Los Altos Riding

One of the nice things about cyclilng in Los Altos Hills is that I can come home and say, "I drafted a Ferrari today." The SUVs block a lot more wind, but the Ferrari makes cooler engine sounds as you pedal.

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Comments (2)

Do you live around Los Altos? I'll probably be moving to the Bay Area in the next three weeks or so. I'll probably take Caltrain to my work in Menlo Park, but my wife is looking at Graduate school in Santa Cruz and so will have to make that 30 mile drive on Hwy 17.

It's been over 20 years since I last lived in California and I'm sure things have changed a *lot*. I'm looking at living somewhere in the broad area bounded by Los Gatos, Saratoga, maybe Cupertino, Campbell and south Santa Clara and San Jose just from the perspective of reasonable transit access but still be near Hwy 17 for my wife. Her classes will be at night which means she gets to join the evening commute traffic on 17. I have two young children so the school district is important. Any thoughts on good areas to move to besides the transportation factors that I've already mentioned?

kwc:

I don't have kids and I haven't lived within the boundary you've described, but I'll do my best :). Congrats on your new Menlo Park job.

Caltrain: Menlo Park is actually a bit tricky (I ride there myself). The newer Caltrain schedule made it so there are only two trains every hour in the PM commute and one of those trains is an express train that skips quite a few stops. I would consider familiarizing yourself with the Caltrain schedule to make sure that it works for your schedule. It becomes less of a problem if you can also get off in Palo Alto. I sometimes take my bike on board and bike from Palo Alto to Menlo Park (only a mile and a half for where I'm headed). I think you'll have a bit of trouble getting to Caltrain from Cupertino, Campell, Los Gatos, and Saratoga. I've never tried to get to Caltrain from those areas, but I know that it can take a long time to drive across Sunnyvale or Santa Clara north/south during rush hour.

Santa Cruz: I don't much about getting there. You may want to consult a real-time traffic map ( http://www.sfbaytraffic.info/ or others) and see if there are any traffic bottlenecks with your particular choice. Los Altos (280), Sunnyvale (280/85), and Mountain View (85) could end up being just as fast as South San Jose/Santa Clara, but I've never tried driving to Santa Cruz at that time.

School districts: I only know the common knowledge, i.e. Cupertino school districts are a big factor in selling homes. My impression is that this is bang-for-the-buck. Families want to buy houses, but they can't afford ones in Palo Alto/Los Altos. Palo Alto's Gunn High School, for example, is a perfect school if you want your kids to go to MIT.

Personal experience: I've lived in apartments in Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Mountain View. Mountain View has been my favorite, Sunnyvale my least favorite. Mountain View has a downtown area that's a good balance between nice and affordable, with bookstores, coffee shops, library, and restaurants. Palo Alto has a nice downtown area that's unaffordable for me. Sunnyvale is affordable but dull and Menlo Park rolls up its expensive sidewalks very early (as does Los Altos). I tried looking for places in Santa Clara, but was never happy with the units I saw -- either dingy or directly in the San Jose airport flight path, but perhaps there's better. South San Jose is nice if you want suburban-style life -- the city itself isn't much of a city. San Jose is so big that it's hard to describe it as one area.

Cost: Saratoga and Los Gatos will probably run higher in cost of living. Santa Clara is probably the cheapest (for a reason).

Cycling: Foothill Expressway is like a biker's runway here -- it's fast and can get you to many great cycling routes. The Alto Velo club site describes some of the nice routes around here:

http://www.altovelo.org/calendar/index.htm

as does Western Wheelers:

http://www.westernwheelers.org/main/schedules/ride_info.htm

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