San Diego’s Favorite Bicycle Rides #1 – Ocean Beach to National City

by on April 26, 2013 · 0 comments

in Culture, Environment, Health, Ocean Beach, San Diego

By John P. Anderson / San Diego Free Press

2013 Commuter of the Year Diamond Award Jamie Ortiz

2013 Commuter of the Year Diamond Award Jamie Ortiz

A few weeks ago I wrote up one of my favorite bicycle routes, from North Park to Ocean Beach. I got some good feedback and suggestions in response and decided to continue this idea. However, I’m still a relatively new to cycling in San Diego and there are many areas of the city and county that I haven’t ridden.

To address my lack of personal knowledge I’ll be reaching out to cyclists across the county to profile some of their favorite rides and hopefully connect readers with some new places and routes to check out and enjoy. I hope this series will be on a monthly basis, but we’ll see where things go.

The inaugural installment of this series features a ride from Jamie Ortiz. Jamie recently won the 2013 Commuter of the Year Diamond Award from SANDAG for her earth-friendly cycling habit. (If you’re not familiar, Diamond Awards are awarded to organizations and individuals “because of their outstanding contributions to reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gases in the San Diego region”.)

Jamie works in the communications field and did a wonderful write-up of her journey to commuting by two wheels that I recommend to anyone that cycles or would like to start. Great stuff.

I asked Jamie to offer one of her favorite rides and she selected the following route from Ocean Beach to National City. Here’s the Google Maps version as well. I also asked Jamie to add some commentary to her ride, via the following questions.

Map - OB to NC

Why did you pick this ride?

I picked this route because I ride it at least once a week from my office to meet with the folks at Environmental Health Coalition, who fight toxic pollution in communities in San Diego and Tijuana.

What are some favorite views or spots (restaurants, etc.) along the route?

My absolute favorite moment is on my return trip when I ride past the shipyards at sunset. As the sun finishes its day, it creates this bold orange halo of beauty offsetting the industrial, urban waterfront. It’s a odd moment of peace in an otherwise rough and dirty section of the ride.

What improvements would make this route better? Any specific area(s) that is an issue?

The truth is, when I make this commute, I don’t ride along Harbor Drive near the airport. I dash down Pacific Coast Highway. Harbor Drive is much nicer, prettier and off main roads, but it takes longer. I prefer the faster, more efficient route, though bike access along PCH isn’t amazing. For those folks that ride the Harbor Drive route, I wish Seaport Village would open their portion of the boardwalk to cyclists. It’s silly to make bikes cross into downtown and convention center traffic earlier than they need too. And the sections of road near the shipyards are in disarray during the construction. I would suggest moving inland a street or two during construction times, but I generally find the construction works are accommodating to cyclists, so it’s easy to work with them. (Bold font added by author.)

OB to NC Elevation Chart

OB to NC Elevation Chart

Thanks to Jamie for sharing this route and her comments and I hope readers enjoy this bay side ride. See you on the road!

[Side notes: I’m looking for a good name for this series, so if you have a suggestion please let me know. Also, if you have a route you’d like to share or a cyclist I should talk to I’d appreciate your input.]

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