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Best places to live for recreational cyclists?

Jan 15, 2013
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Where are the nicest places in the world to live for someone who both commutes by bike, and enjoys recreational cycling, including sportives, tours, races? Some factors:

  • Parcours: decent climbs of different lengths and grades, good scenery.
  • Climate: Not too hot or too cold or too wet or too windy. Possible to cycle 12 months a year.
  • Bike-friendliness: Drivers aware of and respectful towards cyclists, possible to bring bikes on public transport.
So where I used to live in the East Bay Area:
  • Plenty of hills - some short walls, cat 2 climbs in the Berkeley Hills, Mount Tam etc over in Marin, HC Mount Diablo.
  • Perfect climate, mild all year round, although very hot of you go inland from the Berkeley Hills
  • Pretty good, people drive very slowly and give cyclists a wide berth, common to bring bikes on the BART
And now in Dublin (the real Dublin, not Dublin/Pleasonton :) ):
  • Wicklow Mountains to the south, a bunch of cat 2 and one cat 1 climb
  • Poor climate, mild but 185 days of rain a year, months of GW 2015 level winds in autumn/winter
  • Very poor, widespread speeding, dangerous overtaking, hit & runs. Have to pay to bring bikes on mainline trains, limited spaces
So where's good? The Côte d'Azur must be up there.
 
Feb 24, 2015
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In Essex, Eastern England;

Parcours: Lots of quiet little lanes; no decent climbs (Only one hill possibly cat 4)
Climate: Usually mild, fair amount of rain, occasional ice.
Bike-friendliness: Drivers in the majority are good, a few morons about.
 
Jun 30, 2012
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The southwest of the UK. I was based in Bristol and the cycling around there was fantastic. And continental Europe is just a short flight away.
 
Falls Creek Australia, it has the lot.

It tops out at 1600m altitude, either side down is a Cat 1/HC climb, up the top there's miles and miles of gravel roads, single track and DH runs, Mt Hotham and Mt Buffalo are less than 2hours ride from the base, there's Audax and sportive events all year as well as the Tour of Bright. A lot of pros use the area for pre season training.

Only downside is that it's a 3 hour drive from Melbourne and 1.5 from Albury.
 
May 15, 2014
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vedrafjord said:
So where's good? The Côte d'Azur must be up there.
That's what I was thinking. Maybe other hilly places in France like Pays Basque (Biarritz) or Limousin (Limoges) could fit the description.
 
Jun 30, 2012
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Piedmont in Italy is also fabulous. Any of the villages south of Milan (all the way to the coast) would be great.
 
Mountains are really nice, but I think mix of mountains and coastlines makes for the absolute best settings. Variety is also key. The best way out of the city for me is a fairly nice 6.5km @ 6.5% climb (that's about 420m to start off nearly every ride), but while I enjoy climbing it can get repetitive.

This is hardly breaking ground here, but northern California seems like a prime pick. Haven't ridden much there, but the weather is Goldilocks, the scenery is amazing and terrain is rolling in all directions even though there are few truly epic climbs. Santa Cruz seems like a good spot. Sausalito if you want to get closer to the city.
 
I guess something like Bolzano, Lago di Garda or Basler Land must be pure awesomeness for any serious cyclists!?

That said, Münsterland / Twente ain't no bad area as well. It just misses any mountains at all.
 
@NL_LeMondFans said:
vedrafjord said:
So where's good? The Côte d'Azur must be up there.
That's what I was thinking. Maybe other hilly places in France like Pays Basque (Biarritz) or Limousin (Limoges) could fit the description.
As usual, we agree on almost everything :D . Côte d'Azur is a big yes, Pays Basque absolutely (a bit inland for bigger climbs), Limousin? Meh...I wouldn't see myself living there year round. Corsica would be perfect, but the locals are not always friendly to newcomers :rolleyes: . Girona ;) ?
 
Jun 10, 2013
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Radelaide or Colorado, though climbs are a bit one-dimensional in both these places. Less so in the former.

In Europe, Basque Country, Lombardy would be my choices.
 
Jun 30, 2014
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Brixen/Bressanone would also be a good choice, lot's of shorter steep climbs and a few big climbs with less traffic than the big names in the dolomites, Würzjoch/Passo delle Erbe from Brixen or from Lüsen, Alpe di Rodenego, Kieneralm, Kreuztal/Valcroce.
As a local guy I have to mention the Upper Pusteria Valley, lot's of short climbs on the northern side of the valley and you're pretty close to all the big climbs around Cortina and Lienz, but the long winters aren't ideal for cyclists.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Tonton said:
@NL_LeMondFans said:
vedrafjord said:
So where's good? The Côte d'Azur must be up there.
That's what I was thinking. Maybe other hilly places in France like Pays Basque (Biarritz) or Limousin (Limoges) could fit the description.
As usual, we agree on almost everything :D . Côte d'Azur is a big yes, Pays Basque absolutely (a bit inland for bigger climbs), Limousin? Meh...I wouldn't see myself living there year round. Corsica would be perfect, but the locals are not always friendly to newcomers :rolleyes: . Girona ;) ?
The back country must be fabulous, but one reason I don't go to the côte d'azur is because of the people, cars, concrete and pollution. Not a place I would want to commute in any case.
 
Jul 6, 2012
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My partner's family are from the Salzkammergut, we're spending a fortnight there this summer and I hope to be able to give a good assessment after that. With the MTB and road possibilities, I almost feel I have to buy at least two new bikes before going to do it justice!

Scenery is awesome, the terrain great, and the roads well-maintained. I've only done them in a car so far though.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Koba80 said:
My partner's family are from the Salzkammergut, we're spending a fortnight there this summer and I hope to be able to give a good assessment after that. With the MTB and road possibilities, I almost feel I have to buy at least two new bikes before going to do it justice!

Scenery is awesome, the terrain great, and the roads well-maintained. I've only done them in a car so far though.
I have ridden through that region, it is truly beautiful. If you are a bit warm, a quick dip in a lake and you are good to go!
 
May 15, 2014
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Just back from les Corbières, near Narbonne. Theoretically, the best place to ride : lots of climbs and quiet roads, spectacular scenery... In just 54km I managed to go through hilly vineyards, forests, rocky canyons, then flat vineyards... Outstanding.

Only one problem : wind. Bloody awful.
 
Mar 8, 2016
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Everywhere is nice i guess! But best in my opinion is to have random terrain like flat roads, hilly and some long climbs aswell.
If you live in Friuli (Italy) you can find all of that. Or somewhere near the border with Italy like in Nova Gorica (Slovenia).
Zoncolan as the closest. Giro 2016 will climb on Matajur. There's another 20 km long climb in Slovenia which takes you over 2000 m altitute on the mountain called Mangart. Cycling around Collio (italian part) and Goriška Brda (slovenian part) will give you some short northern classics style climbs of 10-18% incline. And then there's the flat part leading you all the way to the sea.
Also you can go to other famous climbs in the Alps just few hours away!

But the most important thing is to keep calm and keep cycling!
 
May 11, 2009
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BigMac said:
Radelaide or Colorado, though climbs are a bit one-dimensional in both these places. Less so in the former.

....................
Boulder, Colorado is great - hundreds (if not thousands) of miles of bike paths, steep hills to the west, flat rides to the east, plus rolling hills in other areas. Plus if you watch or participate in racing there are active road, MTB, track, and CX races. Occasional snow in winter but around 300 sunny days a year. Oh yes - motorists are very friendly to cyclists (perhaps because they also ride bikes or someone in their family does).
 
Jul 14, 2009
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San Diego,South of France,Spain, NYC,Holland. If you want to race recreational style do not go to any of these places. They all have a super strong contingent of folks that work real jobs but ride like pros. Colorado is great for everything on a bike including beer before during and after rides
 
Mar 24, 2015
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Girona's not bad, the only negatives for me, loads of traffic and not enough variety of climbing. But if you head inland a tad more, you get everything. 40mins west and we have 30 plus Cat climbs inc a handful of HC. Polite drivers, smooth roads, little traffic, coast accessible, mountains accessible. Only issue, gets cold in winter, but that never stops anybody, right!
 
Jun 30, 2012
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Having just completed the East Maui loop, I would add Maui as a great place for cycling. A bit limited in some ways (being an island, and all), but what is here is just spectacular.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Grasse and surrounds. Easy one hour commute into Nice by bike. Loads of rides down to the Med. Loads of climbs inland. Gorge du Verdon a two hour ride away. Temperate Med climate with enough rainfall to keep the scenery lush. Hilltop towns, fab local restaurants.
 
Oct 25, 2016
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FrancoCarpa said:
Everywhere is nice i guess! But best in my opinion is to have random terrain like flat roads, hilly and some long climbs aswell.
If you live in Friuli (Italy) you can find all of that. Or somewhere near the border with Italy like in Nova Gorica (Slovenia).
Zoncolan as the closest. Giro 2016 will climb on Matajur. There's another 20 km long climb in Slovenia which takes you over 2000 m altitute on the mountain called Mangart. Cycling around Collio (italian part) and Goriška Brda (slovenian part) will give you some short northern classics style climbs of 10-18% incline. And then there's the flat part leading you all the way to the sea.
Also you can go to other famous climbs in the Alps just few hours away!

But the most important thing is to keep calm and keep cycling!
Having lived in Trieste (Venezia-Giulia) for a couple of years I can say I totally agree with that. Some of my favourite climbs in the area, and also in Europe, were Monte Crostis and Monte Mangart. There is also Vrsic pass on the Slovenian side and mount Učka further down south in Istria, Croatia. And it is only two hours away from the Dolomites, other climbs like Monte Grappa and also Austria, where there are some of the most difficult climbs in Europe. The weather is not bad either, I would cycle all year round. Trieste offers lot of possibilities to keep on training over the winter.
 
Nov 14, 2016
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anyone been to Spain in January? ,I watched the vuelta and would love to do some climbs..

I like the Pyraneese (been 4 times),central massive and going to explore the Alps next year....

Everyone is different ,I go for great sight's ,nice people ,nice climate....
 
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