The perfect day for me, yesterday. Yet another one, I should say, as I have been very lucky here in San Francisco with ‘perfect days’. And I’m not just talking about balmy weather and blue skies – thought they always help – but just that feeling of extreme privilege and everything falling into place, and just being exhilarated by what you experiencing.
There was rather a large gathering for the bike tour in the hostel lobby, and some decidedly non cycling types as expected, and the guide from the hostel was wearing beige skinnies. Mmm! I therefore didn’t expect a taxing ride and was intending to head for the Marin Headlands after we had crossed the bridge. Well when I got the bike from Blazing Saddles, I realised that was going to be out of the question as the beast weighed 45lbs and was not equipped with a pump, spare or toolkit. I would have to revise my plans. I was unduly cynical really, because the tour guide was really good at keeping everyone together and showing us stuff. The first hill out of Fishermans Wharf killed a lot of people off almost immediately and I admit, even I had to stand up. And with no clips or cleats – this was difficult. Thing then got easier as we coasted along the Presidio, and stopped at the Palace of Fine Arts. This is absolutely beautiful and reminded me of something out of Logan’s Run. I expected Peter Ustinov to be sat on the steps there. Marvellous piece of architecture with absolutely no purpose.
It wasn’t long before we were at the bridge, and I was champing at the bit somewhat, and eager to get away from the group now and do some exploring. I did manage to set my video going as I rode across dodging people who were in a world of their own. Personally this was amazing for me and you can, of course, see more photos on bridgephile.co.uk . After, we rolled down into Sausalito and by then conditions had become perfect for riding. I said Goodbye to the group at Golden Gate Market where I had bought provisions for the ship only a week before. I headed up to the Taste of Rome Cafe for a bit of familiarity and wifi. Easting my sandwiches by the marina, I was feeling truly blissful.
Revision time. I decided to play it safe, owing to the conditions of the bike, stay in civilisation and push on to the ferry at Tiburon. But first I wanted to see the Sausilito Boat Houses. This is a lesser know local attraction, I would say, as there were no ‘visitors’ there, but if you can negotiate the little harbour area it is well worth a lot. I’m thinking that it’s probably more expensive to live here than…well…a lot of places. There are streets with private entrances – you have means if you live here.
The cycle path along the road soon filtered off into a cycle trail and cross a beautiful lagoon area at the head of the inlet. It was full sun, the water was blue and there was a bit of a breeze. I followed the trail through some parkland and the terrain started to change. Hills. Yes – hills. The sort of hills that make you aware the bike is nearly as heavy as you. Standing up is essential. The whole coastal area was really picturesque and it’s hard not to just stop everywhere and take in the beautiful views. I went up and down over Strawberry, and stopped at Blackies Pasture for sit by the water. The trail into Tiburon, then takes in bits of shared track, bits of road, but all ver pretty and well signposted. As you enter into Tiburon you realise that this is a very expensive area indeed. Its quite extraordinary with street fountains and little foot bridges, a bit more like a landscaped garden than a town. A cluster of bars and cafes hug the ferry terminal and this makes for a very pleasant wait – if the ferry doesn’t come for a while. The Blue and Gold line only takes foot passengers and cyclists, and you just pile your bikes up in a heap, so I was thankful I only had a 45lb rental bike. The trip over is exhilarating, taking in both the Golden Gate and Bay bridges, and a beautiful sunset to boot.