Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mission Bay to La Jolla

Great ride this morning from Mission Bay, around Fiesta Island, up to La Jolla, and back. We used little-known bike paths that allow you to stay off major roads but still maintain a direct route.

Our route.

It was a cool, foggy, chilly morning in San Diego as we met for a road ride from Mission Bay. In our pre-ride announcements, I took the opportunity to spread some of the word handed down from the Breast Cancer Fund, and mentioned the potential harmful effects of some sunscreens that contain parabens. We often don't think about the chemicals we put into our bodies via lotions, but transdermal absorption is very concentrated and should never be overlooked. To see whether the sunscreen you use is potentially harmful, go to and enter the type you use. You'll be surprised.

Announcements out of the way, we made our way around Fiesta Island, a low-traffic area that affords cyclists and joggers a beautiful view of Mission Bay. Exiting the island, we headed north on Mission Bay Drive dodging the numerous joggers that seemed to be out in force! We must have seen 300 joggers throughout the course of the ride. It was great to see so many people getting outside to play.

At the northernmost point of Mission Bay, the cleverly hidden Rose Canyon Bike path exits the road and skirts the marshy inlet that leads to Pacific Beach. We followed the bike path to the end, crossed under I-5, the continued north on Santa Fe Street which dead ends at the bottom of the 52 Bike Path (right at CA-52). Closed to vehicular traffic, the 52 Bike Path takes you from the northern end of Mission Bay Drive all the way up to La Jolla/UTC, where you can then access roads that will take you to UCSD. We went up to the UC Cyclery Bike Shop to pop in and take a look around, then headed back to Fiesta Island.

Before leaving the bike shop, we took a minute to talk about proper shifting, making sure everyone understood the term "cross-chaining," and the importance of keeping low gears up front with low gears in the rear and high gears up front with high gears in the rear. It's a simple thing to do, but if no one has ever explained it to you, you figure that clicking noise coming from your front derailleur is just the way the bike is. At least, I did before it was explained to me.

On the way back, we had to go up a curb to access the bike path from the road. Most cyclists dismount and carry their bikes up the curb, then carry their bikes down the steps to the bike path, as the ramp is very steep and turns sharply. The first time I took this ride, I rode with three guys who all popped their front wheel up the curb and then rode down the ramp. I made a point to learn how to do it for the next time, and was soon popping my front wheel up curbs without thinking about it. Today I did this, hoping the other girls would either follow or say, like I did, "Hey! Are you allowed to do that?! Show me!" Sure enough, Rebecca was intrepid enough to ride down the steep ramp, looking through the turn and making the corner without issue. Triumph! As a bonus, when we returned to the parking lot she wanted to learn to pop her front wheel up the curb. Cool! A convert. Bwahahahaa!

It was a great ride at a social pace that was fun for our girls who had not been on the bike for a while, as well as provide some new challenges for our seasoned riders. No matter what ride you're on, there's always a skill you can practice or learn.

-Laura D.