Learning about San Diego’s love affair with the bicycle

A few months ago I met Andy Hanshaw to learn more about him and his goals for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. During the course of our conversation he mentioned the original Bike the Bay Ride, a ride called the Five Cities Ride that at its height drew 10,000 cyclists before the ride got shut down due to complaints that the cyclists were noisy.

The Five Cities Ride was a ride organized by the American Youth Hostel (now Hostelling International-San Diego), an event that was part fundraising and part bicycle advocacy. When I contacted Andrea Carter, Event Coordinator at Hostelling International-San Diego, I learned that bicycling and bicycle advocacy has been an integral part of HI-San Diego’s history from the very beginning. The upcoming Christmas Bike Ride is peanuts in comparison with the work that the hostel has done to promote bicycling in San Diego.

Before the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, the San Diego region did not have a bicycle advocacy group. But San Diego did have a hostel and an incredibly enthusiastic bike advocate who was also the president of the San Diego branch of the American Youth Hostel. This bike advocate was Clifford Graves, a physician who lived in La Jolla for most of his life.