do, and you will find a way to make it work. You will always make it work, and time is, at the end of the day, the only thing that we have that matters. Use it well. Ride hard and smile a lot...Paradise will be waiting!
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save money
learn to eat ramen noodles mixed with chicken and veggies
find access to free water, make new friends you can watch their animals for extra money, recycle aluminum cans and ride and ride
I am spoiled and have lived in my rv for almost a year.
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a beer in salida.jpg
 

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I haven't quit a job to ride but I had a job end on me and then not-totally-intentionally took almost 2 years off. Fortunately I was able to claim unemployment and unfortunately the job market was at its lowest point resulting in a long time off work. So in between job searches I was able to do a lot of awesome road trips. A good number of trip reports are posted on MTBR - search for them! I still rented my current place so that was a fixed cost but I reduced expenses as much as possible. When I road tripped pretty much my only incremental expense was gas. I didn't stay at campgrounds, ate most exclusively camp food and avoided any unnecessary cost. A five-week trip to CO/UT cost far less than $1k most of which was gas. It worked out pretty well I was off work 640 days, did 220 days of road trips all over the SW, 120 days local rides and 120 days or so of trail work. If you have the opportunity to take time off and travel for whatever reason, take it!!! A great quote I have heard - when you are approaching the end you will not regret not having worked more. So get out and enjoy life!
 

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Yup, I quit my job at the end of September and am now retired :thumbsup:
We did a road trip a few summers ago to Sun Valley, ID for a mtn bike race. One of the helpful people at the race told us where to camp in the National Forest for free and there was a great YMCA for showers. People were friendly & welcoming, the vibe was great. I'd tend to avoid places that are super tourist destinations, like Durango (where I have lived) and Moab, although they can be doable.

Also, Austin is just a few hours east, you know. I can mtn bike every day right here in north Austin.

Ditto on getting a van or pickup truck with camper that you can live in, or pull a small trailer.
For the long term, think about getting a more portable skill that will translate well to a smaller city/town, such as a teaching certificate, nursing, or work that can be done on line that will support you well.

Also, once you head out on your grand adventure, you will learn about your tolerance for being self reliant, how much you need (or don't need) to be around people, how much "roughing it" in both the hot and cold works for you.

Based on personal experience, when you get to your destination out west and first unpack your clothes, everything will seem damp. Just a reminder of exactly how humid it is in Houston and anywhere east of San Angelo!
 

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Ugly As F*ck
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'll be honest I hadn't intended on "roughing it" quite to the extent of living in my vehicle. Although I could, I have a full size pickup truck with a camper shell already. I also have more than a years salary saved up, I just don't like the idea of squandering it all. I'm not the typical American who has to have everything, ie big house, fancy car, flashy clothes, etc etc. Hell, I don't even spend much on my bike stuff. I refuse to buy a new bike and always look on CL or PB when I need something. Right now I rent a room for only 400/mo all bills paid. This is what I had intended to do after I moved, whether it be PC or somewhere else. I don't know if I could find a room that cheap, I'll have to get on CL and see what that kind of thing is going for in the PC area.

Snowgypsy, Crested Butte is another area I was interested in. I know they have a bike park there and the trails there look pretty awesome. Sounds like the riding there is varied, which is something I'm looking for.

June Bug, my hatred isn't just directed toward Houston, but really all of TX. I will exclude far west TX (El Paso area) and places like Horizon City because I know they actually have proper MTB there. And no offense, but I hate Austin. It's hot and humid there, just like Houston. Traffic is bad there, just like Houston. And people there are a**holes.. just like Houston. It's basically Houston with a few hills sprinkled in. Not my style.
 

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Rock n' Roller
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Snowgypsy, Crested Butte is another area I was interested in. I know they have a bike park there and the trails there look pretty awesome. Sounds like the riding there is varied, which is something I'm looking for.
CB is pretty amazing. Hartman's Rocks is down the road and a little desert, most trails are a little alpine with big climbs and even bigger descents, the mountain trails aren't many but they are all well made with new ones being built every year. All trails are pretty much ridable from your front door. And Salida, Fruita, etc. are just a car ride away during mud season. As long as you are willing to work hard and are smart with your money, it goes a long way. Rent is very affordable (I pay 1K for a 900 sq. , 2 bd, 2 bath) townhome across the street from the lifts) - most places average around 400 for a room in a house to 700 for a place all your own, and while service jobs are the norm, there are a lot of other jobs out there depending on your skill set. The best thing I ever did was to take a chance on this place. It's easy to go back or to stay where you are - but taking a chance and moving forward is when the magic happens. If you decide to stop on by, let me know. We'll show you around...once the snow melts out...
 

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I ride South Lake Tahoe all summer every year and it's by far my favorite place to ride. I've been all over Oregon, CO, Utah and Arizona. Temps in Tahoe are perfect with a mix of tech, flow and amazing views. Best ride is Rose to Toads, 65 miles of perfect singletrack. Hard as hell with over 12K of climbing, up to 10k elevation, and about 12 hours. Crested butte would be a second for me to ride. Drawback of Tahoe is not much winter riding but the backcountry skiing/snowboarding is great.
 

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Yup. I have 3 weeks left. My wife and I bought a new sailboat in 2010 with the plan of saving up so much money then quitting our jobs to go explore the world primarily by boat but also mountain biking along the way. We leave in mid May to head for Nova Scotia first. After that, who knows.

Our boat is basically a floating camper but can get places very cheaply by wind power but much slower. We love sailing so that is not a problem. Been sailing 40 years and Mountain biking over 25.

We had a financial goal that we estimated would take 5 years to meet but our investments have worked out better than expected and we achieved our goal in less than 4 years. My wife and I have worked steadily since graduating college 25 years ago. It is time to accumulate memories instead of wealth.

Go for it or you will someday look back and wonder why you didn't.

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Or move. My wife and spent almost 10 years moving around based on the trails in the area. A few hardships along the way, but always lots of single track time. You can live anwhere if your willing to go without certain things. Twice we lived in campers, one of them was so small, we had to sleep in a tent next to it. Two people, two dogs, six bikes, camping gear, and snowboarding gear.
Now we have a 3 year old and a house, but it's in a nice place, with a great trail system a 1/4 mile from my garage. If we had just taken a long vacation, we'd be right back were we started, stuck in traffic dreaming of mountains and trails.
 

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Bandit 29 FTW!!!
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I didn't quit my job but I did set myself up to be more flexible so I can stay active. Have computer will travel. I'm having a hard time getting my wife on board and may have to start leaving her behind.
 

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Was tempted many times....family, bills, and kids so here I am working for the man.
 

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I think it would be fun to do that. But, once you have family/kids - obviously, it isn't possible anymore. If you're young and single, why not? Rather than quitting, I look forward to retiring from my job in hopefully about 20 years and then its party time!! By then, my kids will be raised and my retirement money will pay for my adventures. I really have a hard time understanding the people in my office who are like 72 years old and still working.
 

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When I was single right out of college I had a job 20 mi away that I would ride to 4 out of 5 days a week(left the car at work to motivate ;) . Due to circumstances, in May right as the xc season began, they laid me off. Prime fitness level, perfect weather, no attachments. I would work about 10 hrs a month for my landlord to pay rent, then work for a landscaper freind whenever I needed money. The rest of the time I would drive to whichever event and plant a day or two early and camp. It was a cool time for being a wanderer and the best race season I have ever had. Good times....

Nowdays I have a house, 2 cars and lots of bills. Married life recovering from layoffs during the recession. If only it were as simple to go back, but at the same time I still like having a warm dry roof and a garage to work on the bikes. Tailgate mechanics is alright for a race day or trip but a garage is a lot better.
 

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Yup. I have 3 weeks left. My wife and I bought a new sailboat in 2010 with the plan of saving up so much money then quitting our jobs to go explore the world primarily by boat but also mountain biking along the way. We leave in mid May to head for Nova Scotia first. After that, who knows.

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Not to hijack the thread but I'm reading a book called "our Journals of Cruising the World on the S/V Mermaid" it's a self published book about a couple that sailed around the world from 1997-2002. I met the author in Quartzite AZ and bought a copy off her. It's just their daily routine but she makes it really interesting.

Good luck in your travels and happy sailing!
 
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