City of San Diego, CA

08/02/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/01/2020 22:17

Better By Bike - Rider Spotlight - Bill Walton

Rider Spotlight

How long have you been bicycling and how did you get started?

I've been riding my bike since I was 5 years old, I'm 67 now, my computer like mind tells me that I've been riding for 62 years. I had an older brother, I watched him riding his bike, and said I can do that, that's what I want to do. When he laid his bike down and turned away, I jumped on it, and I've been riding my bike ever since. I love my bike.

Our family home is in La Mesa, the Jewel of the Hills, the Northeast corner of the intersection where we lived, on one of the hills that surround Lake Murray, was a perfect natural half-pipe, where I could just glide in the groove of life, up and down, back and forth, endlessly, it was paradise. I could move, I felt so free, and independent, I could go places physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally, by myself, on my own, I've never looked back, and I still regularly ride the hills of La Mesa, where my Mom still lives in the same house.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get started going by bike?

For beginners, and you're never the wrong age, at either end of the spectrum, start slowly, start on a stationary bike, get comfortable and confident, get somebody who knows what they're doing to get your position/fit correct, and start turning the pedals over.

Ride for fun, enjoyment, and health, when you do make the transition to riding outdoors on the road, make sure you have all the proper safety equipment, helmet, and front and rear lights at all times, and start on the really quiet and calm neighborhood streets and parks, ride for fun, turn the pedals over. Knowing how to learn to do anything is a critical aspect of a developing life.

How do protected bike lanes support your commute?

Protected bike lanes are fantastic. They give us the sense of safety and security that we must have, your own personal routes and style will vary, but always think safety and security, know and follow the laws/rules, find the best routes with the least traffic, the most safety and greatest protection, and the best pavement. Ride for fun, ride defensively, use the protection provided by the protected bike lanes and routes.

Where are your favorite places to bike to in San Diego?

My favorite places to ride are wherever and whenever I'm on my bike. I love my bike, I live to ride, and ride to live. We proudly live in Hillcrest, it's simply the best---of everything, it is the hub of the wheel, and you can go in any direction at any time, and find perfection, beauty, peace, solitude, and the wonders of nature, every time.

I ride everywhere in San Diego, always trying to connect all the places though our great system of public parks, whether it's Balboa Park, Presidio, Mission Bay, Mission Trails, Lake Murray, Mt. Helix, Rohr and Sweetwater, Berry Park, International and Border Field, Otay Lakes, Torrey Pines, Mt. Soledad, Kate Sessions, Cabrillo, Harbor Island, Shelter Island, Liberty Station, Spanish Landing, Swami's, Santee Lakes, Mast Park, and the endless series of the smaller city and county parks that make San Diego the greatest place on earth.

These parks serve as gateways to the incredible diversity of our majestic San Diego with its fabulous neighborhoods, and spectacular natural scenery, where we can ride the North Coast, La Jolla, Point Loma, the South Bay and Coronado, the coastal plains, canyons, and mesas, the inland valleys and foothills, the Laguna Mountains, Mt. Palomar, all of East County, Pine Valley, Julian, Boulevard, Campo, Jacumba, and the spectacular Sonoran Desert with the Imperial Highway, Anza-Borrego State Park, Borrego Springs, and so much more.

My particular choice of my daily rides is always based on available time, pavement, traffic, weather, wind and sun. In San Diego, I can always find a perfect place to ride my bike.

What makes San Diego a great place to bike?

Every place in the world is a nice place to ride your bike, as long as the weather is good. The weather in San Diego is the best, you can ride your bike, or do anything you want, outside, every day of the year.

We have everything, and we also have the best people, many who also love their bikes, and our wonderful city. The cycling community is incredibly diverse, supportive, positive, nurturing, encouraging, and inclusive.

What's the one thing you think people should know about biking?

Riding my bike is good for me, and it's also good for you, it's very much like solar energy, it's good for my health, heart and soul, and yours too, it's empowering, and enabling, it helps build confidence and self-esteem, it's everything that I believe in, stand for, and try to live, it's also good for our earth, it's good for everything that I can think of.

Please remember that when you're riding your bike, it's always about tomorrow's ride, and the ability to get back out there, and exalt to the heavens that 'I'm the luckiest person in the world, I get to ride my bike today.' Be careful, stay safe, enjoy the ride and roll on forever.

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