Conquering Fear: The Golden Gate Bridge

We’re in San Francisco for a few days visiting our daughter before a 5 day bike trip touring Napa and Sonoma wine country.

My husband assembled our Ritchey bikes—called breakaways—that come apart and load into such huge boxes that people often ask if we’re in a band. He put them together (I went to a yoga class a the local Y), and we wanted to test them out before the journey begins tomorrow. Everyone suggested  we ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and then take the ferry back from Sausalito, a picturesque residential community across the bay.



I knew the bridge would make me nervous. Though a strong rider, I’m not good with large crowds, high winds, and narrow bike lanes, especially when the traffic is two-way. I’m not a city rider, preferring bucolic country roads over buses and trucks. San Fran is a bike friendly city; bike lanes and paths prevail and bike rental companies abound.

We rode along the Embarcadero waterfront through the park before the bridge. I hesitated before joining the steady stream of cyclists. When among riders of varying abilities, on all sorts of bikes, one can’t anticipate speed or sudden stops. It was windy and traffic quite heavy for a Saturday, though the bike lane is safely fenced from both the ocean and cars.

And then I went. I rode steady and slowly, keeping eyes ahead; ignoring both the scenery and the water below. There are three curves, where the lane circles the bridge supports that made everyone slow down, some were taking photos. At one point my husband stopped to take his camera out, I told him if I got off I’d never get back on. A woman fell in front of me, knocked over by the wind. She missed my wheel by an inch and grazed her knee. She admitted it was her first time using bike clips for her feet— not the best way to start out I thought.

The end was in sight and I made it across, happy to dismount for the photo. The ride to Sausalito took about 10 minutes and we returned to San Francisco by ferry.

Today we’re hiking in Marin County and Monday start the bike tour.


Bike tools & pump available for all to use on the waterfront.

Bike tools & pump available for all to use on the waterfront.





About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. ( I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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9 Responses to Conquering Fear: The Golden Gate Bridge

  1. That’s a beautiful ride, however as you say, so many variables (that is people).Enjoy the rest of your California visit.


  2. susanissima says:

    Ah, you are a brave soul, Lisa. Bravo for facing this challenge head on!


  3. Naomi says:

    Yes, a great ride! We did it as a family in February 2007 with rented bikes. Gabe was only 10! The noise on the bridge bothered me the most.


  4. How brave of you Lisa! I hope you have a satisfying and fun-filled bike tour on Monday! I’ve never been to San Francisco. I read once that it is the most visited city in the world and hope that I get out there one of these days!
    Diana xo


  5. Drjcwash says:

    I have taken the Ferry to Sausalito and loved the trip each time. I would not do the trip across the bridge on bike. You are brave. Have a great trip. Can’t wait to see more pictures.


  6. What a story! You make me hunger for a bike trip across across the golden Bridge.Did that trip by car, but not the same.Keep up the good work.


  7. Love the picture of matthew fixing the bike. Not like a camper, but—


  8. Huffygirl says:

    Good for you. Probably a lot like riding our Mackinac Bridge, which is closed to cyclists except for one special ride near Labor Day. But to qualify you have to participate in the 5 day bike trip prior.


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