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Old 06-24-2014, 08:43 PM
 
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My husband is planning to commute from wherever we end up renting to his office in Santa Clara. Is this realistic? He is an experienced rider so that's not an issue. I guess we're just wondering if it's easy to get around South Bay on a bike. We're currently looking at renting in San Jose/Campbell or Maybe Fremont/Newark.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:50 PM
 
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It is doable if time is not an issue (and if close enough even that is not an issue). There are some decent bikable routes in a grid all over the South Bay (all over the entire Bay Area for that matter). Of your choices, the one that would present the most difficulty would be Fremont/Newark due to the way the infrastructure necks down around Milpitas (e.g. due to being squeezed between the hills, 680, 880 and The Bay).
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:19 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Just depends on the route, it could be ideal or it could be terrible. There are some areas with great big bike lanes and connected side-streets, and some areas where you'd have to traverse a 45mph road dodging trucks to get out of your subdivision. Most drivers are courteous and give you space, at least on roads where you'd expect to see bikes.
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:36 AM
 
Location: Planet Earth
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The entire "bikeways" map can be found on the vta.org site : Bikeways Map (Effective April 2011)

It includes bike-only paths, bike lanes on streets, dirt paths, etc.

Also, if there are "dangerous" areas, he can look at express bus lines and put his bike on the front of the bus (all VTA buses have bike racks) and then get off 2-3 miles later and finish the ride.
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Old 06-25-2014, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
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I've commuted by bike a few times from Santa Clara to downtown San Jose, back when I lived in Santa Clara.

Just looking at the map referenced above, in Santa Clara I'd avoid anything with the word "Expressway" in it - Lawrence, San Tomas/Montague, Central, etc. Some of the streets marked as "Extreme Caution" aren't that bad, IMHO. If the speed limit is 35mph or lower, you might find it acceptably safe. For example, I never found Monroe or Scott unsafe to ride on, at least during daylight hours.

Everything changes in the winter though. I would not want to be biking in the dark during evening commute, even on the safer streets, with a reflective vest and flashing red LED tailight. Some drivers wait until way past dusk to turn on their headlights, and then you've only got your lights to make you visible. At a minimum you'll want to invest in one of the pricey high-powered LED lighting systems.
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Old 06-25-2014, 11:57 AM
 
Location: "Silicon Valley" (part of San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA)
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Personally if I were to get around by bike I would prefer an electric one, especially for commuting to work. No sense in arriving ask sweaty. But public transit would be my first choice.
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Old 06-26-2014, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Liminal Space
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I commute by bike 6 miles from Santa Clara to North San Jose. The driving distance is 5 miles, but I go out of my way to catch the San Tomas Aquino Creek Bike Trail. My route is 100% bike lanes and trails. I tried heading north/south on Lafayette or De La Cruz for a while, and it sucked. In SC County, I would not use any major street that lacks a bike lane because drivers here go fast (forget the speed limit) and don't like cyclists. I would never ride on an Expressway except to bridge a quick gap. Lastly, freeway interchanges are always horrible, even on streets with bike lanes. One virtue of my current route is that I am on the Trail when I cross 101.

Fremont is pretty far from Santa Clara, but tends to have a more consistent bike lane network and better pavement quality than Santa Clara County.
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:04 PM
 
9 posts, read 13,146 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neutrino78x View Post
Personally if I were to get around by bike I would prefer an electric one, especially for commuting to work. No sense in arriving ask sweaty. But public transit would be my first choice.
Haha fair enough, his office has a shower though so that's not too much of an issue
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayAreaHillbilly View Post
It is doable if time is not an issue (and if close enough even that is not an issue). There are some decent bikable routes in a grid all over the South Bay (all over the entire Bay Area for that matter). Of your choices, the one that would present the most difficulty would be Fremont/Newark due to the way the infrastructure necks down around Milpitas (e.g. due to being squeezed between the hills, 680, 880 and The Bay).
Thanks for the note about Fremont/Newark. Per Google Maps it seems like that would be the toughest route.
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:11 PM
 
9 posts, read 13,146 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bentobox34 View Post
I commute by bike 6 miles from Santa Clara to North San Jose. The driving distance is 5 miles, but I go out of my way to catch the San Tomas Aquino Creek Bike Trail. My route is 100% bike lanes and trails. I tried heading north/south on Lafayette or De La Cruz for a while, and it sucked. In SC County, I would not use any major street that lacks a bike lane because drivers here go fast (forget the speed limit) and don't like cyclists. I would never ride on an Expressway except to bridge a quick gap. Lastly, freeway interchanges are always horrible, even on streets with bike lanes. One virtue of my current route is that I am on the Trail when I cross 101.

Fremont is pretty far from Santa Clara, but tends to have a more consistent bike lane network and better pavement quality than Santa Clara County.
Thanks for the input! Based on Google maps we're now trying to keep our search area to North San Jose and Santa Clara for ease of commute. Any areas you would avoid altogether?
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