September 27, 2011 8:59 PM   Subscribe

San Diego Filter: Where's the cheapest/best place to rent a bike in SD? Also, I'm thinking about biking from downtown SD to Torrey Pine State Park--is this a good idea?

I'm going to California for the first time (I'm an east-coaster) and I'm very excited about it! Since I'm going over for a conference however, my exploring time is very limited. I should have two full days to do whatever I please in SD. I will be staying in downtown SD.

That said, I'd really like to visit Torrey Pine State Park...I've looked up the public transit situation in SD but it would take such a long time to go there (1.5 hours) whereas the bike route (2 hours) would only be slightly longer, more scenic, and probably more interesting. Also, a taxi would be way too expensive according to the taxifare estimators I checked.

I cannot bring my bike to SD and am a poor college student (who loves to bike). So where's the best place to rent a bike? (I wish there were bikeshare programs in every big city in the states...)
posted by bluelight to Travel & Transportation around San Diego, CA (5 answers total)
This is a bike route map for San Diego, which should give you an idea of the logistical issues with riding from Downtown to Torrey Pines - which really doesn't seem that awful of a proposition. It is long, and there's a significant hill towards the end on the way up. I haven't done it, but Torrey Pines and points north are lousy with cyclists on the weekends. The flattest route would be to take Pacific Highway north from Downtown, pretty much as far as possible, and then work over to the coast once you're at Mission Bay. Once you get to La Jolla, you take Torrey Pines Road all the way up. The route along Harbor Drive to Mission Bay crosses a hill over Point Loma.

This route is actually pretty much the same as the 30 bus route, so you're not getting too much of a scenery increase. Most buses have bike racks on the front in case you want to mix it up.
posted by LionIndex at 10:35 PM on September 27, 2011

LionIndex: Couldn't he also take the Coaster and get off at Sorrento Valley (or Solana Beach)? I ask because I'm not sure what the bike situation is on the Coaster.

From there it should be a short hop on a bike and even a great place to keep riding your bike north along the coast, maybe catching a return trip in Encinitas or Carlsbad.
posted by vacapinta at 1:42 AM on September 28, 2011

I can't help you on the rental, but this is the route you should take. I've done this ride before and it is quite nice. It will be a decent workout, as there is some hill-climbing to do to get up on top of the La Jolla hills, but that route is pretty safe and is a generally nice ride.
posted by Aizkolari at 7:19 AM on September 28, 2011

LionIndex: Couldn't he also take the Coaster and get off at Sorrento Valley (or Solana Beach)? I ask because I'm not sure what the bike situation is on the Coaster.

I don't know about bike regulations for the Coaster myself, but if they allow them, that might be a reasonable plan. I guess the easiest route from Sorrento Valley would be to head north up to Carmel Valley Road, then west towards the ocean, south across the lagoon, and then into the park. From Solana Beach, you'd just head south on the Coast Highway, but you'd have a couple hills ahead of you.

An amendment to my earlier suggestion: you'll want to turn off Torrey Pines road at the golf course and head through the parking lot to hook up with the old Torrey Pines road at the north end of the lot - this will take you directly to the visitor center for the park instead of going all the way down to the beach and all the way back up the hill from the main entrance. The road shows up on Google Maps.
posted by LionIndex at 8:19 AM on September 28, 2011

You could definitely take the train from downtown to Solana Beach and rent a bike in Solana Beach. The train station in Solana Beach is right next to 101 and there are at least two bike shops on 101 within walking distance. Then it would be a straight shot down 101 to Torrey Pines.

B+L Bikes in Solana Beach definitely rents bikes: . Not sure how the price matches up with other places.

There will be some pretty decent hills so I hope you are in shape! Also, if you ride north from Solana Beach through Cardiff there are some great ocean views and it is a popular bike route.
posted by scrubbles at 12:24 PM on September 28, 2011

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