CicloSDias San Diego – No Cars for Six Hours and Five Miles

by on August 12, 2013 · 9 comments

in Culture, Environment, Organizing, San Diego

CicloDias 8-11-13 30thBus04

North Park: 30th Street has bikes. (All photos by Frank Gormlie)

Yesterday, Sunday, August 11th was CicloSDias in San Diego. Three friends and I – all on bikes – joined the celebrated 5.2 miles of open roads and streets just for bicycles and pedestrians, and we rode from Golden Hill, through North Park, over to City Heights – and back.

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The official City Heights station.

Weather was perfect, the streets were cleared of cars – except for the four that we counted along the way – and there was an enthusiastic turn-out for the event.  The event was to last from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hundreds of San Diegans took part in the 6 hour free bike tour thr0ugh San Diego’s mid-city. Yes, hundreds – not the thousands that we wanted to see – came out. We wanted to see hordes on bikes – but were happy with what we saw and experienced.

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Cross streets were blocked off to cars.

Ever so often, there would be a few tents and the canopies of booths open to participants, some giving away gifts, others selling their bicycling-related products and services.

We reached the end station with some ease, mingling for a few minutes with other riders, media, and a few celebrities. City Councilmember Marty Emerald was there.

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30th Street in Golden Hill never looked so sweet.

Then we turned around and pedaled back to our starting point on 30th Street.

CicloDias 8-11-13 30thSt03Looking back on the even, I’m pleased that we were involved and took the ride.

CicloDias 8-11-13 30StHill

Here, 30th Street goes over the Switzer Canyon bridge, normally a dangerous section of road due to the cars.

It was so great coasting down small hills where normally traffic would block your way, and biking along streets that you’d never see this empty.

CicloDias 8-11-13 30thBusWhy can’t we do this more often? I thought. San Diego needs to. The region is just starting to promote biking and bicycles and CicloSDias was a great start for this endeavor, although the eve of the event saw several bicycling tragedies around the County – a bicyclist was killed by a bus on Camp Pendleton and another biker was left injured by a hit-and-run in Chula Vista.

CicloDias 8-11-13 30thbus02Somewhat disappointed with the turn-out, I have yet to see any numbers by the sponsors on the level of participation. Today’s news did not reveal anything.

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The tour hits the residential neighborhoods.

If it does happen again, I would hope for a better route, more scenic, through more commercial areas, and a longer ride, as well.

CicloDias 8-11-13 CH04San Diego has joined the rest of the world in celebrating bicycles – and now we need to show the rest of the world how we can make it better.

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City Councilmember Marty Emerald joined organizers at the City Heights station.

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This intersection seemed to be bicycle-central.

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CicloDias 8-11-13 InterS02

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Is this the future?

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North Park residents upset with Jack-in-the-Box field a booth for their opposition to the current design.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

tony August 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I am sure the business who lost money thought it wonderful as well. They still had to open, pay staff and rent for no income. Perhaps the “hundreds” could ante up the lost income.


Goatskull August 12, 2013 at 2:07 pm

What makes you think businesses lost money? Are you serious with that statement? At the very least the bars and restaurants were doing quite well from what I witnessed as a result of this event.


Mark Dodge August 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Do you think it is a bunch of furniture stores on the route? The event passed through two very small commercial districts in North Park and South Park and ended at the edge of a commercial area just south of 94. Businesses affected are mostly food oriented and they were busting at the seams with customers. If not for the event many of them would not have known these places existed so now these establishments have a larger customer base.

My opinion of the turnout is a little more optimistic than the author’s. “Thousands” suggests a mob and that would be overstating it but I am sure there were more than a thousand riding throughout the day. Not bad for the first event. Look forward to a PB to OB ciclovia sometime this year or next.


doug porter August 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm

sorry to disappoint you, tony. research shows that making a city more bike friendly is good for business and increases sales. CycloSDias was one step along a long road to get there. try this one: or this one:


Chev Chelios August 12, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Yeah but you’d be limited to buying what you can carry on a bike, which isn’t much.


editordude August 12, 2013 at 2:38 pm

We received the following today:

CONTACT: Jamie Ortiz, JO Communications, 858-337-7466

6th Annual Bike the Bay Provides Extraordinary San Diego Sightseeing Opportunity
Community bicycle ride offers the only chance to pedal across Coronado Bay Bridge

SAN DIEGO, August 12, 2013 – Want the best view of San Diego County? Grab your bike and ride Bike the Bay– the only opportunity to pedal across the renowned Coronado Bay Bridge as well as the newly expanded Bayshore Bikeway. Participants in this causal 25-mile ride will experience some of the county’s most breathtaking waterfront views during the 6th annual Bike the Bay ride on Sunday, August 25, 2013.

Fresh off the heels of San Diego’s first-ever CicloSDias, Bike the Bay presents another opportunity for folks of all sorts to pedal around town. Bike the Bay welcomes bicyclists 12-years and older of all cycling abilities to pedal through the very best San Diego County has to offer. The event begins at 7 a.m. at Embarcadero Marina Park South on Harbor Drive in San Diego, with an expected sell-out attendance of over 3,500 cyclists.

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, a host and beneficiary of Bike the Bay, organizes the event to encourage biking as a fun and efficient alternative to automobiles.

“This is a unique chance for bicyclists of every level to see San Diego County as they never have before,” said Andy Hanshaw of the SDCBC. “There is no other opportunity to bike across the celebrated San Diego- Coronado Bay Bridge, and it is something you will surely regret if you don’t see it for yourself.”

The picturesque ride starts at the Embarcadero Marina Park South, and journeys over the 2.1-mile Coronado Bridge. One lane of the bridge closes to cars in order to accommodate the thousands of bicyclists expected to take part in the early morning event.

After crossing the bridge, the primarily flat course meanders along bike lanes through the quiet streets of picturesque Coronado and onto the Bayshore Bikeway; San Diego’s premiere bike attraction. This bicycling path surrounds the entire San Diego Bay, with vast additions since last year. Participants in Bike the Bay have a special opportunity to cruise on the completed parts of this premiere bike path.

Riders continue through Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and National City on dedicated bike lanes and bike routes. The ride ends at Embarcadero Marina Park South for post-ride activities, entertainment, food and a New Belgium Brewing Beer Garden. Most riders can expect to complete the fairly flat course in 2-3 hours.

As well as refreshments along the route and bike repair stations, riders receive a commemorative

t-shirt (exclusive Bike the Bay cycling jerseys are also available) and entry into the post-ride festival. Helmets are required and regular rules of the road will apply. Spectators are encouraged to support their riders at key mile markers sponsored by local companies and organizations.

Registration, course maps, and other information can be found at or by calling 619-269-6873. Registration is required and should be done as early as possible as previous years have sold out. A portion of Bike the Bay proceeds go to benefit the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

For information about this year’s corporate sponsors and sponsorships, please call 619-977-2989 or email


Tom Jackson August 12, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Hundreds? How long were you out there? I spent most of the day out there and it was way more than ‘hundreds’


Frank Gormlie August 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Tom – Okay, without an “official count” available, it was clear that there weren’t going to be the crowds ala LA or SF; hundreds do add up, and so, perhaps there were several thousand in the end – that’s reasonable. And still great.


Jay August 13, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Probably over 10,000 on the day. All the businesses did very well. I personally saw lots of cargo bikes. You can carry a lot on bike


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