ENCINITAS — After a yearlong hiatus due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Cyclovia, a car-free cycling event, will return to Encinitas, giving cyclists a unique opportunity to ride Coast Highway 101.
Cyclovia, or “cycleway,” events are held in cities around the world. Each host city closes off vehicular access to a section of roadway and for several hours allows only self-powered modes of transportation, such as cycling, e-biking, walking and skating.
In 2020, Cyclovia Encinitas was the first event of its kind in North County, but San Diego, Imperial Beach, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and Chula Vista also host their own Cyclovia events.
The event will block off a portion of South Coast Highway 101 from D Street to J Street in downtown Encinitas from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on January 9.
The city’s previous Cyclovia event attracted upwards of 5,000 cyclists to downtown Encinitas and the city hopes for a similar turnout this year.
“That turnout in 2020 was with a brand new event that not everyone quite understood,” Nick Buck, the city’s special events and projects supervisor, told The Coast News. “In the last couple of years with the boom of the popularity of cycling and e-bikes and other things, people seem eager to get out on bike and on foot.”
Cyclovia Encinitas will also come just days after the launch of BCycle in the city of Encinitas, an e-bike share pilot program. BCycle already has some of its docking stations along Coast Highway where the event will take place.
“That’s a cool opportunity for BCycle to show off and for residents to try out that new program that will have just launched,” Buck said.
The city said the event should not be considered a street fair, but there will be some activities set up by partners during Cyclovia for those in attendance.
Encinitas has partnered with organizations like the San Diego Mountain Bike Association, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, Bike-Walk Encinitas and others to provide activities such as a safety skills course, a pump track and more.
From low-rider bicycles to tall bikes, vintage bikes and homemade bikes, Cyclovia Encinitas’ inaugural event saw myriad styles of transportation — a unique opportunity to show off whatever special way you get around that does not include a car.
“If you’ve got something cool, it’s a good place to be seen for sure,” Buck said.
Being an outdoor event inherently brings a lower risk of transmitting COVID-19 during the outbreak of the omicron variant in San Diego County but the city is still encouraging the use of masks.
“We hope that people will be smart and be safe. The bike itself sometimes creates that distance but we hope that people be mindful of others around them,” Buck said.
In addition, the city will be providing a vaccination station at the event through AMR Ambulance where booster shots of both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines will be available on site.
The event is free to the public.