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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I'm on the job market and am getting offers from these different areas. Obviously there are other factors playing into my decision but access to trails is important to me too. I was curious if people who have had experience with these areas (preferably with more than one) have any thoughts on the type of riding, community, etc. that exist.
 

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orthonormal
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First, in terms of traffic, most of LA/Irvine is worse than most of the Bay Area, which is worse than most of the Seattle area. Seattle's traffic can be pretty bad, though.

Most of the good Seattle area riding is East along I-90. You could live in Issaquah and be close to the Duthie and Tokul trail systems but depending on the job location, your commute might suck.

Bay Area riding access is very location dependent. There are good rides in many directions but the best are toward Santa Cruz. To a large extent, your ease of access to good riding depends on your housing budget and your tolerance for a tough commute. Housing costs in the Bay Area are, on average, far higher than either Seattle or Irvine.

If your job is in Irvine, you can live somewhere like Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, etc. and have easy trail access along with a manageable commute. Culturally, I prefer your other choices but from a ride/commute compromise perspective, Irvine is pretty good. Housing costs are between Seattle and Bay Area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First, in terms of traffic, most of LA/Irvine is worse than most of the Bay Area, which is worse than most of the Seattle area. Seattle's traffic can be pretty bad, though.

Most of the good Seattle area riding is East along I-90. You could live in Issaquah and be close to the Duthie and Tokul trail systems but depending on the job location, your commute might suck.

Bay Area riding access is very location dependent. There are good rides in many directions but the best are toward Santa Cruz. To a large extent, your ease of access to good riding depends on your housing budget and your tolerance for a tough commute. Housing costs in the Bay Area are, on average, far higher than either Seattle or Irvine.

If your job is in Irvine, you can live somewhere like Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, etc. and have easy trail access along with a manageable commute. Culturally, I prefer your other choices but from a ride/commute compromise perspective, Irvine is pretty good. Housing costs are between Seattle and Bay Area.
Thanks for the info!

The Seattle job would be in Bothell so it looks like I could be relatively close to some nice areas without having to deal with a nasty commute.

Housing is definitely a big issue since my job in the Bay Area would be in Palo Alto which is pretty ridiculous in terms of prices right now. I'm not going to be in a tech start up, so while it's still a good area for my field it's not such a huge factor.

The other issue with Seattle is the number of rideable days might be a bit less... I'm not opposed to getting a little muddy but I don't want to tear up trails either.
 

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orthonormal
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Thanks for the info!

The Seattle job would be in Bothell so it looks like I could be relatively close to some nice areas without having to deal with a nasty commute.

Housing is definitely a big issue since my job in the Bay Area would be in Palo Alto which is pretty ridiculous in terms of prices right now. I'm not going to be in a tech start up, so while it's still a good area for my field it's not such a huge factor.

The other issue with Seattle is the number of rideable days might be a bit less... I'm not opposed to getting a little muddy but I don't want to tear up trails either.
You get used to riding in the rain in Seattle. I commuted by bike pretty much every day from Redmond to Seattle for over two years (took a bus over the 520 bridge). Good fenders and glasses with clear lenses are a must. The trails are built to drain well and don't get destroyed when you ride them wet. Tiger Mtn. and some spots further East off I-90 get snow that sticks around but there's year round riding for sure.

There are a couple of decent weekday rides near Bothell. St. Edwards in Kenmore/Bothell and Willows in Redmond. You'll still want to get over to Tokul, Tiger, Duthie, etc. whenever possible and doing that from Bothell on a weekday after work is a PITA. On weekends, the drive up to Bellingham to ride Galbraith is well worth the time spent in the car. You'll also find plenty of other riders willing to make the trip to Whistler and Vancouver in the summer.

If you can work it out with the Palo Alto job so you can offset your hours from the prime commute times, you could live somewhere like Scotts Valley. Housing prices are way lower and you'd have easy access to all of the Santa Cruz area trails. Some of the better schools in the area, too, in case you have kids.
 

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Although I have very little experience of the area other than one 24 Hour mountain bike race near Idyllwild (Hurkey Creek), I'm pretty sure that Irvine would have the best mountain biking by far. I'm most familiar with the Bay Area (where I live) and it's okay for mountain biking. The weather is good but the total number of single track miles available to mountain bikes is fairly limited. From Palo Alto you have two really good spots - Skeggs (aka Corte de Madera Open Space) and Soquel Demonstration Forest within a reasonable driving distance. In the summer you can do weekend trips to Downieville and Northstar for some all mountain and downhill action. But my god, housing is expensive! It's absolutely insane here. You better be making over 100K per year or you are doomed to have roommates and live like a college student.

Seattle? No way. I like sunshine way too much. Summertime is nice there, but I'd shoot myself in the wintertime. It's not the piddly rain, it's the gray, gray, gray endless gray...
 

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I live and ride near irvine. Lots of riding here but hope you like crowded trails that are dry blown-out dusty 10 months of the year and really hot in summer. All the good stuff is illegal but theyre cracking down on that. And hiking groups constantly trying to get mtb's banned. I vote seattle!
 

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If you're looking specifically at riding close to home/work, Seattle isn't bad, maybe Ca options look better, certainly better climate.

If you're up for short road trips, camping, or overnighters to ride, that opens up east cascades, BC, Mt. Rainier area, San Juan islands, Mt st Helens, etc etc. No competition at that point, Seattle is incredible as a work/hub location to explore the PNW outdoors. But if your lifestyle dictates staying within an hour of the city and you aren't into camping, it's probably not a great fit. Easy access is not the forte here, it's all about quality.

I make a point of camping nearly every weekend between June and Oct... if I couldn't do this I would consider moving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Seems to be pretty contentious on what's the best option, which is probably a good sign for me.

Being a California guy I'm not too sure how I'll feel about the gray and drizzly weather in Seattle, but I think it won't be too big a problem. I think if the housing situation wasn't such madness in the bay area it would be quite a bit more out ahead of the others. As it is I'm looking at $2000+ for a decent 1bd apartment near where I'd be working...
 

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orthonormal
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If you're looking specifically at riding close to home/work, Seattle isn't bad, maybe Ca options look better, certainly better climate.

If you're up for short road trips, camping, or overnighters to ride, that opens up east cascades, BC, Mt. Rainier area, San Juan islands, Mt st Helens, etc etc. No competition at that point, Seattle is incredible as a work/hub location to explore the PNW outdoors. But if your lifestyle dictates staying within an hour of the city and you aren't into camping, it's probably not a great fit. Easy access is not the forte here, it's all about quality.

I make a point of camping nearly every weekend between June and Oct... if I couldn't do this I would consider moving.
Good points. I was looking at it from my own perspective; lots of work and family obligations leaving me windows of a few hours to get my rides. Given fewer time constraints, I'd easily choose PNW riding over the other choices listed.
 
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