Touring - Considering a five day tour in San Diego area. Route suggestions/links?
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03-08-13, 07:56 PM
There's a plethora of charted routes in the San Diego area but there's no way I could know the difference between them. Could someone who is a local rider help me come up with a possible plan?
My thought is to ship the bike out ahead of time, fly in, reassemble it, and then spend five days doing 50-60 mile rides through the area. I've heard the north county routes are probably prettier but I'm not even sure what qualifies as "north county." I'm mostly interested in touring speeds (no hammerfests) and I'm not a climbing fanatic but not afraid of hills, either. A great touring day for me is to head out after breakfast, cruise at about 17 or 18 mph, stop frequently to take photos of gorgeous scenery or interesting stuff, clock about 50 or so miles, and be in my hotel room looking at photos by late afternoon. The routes could be hub-and-spoke routes where I'm back in the same hotel each night or they could be daisy-chained as I bounce from hotel to hotel on a multi-hundred mile loop or they could be routes far enough apart that I need a rental car to get to the starting point. I'd prefer a mix of mountain views, ocean views, and forest, if there is any. I'm flexible.
So, with that in mind, what are your top six or seven scenic touring routes through the area?
Thanks for any suggestions and pointers.
03-08-13, 10:07 PM
I lived in San Diego for several years, and would suggest the following scenic destinations for touring:
- Oceanside to La Jolla (http://goo.gl/maps/Y2MK3) this is the premier coastal route. Going north to south gives you the best unobstructed view of the Pacific the whole ride down. I always love to stop at Pizza Port in Solana Beach for pizza, cider, and their in-house brews. Lots of great family-owned business, food joints, cafes, and riders along the way - no matter which day of the week. La Jolla makes a good stop because it has a nice downtown area, shops, and a marine sanctuary right off the coast, and simply a gorgeous view, especially at sunset.
- Old Town to Ocean Beach to Cabrillo National Monument (http://goo.gl/maps/Ujht8) start in the historic part of town, sip some Margarita and enjoy the Spanish & Mexican influence of the city, then head along the San Diego river to Ocean Beach, a very chill beach neighborhood, down to Sunset Cliffs (another premier spot for sunsets!), and onward to the peninsula to the national monument. Great views of the city when looking back at the bay. Easy ride and you can easily combine this with other routes for a full day
- Balboa Park to Downtown/Gaslamp district to Coronado (via Ferry) and down to Silver Strand (http://goo.gl/maps/8vIHW) a little bit of everything! Very pretty and fun ride.
Further out, may require car transport:
- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (spring bloom in the desert is amazing)
- Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
- Mount Laguna / Cleveland National Forest
- Julian (old mining town famous for its apple pies)
- Palomar Mountain State Park
If you are a brewery guy, let me know and I'll shoot you some great names from the region ;) There are tons!
03-08-13, 10:38 PM
I live in downtown San Diego on my boat in during the winters so I can ride in good weather. I do a lot of rides such as you describe and have .kml files and photos for lot's of them. I've put together ride suggestions for several out of town riders visiting San Diego.
Send me a PM with more particulars about what you want.
How much climbing do you want in a single ride? - once more than 15 miles east of San Diego you are in serious hill/mountain terrain. Miles of 4% - 6%. I seldom do a 50 mile ride with less than 2000' of climbing.
Will you have transportation to get you to the start of some of the rides?
Are you willing to use the fantastic trollies and trains that are setup for bicycle commuters? - I have a lot of very cool rides that start from train stations that are all within 30 minutes of downtown.
How do you feel about riding bike paths on busy roads?
Do you like urban riding - San Diego city has hundreds of miles of great bike lanes and very scenic riding - but it is urban.
This is my third winter in San Diego and I can recommend dozens of fantastic 50 - 75 mile rides that all start from downtown or train/trolley stops.
I'll offer to be a guide but my average for 60 miles is more like 14 - 16.
I've rented a bike there once and did a bike ride up to ocean side and back. Going back was more fun, not only was I riding on the ocean side but I was pushing the bike along the beach for a nice stretch. The ACA Pacific route goes through a lot of residential areas and busy roads. So you won't find much solitude and nature if that's what you're looking for.
I enjoyed the second day ride to the Mexican border much more. The Border Field State Park is quite nice and there is a place you can get up to the fence legally right at the beach. BTW the sign no motorized vehicles behind this point means "nobody behind this point". LOL
More details, route, photos and funny story is at my blog: http://adventurelaus.blogspot.com/2010/11/san-diego-southern-most-72-miles-of.html
I doubt that I'll have much time next time I'm in San Diego to do bike rides but if I'm eying going across the Mexican border for a day or a few (hotel or tent). I'd love to hear suggestions and experiences about that.
03-10-13, 11:13 AM
Thanks for the input and the private messages! Very helpful. This is what I have put together so far:
UCSD Torrey Pines to Oceanside Harbor
Park at Visitor Information Center, North Point Entrance
University of California San Diego
San Diego, CA 92093
Park at Escondido Dog Park/Hidden Valley Obedience Club
Beven at E Valley
San Diego Downtown Loop
Park at San Diego Museum of Art
1450 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101
Now I'm looking for two or three more routes that will give me a variety of scenery and photo opportunities. Any ideas?
03-10-13, 11:32 AM
Torrey Pines south to take in the La Jolla Cove, then south along the Pacific Beach bike path, over the bridge to Ocean Beach, then on to Cabrillo State Park, well worth the admission fee. Then, I'd wend my way further south along the embarcadero and take the ferry over to Coronado Island, then take the bike path along the Silver Strand to Imperial Beach. Then go on over the Tijuana River to Border Park as mentioned above. Not all of this is scenic, but it is unique to the area and very interesting. The route is also more suited for touring rather than hammering, although there will nevertheless be plenty of opportunity for the latter if you wish.
You can come back along the east side of the bay and then back on up to Torrey Pines through Rose Canyon for a nice (long) loop.
I'd do this in lieu of your "downtown loop"
San Diego Downtown Loop
Park at San Diego Museum of Art
1450 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101
I think you're missing out on the nice parts of your day 3 route. Change it to a one-way south bound. Include Point Loma (I haven't seen that myself but people are saying it's nice) and Border State Park. Go the opposite direction that you have planned. Downtown - Point Loma - Coronado - Border State Park - then to the blue train/trolly line (http://www.sdmts.com/Trolley/Trolley.asp#schedule) back to downtown SD. Bicycles are allowed on the trolly and that's what I did on my ride.
03-11-13, 09:52 PM
Couple things about the Mount Palomar ride - and this is only my opinion so take it with a grain of salt...
While there's no bike lane whatsoever up Lake Wohlford road it's still a nice ride and a challenging hill. The payoff is Woods Valley Road - while only 3.8 miles I think it's one of the most scenic stretches of road in inland North County.
Here's where some may disagree but I don't think there's any redeeming quality in the stretch of road beginning with Valley Center Road to you start the grade up the mountain. There's virtually no shoulder and the area you have to ride on is rough. Once you start the grade up the mountain it is smoother but then you've got to ride it again on the way back. That 6700 feet of climbing will be pretty grueling. The views up the grade to the top of the mountain will be awesome on a clear day, though.
A ride I like doing is to do the Lake Wohlford/Woods Valley Road then Valley Center Road and make a left on Lilac then to Old Castle Road. It takes you through some nice back country and loops around the Lawrence Welk Village area. I don't have a map in front of me but I'll bet you can find that mapped out on ride with gps. I'd estimate you're in the mid to high 40's in miles for that route.
Anyway, just a suggestion. There are a lot of great rides around here so I hope you'll be able to take in as much as you can.
03-13-13, 12:17 AM
If you will be here during wildflower season, then maybe consider heading east to Anza Borrego State Park for a day.
I also agree with the suggestion to head south from Torrey Pines to La Jolla. The descent down La Jolla Shores Blvd to the ocean is gorgeous, as is the trip through coastal La Jolla, and down through Birdrock. You can ride by Mitt Romney's place on Dunemere :-) Then down through PB and Mission Beach to OB/Sunset Cliffs & Point Loma. A great coastal tour of San Diego.
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