So, I’ve competed in a half Ironman. I’ve ridden my bicycle through Turkey, Morocco, Spain and down the Pacific Coast. I’m recognized as a Commuter of the Year in San Diego County. But I when I first started riding a bicycle as an adult, I had to ask a friend for help.
Looking back over 12 years of riding, there are some things I wish I would have known. Here’s some advice on how to get started – even if it means giving me a call to ride with you the first time.
San Diego weather is like an invitation to become a cyclist, and Bike Month means that the San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts events across the county to help new bicycle riders learn how and where to ride bikes. Throughout my journey from beginning biker to professional commuter, the Bike Coalition has been an incredible resource.
I started riding my bicycle more then a decade ago because I couldn’t afford my car, but what I didn’t expect were the hidden perks. Imagine my surprise when I also lost weight and dropped two dress sizes—just from commuting to work!
The first step (and sometimes the hardest) toward getting yourself on a bike is getting the bike itself. We do have a ton of choices in the styles of bicycles that we can purchase. For someone like me, who just wants to get on a bike and ride, any of these bicycles can provide a solid workout, but there are a few differences that make each one a little better for a different style of commute. Any of your local bicycle dealers will walk you through the differences and let you test ride the different models so that you find the perfect bike for your needs.
Biking can be as laid-back or adventurous as you want it to be, which I don’t think many people realize. We get so stuck in our routines and our cars and we forget to explore the side streets and local character of our own neighborhoods. Reconnect with you community by riding your bicycle through streets you pass every day and just go where your bike takes you.
If you’re looking to explore San Diego from the seat of your bike, check out the boardwalk connecting Mission Beach to La Jolla. It’s oceanfront, flat and offers plenty of places to stop for food and drinks. For the idyllic San Diego bicycling experience, start downtown with a ferry ride across the bay into Coronado and cruise the Silver Strand.
All of this being said, the best advice I can give is very simple: don’t over think it. You don’t need a new bike and tons of fancy spandex to ride bicycles in San Diego. I like to ride in dresses and high heels—that’s my style. Just get on a used or borrowed bicycle and take short easy rides until you figure out how and when you’re going to ride. It’s different for everyone—that’s what makes it so much fun.