Biking the Golden Gate
Bike riding the Golden Gate bridge is an outdoor adventure that you share with many of the people who visit San Francisco. Despite this, we decided that riding across the bridge would be a worthy adventure and connected with the lovely Penny, a fellow Hobartian and friend I’ve known since the mad old university white water rafting club days. Penny has just moved to Palo Alto, 40 minutes or so south of San Francisco, and was keen to join in the bike riding adventure.
So - off we went on our adventure across the bridge, which provided fantastic views of the city and the rolling hills of the Marin County. We were a bit confused about the name - Golden Gate - because we’d eavesdropped the day before and learned that it was called that because of the Californian gold rush and the ‘gate’ it provided for the city. However, since the bridge was only built in 1937 and we were pretty sure that the gold rush was around before that, we were quite confused. It was only Dave’s information-plaque-reading habit that solved this bit of confusion - apparently the gap between the headlands is called the Golden Gate, so the bridge across it was named the Golden Gate Bridge.
The tide absolutely rips through the Golden Gate. The Golden Gate is only 0.7 miles wide (a little more than a kilometre) and there is 276 miles (444 kilometres) of coastline in the bay, so effectively the whole thing is like a big bathtub with a small plug. Apparently the tide height can vary by up to 9 feet (around 3 metres) so it’s no wonder you can see the water cascading past under the bridge.
On our ride we saw small towns, houseboat communities, massive redwoods shadowing massive mansions, a waterfall up Cascade Road and lots of the coastline. It seems that Californians aren’t shy with their house building - there are enormous houses everywhere. We looked them up in the real estate guide and they’re worth a fair bit too, a million dollars at the absolute minimum, and that’s probably for a little 5 bedroom cottage in a less salubrious street!
It was awesome to get out on a cycling adventure, and especially one that ended in a ferry ride across the beautiful bay. We saw many, many other cyclists and the bike paths were easy to navigate around. San Francisco, so I found out, also has a cycling club exclusively for women and girls called Velo Girls. If you’re interested in seeing what they do, go here.
Have you also seen the GO! Girls Outdoors profile of Nancy Sathre-Vogel, who is cycling a bit further than we did - from Alaska to Argentina - with her husband and two ten year old sons? If not, click here.