Perfect San Francisco Day – Biking across Golden Gate in December

This trip was the highlight of the 4-day Christmas weekend. (Happy Holidays to everyone!). On Sunday Rucha, Arjun, Hrishi and I decided to bike across Golden Gate. Hrishi and I had done the exact trip on 4th of July this year, but he could not wait to do it again. Arjun decided to run instead of bike, and was faster than us most of the time …haa haa. It was a crisp December day. Thankfully not breezy. There was not even an ounce of fog on the bridge. The colors were vivid. It was a very camera happy day. (I’ll try to post some pictures this time.).

It’s easy to arrange this day. We rented the bikes from Bay City Bikes. They have hybrid and mountain bikes as well. It costs $30 per day of rental with some type of insurance, and the bikes seemed reasonably well maintained (but I am a novice biker). The good thing is that these guys are close to the Crissy Field area, so you can quickly get out of the narrow and crowded Fisherman’s Wharf roads. This was important because most of our friends are relatively novice bikers. The terrain is comfortably challenging till Sausalito. There are some ups and downs. I dragged my bike on most of the uphills :). On the bridge itself, the western side-walk is only for bikers, no pedestrians. The only downside of this trip are the avid bikers on the bridge. They ride really fast, and slower bikers feel a bit unwelcome…very un-California. We could not understand why they try to break speed records on the bridge. But in general if you stay to the side, and let the faster ones pass by, it’s safe.

Coming back to the trip, your options are to ride to Sausalito (8 miles) or ride further to Tiburon (another 8 miles). You could take a ferry back from both the stops. Or you could always ride back. This time we started late and there are fewer ferries due to shorter days, so we only rode to Sausalito. (Check the ferry times for the season.). The main road in the town was unbelievably empty…no tourists at all.

At Sausalito, we had lunch and wine at a cafe overlooking the bay, took tens of pictures. I did a bit of shopping at a near-by jewellery galleria. Then we went to another cafe for dessert and coffee. Because of the clear weather, the views of the city were great from Sausalito. At about 3:30 pm we took the ferry back. We boarded the ferry coming to the Ferry Building instead of Fishermans Wharf, which also gave us an opportunity to enjoy riding on Embarcadero for a while.

Our day ended with beers at the pub on Pier-23. We were happily riding, when we heard live music coming from this pub, and we decided to stop by and check it out. All of us dig live music. It was a Blues band with this African-American dude as the lead vocalist. He had a very smooth, bluesy voice and sounded awesome. Good way to cool down and end the day.

I recommend this day-trip to about anyone I can think of – youngsters, olders people who can bike, novice bikers, tourists, non-tourists…..just rent a bike and hang-out in a very California way.

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