Our trip to San Francisco included a bike ride across the bridge to Sausalito and a ferry ride back. The clear afternoon air made for a great view of downtown on our approach to pier 39. Enjoying the view with a glass of wine or beer made it even more rewarding after the long and physical day to get here.
The bike shop is conveniently located near Ghiradelli Square and provides easy access to the sights at Fisherman’s Wharf and the gentle, level ride along the waterfront is ideal way to ease into the morning. Before long though, it is time to make the climb up to the southern end of the Golden Gate Bride. In low gear with legs pumping and heart pounding, the hard work is rewarded with stunning views. These stunning views also provide a great excuse to make frequent stops along the way to catch your breath. But the real reason for riding this way is to be able to ride across the bridge, and with the entrance in sight, it draws the weary cyclist on.
All the work is worth it. At the entrance to the bridge, it is possible to see the entire length of the 1.7 miles over to Marin County across the Golden Gate. The first half of the bridge has a slight incline to the middle, but it is a nice, gentle ride from this point. With the constant rush of cars whizzing by just a few feet away, it is not a tranquil ride but instead is exhilarating. A stop at the center leaves a rider looking down more than 20 stories to the cold and choppy waters of the entrance to the bay and a look out to the seemingly infinite Pacific. In a matter of short time the northern end of the bridge is upon us. After a brief look back to assure ourselves that we really were fortunate enough to have just biked across one of the modern wonders of the world, we make our way downhill now to Sausolito.
Sausalito, the small town near the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge is a picturesque waterfront village at the bottom of the hill. And as we coasted our way into town we sought out a place to eat, rest and decide which route we would take back. It didn’t take much discussion before deciding that we would have more pleasant memories if we caught the ferry across the bay back to San Francisco instead of another grueling bike ride. In fact, also by taking the ferry we would be taking in a tradition of this town that has lasted for more than a century. Sausalito has long been the spot for travelers to cross the bay, and before the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge it was where drivers would wait in long lines to cross to Hyde Pier on the other side. The ferry itself was actually part of Highway 101. Fortunately the long lines of cars have been replaced by a long line of cyclists waiting to complete the last leg of their journey.
The ferry ride is short but not too short. It is long enough to have a bar serving drinks that are perfect for relaxing after a demanding day. It is just right for sipping while taking in yet another perspective of the bridge from on the water on one side and Alcatraz Island and its imposing prison on the other. The downtown skyline of the financial district slowly approaches ahead and soon a memorable day will come to an end.
San Francisco, California October 2016
A brunch including banana pancakes and a couple of cups of coffee for energy helped after a twelve mile bike ride to Sausolito.