Cycling in San Francisco
Everybody probably associates San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge. When visiting San Francisco, a visit to this iconic landmark can't miss. What most people don't really know, however, is that the Golden Gate Bridge is actually located pretty far outside the city center. You don't just walk there. Yet, you can take the Hop-on, Hop-off bus. But for a mere 50 dollar, we found this a little too expensive. Therefore, we rented a bike at Blazing Saddlers.
Even though we are Dutch and are practically born on a bicycle, we still had to watch a video with explanations how to operate a bicycle. But that was not all, we even had to show them we were able to cycle... As we are used to cycle, we passed all the tests and were given two bikes. We headed straight for the Golden Gate Bridge. From Fisherman's Warf, you just have to follow the bike lane along the water. Easy as that, we thought. While waiting at a traffic light, a guy from Japan approaches us and asks if this is the right direction to the Golden Bridge? Hmm... if there is really a golden bridge, maybe we should also go there. We asked him if he meant the Golden Gate Bridge, and pointed to the bridge we could easily see. 'Yes, yes, the Golden Bridge.' Well, some people... Hopefully he found his bridge.
On the way to the Golden Gate Bridge, there are various great viewpoints. So take enough time to cycle to the Golden Gate Bridge as it takes longer than one would expect. Also expect a number of short but steep climbs. For us, these climbs were no problem, but we have seen several other cyclists who did have some difficulty and had to walk. With the second climb, we arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge.
Because of engineering works, we had to share the bike lane with pedestrians and oncoming cyclist. Pretty busy for such a small bike lane. Especially when there still appears to be people who don't know how to cycle, really! Some can't even ride a bike in a straight line for just two meters. Annoying... However, we managed to get to the other side of the bridge.
Once on the other side, there are different options: you can continue and cycle to Sausalito (about 8 miles) or Tiburon (about 22 miles). However, for the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge, you should go to the top of Hawk Hill. Guess where we went? Right, Hawk Hill. We first cycled through a tunnel, where you had to press a button after which a traffic light warned oncoming traffic that there are cyclists in the tunnel. Great system, we don't even have this in the Netherlands, but then we don't have tunnels. Then we had a pretty serious climb towards the top of Hawk Hill. For us, this was a rather funny climb as a local cyclist on a road bike tried to overtake us. Despite our old rental bikes, we were able to stay ahead of him (just). Ha, he hadn't expect that. On the top, he complimented us with our fast climb. Not knowing that we are Dutch...
After wiping all the sweat away, we were able to enjoy the view. Which is definitely one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge we have had. The Golden Gate Bridge with downtown San Francisco behind, just great! Even though we could sit there for hours, we knew we had to go back as there was still plenty to see in the city center. After cycling back to the rental company, we returned the bikes. It appeared we cycled just over 30 kilometer. A distance we hadn't expected, but because of the many stops, cycling to and from the Golden Gate Bridge wasn't hard at all. Instead, we found it easy and great fun.