“This park to bridge route is categorized as MODERATE on the Bay City Bike website, so just be warned if you are not an avid biker and are a beginner like myself, you’re in for a hurt-so-good butt kicking, quad killing, and calf cramping.”
I always thought going some place colder than sunny Sacramento would be my ticket to a better mood. The thick fog and ocean breeze would save me from many sunburned and sweaty days, and best of all, I would be able to keep up the layering trend year-round. I didn’t anticipate missing the sun. In fact, I was positive the colder temperatures would prompt me to spend more time outside breaking a sweat, running 5k’s and what not. The reality: I’ve stayed under a blanket and walked around in a furry bathrobe for the past six months.
So on the rare occasion there is sun- luckily, Spring is almost here- I try and absorb as many rays as possible. Last Sunday was no exception, for the moment I saw the clouds part, I took the Muni to Golden Gate Park. Upon arriving, I found a Bay City Bike Rental booth and it was just my luck that they were running a $25 special for 24 hours of biking bliss. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Even if I had to pay full price of $32 for the cheapest bike, the workout and adventure I obtained from the excursion was well worth the splurge.
Its always been a dream of mine to cross the iconic Golden Gate Bridge via biking or walking, but I didn’t expect to go into the endeavor so blindly (and so out of shape). This park to bridge route is categorized as MODERATE on the Bay City Bike website, so just be warned if you are not an avid biker and are a beginner like myself, you’re in for a hurt-so-good butt kicking, quad killing, and calf cramping. The trip ended up being over 13 miles from the entrance of the park, across the bridge, and back. The company gives you a somewhat helpful map attached to the bike offering two route choices. On the way there, I took the first route that goes from Golden Gate Park down by Ocean Beach, through Land’s End, and ultimately ends up at the bridge. Being map illiterate and directionally challenged, I asked many friendly folks for advice along the way. I was advised by the time I reached Land’s End to take the Coastal Trail which was more scenic than going through the city, but somewhat more of a pain. The problem with the coastal trail that wasn’t mentioned to me is that it is not very bikable, full of hills, and on nice days crowded with people. More than likely, you will end up lugging your bike to the top of a hill in order to reach the main road. Once you hit Camino del Mar, it is smoother sailing, but I was winded to say the least from the hills. Being able to see the bridge in the distance was motivating and I found it helpful to literally keep my eye on the prize. Also the view along the way is stunning and gives the perfect excuse to take a breather.
Crossing the bridge was by far the best part of the ride, riding over the open ocean alongside the rush of cars is a freeing experiance that I recommend to any biking fan regardless of whether or not you cycle to the bridge from the park or drive there first.
I took the city route on the way back via 25th Avenue expecting it to be easier since it was shorter. Note that even though the distance is less, there were still plenty of hills to keep my legs burning and there isn’t as much scenery to provide a distraction. So between the two paths, the first one my favor. If you have the time and stamina (or patience with your body) take the coastal route. You won’t regret the challenge or the view.
Bay City Bike rental just gave me another reason to love the City and hopefully it will do the same for you.
To book your bike adventure visit: http://baycitybike.com/bikesf/
For a map of the two routes see:https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=12qSblcZVveph55LGMcjhL9Pxsp8&ll=37.79997750165169%2C-122.48185840000002&z=13