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The pleasantly tepid, breezy days of late June and early July (on the coast, at least) are perfect for the following eight-mile bicycle ride from downtown La Jolla to Bird Rock and back. The looping route of eight miles described here offers unparalleled views, the salt-tinged caress of the ocean breeze on your face, and summer temperatures mercifully cooler than just about anywhere else in the county.

Start the ride anywhere you can find a parking place (if, indeed, you need one) in La Jolla. From the general whereabouts of La Jolla Cove, ride on the cliff-hugging sidewalk or on Coast Boulevard south past the grassy expanse of Ellen Browning Scripps Park and the Children's Pool -- a popular rookery for seals these days. After Coast Boulevard merges into Prospect, swing right on Olivetas, following bike-route signs. For the next three miles, these signs direct you circuitously southward, along ocean bluffs packed with cottages and mansions. If you miss a sign, no problem. Just stay as close to the coastline as possible without turning down dead-end streets.

At Neptune Place, the route briefly returns to the surf at Windansea Beach. Continue south on Camino de la Costa and Chelsea Avenue. Beyond Forward Street, the signed bike route sticks with Chelsea for another half-mile, but I'd advise a detour along Calumet Avenue, one block west. Stop at the grassy Calumet Park (on the right side of Calumet Avenue) for a look at the ocean from one of the prime viewing spots on the San Diego coast.

Calumet Avenue bends east, becomes Sea Ridge Drive, and intersects La Jolla Boulevard. Cross here at the light and go one more block to La Jolla Hermosa Avenue. Ride north on this narrow lane (the right-of-way of a long-gone trolley line), for several blocks, again following bike-route signs. After a short jog to the right, the signed route continues north on Beaumont Avenue.

Beaumont Avenue ends after three long blocks, but a narrow blacktop ribbon continues, traversing the base of a hill. This biking path leads to the south end of Fay Avenue at Nautilus Street. Ride north on Fay Avenue back toward your starting point, but skirt the congested main streets of La Jolla by going right at Genter Street, left on Girard Avenue, right on Pearl Street, left on High Avenue, right on Virginia Way, and finally left on Prospect Place.

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