Monday, December 01, 2008

bg/ish: "Passing Time, Got To Get Outside The City"

Used to be one of my favorite songs to play on a road trip was "Happy Alone" by Kings of Leon. So, as I set off yesterday on what was supposed to be a routine bike ride I had the tune running through my head once again. Unfortunately it wasn't on my iPod. But that is neither here nor there.

For the past 4 months or so, I've been riding a bike around San Francisco, and it's quickly become an addiction. But that's for another post. Recently I've been on a few rides with some friends, and yesterday was to be our most ambitious journey yet.

The plan was to roll out from the Mission, go through the park, across the Golden Gate bridge, descend down into Sausalito, and head into Tiburon, where we would eat at Sam's Cafe and have a few beers and take the last ferry across the water and back to The City. By car this is about a 17 mile trip one way, but going by bike is not nearly as direct a route, so it's probably closer to 20.

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Everything went according to plan until the "take the last ferry across the water" part. But I'll get to that in a minute.

It was really a gorgeous day yesterday, hotter than it should be for this time of year. The ride out of The City through Golden Gate park was easy and relaxing. We got across the bridge with little trouble and took our first real break of the day. I got the best pictures I could of the bridge with the crappy camera I'm currently limited to using. We got going again and breezed into Saulsalito and after a brief detour (got lost) into Tiburon.

We were greeted in Tiburon by an 8 year old girl and her father selling lemonade for 50 cents a cup. This was clearly a deal we could not pass up! After refueling on lemonade we made our way down by the docks, sat by the water for a bit and then made our way to Sam's Cafe for food and drinks.

We had finished by 4:30 but the last ferry didn't leave until 6:20, so we had some time to kill. We walked around town for a while and finally settled on sitting at a coffee shop for a while. At 6 p.m. we returned to the ferry dock to unlock our bikes and have a quick smoke before the boat arrived.

Only the boat never arrived.

Turns out that 6:20 boat doesn't run on Sunday's. There's not a lot you can say when you realize you're stuck 20 miles from home after sundown with only your bike to get you back. A cab was out of the question (4 dudes with 4 bikes) and none of us were familiar enough with the Golden Gate Transit system enough to put a plan together that would have got us back by bus. Even then the chances of the bus having room for 4 bikes were not good.

It had taken us nearly 3 hours to get to Tiburon, and a big part of that was a pretty big descent into Saulsalito, which meant that there was a BIG hill to climb to get back up to the bridge. We knew what we had to do, and although not a single one of us was looking forward to it...

We rode.

We also managed to get lost. Thanks to some kind local residents and Jericho's iPhone equipped with GPS we managed to get back on track. We finally reached the Golden Gate bridge, only to find it closed. Well, sort of. Turns out bikes can go across after hours. We pushed this red button, and after a moment or two the gate opened up and we were off.

It was one of those weird rewards you don't expect, and after a long day and plenty of mishaps the 4 of us having the pathway on the Golden Gate bridge to ourselves on a clear night was something pretty amazing.

Needless to say, we made it home OK (well 3 of us for sure, you OK Brian?). The pain in my legs today is fairly intense, but when it was time to go to work this morning, I weighed my options and couldn't resist. I rode.

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