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Moving to NorCal

Discussion in 'California & Hawaii' started by MikeD, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. MikeD

    MikeD Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists

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    Hey, all...

    Just found out that work will be sending me to San Fran for 2-3 years, starting in June (I'm training in DC until then).

    I'm pretty psyched; this was my first choice of location. We just moved from San Diego in the summer for the training period in DC...looking forward to getting back to Cali, and to living in another part of it. Bay Area's always been a favorite of mine, and I even have some family in Oakland.

    Probably won't have all too much time to ride, but will definitely be putting in as much trail time as possible.

    Anyhow, just wanted to say hi and get your advice on where to live. My office will be in downtown on Pine St., and I won't be making all too much money. My wife might be able to get a decent job, though, because she works in publishing. I know rents in the city are simply insane, and might like to have some room to store/work on bikes and some space for the pets and all...but we'd also like BART access... Will have a company car to use if it'll be helpful for commuting (or I can leave it at work, I think).

    So what suburbs/neighborhoods are the best? How long are commutes? How far away is the riding? Would we be better off squeezing into a tiny apartment? etc. etc.

    -Mike
     

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  2. downhilldemon

    downhilldemon Monkey

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    Where do you live? Is this a trick Question?
    id live in san jose if i were you. An hour to work, cheap rent and your only an hour away from some sweet trails in the santa cruz mtns.
     
  3. dfinn

    dfinn Turbo Monkey

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    If you were up for living that far away then I would suggest heading north towards san rafeal/santa rosa. I lived in that area for 6 months a couple of summers ago and liked it. But from the sounds of it you are trying to keep your commute short.
     
  4. kidwoo

    kidwoo Celebrating No-Pants Day

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    The Castro. The neighborhood is FABULOUS.

    With your career as a male escort, you'll fit right in.


    As far as that not riding much BS..........I'm coming to pick you up and we're going to santa cruz. And if I don't see you at northstar, I'm sending all my big buff manfriends with moustaches to come liberate you.
     
  5. Raacerx

    Raacerx Monkey

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    Well Pacifica is right down highway 1 past Daly City. Great downhill/freeride. Close to SF. From the top its a pretty long ride to the bottom. But no shuttling.

    this is from boyscout in Pacifica

     
  6. scurban

    scurban Turbo Monkey

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    :stupid:

    If you ride, and have a job working in the City, Pacifica is the closest nice place to live with good riding.
     
  7. beestiboy

    beestiboy Monkey

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    You say you wont be making much but give us a clue as to what your rental budget is. Bart is pretty limited so there are only certain areas that allow for nice living and easier(but never great)commutes. You really should have the wifey looking into work also that may be your determining factor for housing locations, depending on the vehicle issues.
     
  8. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    Where exactly is your job? For example, I live in SF, and working in Petaluma or Milipitas would be ridiculous.

    Personally, I like Contra Costa County. While it might be a little backwater compared to SF or Berkeley, it is relatively quiet and affordable. However, if you are working in Palo Alto, that would be a bad place to live.
     
  9. MikeD

    MikeD Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists

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    Not a bad idea. I may need to supplement my income. As far as riding bikes, though...it's hard to ride a bike from Khartoum or wherever they've sent me that month. Shouldn't be gone all the time, though...it's just unpredictable, and I'll want to get some riding in while I can for sure. Gonna have to be ginger on the DH stuff, too, though...a bad injury would be bad for my long-term job prospects at this point.

    My office will be a few blocks from the Transamerica pyramid, and I'll probably be required to be there at odd times and on short notice.

    We were guessing between $1000-1700 rent would be doable, (might make around $60k/year by the time we're out there, maybe a little more with extra money from travelling and overtime, plus my wife can get a $30-40k/year job in publishing, we hope) maybe even a little more depending on what kind of job my wife finds. I'm seeing places on Craigslist that fit the bill, but again, I don't know what's really where. I'll ask at work and try to get some contacts out in the SF office and find out what are the preferred locations.

    I just know a friend who actually was living in the Castro and blowing $2500/mo for a crappy, crappy 2-bedroom. Don't want to do that. We lived in a tiny, un-luxurious 1 BR in San Diego and had no problems with that (it had a garage we could keep my bikes and stuff in), so we don't need opulence, but spending that much on rent is outrageous.
     
  10. MVRIDER

    MVRIDER Monkey

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    W3RD! If I was moving into the area, working in the city and had a choice of where to live, I'd just live in Pacifica. That town's got a good vibe, along with the killer riding and surfing.
     
  11. dfinn

    dfinn Turbo Monkey

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    your combined income should put you right around the poverty line for that area :nuts:

    On a more serious note I don't know a whole lot about rent prices in SF right now but I was just talking to a friend the other day who has been shopping around and he said he's seeing ads for small 2 bedrooms for $1500 - $2000 per month.
     
  12. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    Living in the Castro is kinda joke. It is the gay district of SF, and the gay district in SF is really gay, if you can imagine.

    One huge problem living in SF is owning a car. Parking and crime sucks, and just getting to the highway is a pain. However, my neighborhood, Bernal Heights, is only a mile from the highway and no car breakins (fingers crossed). It is also relatively affordable, like my friend had a 4 person share for about $550 a person.

    Otherwise, I recommend Walnut Creek or Pleasant Hill. It is suburban but convenient, and if you live near BART, you can be in the city in 45 minutes.
     
  13. beaverbiker

    beaverbiker Monkey

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    the riding in pacifica isn't all that great at all. there's a few trails that are sub par. a few of the lesser known ones are allright. i'd say that if you're going to commute, go north of san fran. waaaaaaaaaaay better riding than pacifica. but if you did live in pacifica, there's a house for rent on the street my grandparents live on, just two blocks down from the trails.
     
  14. OGRipper

    OGRipper Turbo Monkey

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    NORCAL is the hizzle
    I've lived in SF for about 9 years. You've got a lot of options. For your money you are going to have a hard time finding anything with extra space. Keep in mind that basically every Craig's List ad is going to overstate how fabulous the place really is. There is no substitute for being here and spending some time in the neighborhoods you are considering. You might try to get a 6 month (or shorter) lease for your first place (rather than the usual one year minimum) to give yourself some flexibility.

    The Muni rail line goes to a lot of good 'hoods and will get you downtown pretty reliably most of the time, so you don't need to limit your search to the Bart line. But if you really want to be on the Bart line and you don't mind real urban-style, check out the Mission. It has more character than charm but it's full of young people, lots of funky bars clubs and restaurants, etc.

    Purely from a riding perspective, in my opinion the best place to live if you work in the city is north, in Marin County. There is tons of riding and a huge amount of open space beginning just on the far side of the Golden Gate bridge. Road, mountain, whatever, there is a lot. Yeah some is illegal but it doesn't take long to find the tasty stuff. Not so much DH but you said that's not your only concern. There are buses and ferries into the city, I know a lot of people that say the commute is not that bad and a small price to pay for being so close to the trailheads, redwoods, and the ocean. But honestly, living in the city is way fun and the stuff up north is easy to get to.

    Pacifica is a cool town and the riding is fun but there are just not as many options as up north, and personally I find the commute from that direction to be a real PITA. There is good riding further south as well but the traffic just gets worse.

    Whoever suggested you live in San Jose for a job downtown is crazy, or they just really like sitting in traffic. There are trains but from what I've seen and heard, there is no way to really do it an hour during commute hours. And personally I think San Jose is an armpit, especially compared to living somewhere like the base of Mt. Tam or further north like Fairfax.

    For the commute, let me put in perspective: I live in SF and work in Oakland, just across the bay. It's probably a 13 mile trip or something and I am going in the opposite direction of most people, so theoretically it's the easy commute. It takes roughly an hour whether I drive, take the train, or ride my bike down to the BART. Sometimes takes a lot longer, rarely much less. It's ridiculous that such a short trip takes so long and it is only getting worse. If you are not going to be in the city and will need to get in and out of downtown every day, make sure you get a handle on the commute.

    You should try to do a recon trip or two...
     
  15. MikeD

    MikeD Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists

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    Yeah, a friend of mine lives there...with her husband.

    It's, ah, a colorful place...

    Thanks all for the advice. OG, I'm planning on visiting beforehand if possible...we do get the ability to spend some time in a hotel before moving into a place, and I should get a 10-day househunting period.

    I just need to talk to some people at the office and see what's popular. My cousins live in Oakland (just near the gorgeous Fruitvale stop on the BART). We know SF living is going to be tough on our budget, but we're willing to scrape by on the 2-3 years we'll be there just for the fun of it.

    Thanks again...
     
  16. OGRipper

    OGRipper Turbo Monkey

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    Yeah since you are only going to be here for a short time I would say you should try to get a place in the city, it will be easier for you to get the SF experience if you are in town, and your commute will be a lot easier too. The riding won't be right outside your door but it's not far...anyway drop me a PM if I can help any other way. But before you ask, no I don't know of any cheap cool places for rent! :p
     
  17. ricebowls

    ricebowls Monkey

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    I live out in the Richmond just south of the GG Bridge and right across from GG Park. As much as I don;t like living in SF it's a super conveint location as far as getting in and out of SF, rent isn;t too bad ($1400 for 2 bed +large bike room with a veiw of the bridge) and I can ride urban or road right frmo my door. But if you dig the city it's kind of away from all the fun neighborhoods. And all the fun riding spots N and S of the city are an easy drive from there as well while the east bay trails are just a quick (and sometimes annoying) drive through the city to the Bay Bridge.
    Outside the city I'd suggest getting a place on the Penninsula such as Burlingame or San Mateo. Easy commute to the city by train and you'll only be a 45 min drive to the trails in Santa Cruz, 20 to Pacifica and 5 to DMC/Carlmont. Plus the San Mateo Bridge is right there if you want to hit the East Bay or Sandhill.
    Hit up the forum on www.ridesfo.com as well for more info.
     
  18. El Santo

    El Santo Chimp

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    If you're working in the city, seriously consider the Caltrain commuter towns along the peninsula. My wife and I split a commute and live in San Mateo, which is about halfway between Palo Alto an SF. I ride the train to work every day.

    Mid-pen benefits:

    1. *very* close to all the mid-pen riding (skyline open space preserves, pacifica)
    2. *much* more bang for the housing buck - we pay $1800 for a 4 bedroom house with hardwoods, a 2 car garage and a big back yard (contrast this with 1br postage-stamp sized cribs with NO parking in SF)
    3. caltrain - you can bring your bike on the train at no extra cost - and the thing is like a swiss watch when it comes to the schedule
    4. SF is 20' away by car, and about the same by caltrain

    In terms of Peninsula town costs($), coolness (c - read 'stuff to do'), from SF to Mountain View, here's the rundown. Baby bullit stops are listed with * (express trains):

    * SF $$$$/cccc
    Brisbane $/c
    SSF $/c
    * Millbrae $/c
    San Bruno $/c
    Burlingame $$/ccc
    * San Mateo $/cc
    * Hillsdale $$/cc
    San Carlos $$/cc
    Belmont $$/cc
    * Redwood City $/c
    * Menlo Park $$$$/ccc
    * Palo Alto $$$$/cccc
    Mountain View $$/cc

    There you go. PM me if you want specifics.

    -Gus
     
  19. Scarpa

    Scarpa Chimp

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    My aunt lives in Vallejo and commutes to SF on the ferry. Don't know the rents out there but just throwing out another option.