5 Bikes 5 Museums: Balboa Park Botanical Gardens

You can’t miss the historic Botanical Building in the center of San Diego’s Balboa Park. The ornate building sits adjacent to the lily pond and lagoon, where it was built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition.

The San Diego Balboa Park Botanical Gardens with the Surly Straggler


You can’t miss the historic Botanical Building in the center of San Diego Balboa Park. The ornate building sits adjacent to the lily pond and lagoon, where it was built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition (the exposition/fair celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal). The Botanical Building is one of the largest lath structures in the world. Plantings inside include more than 2,100 permanent plants, featuring fascinating collections of cycads, ferns, orchids, other tropical plants, and palms. The Botanical Building also presents some of the Park’s vibrant seasonal flower displays – during December months you can see the annual display of poinsettias.

On the third Friday of each month at 11:00 am, the San Diego Floral Association guides 45 minute tours through the building, emphasizing the origins, design, and horticulture of the “park’s jewel”. The docent-led tours tell the story of the visionary behind the building (world-renowned begonia expert) Alfred D. Robinson.

Free Admission

The Botanical Building is free to the public on Friday through Wednesday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Closed Thursdays and holidays). Tours are also open and free to the public.

Biking in the Area

Begin from the Park Blvd Gateway, located in the South Park side near Golden Hill. You can use the signage to guide you along the trail to the museum, or you can download the Balboa Park iOS app (for iPhone 8.3 and later) that gives you exact directions based on your location.

Bike of Choice

The Surley Straggler 650b is a perfect all-round adventure bike for the San Diego explorer. The Surely 4130 CroMoly frame and fork with disc brakes and SRAM Apex groupset make this bike basically indestructible. Take on steel hills with confidence with the extended range cassette and smaller wheel size. Cruise with ease over to the Balboa museums, and take a joy ride through the dirt trails of Balboa Park before heading home. Available at MJ’s Cyclery on Park Blvd near Balboa Park in San Diego.


FRAME: Surly 4130 CroMoly tubing, ED Coated, TIG-welded, Double-butted




CASSETTE: 11–32t, 10-speed


BRAKES: Hayes CX-expert, V-series 160mm rotors front & rear

HANDLEBAR: Salsa Cowbell

SADDLE: Velo VL-1353

FRONT HUB: Formula RX25 Disc, 32h. 100mm, black w/QR

REAR HUB: Formula RX2611 Disc, 32h. 135mm, black w/QR

RIMS: Alex XD-E Lite

TIRES: Surly Knard 650b x 41, 60tpi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like
night shot of the brooklyn roebling bicycle in a tunnel on bike path
Read More

Brooklyn Roebling: The Steel Commuter Ready For Touring And Adventure

The utility and functionality of Brooklyn Bicycle Company’s Roebling hybrid is impressive. With a design inspired by the father-son Roebling engineers of the Brooklyn Bridge, this bike offers a solid frameset and platform for heavy commuting or light touring. The 4130 steel frame is light but strong, providing a comfortable riding position for hauling gear.
Read More
YESCOM Conversion Kit
Read More

DIY E-Commuters: Get Started on Building Up Your Own ‘Franken’ ebike

Many excellent bike shops in Southern California already sell e-commuters, with more retailers adding them their inventory every month. So then why would anyone want to assemble a do-it-yourself (DIY) e-bike when there are scores of superb OEM models available? The reasons, many and varied, include the cost savings, the assurance that the conversion of a bike that already fits you perfectly will continue to do so as an e-bike, a new hobby, the feeling of accomplishment and an intimate knowledge of the functional parameters of your bike.
Read More
Read More

The 24-Hour Bike Overnight: The Bike Considerations and Provisions To Make The Most Of Your Time On and Off the Saddle

An experiential guide using the Poseidon ‘X’ adventure bike as the muse for a 24-hour overnight trip over suburban landscapes, steep grades, fire roads and wilderness trails. Wherever your journey will take you, please consider these suggestions for making the most of your time in the saddle.
Read More
Read More

Back on the Road Again – This Time with the First Avenue Trike Recumbent

The First Avenue Trike, a relatively new model from Avenue Trikes, was the next model up for review as I continued my apprenticeship with this very unique cycling discipline. After several hundred miles of riding, the first and most important aspect of the First Avenue was that it didn’t take several hundred miles of riding to feel comfortable on the machine.
Read More
Read More

Felt Bicycles: FR2 Road Bike

Recently, I got my hands on one of Felt Bicycles’s newest releases, the FR2. Built from the history of their flagship F-Series bikes, the new FR model boasts lightweight performance and precision handling that exceeds expectations on all fronts. The FR2 is responsive and stable while riding at high speeds; it’s certainly a bike that I could ride for either a short local criterium or a long training ride. I took the bike out for a mixed terrain ride with fast flats, steep ascents, and screaming descents with no objections and eager anticipation imbued by the FR2.
Read More
Linus Bike Irvine Transportation Station
Read More

Linus Bike Roadster Classic: Simplicity, Form and Function Unite

Don’t judge the Linus Roadster Classic by its simplicity. In fact, this bike offers all the appurtenances of a quality bike, and provides an excellent ride experience with minimal maintenance. Linus models their designs on bicycles appearing in 1950’s and 60’s French cinema. At their office in Los Angeles, they merge classic design with modern.
Read More
Read More

(Richard Cunningham) Review: Niner RIP 9 RDO | One Model, Two Dedicated Frame Designs Supporting 29 and 27.5 Wheel Sizes

Niner is releasing one RIP 9 RDO model dedicated to 29-inch wheels, and a separate design for 27.5-inch wheels, but also under the same model moniker. This is a divergence from previous strategies seen in the industry, but may set the standard going forward. [email protected]
Read More
() Project One ICON | Trek Bikes
Read More

[VIDEO] Trek Bikes Releases Six New Colorways Under Project One ICON Moniker | ‘Black Gold, But Without The Oil’

Project One ICON is a collection of premium paint schemes that represent the highest level of artistry in custom bicycles. These bespoke designs are about more than colors that stand out: they’re filled with texture, depth, and mood. Each ICON showcases a mastery of brush and paint and reflects the passion the most experienced Project One artists bring to their craft.
Read More
Read More

Dahon Speed D7: Dr. David Hon and His Dahon Folding Bike

During the “Space Race” of the 1970’s when the SoCal aerospace industry was in full swing, Dr. David Hon was a leader in the field of laser technology. After receiving his Ph.D. in physics from USC he was recruited by Hughes Aircraft, where he worked on many of the breakthroughs in the laser systems used in missile guidance and anti-aircraft guns.
Read More
empty road arizona
Read More

Roam Free: An Experiential Guide To Ultralight Bicycle Travel

A trip I’ve documented to Arizona was a good example of how you can tour light on your next vacation (whether flying into a destination or taking off from your front doorstep). You’ll enjoy the freedom of cycling on your own schedule and not a tour company’s agenda – saving enough in the process to easily cover the cost of the equipment discussed here.
Read More
Read More

Riding Enchanted Lands at the Reevis Mountain School of Self-Reliance

Nestled in the Northeastern corner of Arizona’s Superstition Wilderness at an elevation of 3,300 feet, Reevis Mountain lies to the south of Roosevelt Lake. Reevis Mountain is owned by Peter Bigfoot, local master of self-reliance. He is best known for his solo trek across the Sonora desert in July 1976, in which he covered 85 miles in 15 days, surviving the journey by foraging.
Read More
co-motion bike arkel bike bag
Read More

Compact Bicycles for Air Travel Requirements

Whether for work or pleasure, air travel with a bicycle has never been an easy proposition even under the best of circumstances. We take a look at three innovative ‘travel’ bike designs that will help to avoid excess baggage fees and break down in 30-60 minutes. Most importantly, all perform like a ‘real’ bike and can easily serve as your main ride.
Read More