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Looking for Rides in San Diego....(11 posts)

Looking for Rides in San Diego....newrider
Mar 18, 2003 4:53 PM
I'm a new rider and am looking for good bike routes in San Diego. I live in Crown Point (Pacific Beach) but I don't necessarily need my rides to start from there. Also, I'm looking for groups to ride with. Again, I'm new at this so I wouldn't want to hold anyone back. I'm in my late 20's and fairly fit so I shouldn't be too slow. Any advice/leads?
This time I brought my map!Humma Hah
Mar 18, 2003 6:48 PM
Check around for a copy of this greenish folded map. I think my copy came from the Santa Fe train depot, but other places with touristy brochures and maps may have it, as may some bike shops (and you can't swing a blown inner tube where you live without hitting a LBS).

San Diego Region Bike Map
by RideLink, Adiministered by SANDAG

This is a detailed street map covering most of the western part of the county, and is highlighted with good bike routes, bike lanes, bike paths, and secret bike cut-thrus. Even if no highlighting exists, most roads are good for bikes. A very few are closed to cycles, and they're marked on the map.

Start your rides by exploring the Pacific Coast Highway, down to downtown, and up all the way to Oceanside. That's all easy riding, but a key route for reaching branches that take you on great rides. You'll see a lot of bikes and bike shops along the PCH, which is the road closest to the coast, whatever it is called locally.

Here's a favorite of mine, which I call the "Black Mountain Steeplechase." Ride the PCH up to the area between Del Mar and Solana Beach, to Via de la Valle. Go inland to Rancho Santa Fe. Turn right onto Paseo Delicias, which becomes Del Dios Highway. This climbs up to Lake Hodges, a beautiful ride. Past Lake Hodges, turn right onto Via Rancho Parkway, for a brisk descent to Escondido.

You are now into the upper reaches of two good local rides, the Tour de Poway and the Old Pros ride, and the route will incorporate parts of these.

There's a bike path on I15 that goes south to the next exit, crossing a marshy area. Take that. Get off at Pomerado Rd./Bernardo Dr. Go west on Bernardo Dr to the south end of Bernardo Center Dr (pass the north end). Rt on Bernardo Center Dr. a short distance to Camino del Norte. Go left.

Go right at Carmel Mtn Rd., left on Saber Springs Pkwy. I'll confess to being a little forgetful here ... there are several ways to pick thru on the map, but your goal is to get back over to Black Mountain Road at Ted Wms Parkway. There's a bike lane and surface street parallel to the Parkway, and I think there's a direct connection not on my map.

Anyway, go south from Ted Williams on Black mountain and have a ball blasting down the hill about a 300 ft drop into Los Penesquitos Canyon, then climb back the other side. You can just take Mira Mesa Blvd down to Sorrento Valley Rd and on back to the coast, or pick thru a couple of streets to the north and pick up Calle Cristobal and/or Sorrento Valley Blvd and go west on those to Sorrento Valley Rd.

Sorrento Valley Rd is closed to traffic and detours inland, but the old road is open to bikes (be prepared for a short cyclocross over mud under I-5). This stretch is a wildlife corridor between Los Penesquitos and Torrey Pines, and is used by mountain lions. The road comes out at Carmel Valley Rd. Go left on this back to the PCH, just south of Del Mar, close to where you started.

For other great rides, use the map to take you over to Ramona and down to Poway. Climbing from Poway up Poway Rd to 67 is a 1200 ft climb at 8% grade that'll give you a workout, then 67 goes to Ramona, and Highland Valley Rd gets you back to the top of Pomerado Rd on the Steeplechase route. You'll get into more desert-like environments and experience San Diego's remarkable "micro-climates".

Take the bike up to the Lagunas. Start in Pine Valley, and ride up the Sunrise Highway. You'll reach 6000 ft and be in a whole different series of microclimates. West of the mountain crest is lush and green, east is dry desert, and you can just turn around in some spots and see 'em both.
Hey Humma, how about a cruiser crit in a oval track....Bruno S
Mar 18, 2003 9:23 PM
These guys are teasing about such an event:
If I were still in San Diego ...Humma Hah
Mar 19, 2003 9:31 AM
... I'd come up for that! Alas, I'm back in Virginia now.

I did get the bike out on the San Diego Velodrome. It paces with the national-calibre trackies training under Eddie B with no problem. Has a little trouble keeping up in a sprint, though.
This time I brought my map!CurtSD
Mar 19, 2003 8:24 AM
A couple of minor points: first, theres a bike path on northbound I-15 between Pomerado Rd. and Via Rancho Pkwy, but not southbound. It's still fine as a bike route though - nice wide shoulder, though a bit noisy with all the cars. Second, I would avoid the stretch of Mira Mesa Blvd you describe - there's heavy traffic, and no bike lane or shoulder. From Black Mountain Road I'd turn right on Capricorn Way (residential street), then turn right on Camino Ruiz which immediately swings West and turns into Calle Cristobal, then turns into Sorrento Valley Blvd. This then hits Sorrento Valley Road, where you can continue the loop.
My old stomping grounds!Humma Hah
Mar 19, 2003 9:37 AM
Mira Mesa Blvd is not so bad except where it goes under I805. The bike lane just ends and you have to contend with several busy turn lanes. My map does not give enough detail to name the small surface steets ... I couldn't remember Camino Ruis but you're right, and its one of the alternatives I was trying to indicate exist.

I always ran the loop opposite the way I described, starting from Black Mtn Rd and Gold Coast, where I lived. I assume they expect you to use the I-15 bike path either direction. Yeah, its noisy, but mercifully short.

re: Looking for Rides in San Diego....CurtSD
Mar 18, 2003 7:44 PM
You can order a (free) bike route map here:

If you want a fairly flat route, then the PCH from LaJolla north to Oceanside is nice.
If you want hillier routes, there was a thread on the subject a while ago:
riderbob "San Diego Routes: Mountains:HELP" 3/12/03 12:56pm
re: Looking for Rides in San Diego....Rich_Racer
Mar 18, 2003 8:58 PM
Thanks for that. I'm new to SD and haven't had a chance to ride here much yet. I'll definately try that Black Mountain ride soon - once I'm back to full health!

re: Looking for Rides in San Diego....Bruno S
Mar 18, 2003 9:20 PM
There are a couple of books about cycling in San Diego county. Take a look at them, when I moved to San Diego i bought one and got to know the county that way.

There are also many group rides. puts on a good one on saturdays close to where you live.
Fiesta Islandtarwheel
Mar 19, 2003 5:47 AM
Fiesta Island in Mission Bay is a great place for solo rides, time trials, etc. My wife's aunt and uncle live in San Diego and I did a lot of riding the last time we visited. They live in Mission Hills, and it was a great daily workout riding down to Fiesta Island, doing a few laps and then returning. The island is very flat, with no traffic. Lots of cyclists train out there. I also rode out out to the lighthouse at Point Loma one day and it was a nice, scenic ride but the route I had to take to avoid traffic was pretty convoluted. Joined one group ride with local bike club to La Jolla and back one day and that was fun. Pick up one of the bike route maps at a local bike shop; I think they're free.
Fun rides ...Humma Hah
Mar 19, 2003 11:15 AM
... check with your LBS for upcoming events. They range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

July 4 or thereabouts, the Scripps Ranch Old Pros ride. Usually has 12, 28, and 50-mile options.

Tour de Poway goes Poway to Ramona and back via the route I mentioned in my other post, on the 50 mile option, with two shorter rides available. I've run the 50-miler on my singlespeed cruiser.

The Amtrack Century is a great beginner's century, usually early to mid September. Goes from Irvine to San Diego. You can take an Amtrack up the night before, cheap, and the ones with California Cars have bike racks. The Angelenos ride down, take a chartered train back.

And don't miss Midnight Madness. A 20-miler, flat as a pancake, in downtown San Diego. Wear an outrageous costume. Starts at midnight.

All of these are great ways to meet many other cyclists.