Moving to California... which city would you choose?

So… After almost 10 years on Planet Taiwan the wife and I are moving… Since I’m a UK citizen and the wife and I both feel like we need some time in the first world, London was our orginal choice, but since almost everything about moving to the UK from pets to property prices to precipitation was expensive/difficult/irritating, we’ve changed our minds…

Our new target is California… the reasons, well, CA takes some beating, sun, sea, mountains, livable cities, obviously 1st world, easy travel to/from TW, good exchange rate (I’m paid in USD here in TW), excellent property prices right now, a good bike market made even better by high gas prices and not to be over looked, for the first time in 8 years, the prospect of not being forced to contribute tax dollars to George W’s “war of the month” club…

The bike market is important since we’ll be starting a bicycle import/distribution company selling TW/China manufactured bikes to dealers and direct to public via online shop… I’ve been in the bike manufacturing business here in TW for the last 6 years and I know the industry inside out and have long existing relationships with suppliers, shipping lines etc etc. I also have secured the US$150-350k required to apply for the “E2 investor treaty visa” which provides effectively an unlimited resident visa but with work privaledges (not greencard with all it’s global tax implications) for the duration of the business being active… Setting up the bike business will take at least 6 to 9 months and until that investment visa goes through I’ll use standard 90day “visa waiver” visa since persuing investment in the US is a valid reason to be in the US under the visa waiver program…

Anyway to get to the point, the wife and I are leaving next week to spend 3 or 4 weeks driving around CA to try and sound out good options for where to live… Obviously the road trip plan takes in the major centers of San Francisco, Sacramento, LA and San Diego… but I’m sure there are more options than that to consider…

Considerations include:

  • Quality of living (I want a decent neighborhood, a garage, small garden for our TW cats/dogs)
  • Proximity to container port
  • Availability of warehousing/logistics services (kind of moot, but I don’t want to drive across the state to check the stock)
  • Good bicycle market
  • Avoiding spending 1/2 of our life on a freeway
  • International airport nearby
  • Multi cultural environment (high Asian population a plus)
  • Proximity to an international race circuit (er, okay I’m pushing it here)
  • Good schools (no kids yet, but maybe soon)

LA is pretty much out… San Fran, Berkley, San Diego, are strong contenders… I’ve been to CA many times but only ever on business and only ever in/out within a couple of days… Since I’m so out if the loop in terms of all things Californian I’d really appreciate any suggestions for places to check out on our upcoming road trip even if it’s just somewhere cool to take a look at… Like I said we’ve got almost 4 weeks to do a lap of California starting in San Fran next week, and while this road trip promises to be a laugh we’ll need to make some fairly weighty decisions based on what we see, so any suggestions, ideas, do’s or don’ts from you forumosans more wise in the ways of Californication would be greatly appreciated!.. :notworthy:

Good bike market and some of the best country roads to ride in?

That would be the Bay Area.

I would choose somewhere around San Jose/Santa Clara/Sunnyvale or the Berkeley Area if I could. Both are hop skip away from great roads, very biker friendly, and lots of bike shops nearby with lots of riders.

Hwy 9 is near San Jose. Berkeley/East Bay has some great roads.

Sunnyvale/Santa Clara is hi-tech area. Some of the communities there you can access without constant freeway driving (like LA).

Good sunny weather if you don’t like the SF Fog.

pm me for questions and good luck!

Hey plasma, im currently exiled here in Calif from Taiwan. Come here and I can fill you in on whats up. I would say you could make a good go of things here in the East Bay (across from sF). But pick your city carefully as theres good , bad and very bad here. The bay area is great, lots of people cycle, no horrible traffic ala LA area. And you could set up for a lot cheaper then a few years ago. Property prices down 40pct from bout 3 years ago.

Lots of bike shops to work with. I would suggest buying (or renting) a home say in Walnut Creek, Concord, Martinez or if you want to combine workplace and living perhaps somewhere in berkeley? Great weather, lots of students and bike riders. And enough of Asia so you are not homesick. I go to berk almost daily for my dose of Asia :slight_smile:

pm me wiht questions.

Or if you wanna be in SF , try the sunset district near golden gate park. Thats the premier biking area. Beach, gg park, of SF. Good parking and you can rent a house for bout 2000/month.

LA has some great places but really spread out and you spend hours getting from one place to the next. You could localize in say Huntington Beach tho. But here in the East bay near berkeley you can cover the whole bay area.

You’re right to exclude LA. San Diego’s much nicer. If you choose SoCal, go there. Great weather year round, not only nice for living, but should be good for your business too.

Bay Area’s great too. You may be aware that there’s a rivalry between Northern Californians and Southern Californians, with the Northerners thinking they’ve got more culture, brains, the beautiful city of San Fran and So Cal people are just dumb bleached blondes, surfers and muscleheads who drive everywhere and live surrounded by smog, while So Cal’ers think Northern girls are ugly, the guys are thin, pale and nerdy and all it does is rain up there. There may be some truth to some of those allegations, or not, but I’ve lived in both and I think both are great.

One does get more rain and fog in the Bay Area, but tommy’s right that there’s still tons of cycling there. Actually, I’m applying for work in the States right now and I’m applying for both the Bay Area and San Diego. Either would be fine. If you choose the Bay Area, you may wish to live in the East Bay. Lots of nice hills there, good places to live, lots of cyclists. And, if you wish to commute into SF, no problem, take BART.

You may also wish to check out Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz, all beautiful coastal college towns, that might suit you. And, if you have the time and don’t mind rain, go all the way up to Arcata, 5 hours north of SF. It’s a very beautiful college town that sucks in many people with its natural beauty, friendly community and charm (and world famous sinsemilla) and people often get trapped their for good (I escaped by moving to Taiwan). Of course the towns in this paragraph are all much smaller markets, but they’re all college towns with lots of cyclists and are all great places to live (or Chico if you prefer a hot, dry, inland college town). But, if you want/need a bigger market, I’d recommend either the East Bay or San Diego.

Actually we Northerners say that when they made California they stood it up and all the shit rolled down to LA. haha

Not true of course !!! And our girls are just as pretty as their girls ok?? And our guys are actually quite fat, not a whole lotta thin going on here pal !!

But SF has shitty weather. Its always winter!! Summertime in SF means daytime of 20 to 25c and nitetime of 12c or so. Winter means daytime of bout 8 to 10c while nitetime is 10 or below. Sometimes close to zero.

EAst bay? Concord, Walnut Creek (very tony town) has summertime daytime of up to 40c but nitetime cools down to 30c in the hottest summer days. Winter of 10c or less daytime and below zero at nite (but never really cold). A nice jacket will be all you need.

Cycling places abound. Up and down Highway ONE. UP and down MT TAm, MT Diablo. Everywhere.

Plus my half brother has been involved with bikes and the bike industry here for the last 20 years. Boy can he talk to you bout bikes (warning: thats ALL he talks about 24/7).

If you buy him a meal he will gladly give you hours of his expertise on this matter. And he really is an expert.

Me ? I know virtually nada bout bikes. :slight_smile:

Santa Cruz hands down. It’s got gray, wet, shitty winters but hey so does Taiwan. That Hwy 9 through Ben Lomond is one of the prettiest, gnarliest rides in the States- I know because I’ve ridden them all.

It snowed in July on the pass to La Honda when I was there two years ago. So you WILL need warm weather gear all year round.

And you are on Pacific Coast Highway so North or South it’ll float you. Hwy 101 is right there too.

If your politics are Left North Cal is the place to go. Santa Cruz is where deadheads go to retire and panhandle off the yuppie/khaki wearing Starbucks sippers.

Great natural beauty, awesome beaches. Incredible waves at Mavericks just north at Half Moon Bay and a couple of awesome beach breaks. Nice hiking/mountain biking in the state parks.

I’d be there myself but. No jobs.

Get used to being in a car, that’s IS life in California.

If it were in the south–Solano Beach. just because it’s a cool place to surf-not quite in San Diego-but close enough. They also have man-eating sharks! La Jolla is really nice too, but there aren’t any really cool rides in So Cal unless you get over to Lake Elsinore and the Ortega Highway and that is filled with cops trying to suck your money…em I mean protect citizens.

There are some great desert rides and Mexico is always an adventure. Hotter than a fucking waffle iron and flatter than hammered shit for most of it.

When I get back it’ll probably be to Long Beach. Wish I could live in Belmont Shores but probally won’t because it’s pretty upscale, and I’m the neighbor who has too many dogs and vehicles and mows his lawn with no shirt on and a beer in my hand. There is often screams and sounds of gunfire coming from my house late at night. No-not for me.

Huntington Beach is an awesome place and if you get a nice house a little inland it’s a great place.

Long Beach has many faces. West side is really nice and East side is where Snoop Doggy Dog grew up and got most of his material from. It’s near a port, it’s close to the airport and has it’s own local one too.

It’s not quite in LA yet doesn’t have the bland well-trimmed cementary-like sameness of Orange County. It ain’t altogether safe and you might think that if you were going to get car jacked and shot at you might as well live in South Africa where you can own and carry a proper firearm.

Let’s get a beer and bring a map of Calif. next time you are up here in Taipei…


I don’t agree about the Sunset for biking unless you mean cycling or riding in a straight line.
People don’t go there for motorcyling.

People go there for swimming.

[quote=“Jack Burton”]I don’t agree about the Sunset for biking unless you mean cycling or riding in a straight line.
People don’t go there for motorcyling.

People go there for swimming.[/quote]

Do you mean Ocean Beach at Sunset District in San Francisco? NO sir. Swimming absolutely not allowed. Many drownings a year. Severe undertow and extremely cold water !! There are people in wet suits surfing tho and thats allowed.

I used to live in that area and there is one long bike path along the beach , or you can ride on the sand even. And also the Golden Gate park (a fav cycling place) is there as well. So its a great place to bike. Not fun motorcycling as its over in a few minutes on a moto.

MOtorcycling you wanna do highway one from SF down to Carmel and further on to San Luis Obispo if you wanna make it a two day thingy?

HIghway one is one of the prettiest roads in the USA and the world for that matter.

Some cycle down to LA and back to SF but thats a major trek.

Bst place in California is to go as far north as you can go and then go just a bit further.

To rainy Oregon??? Then you will really feel like you are back in Taipei in winter with all that rain?

Ya. To Oregon or further. That’s where anybody that lives in California goes to Californicate the place. They try, but haven’t succeeded.

Oregon was the very FIRST state to be Californicated…You kidding?

I’ve read a lot of posts here dumping on LA…Don’t listen. I’m a native Californian as well, and there are some fine places to live around LA. First choices would obviously include Southern Orange County, but where I grew up (Ventura County) would be a very close second, with better real estate buys and access to some of the more still wild beaches above LA. The biking scene in both places is huge as well.

Don’t discount Los Angeles…And your Taiwanese spouse living within reasonable driving distance to a large, well-assimilated Taiwanese suburban populace (including things like Taiwanese wellcome supermarkets and authentic Taiwan food) would be a huge bonus.

All three are great choices…Hell, if I was rich I’d move back to Marin County, Naples, or La Jolla. Your budget will certainly dictate where you look.

Thanks a lot for the suggestions everyone :notworthy:

I’m hoping that our 3 week road trip will provide enough time to at least briefly check out all these options you’ve all mentioned… 26 days to do a round trip from SF, briefly up then down to SD and back to SF taking in the prime potential spots along the way is rushed but feasible no?.. I’m really glad to have these specific town/ neighborhood suggestions from folks who’ve lived there since trial and error touring of Cali could take a lifetime it seems… Also, if you all can pardon the ignorance, embarking such a road trip through Cali it’s feasible to just drive until you get bored/ find somewhere interesting then hit up the GPS for the closest motel right?.. I mean other than a rental car and the first few nights in SF I’ve not booked a thing since our itinerary is wide open… Am I pushing my luck?..

On a rental car side note I’ve reserved a 2007 Mustang and and also a Nissan Altima Hybrid since they both cost the same and both seem pretty “Californian”… I’ll decide which one to take once we get there… The Mustang is obviously more interesting (live rear axle and suspension from the dark ages… yikes) but I’m not sure about luggage space in the boot/trunk for 2 large suitcases and of course the gas costs on a 4 liter V6… The hybrid is, well, dull as the day is long, but large and comfortable and somewhat of a novelty to me anyway… Any thoughts regarding Mustangs anyone?.. We’ll be driving for 3 weeks solid so I’m really keen on a comfortable, enjoyable ride…

Thanks again… you guys are the best… :notworthy:

It would be real tight trying to fit any luggage in the mustang. But it’s a hell of a lot better ride. That’s one of the main things I look forward to when I go home, pulling the 'stang out of the garage and remembering what acceleration feels like.

The new stang is a nice ride. You dont own it so why not have a fun car? And hotel/motels are everywhere. So its not like you will have to sleep out in the street. That being said. It can get tight in the LA area tho. But up here in the north. Always a place to stay.

El Cerrito.

Why pick El Cerrito when you could live in Kensington?

I was just in El Cerrito. Just a burb of berkeley, a few mins drive away.

In the Bay Area, if you don’t mind the fog, Pacifica is a great place to live. It’s fairly rural, close to SF and SJ, beautiful scenery, just foggy as hell.

I’m watching all of this with some amusement. How the hell can the weather vary so greatly along such a skinny little stretch of land?

Anyway, my money’s on somewhere near San Diego, but I’ve never been to AmeriKKKa.