ZOOM ZOOM ZOOMing through San Diego

By: Karl Wessendorf

After nine months, most of us are experiencing serious Zoom fatigue. But today, I want to talk about a *ZOOM* that helps keep me active, helps me destress, and has given me a chance to see and experience San Diego county. Cycling has been an essential part of my post undergraduate experience. I was looking for ways to stay active that didn’t involve staring at a wall for an hour (indoor rowing machines become torture machines with enough practice). After rowing for four years, I did the sensible thing and decided to transition to a fun sport.

I bike to campus almost every day. I’ve lived between one and three miles from PFBH, so the commute has always been a great way to be active early in the morning and get the blood flowing. Especially now, car traffic is very low, so I’ve always felt pretty safe biking on campus. Whether you’ve biked for a long time or are looking to learn, this is a great way to incorporate a bit of exercise to your day without disrupting your schedule significantly.
When I don’t bike to campus, I like to explore San Diego county! Almost all roads have a bike lane or are “share the road” lanes. I’ve only done a small fraction of the myriad of routes available to people around San Diego, but I’ll give you my thoughts on some of the ones I like.

1. The Coast: Depending on where you start, this can be a more challenging ride. If you start from UCSD, you’ll have to brave the descent and climb of Torrey Pines. It’s about a 1.5-mile climb that should not be taken lightly if you aren’t used to biking uphill (If you are “cheating” and using an electric bike, then it’s probably fun to pass people). If you don’t want to deal with the Torrey Pines and Del Mar climbs, try parking closer to Solana beach or Encinitas. It’s fairly flat North of Solana beach. There are red lights spaced throughout, but it’s a comfortable fun ride with plenty of beautiful views and lots of nomz along the towns. I haven’t tried places because of COVID, but I look forward to doing so!
2. Lake Hodges: This has turned into one of my favorites! The first five or so miles aren’t the best because of lights and traffic, but once you turn right on San Dieguito Road, it becomes super nice! There is a wide bike line, and it is possible to get close to 10 or so miles of uninterrupted cycling to Lake Hodges (if you get lucky with three or four lights). Once there, you’ll have a nice lake vista which will be even better when we get some more rain. This ride from UCSD has close to 2000 feet of elevation gain, and it is usually hotter near Rancho Santa Fe than here. If you are looking for a sunny area to bike, I think this is definitely a great option!

3. The triple dip: This is my go-to for a quick ride close to home. I pack as much elevation gain in the least number of miles. It starts with the Genesee Avenue climb to Torrey Pines Road. After that, I go down Torrey Pines, up to the first Del Mar red light. At the light, turn around and go down the hill and up Torrey Pines. Once over Torrey Pines, turn right onto Torrey Pines Road and continue there until you go down the hill to La Jolla Shores. Once down, swing by the beach to get some energy and some salty breeze before taking the climb up La Jolla Shores (this climb is steep, so be ready to just keep pedaling.) Once at the top, I just cut through campus and back to grad housing. It’s a lot of climbing and a very effective lung/leg buster!

These are only a few of the rides I’ve done. If you already have a bike, give these a shot! If you don’t, consider renting a bike on a weekend, driving somewhere to skip the hills and enjoy the riding. I didn’t include it here but renting a beach cruiser and biking on the boardwalk or on Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are also great options for outdoor activities to do with friends, and SoCal much fun!
Note from your fellow member of the community, wear a helmet! Your brain WAY is more important than avoiding helmet hair and you never know when an accident may occur!

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