Bike Service Spoken Here

Pedaling around downtown San Diego, a breakdown has a happy ending

Downtown San Diego is a great place to bike. I’ve pedaled the paved shoreline from my starting point in Little Italy out to Harbor Island, and in and around Embarcadero Marine Parks North and South. There’s a lot to see—just navigate around the rotund tourists eating fudge in Seaport Village.

A unique downtown ride includes rolling your bike onto a ferry and riding it to Coronado. The ferry departs from a dock on Harbor Drive, at the base of Broadway. The trip takes 20 minutes and costs $7 roundtrip. Ferries leave downtown on the hour, starting at 9 a.m.; the last one departs at 9 p.m. The boats leave Coronado on the half-hour.

On a recent foray, my daughter and I took our bikes on just this trip. On the way to Coronado we saw a sea lion sunning itself on red buoy marker 22. We asked if he’d seen a whale. The sea lion just barked.

Our trip back was dampened by a malfunction on my daughter’s bike. The front wheel had inexplicably come loose. When we got back downtown, we headed to the Gaslamp Quarter bike shop where I’d bought my bike (Bike Tours San Diego, 509 Fifth Avenue), and get free tune-ups for life.

But I bought my daughter’s bike somewhere else. I went in expecting to pay, and possibly leave the bike overnight. The clerk looked at the wheel and said, “You’re missing a skewer.” He walked in the back, got one, stuck it through the wheel and announced the repair was complete.

I asked what I owe him. “Forget it,” he said. “It was a used part.” I repeated my willingness to pay him (something I don’t do often). “Don’t worry about it,” he said. “Just tell all your friends about us, and send them our way.”


Ron Donoho, formerly executive editor of "San Diego Magazine," is a regular contributor to who covers local news, sports, culture and happy hours.

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