A few San Diego Bike to Work Day photos!

Someone rides a bicycle along B Street during San Diego's Bike to Work Day.
Someone rides a bicycle along B Street during San Diego’s Bike to Work Day.

This morning, on my way to catch the trolley downtown, I saw lots of people heading to work by bicycle. Today was Bike to Work Day in San Diego!

I snapped a few photos just for the fun of it. I also took a photo of a cool map showing designated places to bike in San Diego’s downtown and uptown areas. Make copies of it for your own use if you’d like!

The Donut Bar had a Bike to Work Day pit stop in downtown San Diego. Many morning riders swung on by.
The Donut Bar had a Bike to Work Day pit stop in downtown San Diego. Many morning riders swung on by.
There were tables full of goodies for those who commuted to work by bike.
There were tables full of goodies for those who commuted to work by bike.
Another pit stop at Civic Center Plaza. The City of San Diego has a special program that encourages bicycling.
Another pit stop at Civic Center Plaza. The City of San Diego has a special program that encourages bicycling.
A map of the San Diego downtown and uptown bike loop. (Click image to enlarge.)
A map of the San Diego downtown and uptown bike loop. (Click image to enlarge.)
Even a blogger who is more into walking received big smiles!
Even a blogger who is more into walking received big smiles!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Fun photos of San Diego’s Bike to Work Day!

A San Diego Bike to Work Day pit stop in front of 550 West C Street early in the morning. Hello!
A San Diego Bike to Work Day pit stop in front of 550 West C Street early in the morning. Hello!

Today was Bike to Work Day in San Diego! There were over a hundred pit stops around the county, and I’ve learned that nearly ten thousand bicyclists participated!

This morning I started a bit earlier than usual so that I could walk past 5 pit stops downtown. (As followers of Cool San Diego Sights might know already, I happen to be a walk/trolley/bus to work person. Because I simply love walking and the outdoors, plus living downtown makes it very convenient.)

The city was still a bit sleepy as I headed west along B Street–about 6:30–and the morning light wasn’t ideal for photography when I passed two bicycle pits stops at The Donut Bar and the Wells Fargo building. I did manage to get some sharp pics once I arrived at Civic Center Plaza! Lots of people were smiling!

A couple of bicyclists pedal up Third Avenue near Civic Center Plaza during Bike to Work Day.
A couple of bicyclists pedal up Third Avenue near Civic Center Plaza during Bike to Work Day.
This pit stop in Civic Center Plaza near City Hall was already seeing some incoming cyclists at this early hour. There is an active City of San Diego Bicycle Program.
This pit stop in Civic Center Plaza near City Hall was already seeing some incoming cyclists at this early hour. There is an active City of San Diego Bicycle Program.
Bike maps, information and other goodies were given away to promote commuting by bicycle to work around San Diego.
Bike maps, information and other goodies were given away to promote commuting by bicycle to work around San Diego.
A huge Share The Road banner hung in Civic Center Plaza.
A huge Share The Road banner hung in Civic Center Plaza.
Morning commuter on a bicycle waits alongside a bus for a traffic light on Broadway.
Morning commuter on a bicycle waits alongside a bus for a traffic light on Broadway.
On Harbor Drive at the Broadway Pier, a pit stop included a San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce table.
On Harbor Drive at the Broadway Pier, a pit stop included a San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce table.
These friendly guys representing Engineering company CH2M Hill did the wave for me, but I liked this photo of them smiling better!
These friendly guys representing engineering company CH2M Hill did the wave for me, but I liked this photo of them smiling better!
Someone pedals past San Diego's historic tall ship Star of India. Another beautiful morning.
Someone pedals past San Diego’s historic tall ship Star of India. Another beautiful day has begun.
A bicyclist rolls down Pacific Highway on the morning of San Diego's Bike to Work Day.
A bicyclist rolls down Pacific Highway on the morning of San Diego’s Bike to Work Day.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Tour de California elite bicyclists race up Laurel Street hill!

Many of the world's top bicycling athletes fly up the Laurel Street hill in San Diego during the first stage of the Tour de California.
Many of the world’s top bicycling athletes fly up the Laurel Street hill in San Diego during the first stage of the Tour de California.

Here are lots of cool pics of Tour de California (officially called Amgen Tour of California) elite bicyclists racing up the steep hill on Laurel Street, just east of Interstate 5! Today was the first stage of the big international multi-day race, and the route looped around a good chunk of San Diego County. Easily the toughest part of the race near downtown was up Laurel Street, which presents a pretty steep grade for several blocks.

Lots of people gathered on the hill, and everyone was excited to see many of the world’s greatest bicycle athletes compete! Many of the participants have raced in the Tour de France and other top international competitions.

While I enjoy riding my street bike once in a while, I don’t know much about the professional sport. It was my first time watching this sort of event. And boy was it exciting! Lots of suspense–then flashing lights as the route is prepped and cleared–then boom! A flurry of colorful racers flying past! It was like a fantastic sporting parade! When the racers turned the corner and came into view, I felt my own adrenaline flowing!

Follow my photo captions and I’ll try to describe what I saw. Please excuse me if I don’t know all the proper terms…

This is the first block of the Laurel Street hill--probably the toughest, steepest part.
This is the first block of the Laurel Street hill–probably the toughest, steepest part.
About half an hour before the racers were anticipated, lots of biking enthusiasts and onlookers were already lining the sidewalks.
About half an hour before the race leaders were anticipated, lots of biking enthusiasts and onlookers were already lining the sidewalks.
Most people formed a crowd at the top of the hill. I got my photographs of the race from a point a bit lower, with a good, unobstructed view.
Most people formed a crowd at the top of the hill. I got photographs of the race from a point a bit lower, with a good, unobstructed view.
Someone wrote a big word on the street with colorful chalk. I think it reads Bizipoz. I'm not sure, though.
Someone wrote a big word on the street with chalk. I think it reads Bizipoz. I’m not sure, though.
Announcers on Laurel Street hill provided pre-race music, then humorous, light-hearted commentary.
Announcers on Laurel Street hill provided pre-race music, then humorous, lighthearted commentary.
I saw some flags being flown--I suppose certain international teams were being rooted on.
I saw a few banners being flown–I suppose certain international teams were being rooted on.
A dog came out to view the action!
A dog came out to view the action!
Lots of spectators rode their own bikes to watch this small part of the world-famous event.
Lots of spectators rode their own bikes to watch this small part of the world-famous event.
Ordinary people riding up the hill before the race were cheered and spurred forward with cowbells.
Ordinary people riding up the hill before the race were cheered and spurred forward with cowbells.
Some more bike lovers showing up a few minutes before the pro racers should pass through.
Some more bike lovers showing up a few minutes before the pro racers should pass through.
Okay, we're getting close now. The fast elite racers started in Mission Beach, about 15 minutes away.
Okay, now we’re getting close. The fast elite racers started in Mission Beach, about 15 minutes away from this spot at the very west edge of Bankers Hill.
Everyone perks up! Here comes an Amgen Tour of California official spray-painting the street for the bicyclists, soon to arrive!
Everyone perks up! Here comes an Amgen Tour of California official spray-painting the street for the bicyclists, soon to arrive!
Cameras at the ready!
Cameras at the ready!
They race is almost here! A huge line of motorcycle cops and Highway Patrol cars, along with tour official and VIP vehicles, parades past for several minutes.
The race is almost here! A huge line of motorcycle cops and Highway Patrol cars, along with tour official and VIP vehicles, parades past for several minutes.
Excitement mounts. They should come around Columbia Street any moment!
Excitement mounts. They should come around Columbia Street any moment!
A team support vehicle carries spare bikes. Where are they?
A team support vehicle carries spare bikes. Where are they?
Here they come at last! And they're moving really fast!
Here they come at last! And they’re moving really fast!
They're going so fast, my camera could manage only a few pics of this first group. There seemed to be six racers in this grouping.
They’re going so fast, my camera could manage only a few pics of this first group. There seemed to be six racers in this grouping.
Here comes the leader at this early part of Stage One. These amazing athletes make it look effortless. (Of course, it's still early in the race.)
Here comes the leader at this early part of Stage One. These amazing athletes make it look effortless. (Of course, it’s still early in the race.)
And there they go! Boom! Just like that! Perhaps they slowed a bit further up the hill.
And there they go! Boom! Just like that! Perhaps they slowed a bit further up the hill.
The main group didn't arrive for perhaps another 10 minutes. People around me were amazed by that. They seemed to be pedaling quite casually!
The main group didn’t arrive for what seemed like another 10 minutes. People around me were amazed by that. They appeared to be pedaling quite casually!
Here the huge group comes! You can just glimpse San Diego Bay and Lindbergh Field in the background. A perfect cool day for a bike race!
Here the huge group comes! You can just glimpse San Diego Bay and Lindbergh Field in the background. A perfect cool weather day for a bike race!
Everyone watching from the sidewalks applauds, makes noise and cheers.
Everyone watching from the sidewalks applauds, makes noise and cheers.
These guys seemed to be in no hurry. Some even waved at the onlookers! I suppose they were pacing themselves.
These guys seemed to be in no hurry. Some even waved at the onlookers! I suppose they were pacing themselves.
Looks of determination, and a love for their sport.
Looks of determination, and a love for their sport.
Hoping for glory, bicyclists in the Tour de California power up Laurel Street hill in San Diego.
Hoping for glory, bicyclists in the Tour de California power up Laurel Street hill in San Diego.
A party atmosphere! Everyone is cheerfully rooting on these elite world athletes.
A party atmosphere! Everyone is cheerfully rooting on these elite world athletes.
Some cyclists at the end of the main group were intermixed with team support vehicles.
Some cyclists at the end of the main group were intermixed with team support vehicles.
And here comes a whole bunch of those team support vehicles.
And here comes a whole bunch of those team support vehicles–or whatever they’re called!
Outstanding athletes conquer a tough but relatively short hill.
Outstanding athletes conquer a tough but relatively short hill.
I could hardly believe the tremendous excitement!
I could hardly believe the tremendous excitement!
And then it was over. They'd passed. Just some ambulances and law enforcement vehicles followed.
And then it was over. They’d passed. Just some ambulances and law enforcement vehicles followed.
And folks headed home. You can see more of the Laurel Street hill in this pic. The first part is definitely the steepest.
And folks headed home. You can see more of the Laurel Street hill in this pic. The first part is definitely the steepest.
World-class athletes defy gravity as they bicycle up a hill near downtown San Diego during the first stage of the Tour de California.
World-class athletes defy gravity as they bicycle up a hill near downtown San Diego during the first stage of the Tour de California.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to enjoy!

Help protect the environment: Cool ideas at EarthFair.

Use cans and old kitchen tools for plant pots! Dryer lint as cotton with nail polish remover to take off polish!
Use cans and old kitchen tools for plant pots! Dryer lint as cotton with nail polish remover to take off polish!

Late this morning, I walked from Cortez Hill to the 2016 EarthFair in Balboa Park. The cool event, corresponding with Earth Day, is the largest annual environmental fair in the world!

Thousands turned out for 2016 EarthFair in Balboa Park, where San Diego celebrates Earth Day and learns how to help the environment.
Thousands turned out today for the 2016 EarthFair in Balboa Park.  San Diego residents celebrated Earth Day and learned how to help protect the environment.

I blogged about EarthFair the last couple of years and showed you a little bit of almost everything–so this time I decided to take a different, more practical approach. As I walked through San Diego’s garden-like Balboa Park, I searched the many exhibits for useful ideas about things we can do in our daily lives to protect the environment.

Here are a few things I found. Please read the captions! And feel free to share!

1. Ideas for creatively repurposing used household items.

One major theme of EarthFair was re-using and repurposing old items that might otherwise be thrown away. I noted some cool ideas and took pics!

Poster shows many creative repurposing ideas! Click photo to enlarge and read some cool, very unusual ideas that you might try!
Poster shows many creative repurposing ideas! Click photo to enlarge and read some cool, very unusual ideas that you might try!
These shiny, colorful handbags were made from recycled Kool-Aid and Capri Sun packets!
These shiny, colorful handbags were made from recycled Kool-Aid and Capri Sun packets!
Take old clothes to make new clothes for homeless and toys for kids.
Take old clothes to make new clothes for homeless and toys for kids.
Recycling vintage fabric into baby bibs.
Recycling vintage fabric into baby bibs.
Turn old sweaters into beautiful pillows.
Turn old sweaters into beautiful pillows.
People check out the world's largest fair celebrating Earth Day--EarthFair in San Diego's sunny Balboa Park!
People check out the world’s largest festival celebrating Earth Day–EarthFair in San Diego’s sunny Balboa Park!

2. Tasty ways to use up excess fruits and vegetables.

One display created by the County of San Diego provided excellent information about how to use leftover or surplus fruits and vegetables, to avoid unnecessary waste. Those pics came out blurry, so here’s what I noted:

Spinach–add to sandwiches, soups, egg dishes, pasta or smoothies.

Bananas–add to cereal, yogurt or smoothies. Blend frozen bananas with milk and vanilla for a healthy dessert.

Citrus–add to green or fruit salads, soups, pasta or sauces. Add peels to vinegar for a simple household cleaner.

Tomatoes–add to salads, egg dishes, sandwiches or pasta. Use to make fresh salsa, tomato sauce or bruschetta.

Onions–add to salads, soups, egg dishes, sandwiches or stir-fry. Pickle red onions. Make onion preserves.

Peppers–add to sandwiches, salads, egg dishes or stir-fry. Steam and puree to make soup or a sauce for meat or pasta.

Avocados–add to smoothies, salads, sandwiches, egg dishes or baked goods. Spread on toast. Use in pasta sauce with lemon, garlic, oil and basil.

Beets–add to salads, soups or stir-fry. Use roasted beets in place of meat on sandwiches.

Broccoli and Cauliflower–add to salads, soups, egg dishes or stir-fry. Add finely chopped or grated cauliflower to rice.

Berries–add to fruit or green salads, hot or cold cereals, smoothies or yogurt. Use in a fruit salsa served with bread or chips.

Potatoes–add to salads, soups or egg dishes. Use russet potatoes to make potato skins. Use leftover baked potatoes to make hashbrowns.

Corn–add to soups or salads. Use to make a fresh corn salsa. Bake into cornbread or potato pancakes.

3. Things you can do to help protect the environment–and save money!

Here are a few displays I photographed that contained some great advice! Click the photos to enlarge them!

Compost can be made with shredded paper, grass clippings, wood chips, garden leftovers, leaves, livestock manure, chopped up yard debris and used coffee grounds.
Compost can be made with shredded paper, grass clippings, wood chips, garden leftovers, leaves, livestock manure, chopped up yard debris and used coffee grounds.
To save energy, use efficient lighting, adjust your thermostat, install solar, reduce driving, and keep you car maintained and tires properly inflated.
To save energy, use efficient lighting, adjust your thermostat, install solar, reduce driving, and keep your car maintained and tires properly inflated.
Check to see if your city offers free utility inspections and efficiency analysis. In San Diego, a free water survey program is available.
Check to see if your city offers free utility inspections and efficiency analysis. In San Diego, a free water survey program is available.
Ride a bicycle to work! In San Diego, Bike to Work Day in 2016 is Friday, May 20. You might consider walking or taking public transit, too!
Ride a bicycle to work! In San Diego, Bike to Work Day in 2016 is Friday, May 20. You might consider walking or taking public transit, too!
Many San Diegans saved energy, reduced air pollution and stayed healthy by riding their bicycles to EarthFair!
Many San Diegans saved energy, reduced air pollution and stayed healthy by riding their bicycles to EarthFair!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special new blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Fun urban art: Walking up Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest.

People of many colors party. Keep going!
People of many colors party. Keep going!

You might enjoy a few photos!

I’ve spotted many colorful examples of urban art while walking up Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest. All of this fun artwork is located between Upas Street and Washington.

Art on the door of Nite Owl Tattoo San Diego, in Hillcrest.
Art on the door of Nite Owl Tattoo San Diego, in Hillcrest.
A painted blonde with cool sunglasses.
A painted blonde with cool sunglasses.
Exotic domes and arches painted on a boring old electrical transformer.
Exotic domes and arches painted on a boring old electrical transformer.
Some colorful street art at Fifth Avenue and Upas Street in Hillcrest.
Some colorful street art at Fifth Avenue and Upas Street in Hillcrest.
Utility box on a street corner is an unusual canvas for an inspired artist.
Utility box on a street corner is an unusual canvas for an inspired artist.
Human imagination turns a dull object into a cool sight!
Human imagination turns a dull object into a cool sight!
An eatery on Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest has a wall bursting with bold, silly images.
An eatery on Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest has a wall bursting with bold, silly images.
Babycakes surrounded by crazy faces, flowers and yummy treats.
Babycakes surrounded by crazy faces, flowers and yummy treats.
Colorful bike locking station invites bicyclists to ride up Fifth Avenue.
Colorful bike locking station invites bicyclists to ride up Fifth Avenue.
Weathered penguin on utility box has some chopsticks held in a flipper.
Weathered penguin on utility box has some chopsticks held in a flipper.
A happy, slowly vanishing image enlivens a walk up a Hillcrest sidewalk.
A happy, slowly vanishing image enlivens a walk up a Hillcrest sidewalk.

This morning I published a powerful story titled The Drawing of Leaves on my blog Short Stories by Richard! It’s very brief, but moving. You might enjoy it!

Bike share stations pop up around San Diego.

DecoBike bikeshare location on Broadway between Santa Fe Depot and America Plaza.
DecoBike bikeshare station on Broadway between Santa Fe Depot and America Plaza.

During my walks around San Diego in the past few months, I’ve noticed new bike sharing stations popping up at various locations. The green-signed docks still contain no bikes, but according to articles I’ve read the program is supposed to finally begin this month, after many delays.

Bike sharing in San Diego will be facilitated by DecoBike, a company based in Miami, where a similar system has been installed. They plan to eventually have around 180 electronic rental stations and 1,800 standardized bicycles.

San Diegans and city visitors will be able to rent bicycles for one-time use, or purchase a monthly or annual membership. The number of bikes available at any station will be visible in real time on DecoBike’s online station map.

According to signs at each bikeshare station, renting a bike will cost $5 per half hour, $7 per hour, or $12 for two hours. Memberships will cost $15 for one day, $35 for one week, or $50 for one month.

Looks interesting. Perhaps I’ll do a little more bicycling!

New bike sharing locking docks in East Village just north of Petco Park.
More locking bicycle docks in East Village, just north of Petco Park.
DecoBike bikeshare stations feature a touchscreen, instructions and a row of bike docks.
DecoBike bikeshare stations feature a touchscreen, instructions and a row of bike docks.
Sign shows rental and membership rates.
Sign shows rental and membership rates.
Another bike sharing station on El Prado near the west end of Balboa Park.
Another bike sharing station on El Prado near the west end of Balboa Park.

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Twelve-person bicycle heads down street.

twelve-person bicycle heads down street

What could be more cool than biking along a city street with a dozen of your buddies? These folks are sitting around a table enjoying drinks and conversation while pedaling away and taking in the sights. This twelve-person bicycle might not be suitable for your typical family, but lots of tourists and fun-seekers enjoy it!

I spotted two of these cool contraptions in East Village!
I spotted two of these cool contraptions in East Village!