When Mayor Casey Tanaka begged off riding in the Mayor’s Bike Ride, because “his dog ate his bike,” laughter filled the City Council chamber. Turned out he wasn’t joking. His dog literally ate his bike.
“He ate both tires, the seat and the hand grips,” Tanaka said. “He likes rubber.”
Dan Orr of the city's solved the the problem by lending Tanaka a beach cruiser Saturday.
“He didn’t look too happy riding it,” cyclist Deborah Callahan observed. “It had a rusty chain. It couldn't have been much fun for him to ride.”
This was Tanaka’s first bike ride since the Fourth of July, Coronado’s unofficial “bike everywhere day” because of the crowds who line up for the parade and fireworks show.
But the idea behind the ride wasn't just the novelty of getting the mayor to pedal around town, but to show city officials the proposed scenic bike loop that runs along the bayfront and ocean.
The route took riders from Spreckels Park down Orange Avenue to the bike path along 1st Street. Then the riders made their way to 6th Street, Coronado Avenue, Ocean Boulevard, Glorietta Boulevard, under the bridge, Tidelands Park and finally to the Ferry Landing.
The ride drew about 30 people. Council members Barbara Denny and Mike Woiwode joined the group for part of the ride. City Manager Blair King and Jim Newton, the staff adviser to the committee, also participated.
“Having the mayor and city officals here is huge,” said Larry Hofstetter, the advisory committee’s chair. “They can see first hand what's out there and what needs to be improved.”
Orr, who led the ride, said the theme of the day was “signage, signage and signage.”
Riders saw the importance of this along Glorietta. Two tourists who had just come off the bike path from the bridge were riding toward the Hotel Del Coronado on the right side of the road.
“They were supposed to cross over to the left side, but there was no sign to tell them that,” Orr pointed out. “It is very dangerous to have bikes going in opposite directions on the same side of the street.”
Even on a street that's wide and easy to navigate. “It's the best place to bike in Coronado,” Orr said.
The two most harrowing stretches were are Orange and Ocean. The narrowness of the roads and the volume of traffic make these the most dangerous places to ride.
“sharrows” with chevrons to help keep motorists aware of cyclists and cyclists out of “the dreaded car-door zone,” as Woiwode called it.
The dream for Ocean is a paved bike lane on the beach next to the rocks, but the project would require an environmental impact report and Coastal Commission approval.
Getting across Orange from Churchill Place also poses problems. The crossing is in the middle of the street, not hugging the curb, where most cyclists feel safe, Orr pointed out.
At the end of the ride, Tanaka looked none the worse for wear. Despite the rusty-chained bike, he sprang for drinks at Village Pizzeria, beers for some, but sodas for most, including himself.
In an email later, he said he thought more bike rides were in order. “When people see so many others biking together in a group like ours, it's a strong reminder that biking can be a fun way to meet your transportation needs while enjoying the great outdoors of Coronado.”