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Bike The Bay Returns For Its 12th Year

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Posted: Friday, August 23, 2019 12:22 pm

If you have always wanted to ride your bike around the bay your opportunity is coming up this Sunday, Aug. 25 with the San Diego County Bike Coalition’s annual Bike the Bay event. The 25 mile ride with an optional additional 8 miles gravel ride through the Otay Valley Regional Park goes through five cities and gives participants a chance to ride over the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge.

The idea for the ride came from Andy Hanshaw, the coalition’s executive director and his interest in riding on the bikeway around the bay 12 years ago. “When the ride first started the Bayshore Bikeway was not complete and in Imperial Beach the riders had to go through Palm Avenue and rejoin at 13th Street,” said Hanshaw. “But for the past few years with the Bayshore Bikeway and Bikeway Village complete in Imperial Beach the ride is a full loop.

“Imperial Beach has been a great partner for the entire route and ride and for being part of the Bayshore Bikeway working group with the council … what it brings and what it means to the region. Mayor Serge Dedina and Councilman Mark West are being active in increasing the Act of Transportation options for the residents. The link [between the cities] continues to evolve.

“Today we opened the murals on the Chula Vista side. There are many things that develop almost every year and showcase the ride. This year it is those murals and a new connection near National City and there is more to come as the bikeway evolves and projects take shape,” he continued.

Hanshaw and the coalition work with the five cities to coordinate the ride as well as Caltrans and the Port of San Diego to make Bike the Bay possible.

On average 3,000 bicyclists take part in the ride. “It has been promoted as a ride which allows people to travel at their own pace. It is a flat route and only has a slight incline on the bridge. It gives an opportunity to ride across the bridge and see the city from that perspective,’ said Hanshaw.

The ride goes through five cities: San Diego, Coronado, Imperial beach, Chula Vista and National City and the risers have three optional rest stops, one at Glorietta Bay Park in Coronado, the other at Bikeway Village in Imperial Beach and the last at the Living Coast Discovery in Chula Vista. The rest stops are staffed by volunteers which offer water and snacks.

Although an avid biker himself, Hanshaw does not participate in the ride since he monitors the event from home base. The coordination include riders support, medical support and the set up of the festival that starts after the ride is over at the Embarcadero Marina Park South.

Bike the Bay is the biggest fundraiser for the San Diego County Bike Coalition and a total of $500,000 has been raised in the past 12 years. The coalition funds “advocacy programs, education programs, safer streets, more bikeways and safety measure making the region a better place to ride your bike,” explained Hanshaw.

The optional 8-mile ride starts at Swiss Park and goes trough the Otay Valley Regional Park and rejoins the ride back at Swiss Park for those who chose to make the ride a total of 33 miles.

Over 2,000 people have already registered for the event which on average has 3,000 riders. “We have a fair amount of people from out of town, guests come from all over the county and Southern California and several other states. It’s a family oriented ride with families, kids, groups, employees and corporate groups. We get a bit of everything. It’s a ride for everyone. That’s what we want. It’s really rewarding for a lot of people… there are people who didn’t think they could ride quite that far, people who do look forward to it as a goal,” said Hanshaw. Some of the stories Hanshaw has heard include people teaching their kids to ride bikes on this ride and others who have made friends with other riders.

Bike the Bay is on Sun. Aug. 25 and riders can sign on line at sdbikecoalition.org or register the day of the event at 5:30 a.m. at the Embarcadero Marina Park South, 200 Marina Park Way, San Diego 92101.

The event begins at 6:30 a.m. with the staging of riders. The festival begins at 8:30 a.m.

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