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My questions are about the logistics of owning multiple bikes and a car in the city.
I am planning to move to San Francisco this fall/winter. I visited for 4 days in February and got a feel for some of the neighborhoods I like & can afford, like Mission and Inner Sunset. I would probably get a 1br apartment. I’m an active mountain biker and road biker, I get out 2-3 times per week. After-work rides and bigger trips on the weekends. Compared to where I live now (Seattle) I could add a few months onto my riding season because of alightly warmer temps, more light, and slightly less rain. That’s a big part of my desire to move.

Right now I have an apartment with an assigned parking spot in an outdoor lot. I also have a locked storage cage in the basement, it fits 3 bikes and more junk above on a big shelf. There is a free space in the lot where I can set up my bike stand for doing repairs, and a hose nearby for washing the bikes after muddy rides. I have a roof rack on my Subaru and it’s real easy to move the bikes out of the storage unit and onto the rack. I have a deck too if I want to work on my bike there. I like this setup.

in San Francisco I would rent a 1br apartment in the city and use street parking. Would it be safe to leave my old dingy Yakima roof rack on, is theft a problem? It locks to the roof rails but anyone with a Torx driver could lift the whole thing off. And where do people store their bikes? Looking at apartments it seems storage space is not common. What about hosing off muddy bikes?

Basically I want to maintain my biking lifestyle while living in the city. That includes a space for me to work on my bikes, hose a muddy bike off, easily get the bikes on the car to take them to the mountains for an after-work ride. Road bikes are easier because they don’t get as dirty and I can just start my ride from my front foor.
Curious how people make it work in the city without owning a house, garage, etc. Thanks in advance.
 

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manuelw said:
My questions are about the logistics of owning multiple bikes and a car in the city.
I am planning to move to San Francisco this fall/winter. I visited for 4 days in February and got a feel for some of the neighborhoods I like & can afford, like Mission and Inner Sunset. I would probably get a 1br apartment. I'm an active mountain biker and road biker, I get out 2-3 times per week. After-work rides and bigger trips on the weekends. Compared to where I live now (Seattle) I could add a few months onto my riding season because of alightly warmer temps, more light, and slightly less rain. That's a big part of my desire to move.

Right now I have an apartment with an assigned parking spot in an outdoor lot. I also have a locked storage cage in the basement, it fits 3 bikes and more junk above on a big shelf. There is a free space in the lot where I can set up my bike stand for doing repairs, and a hose nearby for washing the bikes after muddy rides. I have a roof rack on my Subaru and it's real easy to move the bikes out of the storage unit and onto the rack. I have a deck too if I want to work on my bike there. I like this setup.

in San Francisco I would rent a 1br apartment in the city and use street parking. Would it be safe to leave my old dingy Yakima roof rack on, is theft a problem? It locks to the roof rails but anyone with a Torx driver could lift the whole thing off. And where do people store their bikes? Looking at apartments it seems storage space is not common. What about hosing off muddy bikes?

Basically I want to maintain my biking lifestyle while living in the city. That includes a space for me to work on my bikes, hose a muddy bike off, easily get the bikes on the car to take them to the mountains for an after-work ride. Road bikes are easier because they don't get as dirty and I can just start my ride from my front foor.
Curious how people make it work in the city without owning a house, garage, etc. Thanks in advance.
really? really?
 

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screamer
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Not a stupid question at all. "Really" it isn't.

The areas that you're looking at (Mission & Inner Sunset) have a large supply of 2-4 unit buildings, most of which have yards and garages on the ground floor. If you can afford to be a bit patient (ie: don't have to grab the first place you find) it's not unreasonable to hold out for those amenities. I've lived in the Mission for 15+ years and we've always had a yard for bike washing, and at least part of a garage or back utility room for storage. Other areas of the city -- Hayes Valley, the Loin, etc. -- the buildings tend to be bigger and garages & yards harder to come by. Most landlords will charge you to park in a garage, but few will balk if you want to store a bike or two. You might have a harder time with your storage locker if it's bulky. The biggest issue then is security. Even if your bikes are in a garage, you'll want to keep them well locked up to something immovable. Nonetheless you should definitely get renter's insurance, since break-ins are not unusual.

As for the roof rack, that's a bit more iffy. I've never had problems, but that doesn't mean you wouldn't. It's a big city, with plenty of people down on their luck and ready to take advantage of anyone and anything. So $hit definitely happens. Again, renter's insurance is key. It might be worth replacing those Torx bolts with the tamper-proof kind if you're really concerned about it.

Good luck with the move! It's a great place to live: I love it here, despite the bizzarro attitudes. (Just went for a MTB ride in the city, and got some dirty looks from the totalitarian "progressive" militia.)
 

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As state above it's possible to find units with shared yard and some storage space. Even if no storage, you should be able to get creative with the storage situation.

I've had no issues with my rack, but your mileage will vary...our Mini's had it's rear window wiper mechanism stolen not once but TWICE so there is no telling what thieves are looking for. I've had broken window breakins for my cars but that's fairly common and easy to deal with (~$120 and 30min of your time to get a new window fitted).
 

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As Budgie pointed out, GET RENTER'S INSURANCE!!! SF has a real problem when it comes to bike thefts, and it doesn't matter if your bike is worth $200 or $9000- they all seem to be targets. If you have an expensive quiver, I'd really look for a place that has a good security situation.
 

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Old,slow,still havin fun.
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Street parking in SF is a pain. You need to move your car every 72 hours, and at least once a week more for street cleaning. Get a garage for the car.

Would it be safe to leave my old dingy Yakima roof rack on, is theft a problem?
Racks get stolen off cars, not sure how frequently. You're basically playing a lottery hoping the tweaker zombies find another target more attractive.

And where do people store their bikes?
Inside your apt is the best option, locked out of sight in a non-shared garage a distant second. Bikes get stolen from carports and shared garages frequently.

What about hosing off muddy bikes?
Most apts have some sort of accessible hose because people water plants, etc. Scope it out when you look at places. My old apt manager was OK with me washing off bikes, the current one installed locks on the spigots!
 

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definitely put in the effort/$ to have a garage for your car. When I lived in the Mission and relied on street parking, I'd rarely drive on a Friday or Saturday night because I knew I'd never find a parking spot when I came back home.

A lot of people in SF do ok without owning a car---but it would make it difficult to get to China Camp or Tamarancho.
 

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fgiraffe said:
Street parking in SF is a pain. You need to move your car every 72 hours, and at least once a week more for street cleaning. Get a garage for the car.

Racks get stolen off cars, not sure how frequently. You're basically playing a lottery hoping the tweaker zombies find another target more attractive.

Inside your apt is the best option, locked out of sight in a non-shared garage a distant second. Bikes get stolen from carports and shared garages frequently.

Most apts have some sort of accessible hose because people water plants, etc. Scope it out when you look at places. My old apt manager was OK with me washing off bikes, the current one installed locks on the spigots!
Yes to all the above points. There are a fair number of places in SF that don't appear to have a yard because the buildings are essentially row houses, built out to lot line. There still may be a backyard.

I'd look for a place where you can hang the bikes inside; wall rack or ceiling hooks...

Street parking is really tough. Master the public transportation and you can keep your car garaged for the most part during the week. I used to have a friend who lived in SF. Her tactic for taking the car into town on an errand was to use paid parking and buy something she needed in a nearby store that validated parking.
 

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I have four bikes in a not huge apartment in the inner richmond area, it's totally doable but tough. They do all live in the apartment with me and my wife. Bikes get stolen constanly in sf, almost no garage is safe......shared, private, locked whatever. I have had two bikes stolen out of "secure" garages. Ditto e renters insurance.

The riding is great from sf though, road and mountain and there are tons of people riding. Street parking isntthat bad In all neighborhoods. Sunset is usually way easier than
mission.

Might check out presidio as well. Inner and outer Richmond both good for riding and street parking can be a bit better. Mission is a great place to live but it's along way to good dirt not driving. Marin headlands are 20 easy mintues from the north side of the city on the bike. Mainly fire road but killer for riding out the door.

In general the bike culture in sf is killer. You'll be stoked!

Also street parking gets better in all neighborhoods once you get the lay of the land. All hoods have secret spots, better streets and times, etc.
 

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I second taking a look at the Presidio if you're lookin' for a cheap place to live with riding options right out the door, easy bridge access for hitting Marin, ample parking and garage storage throughout. I lived at Baker Beach (cheap, limited storage)and in the Washington Apartments (not as cheap, tons of space) in the Presidio and was paying far less rent than friends in the Mission or Sunset. Just gotta go through the background check process.

Great road riding right there and some good options if you have a CX bike. Not anything worth talking about for the MTB but Marin is right there. I now live in Nob Hill and have my bikes in the dining room. Wife's not exactly excited but she deals. I wouldn't trust garages unless you are the only one with access. I now drive to Marin and hit it hard in the morning (talking 5:30 or 6:00 am) before work. Great way to start the day. If you're looking to ride after work, parking will drive you nuts and may make you think twice about going for it.

Plenty of options out here with a few in process. Good luck and see ya out there.
 

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manuelw said:
Thanks everyone, this is the firsthand experience I was looking for. :thumbsup:
Garage parking is soooo expensive there, adding $100-300 to rent.
Well, if you can commute via public transit, some of that garage cost will be offset by lower fuel, maintenance, and insurance costs on your vehicle. Even if your fuel savings are offset by transit fares, you still won't be driving that much, and that should let you get a big discount on insurance. Worth looking into.
 

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I have racks on my truck, and usually just lock them, so far they have been fine. I live in Bernal Heights which is pretty close to the mission, road biking is so so, the streets are pretty potholed, and it's a long way across town to the GG bridge and into the headlands. Freeway access is really easy, and I often ride the peninsula which I highly recommend, especially for mtb.
I also have a deck/side yard to wash the bikes and store them in the basement. It is totally doable if you find the right place. I'd base your decision on where to live on which neighborhood you want to live in. They are pretty different, similar to the difference between West Seattle and Capitol hill, totally different vibes dependent on where you live. Check this website for good info on the different neighborhhods.
SF rocks, hope you like it.
http://www.sfgate.com/neighborhoods/sf/
 

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You also didn't say what your work situation is, if you will be working in town or not. If you plan on taking MUNI or CalTrain to work that should influence your neighborhood choice.

I'd suggest avoiding any location that requires a crosstown auto commute. If you have to commute to Marin, try to find a place in the N side of town; if you need to commute down to The Valley try to live on the south side. Getting through SF can be worse than whatever comes after that during commute hours.
 
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