Point Loma, that magnificent peninsula jutting into San Diego Bay, is one of those defining geographic features that give shape and structure to a city’s landscape. Sitting at its tip, one has the feeling that he or she has reached the edge of our country and it is very easy to perceive the mighty distances lying beyond over the Pacific Ocean. Point Loma is a protective barrier, delineating San Diego Bay on the one side and the Pacific on the other, while as it tapers northward it gives way to beautiful Mission Bay. Needless to say, it is a unique feature of our local geography and an excellent place to incorporate into a bike ride.
Cabrillo National Monument:
Lying at the peninsula’s far end is the Cabrillo National Monument, part of the National Park system. For a small fee, cyclists can explore its many features, including incredible tidepools, whale watching, an 1855-era lighthouse, a visitor’s center, a historic radio station building with a military history display, and a hiking trail. If you can, bring a bike lock so that you can explore the monument at your leisure. The views of San Diego Bay and of the Pacific Ocean are absolutely stunning and the displays are fascinating.
Looking at this map of Point Loma, one can see the primary road leading to the end of the peninsula is Catalina Boulevard. If you are riding and not quite sure if you are on the right road, worry not, as this is the only road which goes to the end of the peninsula. It will change names to Cabrillo Memorial Drive as you get closer to the monument. While riding, you will also be entering Naval Base Point Loma, but the gate is open and no ID needs to be shown. After riding through the base for some time, you will ride through Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, and then will arrive at the Cabrillo National Monument. Be on the lookout throughout for stunning views to both sides as you enjoy this quiet road.
On the return journey, Point Loma’s central location means that you can break off from Catalina Boulevard in any of several directions. Turning left at Point Loma Avenue will take you to Sunset Cliffs and Ocean Beach, a bastion of San Diego beach culture. Turning right at Talbot Street leads to a wicked downhill that connects with Rosecrans Street, where you turn left to explore the picturesque Point Loma and Loma Portal neighborhoods and Liberty Station, a former Naval Training Center converted into shops and restaurants. Continuing on Catalina Boulevard to its intersection with Nimitz Boulevard, one can turn left to reach Mission Bay Park and connections with Mission Bay Drive, Ingraham Street, and Sea World Drive. Bike lanes are provided throughout but some roads are busy, so be aware of safety and look out for cars, particularly at interchanges between roads. Get out there and enjoy!