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US "living" cities?

Discussion in 'Regional Forums' started by dizave, Feb 2, 2003.

  1. dizave

    dizave Team Blitzed

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    So I´m spending some time in Barcelona and had a lot of free time this weekend, so I´ve been just walking around. And as I really enjoy it here, and I often really don´t enjoy other places, I´ve been trying to figure out what is different.

    After two days of wandering and wondering, I think at least one of the differences is that this is a city where people actually live. When 5 o´clock rolls around, the city doesn´t empty out as everybody hops in their car and heads home.

    I´ll spare you guys all the details and get to my question: are there any cities in the US like this? Have you guys ridden through them or do you live in them? Which ones have you liked the most? If you are going to ride through a city, which ones are the best to ride through?

    -dave
    #1
  2. cRAsH

    cRAsH Banned

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    I generally hate cities, but San Francisco is not bad. Riding in it is a challenge, but maybe because I'm a country bumpkin...
    #2
  3. configurationspace

    configurationspace delooper

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    NYC does not empty out. Neither does Las Vegas, or New Orleans.

    This is not answering your question, but there is a wonderful city in Canada that's alive -- Montreal. At night the streets are full of people, the resturaunts downtown are packed and there's streets full of them, wonderful music scene, culturally dynamic, wonderful place.

    I don't know if I'd suggest riding through any of those cities, though. Maybe Las Vegas could be entertaining, but I've never done it. In Montreal you have to be on your toes as people drive quite fast.
    #3
  4. dizave

    dizave Team Blitzed

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    Ah, Montreal. I´ve only been there during the F1 event (but I was on the bike!) so I didn´t want to assume I had any idea what it was really like. It was pretty crazy during the race weekend though... and people were definitely driving fast! I was going 100 MPH and afraid to get out of the slow lane because I couldn´t see back far enough to avoid cars that seemed to be going 150+... It isn´t normally like that, is it???

    Haven´t been to any of the other cities except NY, and I haven´t been to NYC recently enough to really remember.
    #4
  5. canuck

    canuck Been here awhile

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    Montreal drivers have historically been the worst drivers in Canada.

    The traffic is like that all the time, not just F1 time

    Scary.
    #5
  6. configurationspace

    configurationspace delooper

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    Yes, it's pretty much always like that, provided you're not in the middle of a nasty snowstorm or something. I personally like the way people in Montreal drive. They drive fast, but they're generally pretty competant. In Toronto (like Rochester) they're pretty oblivious to what's going on. I know a lot of very good drivers in Montreal. Edmonton is similar, but there's more accidents because the roads are usually in worse shape: potholes, ice, etc.
    #6
  7. Rubber Cow

    Rubber Cow GS Dork

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    Barcelona is tough to beat. I thas a good mix of things. Art, cuisine, industy, tech etc. And the Catalans are pretty content people.
    I agree with Crash that SF is a good example.
    I lived in Madrid for two years. SF has the closest thing to that European cityfeel .
    I think every city in the US has its counter-culture district but SF has an overall european-like life about it. Seattle's not bad either. There are also some smaller cities that have a good energy about them like Santa Barbara(too close to LA) San Diego(ditto), San Antonio etc. For better or worse. As for small towns with that kind of energy try Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, Vail, Boulder, Eugene.
    I'm sure people will chime in.
    Cheers,
    Jorge
    #7
  8. Mack

    Mack Gone, but never forgotten. RIP, Mack...

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    I have not found much that I thought could hold a candle to Spanish cities, and there moto friendly to boot. Have you noticed that almost anywhere you go, people reside above and around neighborhood businesses? They really seem to have their priorities straight. (The subway in Madrid is awesome, and at .50 Euros to go anywhere in the city, can't be beat.) As much as I love Spain, they had about a 2000 year head start on us, and didn't have the misfortune of having almost all of their public transportation systems put out of business, by big business.

    I would have to agree with previous posts, in that the bay area would be up there, still I can't imagine getting around without wheels.

    Austin Texas is pretty impressive by American standards, but it can be a bit too orientated to the young & Geeky.

    Portland, Oregon, has a great local music scene, and a vibrant downtown, but it's forward thinking land use planning and "desireablility", has made it jump on to the west coast cost of living bandwagon, not to mention the income tax.

    Maybe NYC will get a bit of Barcelona, if they actually build the Gaudi WTC memorial/building. My collar is the wrong color for NYC, guess I could give up my pension and 401k..... Might be able to afford..... no guess not. LOL
    #8
  9. Bruce Caldwell

    Bruce Caldwell Long timer

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    Hey Mack, I remember when Austin was a small college town but that has pretty much faded away over the last 20 yrs. or so. I still have fond memories of The Armadillo World Headquarters in the early to mid 70's. But at least you're in or near the best motorsykle ridin area of Tx. in my opinion. Also, it is not a fun city to ride a bike in. Not nearly as scary as Mexico City though. Went there on my KLR 650 about 5 or 6 yrs. ago but don't recommend it as it is too crazy. But a KLR is a good choice for such an endeavor. I noticed on your profile you own a KTM Duke. My brother bought one late last year at my insistence and he hardly rides his other bikes anymore. He just picked up some Akropovic cans and other stuff for it the other day. I can't wait to hear it.......oh. and ride it too!




    THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT NOTHING F.Z.
    #9
  10. Mack

    Mack Gone, but never forgotten. RIP, Mack...

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    Bruce, I know what you mean, my good buddy Mike (GS1100 and thus a good guy! lol) went to UT in the early 80's, and he recently ruled out moving back to Austin, saying that he could not deal with how much it had changed. I would never have considered Texas, but he really had good things to say about Austin. I first moved here about 5 years ago, and recently moved back, when my position in Seattle was cut. Austin has changed a lot in that time, still I am pretty glad to be here, but it is getting a little too yuppified for my tastes. Funny how the higher income bracket flows into cities like Austin, as people aspire to the lifestyle, then it seems the influx of money ends up eradicating that very lifestyle that is being pursued! I had dinner at the Armadillo, just the other night, really wish I had been able to experience the side of it you were able to see. Being from the Pacific Northwest, I find the Texas summers are really hard for me to deal with. I even rationalized the Duke purchase on that basis, as my VFR800 with it's side mounted radiators, just gets too hot in the city.

    The work I do pretty much forces me to live in larger cities, Austin being about the smallest. Sadly the city I love the most, Portland, Oregon is a dry hole work wise. But at least I am not stuck at LAX, ORD, JFK, etc. Funny though, the shortest commute I ever had was in Los Angeles, (7minutes if the lights were red!) go figure? I have recall rights to Seattle for another 9 years, if we are still in business that is! I hope to stay in Austin for the time being, but with a track record of 4 cities in 6 years, who knows.

    I bet your brother is having a damn good time on the Duke, as you will! I just posted on the "Super Motard Question" thread, my dilema of wanting to tour in Mexico, Big Bend, Nova Scotia, etc, and thus needing to dump the Duke, for a LC4/KLR style of bike, as no good D/P tires are available for the Duke. I expect serious depression will follow its departure. I considered a Gran Canyon, but I doubt a Ducati engined mount would meet my expectations, when compared to my VFR.

    Cheers, Mack
    #10
  11. Bruce Caldwell

    Bruce Caldwell Long timer

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    Mack, Have you considered Pirelli MT 60 Corsas? They are available in sizes to fit the Duke. They are popular with the motard crowd and althogh not full knobbies i think they would work just fine. I would only worry about the Dukes range but KTM does offer a larger tank for it albeit expensive. Also, theres no reason you could'nt tour Mex. on your VFR, just not offroad of course but you owe it to yourself to ride in Mexico at least once in your life, if you have not done so already. Speaking of the KLR, I wish i still had mine as it was a great allround bike and what a bargain at under 5k. I put mine in cycle trader and it sold the first day. Makes a great commuter too.



    Bruce
    #11
  12. mkolb

    mkolb Alien Clone

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    The answer to your question is: New York. People LIVE in NY. The outside world gives it a bad rap sometimes, for reason it probably desrves. However it is teaming with life and the activity of human beings.
    Riding through it could not, responsibly, be called enjoyable. It has major league traffic and is not even slightly safe. On weekend mornings, though, it is more negotiable than other times and it is absolutely awesome to ride through the streets and see the neighborhoods, landmarks, and vistas of the surrounding areas. I love to ride down the Henry Hudson with the river on the right side the whole way, turn at the tip of the island, and ride back up the FDR with a view of the city buildings that comes out of a tourist magazine. Breakfast anywhere along the way then on out to the Taconic or Bronx River Parkways makes for one great ride. Come and see for yourself.
    #12
  13. mkolb

    mkolb Alien Clone

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    The answer to your question is: New York. People LIVE in NY. The outside world gives it a bad rap sometimes, for reason it probably desrves. However it is teaming with life and the activity of human beings.
    Riding through it could not, responsibly, be called enjoyable. It has major league traffic and is not even slightly safe. On weekend mornings, though, it is more negotiable than other times and it is absolutely awesome to ride through the streets and see the neighborhoods, landmarks, and vistas of the surrounding areas. I love to ride down the Henry Hudson with the river on the right side the whole way, turn at the tip of the island, and ride back up the FDR with a view of the city buildings that comes out of a tourist magazine. Breakfast anywhere along the way then on out to the Taconic or Bronx River Parkways makes for one great ride. Come and see for yourself.
    #13
  14. Mack

    Mack Gone, but never forgotten. RIP, Mack...

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    I had a co-worker who used to happily wax about driving thru Manhattan on the weekends, after getting off his night job at Eastern Airlines. He said the empty streets were a blast in his Austin Healey, not to mention the sound reverberating off the buildings. :):

    Bruce, The feed back I have gotten on the MT60's, is that they are a very sticky tire, almost race compound, a real hoot on cool wet roads. The problem is no one seems to be able to get more then 1k miles out of them. So I felt I had to rule them out for touring, though I might add a front spoke rim to the spare rear Behr spoke I have now, and run a set of MT60s in the winter. I fear that a typical Texas summer day, would have you sliding like you were on Crisco! They sound like a great Seattle/London tire, almost any day of the year!

    I have not ruled out a Cagiva Gran Canyon, or something similar, but that would end up filling the mission requirements for both the VFR and the Duke. Might get a LC4 or XR and Super Motard it. The only thing that is for sure, is I will always be contemplating my "Next Bike."
    #14
  15. Zodiac

    Zodiac loosely portrayed

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    I live in the heart of NYC - Manhattan. And I can tell you that this place actually gets more crowded after working hours. Sure the guys who live in the suburbs around NYC always say the city empties out on the wknds - which is partially true, but that's only in the office / industrial areas, where the 6 million bridge and tunnel people work and play, then take a train home. But most Manhattan residents live in the many neigborhoods around, above and below Midtown (where the main office space is). I've lived uptown, and downtown, and I can tell you that many of those areas are dead during the weekdays - everyone's at work. But come happy hour, and weekends they become jammed with people, especially downtown (which seems to be "disneyland" for all the people uptown, and the suburbs surrounding the city.
    Believe it or not, it's easier to ride through Manhattan between 10:30 am and 3pm on a weekday, then most other times, except EARLY, early mornings (5:30am). (I've been riding a motorcycle through this city for over 15 yrs now)

    On weekends you can get away with riding up to 9:30 am, but then all hell takes over. The worst part about riding through the city on wknds, is that you've got a few million weekend shoppers/ tourists/ visitors, driving their cages - COMPLETELY LOST in the canyons of NY. They're so busy looking around in awe of everything, and completely lost in their direction ("hey, can you tell us where Ground Zero is?") , riding becomes much more dangerous. Then wknd nights are no better, you've got 19 yr olds driving drunk in their Lincoln Navigators packed with kids on exctasy, cruising from one club to the next! Or maybe just a SUV loaded up with guido's on steroids looking to cause damage in any way they can - after all, it's the big city, disneyland, they don't give a shit - they'll be home in their mommies big suburban home at 4am.
    This place unfortunately NEVER SLEEPS.
    Guess the only good thing about the wknds is that there's almost no trucking on Sundays, which eases up the early am traffic. But car traffic is over double on Sundays, especially round the holidays, and the Summers.
    #15
  16. Caribou Aqua Buddha

    Caribou Aqua Buddha Long timer

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    "Sadly the city I love the most, Portland, Oregon is a dry hole work wise"

    Mack, If you liked it then, you would really like it nowadays. It does not rain in Oregon anymore:huh . And if it does, it will probably make the papers. bentspoke
    #16
  17. Mack

    Mack Gone, but never forgotten. RIP, Mack...

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    Hey, I like the Rain! At least it is consistant, you can always count on it during Rose Festival week. On the rare occasions when it gets cold, wet, and grey here in Austin, my co-workers are amazed, as I walk around with a big smile on my face. Then the dreaded Texas summer comes, and hangs on for nine months. :splat

    My VFR is so miserable to ride in the city during the summer months, I actually bought a second bike for "hot weather" riding, and some days the temps are still to high to ride.

    I did some touring in New Zealand, and loved every wet, windy day! (And that was during their summer!) Though if I had to live in a place where it rained and/or was overcast almost every day of the year, doubt I could handle that to well.

    Cheers, Mack (It looks to be about 60f and sunny today!)
    #17
  18. Krautbikeman

    Krautbikeman Failed Anger Mgt #$%@#$%^

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    I don't know much about the place, but I visited Boston a few years back and I thought it would be an excellent choice if I had to live in/near a large metroplex.

    The road construction is a major pain in the ass, but that was my ONLY complaint. Hell, the people were even nice, for the most part. Their public transportation system, the "T", was efficient and cheap.

    My .02:1drink
    #18