This is the Year

About this time last year, the editors of Bike San Diego were talking behind the scenes about how 2010 was going to be THE year for bicycling in San Diego. We were sensing a sea-change in attitudes about bicycling and bike culture. Some of the niche groups were coming together, and new people were getting involved in trying to make our city a better place to ride a bike for everyone from weekend racers to weekday commuters and everybody in between. As confident as we were in claiming that last year would be the year, there was perhaps a bit of reservation in our tone – maybe we weren’t exactly sure if 2010 was going to be as good as we thought it would be.

And don’t get me wrong, it was a great year, but 2011 is going to blow it out of the water, and here’s why: we’re getting stronger and more diverse as a bicycling community and we’re beginning to speak more directly and coherently than we have in the past.

We like to think that Bike San Diego has something to do with that, but the truth is, we’re just one among a growing field of groups who are committed to making San Diego a world-class bicycling city.

We’ve got San Diego Streets for People planning a ciclovia-style event this year; the San Diego Bike Union is planning its official launch this spring with a provocative campaign; Maria Olivas, the new education coordinator at the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition begins her first full year on the job; and the city’s new bicycle coordinator Jim Lundquist is looking to make connections within the bicycling community.

The forums at are growing, as is the SDBikeCommuter Local Business Discount Program, the first program of its kind in the nation. The discount program has yet to go fully live, and it’s already got close to 100 local businesses signed up.

The good folks at the Urban Bike and Social Club are growing their numbers, Blind Lady Ale House is hosting lots of bike-related events, Velo Cult Bike Shop is continuing its periodic movie screenings, and it’s getting to the point that one could virtually plan their entire social life around bike events. This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, but you can find one here and another one here.

We’re getting some national press, too. San Diego was recently featured in Momentum Magazine with a piece authored by someone familiar to BikeSD readers. The local press is becoming somewhat more sympathetic to bicycling issues, with a recent Reader cover story and a piece about bike lanes and urban planning at Voice of San Diego, publications that have traditionally had a mixed record when it comes to their coverage of bicycle-related topics.

I would like to echo the sentiments of my co-editor in an earlier post: San Diego can be a frustrating place to ride a bike, but we’ve got people moving, working, wanting desperately to make it better. This year, these people are going to accomplish big things. Mark my words: this is the year.

EDIT: I should have added that our local bike kitchen, Bikes del Pueblo, is also expanding their operation and planning some new collaborations. When you look at what other cities are doing, a healthy, community-supported bike kitchen is a mark of a good bicycling city, and we’re proud to count Bikes del Pueblo among the ranks of our growing community organizations.