San Francisco Part 2: Cycling The Golden Gate Bridge

JUNE 2007…

If you noticed the blatant absence of the Golden Gate Bridge in my previous article, that’s because I saved it for this piece instead.

In an out-of-character “adventure”, I rode a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. Why did I even do it in the first place? That’s because I was a freeloader on this trip, tagging along with my friend for the free accommodation and hence, choice of activities.

Anyhow, our goal was to make it to Sausalito, a small town on the northern end of the bridge. While cycling itself would have been a relaxing proposition, again, the topography of the land made it more of a workout than a relaxing ride. So up and down the hills we go…

There are many bike rentals around the Golden Gate Bridge area but not at the Golden Gate Bridge itself, so do research beforehand if you are embarking on a bike crossing too. There is a marked-out path for bike riders along the coast, so once we made the short distance from the bike shop there, it was easy to follow. Otherwise, following the other human beings on wheels around would work too.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA.

Our first glimpse of the target in the distance – the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge is an entire recreation area itself, forming the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. There’s a welcome centre, cafes, exhibits and large swaths of parkland with picturesque trails and scenic viewpoints. But I guess we were too engrossed in peddling to notice all that.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA.

Getting closer to the prized attraction.

The longest and tallest of its kind when it opened in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, a 1.6 km strait connecting San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. Painted in International Orange (that’s the official name of the colour), the art deco bridge is an instant landmark of San Francisco and possibly the most photographed bridge in the world.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA.

Finally reaching the entrance of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Guess what, it’s taller than it looks – 227 m tall to be exact.

Turns out, getting to the bridge was the easy part. There were more hills waiting for us after the bridge with the one just after it being the killer! Our legs were so tired we had to get off our bikes and push our way up.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA.

The view from the other side of the bridge. And the workout continues…

While the hilly terrain was a pain, the high vantage points afforded good views of the city and its surroundings. So, we can’t really complain…

Horseshoe Bay, San Francisco, USA.

Horseshoe Bay just after the bridge. Just need to get over this… hill… Gasp!

The relaxing part of the ride started after rounding the hill, now that we were in a more “rural” area with the wind in our hair and the great view before our eyes. Cycling through the charming waterfront of Sausalito rounded it up nicely.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA.

Finally on flat ground again.

From Sausalito, we caught a ferry back to San Francisco and returned our bikes before heading for a good meal to reward ourselves. We would have stayed to explore Sausalito, which is a lovely tourist town with pretty views, but it was already well into the afternoon and we were dead beat. Which also explains the lack of photos of Sausalito itself.

The next day, I woke up with a sunburn – on the back of my hands. Ha! That’s the last place I would have thought I would get a sunburn on. I had taken care to slather sunblock on my face, wore long sleeves and long pants but totally forgot that my hands would be super exposed to the sun while holding on to the bike handles. Consider this fair warning.


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