If you’re looking to move someplace that is hospitable to cyclists, there are a few bike-friendly cities in the U.S. you could consider. The best cities for cyclists will have bike trails, reasonable weather, and a large cyclist community. Bicycle parking and fitness gear accommodations are also a bonus for storing bike gear. Read on to learn more about the best cities for cycling.
Boulder, Colorado The city of Boulder offers many biking trails in and around the area, but its majestic scenery makes the cycling experience all the more enjoyable. The summer weather is fairly warm and sunny. You can visit Boulder Indoor Cycling when the weather is too chilly for riding! Join the Boulder Cycling Club if you want to learn more about events in the area and be part of the city’s leisurely cycling community. You can also join one of the city’s many competitive cycling clubs if competition is an important part of your hobby. The family-friendly city also offers youth programs for young riders with a passion for the sport.
Portland, Oregon Many areas around Portland offer mountain biking trails, and urban cyclists frequent downtown. The city’s infrastructure and bike lanes allow for an easy commute through the metro area. The city encourages cycling as part of its commitment to clean air. Around 7% of the city’s residents are bicycle commuters! Portland’s warm summers and mild winters allow riders to hit the roads nearly all year long. Visit bikeportland.org to read blogs about the city’s cycling culture and find local cycling events.
Minneapolis, Minnesota The chilly city of Minneapolis is considered the best city in the country for cyclists. Why? Cyclists here are relentless. In fact, you can take a class in Minneapolis that focuses primarily on winter riding. Not only is traditional cycling popular here, but the city is also a hot spot for BMX. Some of the nation’s best bicycle shops are located in Minneapolis, including Freewheel Bike and Behind Bars. Around 4% of the city’s residents bike to work—an astounding percentage for a city that can plummet to 10 degrees Fahrenheit in the heart of winter.
The mentioned cities take the lifestyle of cyclists into account. Whether you’re a leisurely cyclist or an intense, competitive rider, these cities have something to offer every bike enthusiast.
Margot is a guest post writer for Sparefoot.com on the subject of relocation. She is also a passionate cyclist who has lived in several different states.
What screams "it's Christmastime!" louder than a beautifully decorated Christmas tree? Okay, maybe Santa. But Christmas trees surely are at the top of the list. And there are some amazing ones around the country. This Must-See Holiday Trees infographic, just released in the U-Pack press room, depicts the country's most festive firs, pines and spruces. Check it out!
I had no idea that the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York ranges from 69 to 100 feet tall. And the Swarovski Star that has topped the tree since 2004 — do you have any idea how big it is? It's 9.5 feet in diameter and weighs 550 pounds! Who knew? Hurry if you haven't seen it yet; the tree normally comes down the 5th week after the ceremony or the 8th week after its arrival.
Okay, I don't want to spoil all of the surprises, but I'm also super impressed by the Coeur d'Alene Holiday Light Show in Idaho. Though I haven't seen it in person, I can only imagine the impressiveness of more than 30,000 twinkling lights on the largest living Christmas tree in the world — a 161 ft. Grand Fir. If you've ever seen it, I would love to hear about it!
All of the folks at U-Pack want to wish you and your family a very happy holiday season!
If you’re moving household goods from Canada into the United States, the following Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) should prove helpful. If you have additional questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.
What documentation do I need to move my household goods from Canada to the U.S. with U-Pack? Since your belongings do not accompany you when you use U-Pack to move from Canada to the U.S., you are required to provide the following documentation:
A completed US Customs Form 3299 (Declaration for Free Entry of Articles Not Accompanying a Resident or Non-Resident), that includes an itemized inventory of your shipment with an approximate dollar value in U.S. dollars.
Proof of Status that shows you have legal permission to move yourself and your personal items into the United States – VISA, passport or birth certificate.
You should keep the original copy of all documentation and provide copies to the ABF driver at your origin.
What should be included in my household goods inventory? The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency suggests that your items be listed in categories: Furniture, Kitchenware, Household goods, sport equipment, clothes, books, Home/office equipment/Tools of Trade, other personal effects.
How does moving from Canada to the U.S. work with U-Pack? ABF delivers a moving trailer or ReloCube to your location in Canada. You load your household goods and provide all required documentation to the ABF origin driver. ABF drives to your location in the United States. You unload.
How much does it cost to move my household goods from Canada to the U.S. using U-Pack? The cost of moving from Canada to the U.S. depends on several factors—the exact locations you’re moving from and to, the date of your move, and how much you’re moving. The best way to determine the cost is with a free moving quote. It’s a simple process—enter your origin and destination, along with your move date and shipment size to get an instant price. Note that a $19.35 Customs Broker Manifest Processing Fee applies to all shipments moving from Canada into the U.S. and that rates are in U.S. funds.
Do I need to be present at the border for clearance? Not when you’re moving with U-Pack. ABF will file Form 3299 on your behalf, so it is not necessary for you to be present at the border for clearance.
What happens if my shipment doesn’t clear customs at the border? If your shipment is not able to clear customs at the border, it may move in bond, at the discretion of the Customs and Border Protection Agency. When this happens, it must be cleared prior to delivery and a bond fee will be assessed. The most common reasons a shipment fails to clear at the boarder are:
The paperwork is not filled out properly
All necessary paperwork is not provided
For detailed information about the requirements for moving household goods from Canada to the U.S., (including do-not-ship items) and for information about how to determine whether you are a resident or a non-resident (whether duties apply) see the document provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency entitled: Moving Household Goods to the U.S. For questions about moving from Canada to the U.S. with U-Pack, call 800-413-4799.
Meghan is a guest blogger. The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of U-Pack, the blog.upack.com staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.
So I was sitting around, shooting the breeze, talking about some of the craziest and most irritating Christmas traditions I've come across (or partaken in) through the years, and as I reminisced, it occurred to me that it would be a disservice to the world not to share my thoughts. So here you go; the ten most unusual, crazy, and irksome holiday happenings I can think of.
1. Christmas Sweaters. I used to sport the fashion on occasion. Okay, practically daily in December. But I usually chose tasteful and subtle numbers that weren't too flashy (and didn't actually flash) or jingle when I walked. I like to be festive. But then all of the spoil sports came along and decided they needed to have "Tacky Christmas Sweater" parties to try and end our so-called "madness." I think they just wanted a hip excuse to wear them too. Well, I took offense, and didn't participate. One, because none of my sweaters are "tacky" and two, I refused to go to a store and lay down a hefty wad of cash to buy one. (I was glad to see the resale shops were sticking it to the party goers though.) Now, I do agree that tacky Christmas sweaters exist. If anything is around long enough, someone always rolls out a tacky version of it. So I'm surprised the department stores still offer these knits. But I guess if the demand is there, they don't care if they're worn by the festive or the hipsters.
Photo Courtesy Meghan H. cannot be reprinted.
2. Outdoor Inflatable Decorations. They're cute, and I enjoy looking at them at night, all lit up in their jolly holiday spirit. But what I don't understand is the carnage that awaits in the light of day. Once the blowers are turned off, Frosty and Santa lay flat and crumpled upon the lawn, waiting for their shot of electricity once night falls again. Come on folks, nobody wants to see the air sucked out of Snoopy or Pooh on their way to work in the morning. You don't have to leave the light on all day, but couldn't you at least spring for the blower so they can be all Christmassy during the day and not just in the dark of night?
3. Decorating Before Thanksgiving. Nothing irks me more than seeing Christmas decorations out before the turkey is even thawed. Come on folks, isn't it bad enough that Black Friday has turned into tryptophan hangover Thursday? Can't you wait until after Turkey Day to get out the old red and green? Now one exception to this rule came from a friend in Iowa. She posted on Facebook "I understand why you want to put your Christmas lights up in October before it is freezing, but you don't have to turn them on." If you are going to decorate for Christmas in September, at least do us a service and don't turn them on until Black Friday.
4. Santa Claus. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the big man in red, but if you really think about the whole thing, especially in our world today, it's kind of creepy, scary and strange. He rides around in the sky in a sleigh, pulled by eight tiny reindeer, and on a foggy Christmas also led by one with a shiny red nose. He lands on the roof, somehow shimmies down the chimney, leaves presents, eats your food, evades your attack dog, gets back up the chimney and goes on to the next house. AND he makes it around the world in one night. AND he knows if you have been good or bad. AND we beg our kids to go to the mall and sit on his lap and tell him what they want so we can get a picture. If anybody besides Santa ever tried to do this around where I live, they would probably be shot and then questioned.
5. Mistletoe. It's a parasitic plant folks. Who ever thought it was a good idea to cut the parasite out of a tree (actually a good idea to try and help save it) and put it in your home for the holidays? Back in the olden days, they put a fresh sprig up every Christmas Eve and left it all year to protect the house from lightening and fire. They think some Scandinavians came up with the kissing notion. But only if it still has berries. I bet we've all been kissed by a few parasites in our lifetime but who knew you were kissing under it!
6. Christmas Cards with Pictures. A friend told me the other day, "By the way, I'm not doing Christmas cards this year. I am refusing to do it. Last year I pulled out the previous year's card and it looked exactly the same as the card I was looking at. I couldn't tell which card was for which year—and I'm their mother! The kids haven't changed, so nobody is getting a card. Besides, everyone sees my kids all year long, why do you need a pic at Christmas? I'm tired of trying to "keep up with the Jones'," and paying for the sitting fees. And by the way, you can't join me, you had a baby this year and your kids are young enough they change every year. They are so cute." Or something like that. But she was right. It has turned into a bit of a competition and a lot of the spirit of the Christmas card is gone. So why do we do it?
7. Dirty, Naughty and Secret Santa. If played with good intentions, this game can be fun. But I have yet to be to one of these parties where one of two things didn't happen, and usually both. One, someone brings some junk they had stuck in the back of their closet or saved from the last party where they got the short end of the stick. Or two, a few people get a little too competitive and take things a little too seriously. While I like unloading junk as much as the next guy, I do try to take something that I think might be another man's treasure. But I usually end up in the crossfire for the coveted present at the party for the ladies at church even though I'm not that competitive . . . it's all in the strategy.
8. Fruitcake. Do I really need to explain this one? I have only met one person in my life that liked the stuff and hers was soaked in brandy. I have heard of fruitcakes that get passed around as a joke that are older than I and could do some serious damage if pitched through a plate glass window. I wonder if anyone has tried using fruitcake for skeet practice and if the bullet just glanced off . . .
9. Festivus (for the rest of us). Yes, this is a reference to the old Seinfeld episode where George's father introduces us all to the holiday. Now, I'm not sure if it originated there or if it was somewhere else. I never had the time to read the book on the subject. I just know my sister had a Festivus pole for a short period of time two years ago until she finally put the branches on her tree. No one participates in the feats of strength but we fairly regularly air our grievances.
10. Pickled Herring. Unless you're of Scandinavian descent, you may not have heard of this. My father is half-Norwegian, so my Irish mother discovered that some Scandinavians eat pickled herring on Christmas Eve for good luck. For as long as I can remember, we all stand around in the kitchen with little forks and take a bite out of the jar before adjourning to play games. When my husband first joined the family, he gave it the old college try, but just couldn't get it down. Between you and me, it's really not that bad; just dip it in a little sour cream sauce. I suspect we're really supposed to do this on New Year's Eve, but that's when we eat black eyed peas.
Though I've thought of a lot of them, I'm sure I haven't covered all of the irritating and unusual things that go on throughout the holidays. If you've got some of your own, leave a comment and tell me about it.
I love the holiday season. There's just something that feels magical about this time of year— the parades, festivals, parties and twinkling holiday lights all around town. Who doesn't love that! I may be the only one who didn't realize this, but did you know there are only 11 days until Christmas?! That means, if you haven't been out to enjoy the holiday festivities and lights in your area, now's the time!
And that brings me to this infographic just released in the U-Pack Press Room— Decorative Holiday Towns. If you enjoy holidays as much as I do, you'll definitely want to check out five of the best towns in the U.S. to visit (or live in) during the holidays. I'm actually visiting one of these locations this weekend. Along with thousands of others, my family will be checking out the Branson Area Festival of Lights— including Silver Dollar City! I have to admit, I would really like to visit Santa Claus, Indiana too.
What are your favorite decorative holiday towns? Leave a comment below; our readers would love to hear your recommendations!
A while back you may have read about my original experience moving with U-Pack. I moved from Fort Smith, AR to Phoenix, AZ in a ReloCube. Today I thought I would talk about why I decided on U-Pack instead of renting a truck and driving it myself.
Like most people, before deciding how I would move from Arkansas to Arizona, I seriously considered truck rental moving— mainly because it's what I was familiar with and I thought it would be the best low-cost solution. Rental trucks have been the standard do-it-yourself moving option for years. I can't tell you how many times I've helped friends and family load and unload them. But since I was moving such a long distance this time, I decided to check out other options. I didn't know if I could afford it, but I really wanted to pack it all up and fly to Phoenix. The thought of driving 1,200 miles by myself in a rental truck did not sound appealing, and though I had friends willing to help, it wasn't an appealing option for them or me. So I decided: just because truck rental is familiar, it doesn't mean it's my only choice. And after a recommendation from my sister, I got a quote from U-Pack (and some other moving services).
There was no question that I would have to do something low-cost. I was moving on a very tight budget, so full-service moving wasn't an option. Actually, the reason I started looking at U-Pack initially was the company's reputation. The home office is located in Arkansas (actually, right in the city I moved from), and it's very highly regarded locally. I just assumed that the price would be higher than truck rental moving since ABF would actually drive it.
But it wasn't.
After getting quotes from several truck rental moving companies, I figured out that a 10 foot rental truck from Fort Smith to Phoenix would cost about $700.00, then fuel would cost about $560 (it's close to 1,200 miles)— so I would be looking at around $1260. I learned later that this didn't include taxes or insurance. My quote from U-Pack for 1 ReloCube was just under $1000. ABF would drop it off at my apartment complex in Fort Smith, drive it for me to Phoenix and drop it off at my new apartment complex there. Sweet. The price, compared with knowing for a fact that ABF was a reputable company, sealed the deal.
And, as you can see from the pictures in my earlier posts, it all went off without a hitch. If I ever move again, guaranteed it will be with U-Pack. No more truck rental moving for me.
Follow Jennifer's 3-part blog series as she describes her cross country moving experience with U-Pack!
Four months ago I did something kind of crazy: I quit my full-time job to pursue a lucrative career as a freelance writer. Why did I quit my full-time job with benefits in a beach-front office at a promising tech startup? Because I fell out of love with Los Angeles.
Two years (and one month) ago, I left my home in Chicago and accepted a full-time job with a company in LA. It was hard to leave, but the opportunity simply was too good to pass up. And who couldn't use an excuse to escape the brutal Chicago winter? But as time went on, I started missing my family, my friends, and even the seasons (Christmas lights wrapped around a palm tree just isn't the same).
When I left the company I came out here for, I hoped to build enough of a life for myself that I might feel at home here. I know that many would challenge me and say that you can't feel at home after only two years, but I'd argue that. In those two years I've known many people who have come to visit and experience a "this is where I'm meant to be" moment. I've been all over this city and I haven't come close.
The challenge is that this is my 23rd move in 27 years. I don't really know what it's like to be settled and it's hard to discover that feeling when there's broken down boxes stored in every closet. Despite my moving expertise, this is only my third cross-country move. Regardless of how often you do it, moving is still sure to shake even the most confident mover.
But once you get past apartment hunting and your overwhelming to-do list, driving across the country can actually be pretty fun. As a postcard collector, I'm really looking forward to the journey. (Especially knowing that my belongings are in good hands.) I worked with U-Pack when I first moved to Los Angeles and I'm excited to reconnect for my move back!
Moving day is only a few days away and I'm determined to set out with a fresh and open mind. With my mom by my side, who knows what adventures we'll get into along the way...
Based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, we know that "attending or leaving college" is one reason a fairly large number of people relocate each year. For people hoping to become a chef, restaurant manager, food researcher, nutritionist, food salesman or food stylist/photographer, that may mean a move across the country to attend an awesome culinary school. And they're everywhere. In fact, these days you can find one in just about every state in the U.S. But if you want to go beyond just your home state, and your goal is to attend the best cooking school in the country, check out the infographic on the Nations' Top Culinary Schools. It shows the top schools by region— including New York, Texas, Illinois, Arizona and California.
Thanks to channels like The Food Network and the Cooking Channel, and shows like The Rachael Ray Show; Bobby Flay's Brunch@Bobby's; Giada De Laurentiis' Everyday Italian; Paula Deen's Paula's Home Cooking; and Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright's Two Fat Ladies, going to culinary school has become the "in" thing to do. And I think the foodies across the nation (including me) are okay with that!
Are there options for moving across country cheap?
Just a couple of days ago this quesiton was sent in via the “Ask the Experts” tool: “What’s the best way to move across the country cheap?” The nice woman asking the question went on to say that she was moving across the country in the next couple of months and was trying to make a plan. Her big issue was money—she’s a single mom moving on a very limited budget. She mentioned that while full-service moving would be ideal, it just wasn’t an option because the cost was higher than her budget allowed. Basically, she was just trying to figure out how to move without spending more than she has. Can you relate?
If you can, know that you’re in the majority. I’ve found that most people are wondering the exact same thing: Is moving across the country cheap even a possibility?
The answer is, yes, it is a possibility. But you may have discovered that getting a lower price usually takes some work on the part of the person (or family) moving. The good news is that you don’t have to do ALL the work—and by ALL, I’m referring to packing, loading, unloading and driving (i.e. truck rental). “You pack, we drive” services are a great alternative for people who are okay with doing some of the work, but would rather someone else drive the moving truck.
And it’s definitely the route I would take.
I don’t know if you’ve ever compared “you pack, we drive” services to truck rental before, but if you haven’t, it’s something I highly recommend. As you know, prices vary based on location, move size, when you’re moving etc., but I think this example may be pretty telling. Many times these services actually cost less than renting a truck and driving it yourself.
I looked at a move from San Diego, California to Dallas, Texas on 6/10/2013, moving a 2-bedroom home, and I compared the prices for U-Haul®, Budget® and U-Pack®.
What I found—and what you may find if you get moving quotes and compare—is that the “you pack, we drive” service cost less.
U-Haul’s price for a 17-foot truck (when you add Safemove®, fuel, and the environmental fee) was $2785.00, (tax not included). Budget’s 16-foot truck (when you include the “cost recovery fee,” and fuel) was $2503.60 (tax and damage coverage not included). U-Pack’s price for 12 linear feet of the trailer, which is similar in size to a 17-foot rental truck, was $2025.00—with no additional charge for fuel, environmental fees, cost recovery fees, taxes or standard liability coverage.
There’s no question that “you pack, we drive” services are not always cheaper, but many times, when you’re moving long-distance, they are. When you’re comparing, just make sure to include all of the “extra” charges that go along with truck rental—you can figure out how much fuel costs using a rental truck fuel calculator like this, http://www.upack.com/moving-tools/fuel.asp. Then just ask the rental truck company what “extras” are specific to that company.
Questions about moving across country cheap? If guessing, I would say that this customer’s concern is a very common concern. There’s no question that budget is top-of-mind for most people planning a move. Hopefully sharing an example about how prices compare is helpful, but we understand that every move is unique. We’re always very happy to answer any of your questions, and we can help with getting a moving quote if you need it. Feel free to leave a comment below, or call us at 800-413-4799!
This is the final post of a five-part series written by guest blogger Josh Knoll about his experience moving with U-Pack from Arkansas to Arizona. Make sure to check out his other posts: Moving to Phoenix Part One, Moving to Phoenix Part Two, Moving to Phoenix Part Three, Moving to Phoenix Part Four.
*The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of U-Pack, the blog.upack.com staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.
A summary of my experience moving with U-Pack – Part Five Maybe I'm just like you— a college student trying to make ends meet, looking to start a career, and hoping to succeed in a new urban environment. If you can relate to any of this, keep reading!
Throughout the experience, I knew that I would want to relay various parts of my experience on Facebook, on the phone to family and friends, as well as in personal journals and blogs. I set into memory some of my experiences during the journey, and I took dozens of pictures! I jotted down numerous mental notes, and I would like to share a few things now (to pay it forward for other movers trying to decide if U-Pack is best for them). Here are the key points I noted throughout the transition:
1. I have never driven a vehicle that was hauling a moving trailer behind it. Why start now? The U-Pack drivers both at the origin and destination were amazingly polite, professional, and accommodating. I actually believe my belongings got more "TLC" with them than they would have gotten with me.
2. Loading the U-Pack ReloCube was simple. Someone in this business has done their research. It was the perfect size for moving from one collegiate environment to another. I never felt like I would run out of room inside the container, but I also didn't feel like I was packing a studio apartment into a gymnasium. The dimensions of the ReloCube offer a great middle ground between too big and too small.
3. I packed things tightly (which is preferred to keep fragile items stable) and when they dropped off the container, it was exactly as I packed it. It was as if they teleported it to Phoenix! They clearly took care not to jostle the container around too much.
4. I was allotted three days to pack and four days to unpack my ReloCube (because I was able to include the weekend for unloading). The procrastinator in me took advantage of this tenfold. In the extreme Phoenix heat, I probably averaged one box an hour. I believe other moving services are on a tighter schedule. I liked the flexibility of being able to unpack one box at a time.
5. At both apartments, I was only assigned one parking space, and guest parking is very limited. It was great that the relo-cube fit perfectly into even a compact parking spot! It is taller than it is deep/wide, which not only makes sense, but allows tons more room than you would expect.
6. Because I was able to fly into Phoenix early, I got to spend a couple days with my new roommate, met several of his friends, and enjoyed a little "mini-vacation" in the city I would be inhabiting for the next several years. It was nice to get in this "R & R" before tackling the task of moving in.
7. It was also nice that I didn't have to feel that I was invading every available empty spot of the apartment with boxes of my junk immediately upon meeting my new roommate! Instead of stepping on toes right away, U-Pack made the transition much easier. I took a couple days learning how he lived, where he kept everything, etc. By the time the U-Pack shipment arrived, my new roommate and I had established a very good rapport and an understanding of how the apartment cohabitation would work. He even offered to help me move some of the heavier items when the driver dropped off the cube.
All in all, this was the best moving experience I have ever had, and I believe planning my move around the U-Pack concept is what made it so enjoyable. From now on, I will highly recommend this to anyone. We are programmed to think we must do the driving if we are not hiring movers. I think, "The times they are a-changin!'" Now you know. You do have an alternative!