Despite all the beer, red wine, moscato and port we swilled last night at the Italian restaurant with our friend Jan, we were out of the room by 8 am or a little past. We had to wait several minutes to get across the four lanes of traffic and back to the bike path. Cold and windy—50s and 10-15 mph SSW ocean breeze—conditions that for once didn’t change throughout the day. As Mark Twain said, no colder winter there is than a summer in San Francisco. Stopped in Sausalito for a quick breakfast at the Bayside Cafe, and then we made our way to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Getting to the bridge was the hardest work of the day, a steep winding uphill to a bustling parking lot. For reasons still mysterious to us, bicyclists can only ride on the east side of the bridge certain hours of the day. Since we were on the west side, we had to carry the (loaded) bikes down 8-10 stairs, then walk under the bridge, then carry them back up (somehow it was double the number of steps going up).
And then, already whacked, we crossed the bridge. It was chilly, with a strong headwind, and chaotic: lots of pedestrians, including of course the clueless ones who walk on the bike side of the narrow shared path or step backwards in front of you. And other cyclists, both Lycra-clad guys and gals, as well as giant groups of wobbly two-wheeling tourists on rent-a-bikes.
After crossing the bridge, Ethel (our Garmin) dutifully navigated us through San Francisco on a route that included (mirabile dictu) almost no climbing and very little traffic. We wound through the Presidio, rolled down Arguello Street, then rode past the museums, gardens, and eucalyptus groves of Golden Gate Park all the way out west to the Great Highway.
There, along this always foggy and windy four-lane beach boulevard, the shoulder has drifted over with sand, forcing us sometimes into the busy road, as the headwind remained a relentless 10-15 mph.
Unbelievably, there were people on the beach. In shorts and T-shirts. Some wading. Others BBQing.
She was too close, that’s all. Didn’t wait or swing out in the other (unoccupied) lane. There may have been a hand gesture involved.
We stopped for lunch just north of Pacifica, at yet another Subway. We’d meant to go a little farther, but we were cold and hungry and eager to get done for the day, and Subway is fast and cheap and good enough. From there, it was an easy, mostly rolling 17 miles or so along Hwy 1 and some side roads to Half Moon Bay, A little too much traffic, but that’s OK. And a tunnel, actually some of the best riding along the entire stretch. (It was the warmest and safest we felt all day.)
The metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel.
The final few miles weren’t bad either, along a beachside bike path.
We checked into our B&B in Half Moon Bay at 4, ditched our bikes and bags, and Lyfted 20 miles east to the Stanford University hospital, where our friend Doug is undergoing a stem cell transplant.
Stats for today: 43.5 miles, 2556′ of up-and -up, in 4 hours 37 minutes. Doug’s white blood cell count = 0.1.