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Lakeside-Poway Bike Ride

Two of inland San Diego ­County’s most important east-west highways, Scripps-Poway Parkway and the Tierrasanta-to-Santee stretch of the Highway 52 Freeway, have been designed to carry bicycle as well as auto traffic. They can be used to string together a more-or-less circular route of 38 miles. By bike-riding the route marked by arrows on our map, you can experience some of the smoothest, fastest stretches of pavement in San Diego ­County.

Although most road shoulders along the route are typically wide and even signed as bike lanes, fast traffic alongside can be unnerving for less-than-experienced riders. ­It’s by far best to undertake this trip early on a Sunday morning, when traffic volumes are relatively low. Begin anywhere you want along the route, but Lakeside is recommended as a start point to take advantage of the west wind that often kicks up by midday. With elevation changes of more than 2000 feet, this is a trip for strong cyclists ­only.

Start on Woodside Avenue or Maine Avenue in Lakeside and reach northbound Highway 67 via Mapleview Street. After three miles, the highway broadens to two northbound lanes plus a shoulder, and you commence a thousand-foot ascent up through desolate hills at about an 8 percent grade. This is the most difficult and dangerous (traffic-wise) part of the ride, and ­it’s best done as early as possible to take advantage of cool weather and light traffic. Three more miles of somewhat easier pedaling follows, until you reach the traffic light at Scripps-Poway Parkway. Turn left and descend the blacktop pavement of this curving multilane road. You sweep down toward ­Poway’s south industrial district, reaching frightening speeds in excess of 30 miles per hour if you ­don’t do any brake ­work.

The road levels out amid a whole row of boxy, gleaming office and industrial buildings overlooking Poway. Soon enough, a steep downgrade takes you to an intersection with Pomerado Road. Turn left. You negotiate another upgrade, after which you can enjoy an easy and breezy descent amid the fragrant eucalyptus groves of Scripps Ranch. Cross over Interstate 15, and go left on Kearny Villa Road. This part of Kearny Villa Road is the old I-15 highway, now rendered almost traffic-free on the weekends. Pass over Highways 163 and 52, and be sure to keep straight on Ruffin Road just past the 52 ­freeway.

Next, make a left on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, a left on Santo Road, and a right on the ramp eastbound onto Highway 52. The nearly five-mile stretch of freeway ahead, which goes up and over a pass, is not only bicycle-legal, it has a posted bike route on its shoulders, too. The two-mile descent on the far side of the pass is another screamer — especially if the wind is in your favor. Be sure to exit the freeway at Mast Boulevard in Santee, the end of the bike-legal ­stretch.

Go east on Mast, make a right on Cuyamaca Street, and go left (east) on Mission Gorge Road. Ahead, Mission Gorge becomes Woodside Avenue, and that takes you back to ­Lakeside.

Bicyclists should be properly equipped and have safety and navigational skills. The Reader and Jerry Schad assume no responsibility for any adverse ­experience.

Lakeside-Poway bike ride
A wide-ranging road route takes bicylists through Lakeside, Poway, Tierrasanta, and Santee.
Distance from downtown San Diego: 20 miles
Biking length: 38 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous

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Two of inland San Diego ­County’s most important east-west highways, Scripps-Poway Parkway and the Tierrasanta-to-Santee stretch of the Highway 52 Freeway, have been designed to carry bicycle as well as auto traffic. They can be used to string together a more-or-less circular route of 38 miles. By bike-riding the route marked by arrows on our map, you can experience some of the smoothest, fastest stretches of pavement in San Diego ­County.

Although most road shoulders along the route are typically wide and even signed as bike lanes, fast traffic alongside can be unnerving for less-than-experienced riders. ­It’s by far best to undertake this trip early on a Sunday morning, when traffic volumes are relatively low. Begin anywhere you want along the route, but Lakeside is recommended as a start point to take advantage of the west wind that often kicks up by midday. With elevation changes of more than 2000 feet, this is a trip for strong cyclists ­only.

Start on Woodside Avenue or Maine Avenue in Lakeside and reach northbound Highway 67 via Mapleview Street. After three miles, the highway broadens to two northbound lanes plus a shoulder, and you commence a thousand-foot ascent up through desolate hills at about an 8 percent grade. This is the most difficult and dangerous (traffic-wise) part of the ride, and ­it’s best done as early as possible to take advantage of cool weather and light traffic. Three more miles of somewhat easier pedaling follows, until you reach the traffic light at Scripps-Poway Parkway. Turn left and descend the blacktop pavement of this curving multilane road. You sweep down toward ­Poway’s south industrial district, reaching frightening speeds in excess of 30 miles per hour if you ­don’t do any brake ­work.

The road levels out amid a whole row of boxy, gleaming office and industrial buildings overlooking Poway. Soon enough, a steep downgrade takes you to an intersection with Pomerado Road. Turn left. You negotiate another upgrade, after which you can enjoy an easy and breezy descent amid the fragrant eucalyptus groves of Scripps Ranch. Cross over Interstate 15, and go left on Kearny Villa Road. This part of Kearny Villa Road is the old I-15 highway, now rendered almost traffic-free on the weekends. Pass over Highways 163 and 52, and be sure to keep straight on Ruffin Road just past the 52 ­freeway.

Next, make a left on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, a left on Santo Road, and a right on the ramp eastbound onto Highway 52. The nearly five-mile stretch of freeway ahead, which goes up and over a pass, is not only bicycle-legal, it has a posted bike route on its shoulders, too. The two-mile descent on the far side of the pass is another screamer — especially if the wind is in your favor. Be sure to exit the freeway at Mast Boulevard in Santee, the end of the bike-legal ­stretch.

Go east on Mast, make a right on Cuyamaca Street, and go left (east) on Mission Gorge Road. Ahead, Mission Gorge becomes Woodside Avenue, and that takes you back to ­Lakeside.

Bicyclists should be properly equipped and have safety and navigational skills. The Reader and Jerry Schad assume no responsibility for any adverse ­experience.

Lakeside-Poway bike ride
A wide-ranging road route takes bicylists through Lakeside, Poway, Tierrasanta, and Santee.
Distance from downtown San Diego: 20 miles
Biking length: 38 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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