San Diego 10th Annual Bike the Bay – The Ride

I was not planning on participating in this ride this year. In fact, I would not have joined if not for the text message I received at 530 am on the morning of the ride. My friend Yuval texted to let me know that he would be able to make the ride after all. He wanted to know if I could make it as well. Without hesitation, I responded in the affirmative. I jumped online. Registration for the event was still open. I registered and in a huff I was out the door going through my checklist of what I needed to bring. Working quickly, I loaded everything into the car and rolled out to catch the 8 am ride start.

Here is my bike hanging on for dear life after being hastily attached to the back of the car:

Starting Line and Ride Out to The Bridge

You can feel the excitement and energy of everyone gathered at the race. I saw a 32-incher, met a couple who were BMX racers, and I even met these characters on the ride out to the bridge:

Riding Up the Coronado Bridge

In typical fashion as in previous years, I left my friend Yuval behind as I started to climb up the Bridge. The ride up the bridge has a bit of an incline. It was suggested that I slow down and enjoy the view by the ride marshal as I was huffing it up the ramp to the top of the bridge:

The barriers are actually quite low:

Coronado Island

A naval town and major tourist destination the island itself is flat and is a great place to ride around leisurely. Hugging the souther tip of the island after exiting the bridge, we soon arrived at the northern end of the strand which connects Coronado to Chula Vista further south.

The Strand

This is a windy stretch of the road. And the bike path itself is quite narrow. Ride with caution on this stretch of the ride since many cyclists and walkers are heading north against the swath of Bike the Bay participants heading south. It can get a bit dicey. At least we had a tailwind which made for some nice speeds heading toward the southern tip of the route.

Chula Vista and Port of San Diego

Heading north we had some headwinds which were mostly felt on the route passing through the Port of San Diego. For beginner riders, these were the hard miles with the wind, the lack of scenery (industrial shipping port environment), and multiple railroad track crossings.

My friend Yuval was nowhere to be found at this point. I soon crossed the finish line and picked up my finisher medal and headed to the beer garden (with a quick stop at the Ben and Jerry’s booth on the way):

Everyone is in a great mood and chatting and connecting. This part of the event was the best. Everyone is hanging out and mingling and just feeling good. It is so refreshing to connect with people in this context – a shared experience and great memories over drinks. It’s like a giant bear hug of a feeling. And perhaps, I was a bit buzzed from my half a can of the lightest stuff they had:

Another perk of these events is the swag that you end up with. In my rush out the door, I had left the water bottles thinking that I would just re-hydrate at the SAG if needed. But I found the REI booth before the ride start and picked up my free water bottle with a nifty rubberized open and close nozzle. Electra was also onsite and representing with brochures and stickers:

Cruising Back to Fourth and Park After the Ride:

As you can see, it was good times all around. Rides like this are important since they are inviting and exciting to new riders. But they are also important for seasoned cyclers since they remind us to have fun and enjoy being on two wheels. And it’s always good times to share in adventures and fun with others. I think I’ll be doing this ride again next year… if there is someone new to invite along.

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