November 24, 2009

Biking Golden Gate - Day Five

Friday, we got an early start. We were at the Blazing Saddles bike rental at the Wharf by 8 o’clock. Too bad they weren’t. Fortunately, they were running on Cali time and showed up about ten minutes later. We filled out the paperwork to rent two bikes, while they unloaded the trailer. We picked out our rides, adjusted the seats and took a quick spin to be sure all was in order, and then we were off.

I have never ridden with Frank. This was a first. I hadn’t even ridden a bike since I was fifteen, maybe sixteen? It’s just like they say you never forget how. However, I wasn’t at all familiar with a mountain bike. Back in the day, I had a 10-speed. And I never had to adjust the gears. I lived in suburbs of Chicago, the only hill around we used to sled, and it wasn’t open to traffic. My mind and my fingers weren’t able to get the timing down right to get up the hills. When we reached the first one, I shouted, I can’t thumb fast enough! Then, my momentum petered out and I had to walk the bike up the hill. Frank realized it, he stopped and joined me.

Near the top of the hill we came across a view finder that tells you about how the bridge adjusts based on temperature. It can move up to eleven feet, if I recall right. That’s nutty. Especially, to me since I’ve had a fear of bridges (over water) since I was young. I do okay driving over them, but walking has always freaked me out. The movement, the swaying… scary stuff. My fear is that it could tumble or I could fall and drown. Earlier this year, I got over my fear of needles – allergy testing/injections. I figured I conquered my worst fear – aside from failure – it was time to overcome another. What better way than to conquer the Golden Gate Bridge? I initially wanted to walk it. Then, Frank had the idea of renting bikes so we could see the sights a long the way. I was sold.

View across from Ghirardelli Square.

View from the peak of our first hill.

Alcatraz was lit beautifully in the early morning light.

We biked by the marina…

And the Palace of Fine Arts.

We stopped at park bench to take in the beauty…

And watched the birds frolic in the water.

I didn’t make it up the next hill, either. I found myself walking again. I just couldn’t figure out those gears. It can’t be simpler; I don’t know why I couldn't do it. Anyway, the view was lovely from the top.

Gun Battery

All along the bay we laughed at these birds that would free-fall and plummet into the water, in attempts to fish, I assume. It reminded us of Nintendo’s Duck Hunt. I didn’t catch any mid-air, but two had just splashed into the water, here.

We got on to the bridge, all pedestrian traffic was directed to stay on the right-side if headed to Sausalito. One side is always closed for repairs. We pedaled away, I was on the Golden Gate Bridge. And I was 100% fine. I loved it. I snapped all kinds of photos.

Seals swam below us

While Frank held it steady.

As Traffic whizzed by…

We posed for a photo

Nearing the other side of the bridge.

A boat zipping by.

We did it. We biked across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Looking across to where our day begun.

Next, we rode into Sausalito.

We biked around the marina to pass the time until the next ferry.

Soon, we boarded the ferry and Sausalito was left in the distance.

We arrived back at the Wharf, rode back to Blazing Saddles, by then we were happy to return the bikes. Our bodies had enough, especially our asses. Mine was sore until Sunday. It was totally worth it, though. I’m very happy Frank suggested going for a ride, it was the highlight of the trip.

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