20 January 2012

Biking The Golden Gate Bridge

A couple of days ago we set out to ride bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge and over to Sausalito. We headed out early that morning and it turned out to be the coldest day in San Francisco in a quite a while. 

We picked up the Powell-Hyde cable car just a few blocks from our hotel and rode up and over to Hyde Street. Standing on the outside of the cable car were five 10 year old boys and one of the boy's mother. They were celebrating his birthday and were so darling. We had fun talking and teasing with them. They were so young and so full of life. I fell in love with their exuberance and chumminess together -- their boyness.

I also realized that on the steepest hills in the city, on a cable car, slippery workout pants are not the best. Had to hang on tight to keep from sliding right out of my seat. By the time we got across town it was so cold that we decided to duck into a cafe for big, warm breakfast. Then it was time to start the cycle tour.

We were stunned to see swimmers out in the bay in nothing but a bathing suit. The air temperature was in the low 40s, so I can't imagine what the water felt like. But good for them, they must have have strong constitutions.

I don't think there was one solid minute that was not stunningly gorgeous all along our ride. Amazing. It was hard to ride very far without stopping to take a picture.

This was my first time to Crissy Field and standing there I began recognizing the scene from quite a few movies filmed there over the years. I could have spent a good deal of time in the parks all along the way.

The sky was blue and once we got riding we weren't cold at all. As the morning passed and we got closer to the bridge I was peeling off layer after layer. We were glad we made the decision to wait until after the holiday weekend to make the ride. It was nice to have no crowds to deal with and lots of space to ride.

There was a rocky area that was filled with stacks of rocks. It was quite amazing and created a thoughtful, zen ambiance. I took the opportunity to stop and be mindful for a few moments.

At the viewpoint before going over the bridge it was a United Nations convention. A bus full of Danes, some  Brits, Italians, Iraelis, Japanese teens and visitors from many more places too. We posed for a quick shot then started the ride across the bridge.

The ride across the bridge was lovely. There was some tourist dodging to do along the way but it was an easy ride and the views overlooking the city were amazing.

At the end of the bridge was another large viewing area filled with cars, buses and tourists. We followed the bike path from there into Sausalito. Riding into town was a little bit scary, riding on the side of a very hilly road. I had been to Sausalito once or twice before but my memory of the town was nothing like what the town really looks like. 

We parked our bikes at the Ferry station and wandered around. Because the town is situated on the east side of a mountain, by early afternoon there was no direct sunlight and it was beginning to get quite cold and breezy. We enjoyed a lovely lunch outside in the last bit of the sun, then wandered the small galleries and shops then enjoyed a nice hot chocolate before heading out to catch the ferry back to San Francisco.

Unfortunately, because the lighting was not good I didn't get any great shots of Sausalito. But the ride back on the ferry produced some great shots as the sun began to set right behind the Golden Gate Bridge.

We had just enough time to land at Pier 41 and race to the other end of the Embarcadero to return our bikes before 6 p.m. which we and quite a few other people from the same ferry did. Then we took the cable car back to our hotel neighborhood and enjoyed dinner at Sears Fine Food on Powell and Sutter. It was a great day and I am so glad we took the chance to make the trip.

all images by kalanicut

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