Bayshore Bikeway 24 MILES
Los Peñasquitos Canyon Trail 13 MILES
Even if you’re a lifelong San Diegan, there are likely still pockets of Balboa Park you’ve never seen. Biking is a great way to scope them all out. Start at Sixth Avenue and Upas Street and take Balboa Drive south all the way to Marston Point, the southwestern tip of the park. Follow the curve northbound until you reach the bathrooms, then turn right onto a separate path that will take you up to El Prado. Head east into the park’s central mesa and turn right onto Pan American Road. Pass Spreckels Organ Pavilion and keep right at the fork for a jaunt past the International Coages. You’ll soon reach the brand-new Palisades Plaza, which was a crumbling parking lot just a few months ago. While you’re there, stop at the abandoned Starlight Bowl amphitheater. When you’re ready to head out, travel southeast on Presidents Way and cross Park Boulevard to approach Inspiration Point, which has some lovely gardens. Hop o your bike and explore the area on foot for a quick rest stop. Go back to Park Boulevard and ride north (this brief section can get busy and lacks bike lanes), passing the Rose and Cactus Gardens on your right. Turn left onto Zoo Place and make a left at the crosswalk. This path will lead you back to El Prado, which you can ride all the way back to the park’s west mesa where you started. Balboa Park 6 MILES NOTE: Bikes are allowed everywhere except in the Spanish Village, the International Coages, and the Rose and Cactus Gardens.
This trail tucked in the middle of suburbia is popular with hikers, but exploring it on a mountain bike is even beer and easy enough for kids. Keep Google Maps handy, because reception is fairly good throughout the canyon and there are infinite combinations of trails you can criss-cross. For the simplest and flaest ride, you can start at the entrance by the southernmost tip of Camino del Sur. Ride west following the trail that runs parallel to Peñasquitos Creek. In two miles you’ll see the waterfall that serves as the trail’s main araction. Keep going west all the way to I-5, then double back and start your return. Turn right at Wagon Wheel Crossing to reach the trail south of the creek and continue riding east. The trail south of the creek will eventually lead you to Eichar’s Grave, a memorial with some interesting local history. Take the next left, then head west on the final bit of trail to return back to your starting point. Mid-City Mansions, University Heights, and Normal Heights 9 MILES This ride doesn’t have dedicated bike lanes, but the streets are relatively low-stress and you’ll be rewarded with a tour of gorgeous houses and canyon views. Start on Park Boulevard and ride north to turn right on Adams Avenue. After you pass Trolley Barn Park, hang a left on Panorama Drive for the first detour. Admire the collection of historic homes as the street curves around to take you back onto Adams.
The Bayshore Bikeway is a staple of San Diego cycling. Don’t let the length scare you: The route is almost entirely flat and much of it is separated from cars. The first section, starting at Broadway Pier and going southeast on Harbor Drive, is the most urban, but stick with it for a close-up look at San Diego’s shipbuilding industry. Continue south, following the Bayshore Bikeway signage to a bike bridge that runs parallel to I-5 over the Sweetwater River. The route will take you past the Chula Vista Marina and South Bay Salt Works, where massive evaporation ponds yield mountains of sea salt. When you reach Main Street in Chula Vista, turn right onto a separated bike path. Trident Coee in Imperial Beach marks the halfway point and makes for a great pit stop, oering delicious cold brew and clean bathrooms. The bike path continues west, then north, alongside the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The final stretch follows Silver Strand all the way to Coronado, around the golf course, and ends at the Coronado Ferry Landing. Relax and enjoy the ferry ride back to downtown. Your bike is included in the $5 ticket!
Continue east across the 805, then turn left onto Mountain View Drive for an even windier detour. Take a left onto Hawley Boulevard. At the end of Cromwell Place, you can view the Mission Valley stadium in its current state of demolition. Return to Mountain View Drive, turn left, and continue back to Adams. Ride east and turn left onto Kensington Drive for our final detour. Another left on Canterbury Drive will take you past stunning mansions. At the end, a right on Palisades Road, then another on Marlborough Drive, will take you back to Adams. Turn right onto Adams and it’s a 2.5-mile ride back to your starting point.
Protection is cool Helmets are required by California state law if you’re under the age of 18, and they’re highly recommended for anyone riding a bike, especially on busy streets. When visibility is low, you should also wear something reflective, like a vest or ankle straps (which double as fashionable pieces to keep your pant legs out of the chains). You can also aach reflective strips to your bike or helmet.
Traffic laws still apply to you Just because you’re on a bike doesn’t mean you can roll through stop signs and tra ic lights. Come to a complete stop, and signal your turns with your arms to avoid cuing o drivers or other bikers.
Stay off the sidewalk As tempting as it may be to ride on an empty concrete strip, don’t do it—you’re puing both yourself and pedestrians at risk of a painful collision.
73 SAN DI EGO MAGAZ INE
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