Old Town San Diego - Flickr - by Jasperdo After enjoying a great e-bike ride through Santa Barbara, we decided to do the same in San Diego. We booked a tour with “Another Side Of San Diego”. This tour operator offers many private and group tours. See their offerings here.

We selected the “Old Town & Balboa Park eBike Tour”. We have visited both places in the past but thought it would be fun to go at a more leisurely pace.

This tour starts from their location near Old Town. Jeff, our tour guide, began by explaining how to use the e-bike and gave us some time to practice. This is important because e-bikes can differ in handling and operation.

After we mastered our bikes, we passed by Old Town and learned about the historic buildings. Unfortunately, we could not enter due to park regulations.

Tip: The bikes do not have a basket for belongings or water. Jeff was willing to carry our stuff, but I would have preferred to hold my own water, camera, and phone. So bring a backpack or a waist bag.

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Jeff regaled us with the town’s history and important buildings. We quickly learned that Old  Town is not San Diego's real birthplace. It actually started as a settlement on the hill with the Presidio Fort. Later, a mission was established close to the fort. This location was chosen due to the commanding view over the San Diego harbor.

Even though it is not the real first settlement, the Old Town Historic Park is still worth visiting. It represents early period San Diego well with its adobe buildings, museums, and shops.

San Diego Presidio Park - by - MARELBU - WikimediaOur next stop was Presidio Hill, an important historical site. It was the location of the first European settlement on the Pacific Coast. Established on July 1, 1769, by Governor Gaspar de Portolá, the San Diego Presidio served as a military post and base for Spanish colonization in California. The hill provided strategic oversight of the area, which included the mission and the fort, offering protection from potential threats.

Over time, as the mission moved and the need for a military presence diminished, Presidio Hill fell into disrepair.

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By 1835, it was largely abandoned. During the Mexican-American War, American forces briefly revived it as Fort Stockton. In 1929, George Marston, a local philanthropist, established Presidio Park to preserve the historic site. Today, the park includes the Junípero Serra Museum, which showcases artifacts from the early history of San Diego and provides educational programs about the region's Spanish, Mexican, and indigenous heritage.

Interesting Fact: Presidio Park, spanning 40 acres, offers panoramic views of San Diego, Mission Valley, and the Pacific Ocean. It includes several distinct areas such as Inspiration Point, Palm Canyon, Padre Cross, and The Arbor.

To get to Presidio Hill, we had to pedal up a steep incline. Thankfully, the e-bike's pedal assist came in handy. We still had a workout, but it was more manageable.

San Diego - Balboa Park On our way to Balboa Park, we had to pass through some busy city streets. This part of the tour was not very enjoyable, but there is no avoiding it. It is a major city, after all. Next time, I will try The La Jolla Coastal Bike Tour. We will probably encounter less traffic and enjoy the ocean views.

The best part of this tour is entering Balboa Park and enjoying the long stretch of trails with no cars. The park's 1,200 acres are full of open space areas, natural vegetation zones, green belts, gardens, walking trails, museums, theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

Interesting Fact: Balboa Park is one of the oldest public recreation sites in the United States, dating back to 1868.

You can learn more about Balboa Park and the Zoo by following the links.

Heading back, the ride was mostly straight or downhill. We still had to pass through some busy streets, but it was more relaxed and a good ending to our tour.

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