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 ( 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