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I'll move to Redmond, WA in a couple months and since I was about to buy a bike, I have a few questions to see if I still should.

Is it possible to ride all year long for both commute/recreation (I like XC and trail)? I'll probably be living just a few miles away from work. Is it too cold on winter? I've been there a couple times, and know Redmond's breeze/rain (and the fact that its there 200+ days a year).. does it make it to cold to ride?

I used to ride a lot, but haven't done so in a long while, and I recently started wanting to ride a LOT! Would it be worth to buy a bike here (im in Guadalajara, Mexico) or should I wait the few months and buy a bike over there? I was thinking on a Rockhopper Comp 29er Int (which has pretty much the same specs as the american RockHopper 29er Pro, which i can get here for about 1500 with a paint job that I absolutely loved (similar to the one in the link but with green instead of gold).

Thanks!

EDIT:

As per suggestion I add that by too cold I mean your throat hurting when breathing, stiffiness on joints (specially hand, even with gloves), ice burn, not being able to ride without goggles, etc. oh and a little bit of water is ok, but not getting to the office completely soaked

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There are a lot of people who bike 12 months/year in Minnesota. Perhaps you'd better quantify what you mean by "too cold". –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 15 '11 at 19:17
    
@Daniel I've added a bit more on what I consider too cold :) –  Francisco Noriega Jul 15 '11 at 20:21
    
Why the negative score, without any comments? was it because I added in a shopping recommendation? I don't live and I thought maybe some of you could suggest another brand/style of bike, like what ʍǝɥʇɐɯ said in his answer bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/4884/… –  Francisco Noriega Jul 15 '11 at 20:22
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For me, when I was all-weather biking, those criteria would have translated into a temp below about 20F, absent serious rain or wind. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 15 '11 at 21:00
    
@ Francisco - I see what you mean. Moving from humid, sub-tropical Mexico to the U.S. Pacific NW is quite the change in climate. You'll need some new clothes, but you'll be fine. –  user313 Jul 16 '11 at 4:25

6 Answers 6

up vote 5 down vote accepted

...just speaking up for the Local Bike Shop - if you are moving to Redmond permanently then it may make sense to have a bike with a warranty and the support of the LBS for when/if it goes wrong.

Also consider the mudguards situation - I know they are unfashionable but they are handy for the commute. Since Specialized bikes are designed for sunny California where nobody could ever imagine needing mudguards, you may want to also post a question on what people recommend.

You will only be cold if you get clothing that is not up to the job. You know the drill - baselayers, as many layers as you need on top and a breathable jacket. Overshoes and neoprene gloves optional...

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Yes, you want fenders, rack, and I recommend extending both your front rear fenders with panels from a milk jug and zip ties. Making the rear of your front fender longer keeps a ton of grime off your chain rings. –  memnoch_proxy Sep 6 '11 at 20:49

Yes, Redmond is a great biking community - there is the Burke Gilman trail which goes around Lake Washington at 40 miles. Just get brakes that work well wet.

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Also Marymoor Park and the velodrome there. –  zenbike Jul 16 '11 at 9:50
    
BGT is an awesome part of Seattle! –  memnoch_proxy Sep 6 '11 at 20:47

I live in Portland, Oregon, and formerly Seattle. The Pacific NW climate is similar between here and Redmond and I ride year round. It actually is seldom "frigid", but often cool/coldish and wet. The rain is more significant than the cold; so you want to be prepared to deal with rain on a regular basis.

As for trail and cross-country riding, because of all the rain, you'll be slogging through mud a lot during the rainy season. (In fact some trails in parks and other public lands close in the mud season.) Riding on roads, commuting, paved routes is fine as long as you have the right set-up in terms of clothing and the bike itself.

To your edit about the cold...it's rarely that cold West of the Cascades in the Pacific NW. But, there are cold snaps lasting a week or two when Arctic air moves in.

I don't have an opinion about your bike choice, but matthew does have a good point about warranty and service by an LBS. And the Seattle area is home to quite a few reputable bike shops.

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+1 "...but Matthew does have a good point about warranty and service by an LBS. And the Seattle area is home to quite a few reputable bike shops." Great shops, in fact. And, if as I suspect you're going to work for Microsoft, they will pitch in on your purchase if you buy in the US. Used to be a $300 bonus, might have changed in the last 2 years. –  zenbike Jul 16 '11 at 7:22
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Fair play for living in Portland - fantastic by bike! –  ʍǝɥʇɐɯ Jul 16 '11 at 11:03

Yes you absolutely can commute bike year round. Even at it's worst the Puget Sound's weather is relatively mild. Though there are many cloudy and rainy days, the majority of them are a light drizzle and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. A good rainjacket, wool socks, and fenders on your bike are basically adequate.

XC and trail riding is also definitely possible year round, but have to love mud. So much mud.

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With the exception of the occasional snowstorm, and I mean very occasional, you should have little trouble commuting by bike year round in Redmond. In addition, the few times there are weather issues, the Public Transportation system is quite thorough.

Because the snowy weather is so rare, the city often shuts down completely when it snows, especially on the west side of Seattle. So often, when the weather is bad, you won't be expected to work, unless you are in a "vital personnel" position.

In addition, the asnwers above included this info too. ""...but Matthew does have a good point about warranty and service by an LBS. And the Seattle area is home to quite a few reputable bike shops."

There are great shops, in fact. And, if as I suspect you're going to work for Microsoft, they will pitch in on your purchase if you buy in the US. Used to be a $300 bonus, might have changed in the last 2 years.

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As I'm very likely the only one of ever to have lived in Redmond, I'd like to know why and how you can downvote my answer? I commuted there, regularly for 2.5 years. I never had a problem, except for the very occasional January snowstorm. And I know MS at least had an offer for interns and new staff who choose to commute by bike, because the bike shop I worked at was one of the 3 in Redmond to honor that deal with them. –  zenbike Jul 16 '11 at 9:47
    
I don't know why they down voted you, but at least from me you got a +1 for a very complete answer –  Francisco Noriega Jul 17 '11 at 19:02
    
And yeah :) I landed a job at Microsoft :D I'll check with the recruiter to ask about the bike bonus –  Francisco Noriega Jul 17 '11 at 19:10
    
Thanks. I try. :) –  zenbike Jul 18 '11 at 7:30
    
@Francisco Noriega, BTW, feel free to hit me up if you need info about the area. I lived about 3 blocks from the Overlake campus. –  zenbike Jul 18 '11 at 12:06

Since you mentioned you don't want to get to the office all wet - I'll assume you don't have shower facilities or don't want to regularly shift your shower to close to work (many commuters ride as it and only shower once they reach a gym or club close to the workplace)

This makes the choice of bike much less important - you won't be hammering the miles so anything with good fenders, a chain guard and racks will not slow you down much at a slower speed (11 to 14 mph).

I know it sounds obvious, but do stop by several bike shops and ask who to talk to in town about bike commuting. Bike shops will quickly steer you to the ones that have the experience to let you know exactly what clothing works, and where to spend your money based on the local conditions. Commuters are ideal customers as they will over time spend far more than recreational riders - a steady diet of maintenance, consumables and upgrades is far better for businesses than the occasional big splurge on a frame. These professionals are there to help you find the joy of powering your commute. Make use of them :-)

Biking builds body heat, so you won't be cold - even when it's wet once you get the right clothes. Do buy your bike in town - they will stock more appropriate bikes and you will be feeding the local ecosystem with good will with your investment there. Don't turn down a cheap bike - but I would avoid buying one before you move.

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