Fans of Coastal San Diego

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Bicycling in North County

One of the things I have enjoyed about being here in California is the ability to go out and ride my bike virtually year-round. I'm ashamed to admit I am a bit of a fair-weather rider, and in Boston there seemed to be more bad weather (wind, cold, snow, heavy rain) than good for least it was always a good excuse to not go out and ride, but instead to get my exercise on a spinning bike 5-6 times a week.

I love riding out here (I am a road biker, not a mountain biker) and the terrain provides lots of opportunity for speed as well as hill climbing. There really isn't much flat road where I am so the workout is better than what I typically got on the bike trails in the Boston area. I especially enjoy riding the coast from Oceanside down to Del Mar and back. California does a much better job of providing bike lanes, and despite the traffic it seems to be fairly safe.

There are lots of bike clubs out here (check this site for mountain bike clubs) and some well-known routes (such as along the 101) to follow that provide a good workout and are great for newbies as well as more seasoned cyclists. California is also the site of a cycling event that is supposedly one of the most grueling athletic races there is...the Furnace Creek508 (a non-stop...yep, no sleep...ultramarathon ride of about 36 hours much of which is through Death Valley and with about 35,000 total feet of elevation gain (big hills!!). You have to be pretty impressed with those folks. The best I have ever done was a 325 mile ride over 3 days (REAL heavy rain for hours on day 1 with mega hills) from Boston to NY, and one the following year of about 350 miles over 4 days (lots of hills on days 1 and 2, with temps in the mid 90s on day 3) from The Catskills in NY to Boston, both of which were fundraisers for various AIDS organizations. It feels like it's time to do something like that again. :)

Anyone with recommendations about great places to ride out here? Favorite bike shops?


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