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Possible new U. S. home. Cycling advantages/disadvatages??(38 posts)

Possible new U. S. home. Cycling advantages/disadvatages??Cima Coppi
Jan 7, 2002 6:30 AM
Good morning all,

My better half found out last week that her employer is shutting down its facility here in Denver and is consolidating its employee base back east in New Jersey and Florida. They have offered every employee the opportunity to relocate, and keep their jobs with the company.

Here's my question. The possibilities for a new home would be Jacksonville, Florida and Hopewell, New Jersey. I would like some feedback on either of these locations pertaining to quality of cycling life. I'm planning on starting cyclocross racing later this season, and I know the North Eastern U.S. is a hot spot for CX, but I'd like some feedback on both locations.

As always, your input is greatly appreciated.

re: Possible new U. S. home. Cycling advantages/disadvatages??morey
Jan 7, 2002 6:34 AM
I would pick Jacksonville. You can ride in North Florida, Central Florida and the Panhandle very easily. The riding is great, and you can ride year round. You will love it in Florida. The one thing is that there are few hills in Florida.
Jan 7, 2002 7:02 AM
A few weeks of cold and snow and you're moving? ;-)

I haven't lived in either area but I am originally from the east coast. If you want to get serious about CX then New Jersey no question. The MAC series is becoming really popular and you could even do some of the New England Verge series with a little drive. Florida is not exactly a cross hot bed. After going to CX Nats it's apparent the North East and Mid Atlantic are pretty much where it's at for east coast cross racing.

As an aside I went for a nice Boulder open space cross ride in the snow with lonefrontranger last Saturday. Awesome.
Jan 7, 2002 7:06 AM
He is entirely correct if you are into CX.
Whoa, No kidding!!!Cima Coppi
Jan 7, 2002 7:14 AM
Sorry I could not ride yesterday. It killed me because it was such a beautiful day to put in some miles.

I had a suspicion that Florida would not be conducive to CX, but this is why I'm trying to get as much information as possible to make a decision. We have 6 months before the site closes down and we would have to move, so there is time to get all of the variables answered.

Hopefully we can get together this weekend and ride!!

Jan 7, 2002 8:14 AM
I recall reading something in the Denver Post about a certain investment company with offices at Meridian shutting down. Sorry to hear that, but on the upside if you go to New Jersey the cross racing will be great. Here in Colorado we have some pretty crappy courses compared to what's available back east.

I'm doing a team ride on Saturday but perhaps something on Sunday? Weather looks great for this week.
Boulder Open space cross ride?ColnagoFE
Jan 7, 2002 1:08 PM
Where would that be? I don't know of any decent off-road rides in Boulder proper unless you count Bestasso or Heil Ranch.
Near GunbarrelBipedZed
Jan 7, 2002 2:32 PM
I don't know Boulder at all, but it was a series of open space paths that were mostly double track width with some nice rolling climbs. Perfect for a race-geared cross bike. Linked together it was 90 minutes out and back but we had time constraints, otherwise we could have put together a longer ride. Saw Alex Candelario heading out while we were on the way back.

Now I want to move to Boulder.
yeah i think i know where that isColnagoFE
Jan 7, 2002 3:43 PM
So east of town...kinda near some farms? Cows nearby? There are precious little decent off-road trails close to town so I was just curious. Still a 15-20 minute drive or slightly longer bike ride gets you to decent single/doubletrack. Lots of good riding in general here though even though the traffic is getting worse.
Valmont - Lookout Rd. open spacelonefrontranger
Jan 7, 2002 9:01 PM
Don't know the official name, but it's that trail that runs just west of 95th behind all the millionaire palaces and horse farms on Gunbarrel Hill.

These trails run all the way from Arapahoe, past Valmont to the intersection of Lookout / 75th. A spur cuts out onto the 1st step of Gunbarrel Hill onto 95th St, so you can basically park at either end.

I worked in Gunbarrel, live in Lafayette, so I have lots of the surrounding stuff mapped out. From my house, there are several options to do 2 to 3 hours of open space riding without really getting involved with cars at all. Coal Creek to Louisville is a great quick ride, but you have to stick to the trail - the goatheads (thorns) are legendary on that one.

As BipedZed can attest from Saturday's adventure, if you know where to look, there are also many unmarked, unmapped little sections of singletrack and dirt that run through the easements between developments and connect from open space to open space. I ride with the guys at BOA (Boulder Off-Road Alliance) enough that I've figured out a bunch of these, which can easily turn a fairly boring hour of MUT riding into a 3-hour bomber cruise.

BTW, I forgot to mention the big dirt jump park just over the lip of the hill from where we parked on Sat. Crashed there many a time!
re: Possible new U. S. home. Cycling advantages/disadvatages??morey
Jan 7, 2002 8:24 AM
I agree that CX is probably better in NJ, however I would not move there on a dare. I am content that I can ride year round.
I've lived in both butgrandemamou
Jan 7, 2002 10:28 AM
I'm pretty biased. I hate cold weather. Plenty of that in NJ along with traffic and taxes. For me at least, the lower cost of living, lower taxes and warm weather far outweigh the benefits of living in NJ. Also, I really like the beach and there are some pretty nice ones around J'ville. I live in the deep south and can ride year round. I love that part. But like I said I'm kind of biased. Good luck on your move.
re: Possible new U. S. home. Cycling advantages/disadvatages??LC
Jan 7, 2002 10:41 AM
I spent about a year in Jacksonville and that year was the only time in my life that I actually lost interest in riding. Yes you can ride year round with the nice weather, but the riding is very boring. There is no hills which for me growing up in the Pacific NW was very discouraging. Just mindless flat pedaling, not much scenery, no twisty winding roads on the edge of a cliff, and lots of sweat from the hot humid weather. Winter is much better than summer as it is just too damn hot and heat stroke is a serious concern. The beaches were nice though, as well as the skimpy thong bikinis! The few rides that I did enjoy were on the beach riding the sand near the water. What i really missed was the NW single track.

Not really a bad place to live at all, but if you really live for cycling then it may not be the best for you. i have not been to NJ so I don't know what that is like.
Hopewell NJ is a beautiful place. Rolling hills,bill
Jan 7, 2002 11:14 AM
country roads, near Princeton. Close enough to Philadelphia and New York City. I've never really been to Jacksonville (been through there, long time ago), but I would take Hopewell in a heartbeat, cycling or no.
How are the roads for cyclists?Cima Coppi
Jan 7, 2002 12:19 PM

Thanks for your response about Hopewell. I must ask how are the roads for cyclists? I looked at a topo map of the town and the surrounding region, and the roads look like they meander through those rolling hills. Often when I drive or ride on such roads here in Colorado, they lack any shoulder room for a cyclist. How is this in NJ? Are most drivers aware of and courteous toward cyclists?

Thanks again.

I haven't cycled around Hopewell. A friend lives there, andbill
Jan 7, 2002 1:21 PM
I have visited from the suffocating comfort of my automobile. My guess is, though, that it wouldn't be too bad. The Princeton area (and Hopewell is really part of that community; lots of people live in Hopewell and work in Princeton, either at the university or at one of the many high-tech or financial companies in the area) is affluent and educated, which, if I may interpolate wildly, means that they may be more tolerant of cyclists than your average pickup driver. Not too many rednecks, if you know what I mean. Proportionately. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
CC, bill is on trackclimbo
Jan 8, 2002 6:03 AM
the road riding around Hopewell and Princeton is fantastic ! Princeton itself is a busy little town but 5 minutes out of it and you are in rolling country side with not much traffic at all and across the river in to Bucks County, PA the cycling gets better, hills larger and the cars more friendly. It is very much a farming/country living area around here and the traffic is light, especially on week days. There are lots of people out riding on the road around these parts all summer, many casually, many training for races etc.

Sure, we have our share of idiots on the roads but you can easily get away from it if you know where to go.
Hey Climbo...biknben
Jan 8, 2002 12:40 PM
I assume you remember that rain ride we did together. What are you up to now. Recently saw your name on the SMART website. I'm a new member. I'm surprised I didn't see you at the Single Speed race at Ringwood in Nov.

Drop me a line at if you want to get together for a ride. I'm still regretting not taking you up on that offer for Jim Thorpe. Still haven't been there but want to go.

New jersey is the armpit of the US (nNM)R. U. Putinmeon?
Jan 7, 2002 1:10 PM
New jersey is the armpit of the US (nNM)SnowBlind
Jan 7, 2002 2:08 PM
Yes, but is right next to the crown jewel of America, NY, NY. *Sigh*, real food.

Sacramento is the armpit of CA (ok, ok not nearly as bad as Modesto or Barstow) but we do have SF, even though it has kinda sucked ever since Willy Brown and the Dot-Commies ruined the place.
North Jersey? YES! South Jersey? Completely different! -NMTig
Jan 7, 2002 2:15 PM
Why did NJ get the toxic waste dumps and FL get the geezers?MB1
Jan 7, 2002 2:10 PM
New Jersey picked first! ;-) (Sorry morey, I couldn't resist.)

I live in DC, the weather ain't that much different than New Jersey. We ride year round and enjoy the changes in season-this after living all my life in Hawaii and California.

You can ride anywhere, there must be more important considerations as to which area to relocate to. Like cost of living, schools, dimpled chads and hurricanes and noreasters.

Ride on
Why did NJ get the toxic waste dumps and FL get the geezers?morey
Jan 8, 2002 6:20 AM
I thought us Geezers were just smarter!
Probably since it is freezing here again today. nmMB1
Jan 8, 2002 8:53 AM
Jacksonville, FL = Redneck Rivieragrzy
Jan 7, 2002 2:44 PM
You need to visit both, but in my expereince NJ would be far preferable to Jacksonville. From a cycling standpoint the differences are probably even more extreme. When you think of Jacksonville think of tall skinny pine trees, endlessly flat and straight roads, beer guzzling white trash drving jacked up load pick'em ups proudly displaying the "stars and bars" throwing empties at "faggit" bike riders. Think Navy town and strip joints. Enjoy the concept of taking three showers per day to deal with the heat and humidity (they've got lots of both). Think thunderstorms all summer long. Roaches big enough to arm wrestle with for the TV remote - get used to the lingering smell of bug killer. Then there's the recent shark attacks, although the record for catching the largest shark by one man from a pier is in NJ. Southern NJ gives you a chance for some senic riding and the ability to easily get to other states with hills and mountains. Remember the mantra when in Jacksonville - things go better with gasoline and beer.
Jan 7, 2002 5:48 PM
Everyone knows that NJ is a toxic waste dump filled with mobsters while J'ville is full of rednecks with guns. Pick your poison.
Jan 8, 2002 9:29 AM
You obviously missed the miles and miles of farm land in NJ. Seems they grow things other than sludge.
just helping perpetuategrandemamou
Jan 8, 2002 10:34 AM
stereo-types. Apparently only works one way.
Jacksonville, FL = Redneck Rivieramorey
Jan 8, 2002 6:16 AM
I think you are confusing the Panhandle with Jacksonville as far as "Rednecks" are concerned. I am from Manhattan, rarely have I met someone that was actually born in Florida.
In fact, most people are from the Northeast.
As far as hills are concerned, any one that has ridden the "Hilly Hundred", The Horse Farm Hundred and Sugarloaf Mountain will attest that Florida has some hills.
As far as the scenery goes, I love it. Personally I do not need NJ. Even though Jersey has some beautiful spots, it does get cold, it snows, and it has GANGSTERS. Is this the same as Rednecks.
Jan 8, 2002 9:28 AM
I'm not confusing anything - I lived in the Panhandle for a year (LA --> Lower Alabama) and have spent a bunch of time in Jacksonville. Hey, I didn't make up the label. It has existed for a long time. I think it's safe to say one could expect more problems as a cyclist riding around J'ville than rural southern NJ. Gangsters don't generally live in the sticks, drive clapped out trucks and throw half empty beer cans at cyclists. Race would also play a role. The population from the southern half of Florida isn't anything like the northern half. Just like in NJ. You can't get away from the racist white trash image in J'ville - America's largest city in terms of land area. Does Florida still have drive through liquor stores and _no_ open container law? Then there's always that fine institution that is Hooters - an explicit celebration of sexism posing as an eating establishement. I never could find any owls though....

BTW - I bet those hilly rides in Florida are _really_ gruelling - how many (white) trash heaps does one have to climb to log 1,000' of vertical? Do you have to use your 21? Anyone who lives in Florida (even Tallahasse) isn't qualified to talk about hills.
Jan 8, 2002 10:41 AM
I have done the Ride Across America, done the Continental Divide twice, have done many hills and mountains both here and in Europe (have you?). Some rides in Florida will kick your ass!
Now I will get in my Cadillac or Lincoln, holster my gun and ride!
Jan 8, 2002 1:20 PM
Any ride can kick your ass if you go long enough and/or hard enough. Hell you can get your ass kicked on a track in less than 30 minutes and not climb one foot. That's not the point. I simply stated that what qualifies as a big hill anywhere in the state of Florida wouldn't even deserve mention most other places - even NJ (High Point, New Jersey, 1,803 Feet). Have yet to see many cycling tours adverised for beautiful Jacksonville, FL. So what is the highest point in the state of FL? That would be Lakewood (Britton Hill), Florida, 345 Feet - Lowest High Point in U.S. What a distinction. Yup, the thought of climbing 345' all at once really earns my you need a triple for this one? What's it like descending this treacherous pitch? Can you hit 50 mph? What's it like not having the air get thin? Does this get you above the (scrawny) tree line? Can you see many strip joints from there? Do they sell beer in cans at the top at a drive through liquor store?

Haven't had the pleasure of doing the rides you mentioned - I have frequently riden with and had my ass kicked by the women's record holder for the RAAM so I guess we have something in common. Mostly stick to the mts. in Northern California - where there are just a few worthy climbs. I'd like to see a Florida rider attempt any of the 3 following rides: The Terrible Two, The Climb to Kaiser, or The Markleeville Death Ride. Then we can sit down and talk about climbing.

Ultimately living in J'ville. FL would have to be the pits for a serious cyclist.
Jan 8, 2002 1:52 PM
Actually you are quite right. A mountain in Florida is a molehill in other places. I have not had trouble with drunk drivers or rednecks. Rude people yes! but I think they exist everywhere. I personally do not like Jax, however just because it is the Bible capital of Florida (goes hand in hand with bars).
Jacksonville, FL = Redneck Rivierawalter
Jan 8, 2002 5:49 PM
A native Floridian perspective. Through the 1980s I probably would have equated Jville with NJ. Jville had a number of paper factories along the St. John's river and residents from the industrial NE no doubt felt right at home. I remember not being able to eat a nice seafood dinner at an outdoor restaurant on the river due to the stench. The paper mills are long gone and by all accounts Jville is a pleasant place to live. When I hear people from "New anywhere" speak poorly of Fla I do have to wonder why so many of their kindred buttwipes haved moved here. Certainly we outnumbered natives didn't force anyone to relocate.

In regards to hills, obviously Fla is flat. There are some areas NE of Tampa which if not hilly at least undulate enough to get your attention. They should not be a major challenge to an accomplished climber. The rides along the beach are beautiful and oftentimes the onshore breeze is strong enough to make you work.
There's TWO Hopewell's in NJ. Which one?Tig
Jan 7, 2002 6:38 PM
One is up near the norther boarder, west of Hackensack. The other is in central NJ, closer to Trenton. I'm not sure of the difference between the two since I've never been in that part of the state.
re: Possible new U. S. home. Cycling advantages/disadvatages??mackgoo
Jan 7, 2002 7:04 PM
I'm from MA, It will probably be pretty hot durring the summer but the winters would be great. I'd go to FL.
CC - I work for them too, but in Hopewellclimbo
Jan 8, 2002 5:58 AM
I work the the company you mention and I moved to NJ from California 2 years ago and have never regretted it. The riding in NJ is awesome and the cross season is unmatchable. You have NY, Philly, D.C., all great places close by as well as Boston etc. You can get to the Carribean easily and the riding is great. If you race, there is plenty of stuff happening here and it starts in March so the winter does not effect the racing for that long, especially if you race CX until December. It really just gives you a couple of months as a forced off-season, other places like Florida just go all the time. If you want more information I'd be glad to help you out, let me know and I'll give you my details so you can contact me offline.
Climbo, thanks for the information...Please contact me offlineCima Coppi
Jan 8, 2002 6:50 AM
Please e-mail me at:

I would really like to talk to you more about Hopewell. I think I am leaning more toward moving to NJ over FL, but we are trying to get as much information as we can.

Thanks again,