Nicole Burgess and friends in San Diego

Sharing bike love while I venture to Croatia, the Adriatic, and beyond

Nicole Burgess and friends in San Diego

I'm excited as I depart for Croatia for my fourth Climate Ride and thank all my friends for the continued support as I learn, explore, and engage with unfamiliar territories. I'm making the best of my long flight and will continue onto Munich and take a solo adventure down the Danube to Austria. From there, I will indulge in an all inclusive tour through Italy and Slovenia. I'll plan a pitstop in Utrecht to admire the beautiful infrastructure that makes me proud to have Dutch blood. I imagine the weather will bring me back to paradise in Point Loma, but who knows maybe I will just head south to Sevilla where they have been prioritizing safe bike infrastructure, in a city similar to San Diego.

As I am excited for my adventures, I'm also excited to leave some bike love in San Diego and have found beautiful riders for the many bikes in my garage that like to be ridden.

I've become a big fan of electric bikes as they have proven to become an efficient mode of travel. Just the other day, I left a meeting with Mayor Faulconer in Downtown San Diego to an event with Hasan from SANDAG at Mid-City Community Action Network (CAN). My ebike commute took approximately 25 minutes, which was the same amount of time that it took SANDAG staff to get to the event in a car, and was quite faster than transit (the bus).  It was fun, healthy, and powerful.

Since I understand the values and joys of commuting by bike, with both electric or human powered bikes, I'm excited to share these joys with others.

Kim Heinle from Linda Vista CDC was the first to jump in on a bike challenge. Her commute is from PB to Linda Vista Community Center, a nice commute in SD, but Linda Vista is a challenging hill to go up everyday on a regular bike. Kim rides on occasion but opts to walk her bike up Ulrich as LV is too challenging on a regular bike, hence an ebike made perfect sense. As ebikes are heavy, we were also challenged with how to carry the bike up a flight of stairs.  Therefore, we decided the foldable ebike, the Vika Blix, would be the best option.

Kim got the bike on a Sunday and I was thrilled to get at 7:30 AM text from Kim that she'd already arrived at work and loved the ride. I look forward to hearing more about her experiences as she tries to put more miles on the bike than on her car.

Sophie Wolfram was also interested in the challenge but also needs to carry bike up a flight of stairs. She'll be next in line to try the foldable bike when I get home.

Our next friend to get rolling on a bike is Ryan Beal, a volunteer for CAC. I met Ryan at the recent event at Mid City Can and briefly chatted about his desires to try to be multimodal from Escondido to Kearny Mesa. I had the perfect bike, a Surly, that was just waiting for a rider. Ryan did use bike/transit in LA and had good intentions for trying it out in San Diego. “Baby steps” for becoming an active commuter is important.  No pressure, no judgement. What are the obstacles, challenges, joys, and benefits that Ryan will encounter. I can’t wait to hear about his journeys when I return. I honestly think he will be hooked and will be traveling by bike for his next overnight vacation.

Then there’s Rosa Olascoaga, a beautiful young leader for Mid-City Can advocating for safe streets and better mobility options for the residents of City Heights. Rosa is a new rider and borrowed the electric Blix Avanti for a ride to Tijuana with Los Cruzadores last weekend.  This was a fabulous ride, joined by more than 125 riders, exploring the communities from Barrio Logan, National City, Chula Vista, San Ysidro, and into Tijuana for a night of fun. The first day was a 30 mile ride for Rosa and she rocked it.  She was excited to experience riding the electric bike and mentioned that she would like to try an electric bike to commute from Paradise Valley to City Heights. It was perfect timing, and she would become the next rider to explore the opportunities and joys of riding through San Diego on a bike. I'd have liked to have been in town to show her how to navigate properly in traffic, but hoping some of our friends will help her with this skill and lead her to safe and blissful riding. We must be patient and take time to feel comfortable riding in traffic. For me, I grew riding up as a kid, but my daily commutes as an adult was a simple 1.5 miles to the neighborhood school twice a day for six years. That is what really transformed my tansportation choices and  why I now use my bike for transportation.

As our region indulges in the conversations of transportation with SANDAG, MTS, cities in the county, and locally within our communities, I do believe it is important for our leaders to become active commuters and to ride a bike to have better understanding and perspective for the benefits of bikes.

If you're interested in the challenge and want to try to change your commute, please feel free to reach out to me (nicole23ob@gmail.com). Nothing makes me happier than seeing new friends experience the freedom of riding a bike and escaping a car for local commutes.

Although I'm on the opposite side of the world, I send good vibes to these new riders and all of you that have been blessed with the beauty of riding a bike.

Ride on friends and may we all shine together for health and happiness.

Nicole Burgess
BikeSD Board President


Ruffin Road garden ride June 2019 - 6

A summer ride to Ruffin Road in Linda Vista to see the Garden

Ruffin Road garden ride June 2019 - 6

Ruffin Road garden ride June 2019 - 1

BikeSD Board Members, Nicole and Natalie, led a fun ride to Ruffin Road to visit an amazing food garden in the heart of Kearny Mesa. The day was fabulous and many thanks to all the riders that came out.

Ruffin Road garden ride June 2019 - 5Meeting in Old Town with a diverse group of bikes and riders, we first headed through Morena Blvd and I-8 intersections. We encountered fast vehicles and this became one of least favorite segments of the ride. I'm happy to say that Caltrans is painting new striping throughout the small corridor but unfortunately, I don’t think it will make it more comfortable nor safer.

We ventured up Linda Vista Road, Aero Drive, Kearny Villa Road, and Balboa Ave to Ruffin Road, enjoying the sights and neighborhoods along the way.

When we arrived, we enjoyed walking through the garden seeing the plentiful fruit, birds, flowers, bees, and more. We learned about sustainable practices in the garden and on the property. We grilled up delicious open-faced zucchini sandwiches with homegrown tomatoes, Bitchin Sauce, and arugula. Dessert was grilled raisin challah bread with almond butter. All very tasty!

After a nice visit with property owner Peter Aardema, beekeeper James MacDonald, and gardener Paula Gandalfo, we headed off in different directions. Brother Pete biked back to Solana Beach, a couple with electric bike-pods headed east to El Cajon, the Pacific Beach group headed west out Aero Drive, and the rest went down through Qualcomm and west along the San Diego River.

Thank you to all that joined to make it a successful and memorable day. BikeSD looks forward to hosting more rides to the garden. Stay tuned and join us for the next ride.

Ruffin Road garden ride June 2019 - 2Ruffin Road garden ride June 2019 - 3Ruffin Road garden ride June 2019 - 4


photo of Nicole's touring bike.

Why I Ride - message from our new board president

Inaugural message from Nicole Burgess, new BikeSD board president.

If you know me, you know I love to ride. From near to far, in flips or Uggs, nothing
beats the beauty of pedaling for a cause.

Whether it’s pedaling for my groceries or to advocate for better bike infrastructure,
the best reward is for my mind, body, and soul.

Enjoying morning smiles, head nods, and waves among other riders, walkers, and
friends on the road while feeling gratitude for living in a beautiful city with amazing
views in all directions.

I ride to keep my body moving and in good shape while protecting and embracing our
beautiful environments. I immediately feel the stress being released as I begin to
pedal into the fresh air and can’t imagine a better place to be.

This all happens while going from one place to another. And with my new role as
President of BikeSD, it is my hope that I can inspire and create safe paths for
others to enjoy commuting by bike. Please join me and BikeSD on this adventure to
make San Diego a wonderful place to ride, live, and explore.

Ride more. Ride often. Ride with BikeSD.


Poster of for stolen bike with drawing of a missing bike in black marking pen.

Heartbroken Over a Stolen Bike

Poster of for stolen bike

I know the feeling all too well: that awful, sinking emotion when you realize your bike has been stolen. It's never easy to have your personal belongings stolen, not least when it's your main mode of transportation. It is frustrating. It is a violation. And it is wrong.

There are many things that people that own bikes can do to prevent being a victim of bike theft. Bikes are an easy target for thieves. So it's up to you, the rider, to take extra care of your bike to ensure it is safe and out of reach from these sticky fingers.

Ten tips for bike security:

1. Do this right now: take photo and serial number.

Take a picture of your bike and the serial number. Keep this info on your phone or somewhere safe but make sure you have this info. You can enter this information on the website of the National Bike Registry (529 Garage) as well. You will need the serial number to report a stolen bike. The serial number really is the only way for police to find a bike's owner.

2. Ride your bike often.

The more you ride it, the less time they have to steal it.

3. Always keep your third eye on your bike.

Park where you can see it. Just because bike racks are around the corner does not mean you have to use them. Instead find a pole that is right out front where people can see it.

4. Use a good lock.

A cable lock is easy to cut and one should never rely on a cable lock to prevent a local thief. A u-lock (example: Abus Granite X) or folding lock (example: Abus Bordo) is recommended. Investing in a proper lock is a wise investment.

5. Add plenty of bells and whistles to your bike.

Deck out your bike and give it moxie. Extras on a bike create a paper trail for thieves. Thieves prefer an easy, clean bike and don’t want to deal with all the extras. Give your bike character and the perception that you are right around the corner.

6. Don’t leave your bike unattended for long periods of time.

Store your bike safely at your house. An unlocked bike on the side of a house is an easy target for bike thieves so take your bikes inside. If you are confined to a small space, consider your bike your best piece of wall art and hang it proudly over the couch. If you ride to work, encourage your employer to provide a secure place for bikes.

7. If your bike is stolen, report it to your local police.

This is so important and valuable. Creating a report is simple and can be done online in San Diego. If there is no report, then technically there was no bike stolen. Please make a report if your bike is stolen, otherwise no-one will know, enforcement will be limited, and bikes will continue to be stolen from our community. You will have a better opportunity to get your bike recovered if you can provide serial number. A police report will also be required if you decide to file an insurance claim as many homeowners and renters insurance policies will help cover the cost of stolen bikes.

8. Keep an eye out for your stolen bike.

Often your stolen bike never leaves your community. I have recovered a bike six months after it had been stolen and still check every black beach cruiser as if it could be my lost childhood treasure that went missing a few years ago. Be optimistic and look out for it. It may just come back to you when you least expect it.

9. Use social media to bring awareness.

Neighbors are your best allies. Post on Nextdoor, check Craigslist, and send to your social network. Creating signs stating "Reward for Stolen" work great.  It did help me recover a stolen bicycle in Ocean Beach.

10. Bike share.

If you are still discouraged with bike ownership due to fear of it being stolen, or just haven't got around to replacing a stolen bike, I recommend bike share (such as Jump bikes). With the recent roll out of dockless bikes, there are more opportunities to enjoy our city by bike. With bike sharing, there's no need to worry about having a bike stolen, maintenance, or a lack of space to store a bike. It can be a wonderful transportation option for residents and a way to embrace all the benefits of a bike.

For the unfortunate ones that have been victim of their bike being stolen, I am sorry for your loss and understand the agony. Time will make it easier and realize that there are far worse things that can happen in the world. Hopefully you had some memorable rides on your bike. And that you're able to find it or replace your lost set of wheels to get you back on the road soon.

Keep your bike secure, enjoy the ride, and ride often.

Your Bike Friend,

Nicole BurgessNicole
BikeSD Board Member


Cover slide of the Gilman Drive road diet presentation, November 2018, by Judi Tentor

Is it time to ditch the phrase "Road Diet"?

A four-lane road, Gilman Drive in La Jolla near the Univ. of California San Diego (UCSD), recently had new sewer lines installed. A stretch of this newly-repaved road was three weeks away from getting re-striped when BikeSD mobilized to have the speed limit reduced and buffered bike lanes added.

BikeSD had tentative support for this change of striping from staff at UCSD. But after BikeSD's executive director presented plans for a road diet to the local community advisory group, UCSD was upset. They felt BikeSD had pulled a fast one on them by switching from a “re-striping” to a “road diet.” They weren't sure they could or would support a "road diet" on Gilman Drive.

UCSD's reaction isn't surprising to road safety advocates. Very often, when average people — car drivers — hear the phrase "road diet," they have negative reactions. The word "diet" means reducing and restricting. A traditional diet may reduce carbs; a road diet reduces cars. A traditional diet may squeeze down your waistline; a road diet squeezes the room around your car.

While notions like reducing cars and squeezing the roadway appeal to bike and safety advocates, these phrases have no positive connotation to people on a community boards, traffic engineers, or average folks who depend on driving. Simply put: when advocates use the phrase "road diet" we conjure up the wrong imagery in the ears of our listeners.

On top of that, everyone knows: "Diets don't work."

So maybe it's time to ditch the phrase "road diet." And time to ditch the phrase "traffic calming" as well. ("Traffic calming" sounds like a plan to have drivers just settle in and wait out the slow snarl of traffic while meditating. No driver wants to hear about how a street design will slow down, calm, or involve "traffic.")

It's time to adopt better phrasing for this important work.

I'd like to propose a new framework and term: M.O.S.T.

Mobility-
Oriented
Safety
Treatment

We all want to get the MOST out of our roadways.

Just about every element of a road diet is also a treatment to expand the use and users of a road. A roundabout reduces the need for stop signs, allowing better flow through intersections for both cars and bicycles. Buffered mid-speed lanes (aka bike lanes) increase the capacity of a street by accommodating bikes, scooters, and congestion-reducing methods of getting down the street. Bulbouts and curb ramps make traveling on foot or by wheelchair more pleasant and safe, thereby increasing the likelihood for walking (fewer cars), reducing the need for paratransit vehicles (fewer vans), shortening pedestrian crossing times for people at intersections, etc.

Almost every road diet element is also safety-enhancing step. The problem is that the phrase "road diet" fails to capture any notion of increasing safety. 'Diet' inherently sounds like less rather than more. In reality, we're talking about enhancements, not reductions.

MOST is about getting the most out of our road space. MOST street design focuses on maximizing the number of ways people can use a street. Roads which get the MOST design are safer than traditional road layouts. More importantly, a MOST street serves the greatest amount of people -- not just one type of user (typically cars). When we pitch to audiences about bringing the MOST to a street design, we're talking about expanding the road to its greatest, safest capacity.

MOST, as a phrase and a framework, reminds everyone (car drivers, walkers, folks, bikers, scooter users, the disabled, parents with strollers...) that we share a common goal: getting the most value from our shared street space. Who wouldn't want the MOST for their roads?