“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”
Traveling isn’t just about getting away from everyday life, it’s about finding new excitement within one’s life and stepping out of your comfort zone with new experiences. Movement is at the heart of adventure both literally and figuratively, and in a literal sense there is no better place to get moving than sunny San Diego.
For active travelers and bike enthusiasts, San Diego is a dream destination all year round. With an average of 146 sunny days a year, 70 miles of coastline and diverse topography, San Diego has something for every kind of cyclist looking to get active and break a sweat while on vacation. From bombing local foothills on a mountain bike to coasting along the boardwalk on a beach cruiser, San Diego has it all for the cyclist who wants to get out and explore. Biking in San Diego never gets old.
- Road Cycling: The all time best place to get on your road bike in San Diego is North County. Highway 101 runs up and down the coast of San Diego, but the quaint communities of North County give cyclists beautiful views of the ocean, local lagoons and stunning coastline. It also has gradual and steep inclines depending on the route you choose, providing a great ride for cyclists looking for a solid workout. My favorite stretch is from Swami’s Beach in Encinitas down south to Torrey Pines State Reserve. This ride takes cyclists past the San Elijo, San Dieguito and Los Penasquitos Lagoons as well as gorgeous beaches of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Solana Beach and Del Mar. For an added workout, head up the long paved road at Torrey Pines State Reserve. It will get your heart pumping among the rare and beautiful coastal Torrey Pines.
- Cruising: For visitors looking to enjoy a relaxing ride on a beach cruiser along a beachfront boardwalk, it doesn’t get better than Mission Beach. Perfect for families with cyclists of all ages, the boardwalk from Pacific Beach to Mission Beach is flat and wide, making it safe for all kinds of riders. The beautiful Pacific Ocean is just a few hundred yards away and the boardwalk borders expansive white sand beaches. During the summer, this boardwalk can get pretty busy with people roller-blading, skate-boarding and walking as well, but it’s a beautiful place to catch the sunset and cruise with the whole family. Local shops have beach cruisers for rent so visitors can head down to this area, grab a bike and enjoy the beauty of San Diego while cruising the Mission Beach boardwalk.
- Mountain Biking: Most people don’t realize that San Diego has mountains, but we do! We even get snow on occasion. The Laguna Mountain Recreation Area is just over an hour away from downtown San Diego and has countless trails roaming through pine trees, chaparral, beautiful lakes, tall grasses and wildflowers. It’s definitely worth a day trip to check out the single track trails winding through this southern California mountain paradise. I recommend getting up to the Laguna’s (as us locals call them) early, spending a few hours hitting the trails and then heading north about 20 minutes to the charming apple town of Julian, CA. Here, visitors can sit back and relax at one of the many pie shops for some homemade Julian apple pie and fresh cider. It’s a great way to end a day of cycling and re-hash the day’s ride.
San Diego is a cycling enthusiast’s paradise with all kinds of trails, beautiful stretches of paved road and beachfront boardwalks. Cycling in San Diego is perfect for the solo traveler looking to find some solace while hitting the trails or visitors looking for a fun activity the whole family can enjoy. Leave the car at home, book a beautiful San Diego hotel and pack up the kids, bikes and sunscreen for a cyclists’ dream vacation in sunny San Diego!
This article was written by Carli Leavitt, the editor of SanDiego.com. Leavitt is a San Diego native with a wealth of knowledge about local attractions, hotels, beaches and nightlife venues.