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Living in Denver,colo(14 posts)

Living in Denver,coloFURRY RABBIT
Aug 27, 2003 2:07 PM
my wife and i are considering on moving to Denver! My wife is a artist and i am a bike messenger 9 yr's on the east coast. WE need fresh air!! Other family members include 2 dogs and 1 cat. Any advise from current or past residents about living expences, politics, weather ect. Thanks
new front ranger...C-40
Aug 27, 2003 2:27 PM
I moved to Highlands Ranch (south Denver suburb) just over a month ago. There's lots of great riding out here. The main streets have wide bike lanes and there are many paved trails.

I can ride about 11 miles east to Chatfield Reservoir on a combination of paved trails and bike lanes. From there I can experience some real climbing up Deer Creek Canyon Road and High Grade Road. Makes a nice 40-50 mile loop.

One warning. It does take 4-6 weeks to acclimate to the altitude. I'm not there yet. My power output is still down. If I didn't have a triple on my bike, I wouldn't make it up High Grade Road. I've made it up Deer Creek Canyon on the double though (39/25 low gear).

Real estate prices are quite high compared to some other parts of the country (like the midwewst).
Holy cow...Rusty Coggs
Aug 27, 2003 4:01 PM
...you must be just down the street. I lived in SW Denver proper 1974-87.Took a job transfer to Texas and retired in 1997. Could live anywhere I want,but picked Denver. Winters seem milder, than in the old days..Lots of outdoor stuff to do. Cold and bad days in winter don't last long,Lots of sunshine. Housing is hi compared to where I came from ,but cheaper than places on East and west coasts.
new front ranger...Bulldozer
Aug 27, 2003 7:14 PM
I live in Highlands Ranch too. It's a bike-friendly area as mentioned. It's got the 2nd highest bikes per capita of any city in Colorado. (Boulder is first) One odd thing is that I've only found three bike shops in HR. Regardless, it's a nice place to live but the traffic is my #1 complaint.

C-40 - if you see a guy riding a fs Giant mtn bike around the Ranch, it's probably me...waiting for my Cinelli to some day magically arrive...
re: Living in Denver,coloSpiderman
Aug 27, 2003 2:40 PM
my GF and I are thinking of moving out there as well next spring. I will probably wrench in a shop - tons out there - and she doesn't know what she is going to do yet. I am totally stoked. I have never heard anything bad about Co. Living in NYC really makes moving out there (or anywhere) so appealing.
re: Living in Denver,colojtolleson
Aug 27, 2003 2:42 PM
I have lived in San Francisco (law school) and Phoenix as an adult, and the quality of life in Denver is far better. As C40 noted, housing prices are a huge problem. Finding a house for under $200k within Denver (it is better in the 'burbs) is hard except in the roughest neighborhoods.

Politically, Denver is solidly Democratic and fairly liberal, a progressive island in a state that, with the exception of Boulder and Aspen, is rock solid western conservative and predominantly Republican. It isn't the bible belt, but Colorado Springs ensures that the religious right is a powerful voice in Colorado politics, if that's your thang.

There are three very, very, large high quality bike clubs for the intermediate to advanced rider (Team Evergreen, Rocky Mtn Cycle Club, Colorado Heart Cycle) and the slightly more casual Denver Bicycle Touring Club is still around, too. You've got access to some of the west's classic cycling events (Elephant Rock Century and Triple Bypass, for example).

Cost of living is really the only downside IMO.
re: Living in Denver,coloKvonnah
Aug 27, 2003 2:49 PM
Denver is a great place to ride. As stated above, there are lots of paved trails and bike lanes (and unlike what it sounds like from other cities represented on this board, the MUTs are not over crowded!)

The cost of living is pretty high and the job market is a little lean right now (like everywhere.)

For your artist wife there is a great art community in Denver, tons of galleries and a few thriving hubs of art hangouts (I suggest the Mercury Cafe for Art, poetry, performance art, tango etc.)

Politically, the state is conservative but has a hardcore, growing population of left leaning activism (Bikes not Bombs etc.)

I don't know the job market for messengers but I do know they exist and are heavily concentrated downtown. All in all, if you can swing the cost of living (avg 2 bedroom rent 800 to 1100 per month and avg home price roughly 250,000) go for it!
Funny...Pack Meat
Aug 27, 2003 3:02 PM
nobody addressed your desire for fresh air. I agree with everything everybody said, I love it here. I live in Denver and work in Golden which is the perfect combination. Now about that air, Denver is known for the brown cloud that can sit over the city given the right conditions. The cloud is just pollution like what you would see in LA. And unfortunately, if you experience any allergy or asthma symptoms anywhere else, they will be 20 times worse here.

Check out the Denver/Boulder Couriers, messenger company and race team.
re: Living in Denver,coloKSC
Aug 27, 2003 3:05 PM
If you're looking for fresh air Denver might not be the best place. Our weather patterns are often good for smoke signals, but not so good for smog.

I've been in the Boulder & Denver area around 5 yrs now. Denver is a large city, so it offers the amentities you'd except in a large city, but in my opinion not much more. I like the area because of the weather and the proximity to the mountains without sacrificing a decent job market. I imagine your wife will find a art community to hook up with, but there's an article today in the Denver Post regarding the various segments of the art community battling for scraps of the dwindling arts budget.

I think living expenses run on the high end because of the housing prices, but wait a little while and maybe the housing market will crash. On the other hand, Coloradans don't like to be taxed which eases some costs as long as you don't mind mediocre public services. Speaking of which, Colorado has pockets of liberal politics (urban Denver, Boulder, some mountain towns), but is overall a conservative state. For instance, Colorado voters don't want to regulate home inspectors, but don't mind instigating the compulsory recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools.

Lack of growth planning (just add extra lanes the the highway!) will probably end up ruining the area, but for now I like it.

As for the pets, lots of hiking around that your dogs will love - hopefully they don't mind leashes. There has been a rash of cat murders recently (seriously).

Don't forget all those things that come along with most of the Western states - no trees (except the ones on fire), no water, massive growth. Nonetheless, those big open spaces and mountains sure are purty.

But hey, an artist and a bike messenger, sounds good to me, I say come on down.

I guess this is sort of a cycling related message...
re: Living in Denver,coloFURRY RABBIT
Aug 27, 2003 3:57 PM
thanks to everyone for there replys!!! Much appreciation!
in my somewhat professional opinionRower
Aug 27, 2003 8:26 PM
no offense to the people who live in highlands ranch, but if you're a bike messenger and your wife is an artist you probably want to stay clear of south denver. the art and bike messenger scenes are definitely more downtown. as long as you value more in life than the square footage of your house, there are plenty of older neighborhoods with reasonable housing options within biking distance of downtown. the area is full of great stuff. you just have to dig a little to find it.

if you don't live downtown, look for something along the light rail line. the old, traditional part of littleton is a good option. denver is a sprawling mass of a city that has typically tried to solve it's growth problems by adding more and more lanes of highway. traffic can be horrible and will definitely get to you, but if you work at it you can limit the need to drive by living and working in the right locations.

of course this is all in my humble opinion. as an architect/urban designer i realize i can be a little harsh with regards to such matters. i live in golden (west edge of denver/home of coors). it's four miles to my office, i can walk to the grocery store and a half dozen restuarants, there are a number of mountain biking options within riding distance of my house, and enough road riding to keep me happy (as long as you like hills). the cost of housing is a little bit more here, but for me it's worth it. i just live in a smaller house than i would in the burbs because to me quality of life means more than $$$$ per square footage.

the previous comments about the fresh air here are right. denver has had problems in the past meeting epa standards for clean air.

as for politics, denver seems to be only vaguely liberal in comparison to the extreme conservative nature of the rest of the state.
in my somewhat professional opinionBulldozer
Aug 28, 2003 8:03 AM
Yeah - only move to Highlands Ranch if you're concerned with the square footage of your house. The quality of life there sucks too...whatever.

At first I wasn't even going to post a reply because you opened it with "no offense" but I changed my mind. Keep your over-generalizations to yourself. Sorry to hijack your thread, Furry Rabbit.

P.S. - since when is Golden not in the burbs???
two-way streetiktome
Aug 28, 2003 8:46 PM
negative "over-generalizations" about why people live in highlands ranch are no different from positive over-generalizations about why it's great to live there. you say it's great, he says it sucks, you're both right in your own opinion.

In any event, you may not agree with the cost-per-square-foot comments, but you have to recognize that rower has an excellent point about the specific question presented here. that is to say -- highlands ranch is not the place for a bike messenger and an artist. if you don't understand that simple reality, i'm not sure that you understand either couriers or artists, and therefore may have little to offer here. no offense.

and finally, golden is a real town, quite unlike the "burbs" that highlands ranch unfortunately represents. golden was founded in 1859 (only one year after denver) and served as the territorial capital. if you'd ever been to downtown golden, you'd recognize that it is quite different from the colorado of the last 15 years. don't confuse the sprawl with the origin.
highlands ranchdotkaye
Aug 28, 2003 2:45 PM
is the breeding ground of America, everyone comes here to be fruitful and multiply. Lots and lots of kids, mine included. It's very convenient for raising kids, lots of trails, good schools, excellent rec centres, four grocery stores within a 3-mile radius of our house, etc. But it is a bit soulless. We're looking longingly at old Littleton but nor sure if we can afford it.

The riding is pretty good though. There's a 75 mile loop from my house that includes High Grade, a 3000ft climb over 15 miles, and traffic is avoidable for most of that way. For a short ride, Monarch road up to Castle Pines is a 15-mile round trip with good climbing. At lunchtime from work there's a 15 mile ride on trails and quiet roads around Chatfield Res that's virtually deserted at that time. My MTB buddies ride from home to Deer Creek park, which has some fearsome trails.