Author Topic: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?  (Read 6536 times)

Blatant

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Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« on: June 26, 2015, 07:48:55 PM »
Hi, all: Don't want to get too much into a lot financial background in this thread. I'm 47 years old and I'm about to pull the pin on a highly stressful government job and take a partial pension.  My wife does well financially and wants to soldier on for a few more years. We are not in a financial position to be FI yet, so I will likely get hooked into a side hustle and/or a part-time job.

We live in North Scottsdale, AZ, which is a pretty high COL area. One thing that will help me RE is making a move to a lower COL area. We currently owe about $334k on our house, which should sell around $400k in the current market.

My hobby is mountain biking. To be truthful, it's probably more than a hobby, but I'm not a professional so that word will suffice. My goal is to be able to ride most days.

I enjoy gnarly, technical, steep riding, but also have a single-speed and a semi-fat for more moderate stuff. Would love to be able to ride from home, but that's not a deal-breaker. Would like as close to year-round riding as possible. A smaller community where we can buy a decent house for $200k and live small.

To recap: LCOL, smaller city/town, close to year-round high-quality mountain biking as possible.

On my list: Prescott, AZ. Cortez/Mancos, CO. Brevard, NC.

Any fellow bikers here want to share some thoughts? Thank you.

Ocelot

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2015, 11:56:01 PM »
I live in Wellington, New Zealand, 5 minutes ride from the CBD, and there are trails less than 15 minutes ride away in several directions. COL isn't super low though, and obviously it's a long way away, but the healthcare is all free or extremely cheap...

Jeremy E.

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2015, 12:18:51 AM »
Moscow, Idaho.
Population 24,000, right next to Moscow Mountain.
Low cost of living.
Usually people drive there, but it's only around 5 miles from town.

spokey doke

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2015, 08:38:44 AM »
If you really want year around mtn biking, that will limit things a great deal (unless you want to get a fatbike and ride on snow).

If you take the LCOL thing seriously too, that rules out Bend and Park City.

Is anything around Tucson inexpensive?  That might get you year around (if you want to ride super early or a night in the summer).

The places that come to mind for me:  Oakridge, OR (barely a town, but home of some epic trails; wet a lot of the year though). Home of Mountain Bike Oregon fest.

Boise, ID.  Tons and tons and tons of trail miles that you can ride to if you live on the N. side of town.  Not the tech/gnarly stuff you see in Moab or Fruita (which brings to mind: Fruita). Fruita CO could be your ticket - major riding destination with tons of technical trails, warm, dry weather, and Zillow suggests real estate is pretty cheap.

If you want to go really LCOL with great mtn biking during most of the year, with no crowds (but no good food/shopping/culture), Pocatello, ID is one of many stealth locations with really great biking.  Not a ton of tech/gnarly stuff, but plenty of vertical challenge.  Folks from Jackson, WY, Ketchum, ID and the like go there when they still have too much snow in the spring because of great riding and trails that open up early.

I imagine there should be more stealth towns in the intermountain west (La Grande, OR???), try a post on MTBR.COM
« Last Edit: June 27, 2015, 08:41:32 AM by spokey doke »

canyonrider

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2015, 08:54:24 AM »
Fruita/Grand Junction would be the obvious choice in CO.

Salida is another one, although COL is likely higher.

Blatant

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2015, 06:04:39 PM »
I should have been more specific: At this point, I'm wanting to stay in CONUS. If not, NZ would be very high on the list of destinations. Incredible biking and cool people there.

Yes, I really DO want year-round biking or at least as close as possible. I bike year-round here, but the summers do wear thin a bit after awhile. Riding in Tucson is good, but the life/cost isn't terribly different than the Phx. metro area and it's still crazy hot. That's why I was sort of interested in Prescott, which has four seasons, but still only 90 minutes from Phx.

Yep, Fruita/GJ are obvious choices, but not really LCOL. That's why I listed Cortez/Mancos, both of which are really close to Durango and not from from Grand Junction.

A lot of people make Idaho suggestions. We looked at Boise pretty closely, but am not sure about it. I'll do some more research. Would love to hear from folks who live and ride there.

Surprisingly, Bend is still LCOL compared to Scottsdale, though I'm looking to get into the overall 25-ish% cheaper.

I've been an MTBR member for years and still visit daily. Sadly, it's tough to get accurate regional information from fellow riders on that site. It seems most will say anything to prevent someone from considering a move to their area. Go check out the oregon subforum to see what I mean.

plugging away

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2015, 08:10:55 PM »
SW Utah: St George, Ivins, Santa Clara, Washington or Hurricane. LCOL, great MTB trails, year-round riding. Some quality racing such as the NUE True Grit, 6 hr and 25 hr Frog Hollow, I-cup XC's, small CX winter series.

pdxvandal

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2015, 09:22:08 PM »
Oakridge, Oregon or Boise, Idaho.

Hamster

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2015, 01:12:04 AM »
Bellingham WA has year round mountain biking on Galbraith mountain - wet 8 months out of the year, but snow is uncommon and people ride year-round.

It is very different from mountain biking in the SW and other arid areas, however, but worth checking out if you are happy mountain biking through forests.

There is quite a MTB community here that does a lot of trail work together, also a decent cyclocross scene in the Pacific NW if you are interested in other variations on biking off road.

http://wmbcmtb.org/galbraith/

For what it's worth, Singletracks.com has Galbraith as #20 in their top 100 MTB trail systems in the US.

http://www.singletracks.com/mountain-bike/best_trails.php

There are tons of youtube vids online as well if you want to get a feel for the terrain and features.

Blackbeard

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2015, 08:34:34 AM »
My wife and I are asking the same question!

We are exploring three areas.  Brevard, NC.  Bend, OR.  Park City, UT.  Our plan is to take two week vacations to each to assess the riding/livability.  We've ridden all but not with the eye to live.

I'm assuming your wife is either able to work remotely or you will move when she is ready to retire.

We are about 99% sure we were going to go to Brevard.

Bend
Pros:
Year round riding.
Nice city.
Lots of breweries
Easy to hit Whistler on a weekend trip.
Relatively easy to get anywhere on the west coast.
Cons
Getting expensive
Trails are not technically challenging.  Of course there are some hear or there but even Bike Mag said it was a three inch 29er dream spot.

Park City
Pros
400 miles of trails
4 hours from Moab
Several gravity parks
High alpine riding
Skiing
Cons
Expensive
Clearly not year round
Trails are not very technical

Brevard
Pros
200 miles of diverse trails. 
Technical gnarly for as much as you want
But it has good variety
Cheap houses
Easy to get to charlotte or Atlanta doe flights
Ridiculous brewery culture
Truly year round
Cons
No skiing
Far from west coast riding

We lived in Charlotte for years and would go there just about every weekend.  What finally swayed me was when FIREd we are going to travel frequently.  It finally struck me.  With the cost of housing difference between Brevard and the other areas we could spend several months a year for several years exploring where ever we wanted to go.  So plan now is to do a 2 month trip Jan through March skiing out west then drop down to Moab or Sedona for biking on the way back.  Then in the summer do another two month trip out to Whistler.

The beauty of FIRE is the extra day of travel to get over the plains is not a big deal because it isn't cutting into your vacation time for the Man!

That's our thoughts atleast!


Blatant

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2015, 09:52:29 AM »
Hamster: I'm very familiar with Bellingham from ride vids and whatnot. Never been there, but the riding looks great. And our daughter is living in Seattle, so I'm sure that would be an easy sell. Not sure how I feel about the weather, though, to be honest.

Blackbeard: Excellent post. You're a couple steps ahead of me in the planning department. My current "plan" is flexible. My pension will be vested in January '16 At that point, it'll be 25% of the average of my highest three earning years. Each additional year I stay adds 2.5% to that number. I really enjoy my current assignment, so I could stay another year or two and really concentrate on big overtime to stock the coffers and bump up my high three years.

Park City is awesome, but I think too expensive for us. Same with Bend, though it might be more doable.

To be honest, I'm pretty interested in Brevard and my wife seems open to it. I'm actually from Maryland, though I left there in the late '90s. Never mountain biked on the East Coast, but I did race of grip of BMX out there. I have family still on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and in both Charlotte and Statesville. I've always loved visiting NC.

Blackbeard

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2015, 10:42:20 AM »
If you are interested in Brevard check out Zillow.  I've been zillow stalking for a while.  There are many options under or at 200k.  Depends on what you want!  There is also the option to buy land and build.

I've been fortunate to ride all of the Meccas in America.  We still go back to Brevard.  Now if I could find a way to sneak in to Squamish and stay forever we would!  After that it is Brevard, especially with the flexibility to take several month road trips.

Blatant

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2015, 11:10:56 AM »
Curious if you've ridden Phoenix/AZ?

Yeah, man, I've been Zillow-stalking, too. Only issue for me is I've never been to Brevard, so I need to get locked in on the proper area. Again, not a deal-breaker, but if I could ride from home, that would be even more awesome. If you care to share some neighborhoods or cross streets for me to key on, I'd appreciate it.

Our current house is ~2,100sf 3/2. Just my wife and I and 200 pounds of dogs (two American bulldogs). Definitely be looking to downsize, not tiny, but 1,200-ish sf would be plenty as long as there's a garage/workshop for the bikes.

Blackbeard

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2015, 07:19:28 AM »
Yes I've ridden PNX and Scottsdale!  I love rocks and technical trails.  Ironically I also grew up on the MD/PA border. 

Brevard is technical in a different way than your used to.  Roots, rocks, stream crossings, rain, drops.  I personally enjoy it more because you can truly do all day epics and never hit the same trail in a week.  There is one huge difference in Pisgah.  You climb Up!  Then you go down!  Big climbs depending on your legs you can get 5000+ ft climbing in one day.  Now you can also do much more toned down loops, like me!  The other thing, for the most part you won't see much trail info on the inter web, it's sort of snobbish for e-bikers.  You hit LBS and they won't shut up about trails and conditions, good and bad.  But with that said MTB is very much a personal thing.  I'm still in China but if I am back and in the area I can take you around.  I would definitely scout it out prior to going all in...

As for riding around Brevard there are four areas all within 15 to 30 minutes from Brevard.
Bent Creek- about 30 minutes from Brevard and closest to US26 and Asheville.  This is single speed 29er heaven.  These are buff fun trails all man made.  Nice change of pace from normal tech, this is north of Brevard.  In the Experimental portion of Pisgah National Park, not bike able from Brevard.

Mills River- about 15 minutes from Brevard, north.  Not bike able from Brevard.  This has some technical classics!  Pilot, Trace Ridge, And a couple more that are slipping my mind.  I like this area.  This is half way between the highway and Brevard. There are definitely houses there for sale that are essentially suburbs of Asheville.

Ranger Station/Fish Hatchery- this is Pisgah!!!  This is about 5 minutes from downtown.  Trails are rideable from your house if you don't mind a road spin, otherwise you can drive into the forest.  This is the good stuff.  You can ride for 5-6 days and not repeat.

DuPont State Forest- about 15 minutes east of Brevard.  Have to drive.  This is like a mixture of Bent Creek and Pisgah rolled into one.  This is just a fun place to ride.  It keeps you honest with technical riding and has berms and man made trails to boot.  You can make a 50 mile loop out there and not repeat.  There are houses really close to there but you sacrifice the ease of walking to downtown Brevard for beers or dinner and must drive for groceries.

For us we are thinking a 3 mile radius around downtown Brevard.  I'm not too concerned about driving to the trail head.  I would rather be able to walk to get groceries and to the music etc...

Within 4 hours is three downhill parks, Tsali, Delhonga Ga, FATS, Chattanooga, Bear Creek, Wilsons (this is super tough but it holds the goods!  Must have a local to show you around, I still get lost), I'm sure I am missing something, Charlotte also has some pretty decent trails, oh yeah, Warrior Creek.  You get the picture.

Blatant

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2015, 09:06:23 AM »
That's great information; thanks so much. Not to get geeked out on gear, but I think I have the bikes covered: Canfield Nimble 9 29er set up as SS, Trek Stache 29+ geared hardtail and awaiting delivery of a new Guerrilla Gravity Megatrail 6-inch 650b.

Trouble I'm having in Zillow is an issue of reference. Since I don't know the area, you can't really even tell on the map view what's "in town" and what listings aren't. I was hoping to get some street references as a go-by. I think I'll cross-reference to a different map to get a better idea. But, then, I'm not a Zillow expert so there's likely a view I'm missing.

Hamster

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2015, 09:26:20 AM »
Hamster: I'm very familiar with Bellingham from ride vids and whatnot. Never been there, but the riding looks great. And our daughter is living in Seattle, so I'm sure that would be an easy sell. Not sure how I feel about the weather, though, to be honest.

Yeah, the weather works for some and not for others. People talk about rain here, but having grown up in the Midwest, I feel like there is no 'real' rain in the Pacific Northwest. Just gray and light drizzle for 8 months, with short winter days. It's very easy to get outside all year since the weather is almost never harsh, but the gray really messes with some people's emotional health. The summers are probably among the best in the world, but if the other 8 months don't suit you, then best to look elsewhere.

If you could keep a winter home in Scottsdale and a summer home in Bellingham... That would be the best of all worlds. Not so mustachian, I suppose...

Clean Shaven

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2015, 10:33:41 AM »
Since you are open to relocating out of your current state of residence, do any of the states with 0 income tax appeal to you?  And for some of these, 0 tax on Social Security and/or pension payments -

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/04/26/these-states-have-no-income-tax/8116161/

http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/slideshows/12-states-without-pension-or-social-security-taxes/6

Maybe Nevada?  Arguably, you can ride year-round in Las Vegas, but very very hot in summer -- but in Scottsdale now, you know what that's like.  Northern Nevada is much more temperate, but you'll get some snow in winter.

Blackbeard

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2015, 10:46:52 AM »
Do you want me to pick out your house also?  Just kidding.  I forgot to add the high ways...  Sorry

The intersection of 276 and Pisgah Forest Hwy is the entrance to Pisgah Forest, what I referred to as the ranger station and fish hatchery.  If you follow 276 south a couple of miles you'll see "downtown" Brevard.  I'd personally draw a 3mile circle from there and pick a house.  There really are no good or bad neighborhoods.  It's too small for that.  DuPont is due east of the city, you'll see something called Cedar Mountain it's in there, maybe 10-15 miles???

If you want to see what the riding is like goto Pinkbike and search for Church, or Pisgah.  There are two episodes.  They are the best showcase of Pisgah I've seen.  If the first one doesn't want to make you ride you need another sport.  About a week ago they had a photo epic.  That will also show you some of the different terrain.

I've also done bootleg canyon/Nevada and St George area.  If I were going to pick I'd take St George over Bootleg.  But I'd make trips down to Bootleg!

Really depends on your definition of what's fun on a bike.  Desert rock style riding or forest...

enigmaT120

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Re: Retire to mountain bike, where to move?
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2015, 03:30:49 PM »
http://brmba.org/

This place is a couple of miles from my house.  I've ridden through it on my little journeys on the locked-gate logging roads, but have never ridden the trails.  The trails look very well made and scare the shit out of me.  COL in Falls City is very cheap, as far as housing goes.  Property taxes are low.  The nearest good shopping is 10 or 15 miles away.  Corvallis, Albany, and Salem are all about 30 - 35 miles away.  Amazon delivers out here for free, if you spend enough at a time. 

Oregon does have an income tax that quickly works it's way up to about 9 per cent.