Thursday, November 21, 2013

Why I Like Riding My Bike Everywhere

Aside from no longer having a car, saving a lot of money while having a very environmentally low-impact travel and helping lessening traffic congestion in the city, you mean. But there are many more reasons to choose to get to places by bicycle even here in car-centric San Diego!

First off, you get to see more of the places you're riding through than you would driving a car. At slower speed and with the ability to just pull off the road at just about anywhere in the city (and not have to look for a parking spot)... just to wallow in views like these:
Shelter Island.
Sunset Cliffs.
And while you are stopped to enjoy the view, probably while munching on the delicious ice-cream from the off-street vendor, chances are you'll also run into some interesting people who seem quite more at ease talking to someone stepping off a bicycle than they would to someone stepping out from a car. It is a neat thing. Anne Mustoe, the English school headmistress who went riding her touring bike all the way around the globe and lived to write about it in the excellent book, 'A Bike Ride', observed the same phenomenon;
"I had been embraced into the camaraderie of the road. As the banter was exchanged and the well-meant advice given, I remembered a winter's day in Norfolk. I had pulled up at a similar stall in my Alfa Romeo and smart executive suit, to be cold-shouldered and treated to glances as frosty as the morning. Now, my bicycle had unlocked the first of many doors around the world and I was delighted to find myself so readily and warmly accepted."
I was rolling thru Mission Bay the other day when this cool guy not only chatted with me but also let me handle his magnificent Eclectus parrot!
Not only are pedestrians friendlier to bicyclist me, most drivers I've met along the road are great. Yes, even friendly smile-at-everyone me do draw occasional impatient honks, but those are far outnumbered by the number of times drivers have rolled down their window to cheer me up particularly steep climbs, offering friendly chats while waiting at traffic lights, and wishing me a safe trip as they roll off.
The Mother Grundy dog pack.
This friendliness even transcends species! I can't imagine that the four amazing dogs I ran into on Mother Grundy Truck Trail in Jamul would escort me for miles and try to protect me from other dogs and even the lovely Beacon Hill llamas had I been in a car rather than on a bicycle!

Talking about friendly animals, I get to see way more wild life from my bike than I ever did from a car.
Acorn woodpecker in Lyons Valley.
Steller's jay in Pine Valley.
Wild deers in Mesa Grande Reservation.
Ram in Dehesa.
Camels at the farm off Old Julian Highway.
Kestrel on the power line on Palomar Mountain.
Horned lark at Morley Fields.
Home building red-shouldered hawk in De Luz.
And, of course, all the house dogs riding around town in cars' passenger seat really love bicyclists!
California dogs have it made with these joy rides!
Living and riding near the coast, you also run into all sorts of interesting people and touring cyclists. It's good for motivation! Every time I start to get demoralized toward the end of my 120-140 mile ride, I'd remember some cool touring cyclists I've met on the road, like the twin French Canadians I ran into on the road two days in a row who rode from San Francisco all the way down to San Diego, or Mike the young Oregonian who was riding from Vancouver to the tip of Baja California when I caught him riding up Camino Del Mar...

Daniel & Claude B├ędard cycled from San Francisco to San Diego in 12 days.
Bike touring is a real adventure!
.. and their mileage and heavy load, and all of the sudden quitting is out of the question. If those guys can suffer all the way to their finish line, then there is no excuse for me not to, too!

Of course, the on-bike suffering is at times very unpleasant, but it always helps when there are friends sharing in it with you.

Cycling friends know what an ordeal making it up that long climb without stopping is. And at the top of the beast, the victory tastes all the sweeter when you can trade hi-fives someone else rather than just silently congratulating yourself.

Then, of course, there are all these wonderful places where cars can't go and they're quite a chore to access on foot!
Well, 4 wheel drive cars can go on Nate Harrison Grade, I suppose.
Encelia Dr on Mt Soledad.
Miller Ranch Rd on Mt San Miguel.
Top of Mt Woodson.
Lake San Marcos Radio Towers trail.
And even in places where cars can also go...
Mesa Grande Rd.
Palomar South Grade Rd (S6).
Lyons Valley Rd.
Well, curvy beauties like these are just so much more fun riding down on a bicycle!


  1. Where on the Embarcadero is that beautiful second pic?

  2. Hi Anon,
    It's between the convention center and the walkway to Embarcadero Marina Park - South. :)


Thanks for stopping by. Be safe on the roads!