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.
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.
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.
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.
Then we turned around and pedaled back to our starting point on 30th Street.
Looking back on the even, I’m pleased that we were involved and took the ride.
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.
Why 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.
Somewhat 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.
If it does happen again, I would hope for a better route, more scenic, through more commercial areas, and a longer ride, as well.
San 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.
We were there and had a blast. Later on we rode over to Hillcrest for Cityfest.
Frank Gormlie says
Goatskull – where did you start from?
We didn’t do the whole thing. We rode from our place in Hillcrest to the Bluefoot so we more or less started from there (after a beer). We rode west down 30th all the way to Fern, went down Fern and cut over to where 30th resumes and rode to Hamilton’s Tavern for another beer. From there we rode all the way back and stayed on 30th all the way over to University. From there we rode back to Hillcrest for the Cityfest.
Frank Gormlie says
Nice. We didn’t have our beers until after the event. (Btw 30th runs north-south)
I get turned around in that way, but then again we were doing our libations sporadically throughout the event rather than all at once at the end;)
bob dorn says
Frank didn’t ride. He kept taking those pictures.
It was very cool.
I’ve been wondering why the planners for this event decided to schedule it for the same day as city fest, it seems attendance may have been even better as it was almost in competition with another, already well established event that was similar in nature (as the streets in hillcrest were also closed to cars.
Looks like it was a great event though, I hope it happens again as I’d like to check out the next one!
There were events going on all overt the city. Cityfest and this were close enough to do both. Personally I thought attendance was pretty good
Thanks for the write-up. My son and I participated in CicloSDias yesterday, and really enjoyed it. We had breakfast burritos at the cafe at 30th and Upas, and while we ate outside, we watched the amazing parade of bikes–racers, cruisers, low-riders, MTBs, tall bikes, and even a penny-farthing.
I hope the organizers feel good about the first effort at open streets in San Diego. Let’s do it more often.
Elson Trinidad says
I drove down from Los Angeles to take part in this. We have our CicLAvia events here and I found out about CicloSDias from a visiting San Diego area resident who wore a CicloSDias t-shirt during our April event.
I do agree attendance was low, but it was definitely more than “hundreds” of people. Possibly around 8,000 to 10,000 (L.A.’s CicLAvia gets up to nearly 200,000 people, but we’re a larger city) . It’s sort of hard to gauge exactly how many participants since they encompass not just bikes/skateboards/joggers etc, but even kids playing alongside the street and people lounging on their front porches. The majority of participants stayed in the North Park-South Park center of the route while very few people were at the extreme ends. Incidentally, the extreme ends of the route had some pretty steep hills. I was able to ride up them, but I could imagine they would be intimidating to the occasional bike rider.
Most of L.A.’s CicLAvia runs through commercial corridors, I was surprised how predominantly residential the streets were for CicloSDias. I wanted to get to an ATM but found none along the route, so I ended up leaving the route and taking a side trip downtown to get my cash.
Still, I thought it was a great event and something to build and grow over time. The locals’ reactions perfectly echo ours whenever we have our event, so the organizers are doing something right. I also had never been to most of the neighborhoods that the route ran through, so this was an opportunity for me to discover a side of SD I didn’t know existed.
John Anderson says
Thanks for the write-up and photos Frank. Wish I could have been there but was out of town last week. Looking forward to the next event and this being more than an annual thing.
It really seemed as the day went more people joined in on the route. I was there from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and I would say the majority of riders and families were out around noon or 1. For a first-time event I would say it was EXCEPTIONAL, and left San Diego wanting more. Thank you everyone for the feedback and for coming out – I’m sure they will take all of your suggestions into consideration when planning the next one. :)
Jamie Ortiz says
Frank…thanks for your coverage on this one. I had a completely different experience as I was impressed with turnout for this first event. I’m curious if you left early. I stayed for the entire day and watched thousands bike by. I would have guessed at least 10,000 people. Elson is right–it’s a free event with no entry gate, so it’s terribly hard to estimate attendance, but I can tell you that from the organizers’ perspective this was without a doubt well received and highly attended. The businesses along the route were slammed all day and benefited from the visibility and traffic. Four business owners that I talked to asked, “when is the next one?” From a personal perspective, I’ve never seen this many happy people in one place in San Diego–ever. I loved seeing bikes, skates, skateboards, scooters and strollers. I loved the people walking and running. And I also loved seeing folks in the residential parts sitting on their porches enjoying what must have been a pleasant break from traffic that normally greets their front door. Happy CicloSDias.