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Best cycling city in USA?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Best cycling city in USA?

Old 12-05-19, 03:45 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
One of the most often heard complaints on this forum is being harassed by motorists. I would submit then that an important characteristic for good cycling is the attitude of the general public toward cycling.
This is key. I'd prefer to ride on crappy roads with little or no traffic.

Rural riding is also a factor to consider, any city will get old after awhile.

Newer sections of Shanghai have glass smooth empty roads, especially at night.
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Old 12-05-19, 07:03 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Nachoman View Post
I'll cast another vote for Santa Barbara. I love how you can basically pedal out your front door and within minutes be at the base of a 5,000 foot climb and see virtually no cars up there. Pedaling up Gibraltar and down Painted Cave is one of my all time favorite rides, whereas to get the same ride from my front door here in San Diego, I basically have to drive an hour east to get to Kitchen Creek.
tuff to beat. riding an hour south or north or east brings you into different scenery. an hour's drive quadruples your options: fig mtn, santa ynez valley, santa maria, arroyo grande, ojai, carrizo plain nm, sammos, etc.
two hours drive gets you to oc, gmr/grr/baldy/edge of san berdoos/high desert, north side of angeles nf, grapevine corridor, slo. avila beach, paso robles, morro bay, etc...
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Old 12-05-19, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by RupertCornelius View Post
Ya, I was thinking more as an ideal training and/or ideal city for someone who wanted to go do long recreational rides all the time as opposed to bike lanes downtown, but all the responses have been interesting.

Basically I'm tired of riding the same dozen hills and few hundred miles of roads around me and want to fantasize about living somewhere where I can roll out of my house and hit endless scenic mountain roads.
Minneapolis doesn't have a mountain (I know of two Cat 4 climbs I can get to outta the garage). OTOH, thanks to Strava and the riders I follow, I have an endless list of long training routes. Plus, winter group rides are common, just require different gear (gravel or CX bike with studded tire option, warm gear, ...). I love it here, but it doesn't sound like the right fit for your goals. Keep us posted on the destination that wins for you.
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Old 12-05-19, 04:11 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by RupertCornelius View Post
It's a common theme in many sports - skiing, running, rock climbing, etc that people seek out the best cities to live in to have the best places nearby, but I haven't seen the similar sorts of threads for cycling.
Do you have to live in said city?
Do you also have to make a living in said city?
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Old 12-06-19, 06:57 AM
  #55  
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Best cycling city in USA?
Originally Posted by RupertCornelius View Post
It's a common theme in many sports - skiing, running, rock climbing, etc that people seek out the best cities to live in to have the best places nearby, but I haven't seen the similar sorts of threads for cycling.

Where in the US has the best road cycling? .

So all things considered - year-round weather, terrain, roads, traffic, group rides, etc, where has the best cycling?
Originally Posted by nycphotography View Post
Do you have to live in said city?

Do you also have to make a living in said city?
I have posted about Boston:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Personally. I'm very happy cycling in Metro Boston, and have posted an informal Cycling Guide to Metro Boston (link) that would make a nice hub and spoke tour of nine days

It may seem parochial, but I think the cycling around here is great. One can be in scenic countryside within about one hour from downtown, while passing through an interesting, compact urban and suburban scene. Furthermore you can extend your range with a convenient Commuter Rail that allows fully-assembled bikes during off-peak hours. In Spring through Fall it’s a temperate climate

Besides the cycling, Boston is such a popular tourist [and residential] destination that there will always be something interesting to do off the bike…culture, nightlife, sports and so forth.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…And [on my commute] I cycle a nice distance of at least 14 miles through one of America’s most charming, interesting, and historic metropolises on residential and light commercial roads (and partially on a bikepath in a park) in the reverse commuter direction early in the morning, during all four (pleasant to tolerable) seasons.

For training purposes, I can expand my routes to encompass popular high-level cycling outer suburbs (e.g. Dover, for the cognoscenti)
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...I have ridden out West in the Desert, Rockies, and vast Plains, and while interesting and scenic, the views are unchanging for miles, and Ireally enjoy the intimate quirkiness of Metro Boston:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
"Does a near-perfect weather place exist?"

Personally the only weather I don’t like to ride in is rain, and no rain would be a desert. That said, I really like riding in all seasons, even winter. So my near perfect weather would present the best of all seasons, without the extremes, and I already live here.

Nice, albeit short Spring with beautiful blossoms and that first few weeks of relief from Winter; glorious summer; cool crispy Autumn with colorful foliage; and even a bracing, and challenging Winter, but not one impossible to ride in.
Finally, while Massachusetts does have a few named mountains, those of Vermont and New Hamphire are within a few hours drive, and for many in Boston they are routine one day or weekend trips.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 12-06-19 at 07:21 AM. Reason: added "Finally..."
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Old 12-06-19, 02:01 PM
  #56  
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Well, I just have to add, having lived sort of all over the country, if you can do without the seasons, coastal Southern California weather is pretty darn hard to beat.
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Old 12-06-19, 05:34 PM
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Overall or as a whole Los Angeles is not the best. But I live in West LA, (Brentwood), and in that context, it doesn't get any better. I am three miles from the ocean. I can choose to ride between the southern tip of LA County and well into Ventura county. Or I can choose to ride in the Santa Monica Mountain/Hollywood hills that collectively have whatever degree of climbing you desire and lots of beautiful surroundings. The weather allows me to ride comfortably all year round. The drivers of cars are overall pretty sophisticated, cooperative, and obliging to bikes. So when you consider the boundaries or areas where I ride it doesn't get any better IMO. I'm lucky.
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Old 12-07-19, 12:42 PM
  #58  
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As a fellow Los Angeleno I was surprised to see LA as #4 in US cities for cycling friendliness (most recent GCN video covered that article). Not that we're a bad city for cycling: the west-side and beach communities up and down the coast are very friendly. But I guess I always thought that other places would be more bike friendly given how traffic-congested we are at all times.
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Old 12-07-19, 05:02 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by SHBR View Post
Newer sections of Shanghai have glass smooth empty roads, especially at night.
Beautiful video, thanks for sharing! I visited last year and it blew me away. Amazing place.
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Old 12-08-19, 02:29 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by goenrdoug View Post
Beautiful video, thanks for sharing! I visited last year and it blew me away. Amazing place.
Thanks!

Seems you had a better experience than this guy.
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Old 12-09-19, 07:20 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by SHBR View Post
Thanks!

Seems you had a better experience than this guy.
I waited in those lines this summer and it went pretty quickly. I had a much worse experience in Dublin, where the lines were backed up to the gates and there were 3 customs agents. And I would hate to be a non-citizen waiting at JFK.

And where in Shanghai was that video? I did notice that at night it gets pretty deserted, even in the center.
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Old 12-09-19, 12:50 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by SHBR View Post
Thanks!

Seems you had a better experience than this guy.
That's straight Blades of Glory...
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Old 12-09-19, 09:43 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
I waited in those lines this summer and it went pretty quickly. I had a much worse experience in Dublin, where the lines were backed up to the gates and there were 3 customs agents. And I would hate to be a non-citizen waiting at JFK.

And where in Shanghai was that video? I did notice that at night it gets pretty deserted, even in the center.
The Pudong airport is not a happy place in my experience.

I've been through those lines more than I care to remember, and yes other countries can be just as bad or worse.

Waimalu road, on the west side of the Huangpu river.
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Old 12-09-19, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by CarloM View Post
That's straight Blades of Glory...
Truth is stranger than fiction.

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Old 12-09-19, 10:25 PM
  #65  
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I traveled for a living and without a doubt, the longest cab line I ever encountered was at Pudong. What a flipping nightmare.
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Old 12-10-19, 05:01 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by RupertCornelius View Post
It's a common theme in many sports - skiing, running, rock climbing, etc that people seek out the best cities to live in to have the best places nearby, but I haven't seen the similar sorts of threads for cycling.
Just to come back to this point. I don't know of anyone who moved city for running (except to maybe take up and athletic scholarship, or be close to top level coaching or a high performance training centre), but surely someone who moved city for skiiing or rock climbing did so because they lived in a city that literally had no skiing or rock climbing. Which wouldn't be uncommon. The same could be said for surfing, or white water rafting, or cave exploring; if these things are your passion, you go where you can do them. However, there is no city anywhere that doesn't have roads you can ride a bike on. Some may have less than ideal bicycle infrastructures, but it is possible to ride a bike in Dallas/Hong Kong/Sao Paulo. You just have to be careful.
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Old 12-10-19, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Best cycling city in USA?I have posted about Boston: Finally, while Massachusetts does have a few named mountains, those of Vermont and New Hamphire are within a few hours drive, and for many in Boston they are routine one day or weekend trips.
I admire the positivity but I also live in Boston and am beyond tired of passing one ghost bike after the next. It seems every week another person is run over by a car and the city does nothing to protect our lives. After living in Colorado and several other places you realize that this place is the absolute most dangerous area to be on a bicycle. Now, if you are out in Lexington or the Western burbs that's a different story.
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Old 12-10-19, 05:24 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by mw22224444 View Post
I admire the positivity but I also live in Boston and am beyond tired of passing one ghost bike after the next. It seems every week another person is run over by a car and the city does nothing to protect our lives.

After living in Colorado and several other places you realize that this place is the absolute most dangerous area to be on a bicycle. Now, if you are out in Lexington or the Western burbs that's a different story.
Thanks for the reply, but I can't think of another "best city," better than Boston according to my personal preferences, cycling from Kenmore Square.

Just a couple of minutes ago I posted to a thread, "Tricyclist Killed in Portland [OR] Suburb"about the reporting of fatalities, and how I assure my safety. I don't think Boston is that much, if at all worse,than other places with lots of cyclists and cars.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 12-11-19 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 12-11-19, 05:29 AM
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˄˄˄˄
Originally Posted by mw22224444 View Post
I admire the positivity but I also live in Boston and am beyond tired of passing one ghost bike after the next. It seems every week another person is run over by a car and the city does nothing to protect our lives.…

After living in Colorado and several other places you realize that this place is the absolute most dangerous area to be on a bicycle...
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Thanks for the reply, but I can't think of another "best city," better than Boston according to my personal preferences, cycling from Kenmore Square.

...I don't think Boston is that much, if at all worse than other places with lots of cyclists and cars.
I have previously posted to this thread,
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
"Cheering on New Bike Lanes".

...There is a current thread on the A&S forum, I almost got doored - yet most drivers blame me. How do we improve car culture?,” with a big brouhaha about riding along parked cars… do or don’t; be watchful, or install new technology in cars.

I was mindful of that thread when two days ago I rode my bike from downtown Boston South Station (Railroad), about five miles out to the Brighton neighborhood. The first quarter mile is through a dense commercial maze with heavy auto and pedestrian traffic, then less than a quarter mile on car-free Boston Common.

Next was about a mile on one-way Beacon Street with parked cars on both sides. That used to be a hazardous ride IMO until a while back this bike lane was installed, safe from traffic, but still beset with more predictable hazards of intersections, pedestrians, salmoning cyclists, but with a buffer zone from opening passenger side doors.




Then a short segment through Kenmore Square to Commonwealth Avenue (“Comm Ave”), with a prominent presence of Boston University with a heavy cycling population, as well as a commercial thoroughfare. It is in the vicinity of a few cycling fatalities in the recent years. Much to my delight I found this new, beautiful separate bike lane with a similar one on the opposite side.



The last mile of my trip was on a typical bike lane I thought was wide enough to comfortably accommodate riding on the left side to avoid sudden door openings.




Later on my return trip, cycling traffic was heavier, and the faster cyclists did use the auto travel lane, but traffic is calmed by fairly closely spaced traffic signals.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Earlier this year,
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Just this morning (3/8/19) on the 6-7 AM segment of the Jeff Kuhner talk show on WRKO, he discussed proposals by mayor Marty Walsh to decrease the speed limit in Boston to 20 mph, and increase the number of bus and bike lanes.

He was vehemently against it, as were many of the callers, with snide comments about cyclists.

I called in as Jim from Boston…and introduced myself as his Number One Fan among Boston Cyclists...

So I was pleased with this progress to make cycling safer in Boston, especially since I have previously posted:…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMqVLVi1Zpk

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 12-11-19 at 07:22 AM.
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Old 12-11-19, 06:13 AM
  #70  
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˄˄˄˄
Originally Posted by mw22224444 View Post
...After living in Colorado and several other places you realize that this place is the absolute most dangerous area to be on a bicycle.

Now, if you are out in Lexington or the Western burbs that's a different story....
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Thanks for the reply, but I can't think of another "best city," better than Boston according to my personal preferences, cycling from Kenmore Square...
Your criticism is directed towards urban riding, i.e. mostly cycle commuting which I consider enviable compared to other cities.

Nonetheless, for road cycling, the intent of this thread, I specifically posted:
Originally Posted by RupertCornelius View Post
...Where in the US has the best road cycling?
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Personally. I'm very happy cycling in Metro Boston, and have posted an informal Cycling Guide to Metro Boston (link) that would make a nice hub and spoke tour of nine days

It may seem parochial, but I think the cycling around here is great. One can be in scenic countryside within about one hour from downtown, while passing through an interesting, compact urban and suburban scene. Furthermore you can extend your range with a convenient Commuter Rail that allows fully-assembled bikes during off-peak hours. In Spring through Fall it’s a temperate climate

Besides the cycling, Boston is such a popular tourist [and residential] destination that there will always be something interesting to do off the bike…culture, nightlife, sports and so forth.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...I have ridden out West in the Desert, Rockies, and vast Plains, and while interesting and scenic, the views are unchanging for miles, and I really enjoy the intimate quirkiness of Metro Boston:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…Personally the only weather I don’t like to ride in is rain, and no rain would be a desert. That said, I really like riding in all seasons, even winter. So my near perfect weather would present the best of all seasons, without the extremes, and I already live here.

Nice, albeit short Spring with beautiful blossoms and that first few weeks of relief from Winter; glorious summer; cool crispy Autumn with colorful foliage; and even a bracing, and challenging Winter, but not one impossible to ride in
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Finally, while Massachusetts does have a few named mountains, those of Vermont and New Hamphire are within a few hours drive, and for many in Boston they are routine one day or weekend trips.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 12-11-19 at 09:42 AM. Reason: insertesd quote by the OP, RupertCornelius
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Old 12-16-19, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
I think that San Diego is surprisingly un-cycling friendly for the amount of riders it has. This includes miles of bike lanes and general road conditions. Within the county, North County is significantly better with easier access to open country roads and climbing.

I will agree that the amount of clubs, events and weather are indeed pretty tough to beat. In regards to the events, the number of USAC sanctioned races has dropped from 5-6 a few years ago to just 1 now. But that problem also extends to SCNCA/NCNCA and the nation at large. USAC needs to do a better job of fostering participation, and we need another lance-like GC rider to garner interest on a bigger scale.

My vote def. goes to Santa Barbara for the record. I spent 10 weeks there interning in college (~2009) and had a hard time staying in the lab enough... Great riding all around and drivers that seemed to be more tolerant towards it. San Diego is quite conservative in comparison, politically and culturally and I've felt generally safer on the road the farther north in the state I've been. College was Humboldt State U, also awesome but just so remote, and rain.
I live in San Diego (north county) and agree. The roads within the city are terrible with potholes and drivers are hostile towards cyclists.
North county is much better.
Also agree about Santa Barbara, that is were we go bicycling vacation. Foxen Cyn Rd - Doesn't get much better than that.
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Old 12-24-19, 09:13 PM
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Tucson. Roadies everywhere, all year round, and a good-sized road scene. Also a local 6,000+ foot climb. Search RWGPS for keyword "Lemmon" and you will see rides with elevation gains over 8,000k for a day's ride.
I ride in groups of 5-40 3 times a week(minimum) all year round, and lead at least one 70+ mile ride every month.
When it heats up in the summer we go out earlier, to higher elevation, or travel.
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Old 12-24-19, 09:54 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by RupertCornelius View Post
It's a common theme in many sports - skiing, running, rock climbing, etc that people seek out the best cities to live in to have the best places nearby, but I haven't seen the similar sorts of threads for cycling.

Where in the US has the best road cycling? I'd think maybe somewhere in California, where you get year-round rideable weather, not too hot summers but also no snow or cold in winter, along with ability to get up into mountains. Various places in the Rockies would be good for summer, but snowed in in the winter. Doesn't seem like anything east of the Mississippi would even be a contender, but maybe somewhere in North Carolina, Tennessee or Kentucky has the climate and topology, if it also had a local scene and safe roads.

So all things considered - year-round weather, terrain, roads, traffic, group rides, etc, where has the best cycling?
How about a city that has all of the above: Skiing, check. Running, check. Rock climbing, check. Road cycling, check. Mountain biking, check. ....but... you get snow in the winter, sorry; you're going to have to adapt to it.

Salt Lake City has all of this. Plus six national parks within a 5-hour drive (Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Arches, Yellowstone), rivers to raft, fishing, hunting (if that's your thing -- it's not mine), slickrock trails, Moab! a few hours away, hills to cycle up and down, or flats if you prefer that. Little Cottonwood canyon near my home goes from 5100 feet to 8800 feet in eight miles. But the big caveat is you have to get used to cold temperatures in the winter, and snow.

That said, for year-round riding, I really liked living in Los Angeles. And there are nice scenic rides available there too, plus thousands of miles of roads.

But cold temperatures aren't insurmountable. Today it was in the mid-30s, and I saw a 65 year old guy pedaling up the 11% grade near my house, in shorts. I see him every day. He can kick my butt on that hill, because I tend to lay off it and hit the gym when the weather turns cold. But I see road cyclists out every day except during snow storms. My road bike isn't optimal for winter, but my hybrid is outfitted with mudguards, 32mm GP 4 Season tires, and Bar Mitts to keep my fingers warm.

Last edited by daoswald; 12-24-19 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 12-25-19, 01:14 AM
  #74  
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Adelaide, definitely, Adelaide.

Oh wait--wrong country.
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Old 12-25-19, 06:01 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
How about a city that has all of the above: Skiing, check. Running, check. Rock climbing, check. Road cycling, check. Mountain biking, check. ....but... you get snow in the winter, sorry; you're going to have to adapt to it.

Salt Lake City has all of this. Plus six national parks within a 5-hour drive (Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Arches, Yellowstone), rivers to raft, fishing, hunting (if that's your thing -- it's not mine), slickrock trails, Moab! a few hours away, hills to cycle up and down, or flats if you prefer that. Little Cottonwood canyon near my home goes from 5100 feet to 8800 feet in eight miles. But the big caveat is you have to get used to cold temperatures in the winter, and snow.

That said, for year-round riding, I really liked living in Los Angeles. And there are nice scenic rides available there too, plus thousands of miles of roads.

But cold temperatures aren't insurmountable. Today it was in the mid-30s, and I saw a 65 year old guy pedaling up the 11% grade near my house, in shorts. I see him every day. He can kick my butt on that hill, because I tend to lay off it and hit the gym when the weather turns cold. But I see road cyclists out every day except during snow storms. My road bike isn't optimal for winter, but my hybrid is outfitted with mudguards, 32mm GP 4 Season tires, and Bar Mitts to keep my fingers warm.
you forgot great basin national park in nevada. many do just that. pity.
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