Bike San Diego

In our March 2010 issue, Traveler contributor David Swanson counted San Diego among North America’s top bike-friendly cities. With SoCal as the first stop on my nine-day California road trip, I decided to put San Diego biking to the test. The result: sunburn and a sore behind, but also the discovery that biking is one of the best ways to explore the city.

It doesn’t take long to recognize why San Diego is perfect for biking. Sunny skies and clearly marked bike paths along a flat terrain make it easy and enjoyable for beginners like me to cruise around the city. Whether you wheel up to Balboa Park or zip around the historic Gaslamp Quarter, a bike makes all of San Diego accessible. Ask a bike shop for a map and recommended trails based on your cycling level.

I’d suggest biking along the San Diego Bay harbor, taking North Harbor Drive through Spanish Landing Park. The bike path here is perfect for someone looking for a casual ride or a spot to picnic alongside the marina. Those more ambitious than me should continue a few hours further to the Point Loma Lighthouse, where many bike shop gurus tell me you’ll find striking ocean views.

One of the most scenic routes, however, may be around the tiny peninsula of Coronado, located just across San Diego Bay. Coronado is 13.5 square miles of beaches, bungalows, and a historic hotel, also offering the quintessential San Diego skyline view from its shores. To get to Coronado take the San Diego/Coronado Bay ferry, only a 15-minute ride ($7 round trip; bikes ride free). The ferry alternates departure points, leaving every hour from San Diego’s Broadway Pier and 25-past the hour from the Convention Center. 

The next time you find yourself in San Diego, grab a bike and go! Here are some tips and links for biking around San Diego.

  • Skip the long lines of tourists that usually crowd the Coronado bike shops and rent one downtown. You may even save a few bucks on cruisers or tandems, plus the staff is just as knowledgeable. I rented with Bike Revolutionwhere $25 gets you a bike for a full-day including helmet, lock, and map plus friendly advice from a tattooed, punk-rock local.
  • Ask your hotel for bike shop suggestions. The referral from my hostel got me a $10 discount.
  • For a longer tour, try the 26-mile bike loop around San Diego Bay from Bayshore Bikeway that was profiled in David Swanson’s story.
Book your next trip with Peace of Mind
Search Trips

[Coronado Chamber of Commerce]
[Coronado Visitors Center]

[48-Hours San Diego]
[San Diego City Guide]

Photo: QT Luong/terragalleria.com

where $25 gets you a bike for a full-day including helmet, lock, and map plus friendly advice from a tattooed, punk-rock local.

  • Ask your hotel for bike shop suggestions. The referral from my hostel got me a $10 discount.
  • For a longer tour, try the 26-mile bike loop around San Diego Bay from Bayshore Bikeway that was profiled in David Swanson’s story.
Book your next trip with Peace of Mind
Search Trips

[Coronado Chamber of Commerce]
[Coronado Visitors Center]

[48-Hours San Diego]
[San Diego City Guide]

Photo: QT Luong/terragalleria.com

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