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Saturday, September 4, 2010

This Morning's Bicycle Ride

I try to ride 50 miles every Saturday and for the past couple months I've kept to the schedule. 

Now, that might seem ambitious... riding 50 miles every Saturday.  I can only imagine how that is perceived... spandex, bulging muscles, a sleek and lithe racing bike, sweat, some stupid looking helmet...   Believe me, none of that describes how I ride.  Quite the opposite.  In a future post I'll describe my philosophy on how to ride a bicycle.

Anyway, for purposes of today's post let me describe my route.  For those who are interested it might help if you open Google Maps to follow along.

7:20 am: National City, 4th St. to Main Street.  Follow that to Sigsbee.  Sigsbee to National Ave.  National Ave. to Imperial.  Imperial to Park.  South on Park to the bike path past the trolley stop.  Follow the bike path to 1st St.  Up 1st St. to Market.  Market to Front St.  Stop at Richard Walker's Famous Pancake House.

8:00 am: my wife and sister-in-law join me for breakfast; they had just come from a walk at Coronado Beach.  Service is slow at Richard Walker's, allow a little time for superior pancakes.  Incidentally, I had the Cherry Flapjacks, my wife and sister-in-law shared an omelette.

9:00 am: say "bye" to wife and sister-in-law and head down Front St. to bike path that parallels Harbor.  Follow to West G and Kettner.  West G to Pacific Highway.  Pacific Highway to the intersection at Sea World Drive.  Cross and take the bike path to the restrooms at the Family Kayak Adventure Center (I have yet to see any kayaks) for a much needed restroom break.  All that coffee.  Ugh.

9:30 am: follow the bike path along Mission Bay up to the De Anza Rd.  Note: this route is a veritable obstacle course in avoiding pedestrians who are truly clueless about sharing the path with others.  A few near misses... ride slow!  From De Anza Rd., enter the Rose Creek Bike Path.  Follow that to Mission Bay Dr.  Cross at Damon Ave. and proceed to Santa Fe St.  Follow Santa Fe St. to the continuation of the Rose Creek Bike Path.  Follow to the intersection of Gilman and La Jolla Colony Dr.

10:00 am: proceed up Gilman (fairly gentle hill) until you start to enter UCSD, then take a left onto La Jolla Village Dr. going west (fairly severe hill).  Proceed west to La Jolla Shores Dr.  Start coasting down La Jolla Shores Dr.  Believe me, you'll be coasting fast.

10:30 am: hang a right on Camino Del Oro and proceed to La Jolla Shores.  The marine layer hung heavy over the beach this morning; it also shrouded Mt. Soledad.  It exuded a mysterious, exotic aura to that part of La Jolla.  And besides it made it nice and cool for riding.

11:30 am (remember, these times are very approximate): ride along the beach walk, hang a left on Avenida De La Playa, hang a right on Camino De La Plata; ride uphill until you get to Torrey Pines Rd.

11:50 am: proceed west on Torrey Pines Rd.  Hang a right on the Coast Walk (identified by a sign; don't let the "Dead End" sign fool you - yeah, it's a dead end if you're driving a car!)

When I get to the actual Coast Walk with the wooden bridges and steps and all, I walk the bike... including carrying it up steps.  Thus, not recommended if you're riding an especially heavy bike (I do ride a heavy bike... but I carry it anyway).  Plus, I constantly stand aside for pedestrians as I think it's wrong to hog the trail due to my bike.  So this side trip, whereas scenic, is not especially quick.  Fortunately I don't care for quick... but I am big on scenic.

12:05 pm: at the Cave Store, remount your bike and proceed down Coast Blvd.  This part is steep so don't get too crazy.  At Scripps Park I slowly rode the path while avoiding pedestrians.  Beautiful, beautiful day.

12:30 pm: at some point I re-entered Coast Blvd. and enjoyed the view while dodging cars and pedestrians.  I'm not sure of the exact route I followed here, but eventually I reached Nautilus.  Follow Nautilus due east  and climb until you reach the Fay Avenue Bike Path, which is just a small ways beyong La Jolla High School. 

12:45 pm: the Fay Avenue Bike Path starts out well.  It's paved, it's relatively flat, other people obviously enjoy it.  And I was really impressed by the bridge incorporated by the Path over Palomar Ave.  At some point, though, it turns to dirt and small sharp rocks.  I rode slowly to avoid puncturing a tire.  Eventually the path ends and you enter La Jolla Hermosa Ave. which provides a bike lane.  Continue until you get to Colima St.

Follow Colima due west to La Jolla Blvd.  At the intersection you have to use the pedestrian light to cross... left turns are not permitted.  Once across, proceed south on La Jolla Blvd.  Hang a right on Loring and then immediately hang a left on Crystal Dr.  Somehow or other proceed to Law St. where you will reach the pedestrian/bike path overlooking the beach.

Followed this to just about Pacific Beach Dr.  There, I crossed Mission Blvd. and first visited the Subway shop where I got a foot-long tuna sub.  I packed it on the bike and proceeded up Pacific Beach Dr.  Shortly thereafter I was able to enter the Bayside Walk encircling Sail Bay.  At a shady spot with some grass and trees I stopped and had some lunch.  I washed down that sub with a RockStar energy drink.  Yes, after the pancakes this morning I was making a little piggie of myself.  I told myself I needed the fuel.  Sigh, I don't need that much fuel.

Back on the Bayside Walk, I followed it to Crown Point.  Once past the picnickers I entered the parking lot and ascended to Crown Pt. Dr.

1:30 pm:  I followed Crown Point Dr. to Pacific Beach Dr.  Hung a left on Olney.  Right on Grand, past Mission Bay High School.  Re-entered the Rose Creek Bike Path, this time going south, which delivered me once again to the path running along Mission Bay.  More travails with clueless pedestrians.  I don't mind little kids not understanding the protocol, but it bothers me when adults wander aimlessly all across the path, not a thought in their heads that anyone else might also be using it.

2:00 pm: once again I made it to the Family Kayak Adventure Center (again no kayaks) and again took advantage of a much needed restroom break.  Energy drink plus 2 bottles of water... a lot of fluid.

Many years ago we faithfully took our dog Shannon to this area south of Fiesta Island.  When they started excavating the area for the "kayak center" they originally left a rudimentary beach.  Shannon loved that beach - my wife and I called it Shannie Beach.  We lost Shannon some 11 years ago; she wouldn't recognize her little beach anymore.  It's always poignant for me when I ride past there.

I re-entered the bike path and followed it to South Shores Dr.  At the intersection with Sea World Dr. I waited at the pedestrian crossing, crossed to the south and continued to the bike path alongside the San Diego River, which I followed to the Sunset Cliffs bridge.

2:15 pm: once across the bridge there was some quick manuevering to get to the left turn lane entering Nimitz.  That particular area wasn't designed with bicycles in mind.  When the light changed I proceeded south on Nimitz.  At some point as I rode along this street I felt a rhythmic "bumping" throughout the bicycle.  I examined the bike and couldn't find any problems.  When the problem persisted I examined it again and discovered a large bulge in the rear tire.  The tire is a Ritchy Tom 26" slick and I've had it for less than a year.  This shouldn't be happening.  In any case, I let some of the air out of the tube and the bump become much less noticeable. 
I'll have time on Monday to pull the wheel and really examine the tube and tire.  We shall see...

2:25 pm: reached Harbor.  Proceeded west on Harbor until I reached the Spanish Landing area, where I followed the bike path.  I love this little section of path; it's so calm and peaceful in comparison to the frantic airport traffic on Harbor.  Continued to follow the bike path past Star of India.  At Broadway I hung a left.  Right on Pacific Highway.  Left on West G.  At the intersection with Kettner I entered the bike path alongside the trolley tracks. 

I should note that last Saturday when I crossed the intersection of West G and Kettner my front tire got caught in the trolley track and I went over.  Hard.  Ouch.  I still have the skinned knee and fingers to prove it.

2:30 pm: followed the bike path past Petco.  North on Park; right on Imperial.  Right on National.  National to Sigsbee.  Sigsbee to Main (more or less).  Main to National City.  I was home by 3:00 pm.

And that, according to my bike computer, works out to just a little over 50 miles.

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