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.