A Bike Ride across the Golden Gate Bridge
But then we had to leave since we had another important program point on our schedule: a bicycle ride! We quickly headed over to Bay City Bike on Taylor Street, right in the middle of Fisherman’s Wharf, a company that provides organized bicycle tours as well as bicycle rentals. We met Steve, a young fellow with the most pleasant and relaxed West Coast attitude, who outfitted us with two comfort bikes and equipped us with all-important bicycle maps.
View from the bike of Fort Mason with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background
San Francisco is a phenomenal biking city, something I can attest to as an avid biker. I have cycled in locations such as Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, and in my opinion bicycling is one of the best ways of exploring a city. It allows you to cover way more ground than on foot, is more relaxed and less polluting than driving a vehicle, allows you to stop everywhere and helps you burn a few calories, so you can actually enjoy a guilt-free dinner.
Approaching the Golden Gate Bridge near Crissy Fields
Steve also equipped us with a free bottle of water and sent us on our way. Although it was already close to 4 pm by the time we got started, my dream was to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. I just had to conquer this internationally famous landmark by bicycle. Unfortunately we would not have time for the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Ride which takes you to the other side of the Bay and involves a ferry ride back to San Francisco. We had to bring the bikes back by 6 pm so we had to make sure we’d make it all the way across the Golden Gate Bridge and back.
Getting closer to the famous bridge
After 4 pm we started riding westwards into the sunshine, past Fort Mason, the Marina District and the wide outdoor expanses of Crissy Field. At the Warming Hut pier, we rested for a bit and took in the amazing panorama of the city on the right and the Golden Gate Bridge to our left. Then we had to climb up a steep hill on Lincoln Boulevard to reach the Fort Point Lookout and the southern terminus of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Cycling north on the Golden Gate Bridge
The bridge, painted in the famous International Orange colour, was starting to take on golden hues in the late afternoon sun. We started crossing the bridge on the western side since the walkway on the east side is restricted to pedestrians. I had a chance to film the entire northwards trip, crossing the world’s most famous bridge. Cycling across this beautiful, world-renowned miracle of engineering was an almost spiritual experience. I can only describe it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
When it was completed in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge had the longest suspension bridge span in the world, and even today it is still the second longest suspension bridge main span in the United States. With its two cantilever design, the bridge spans the 6,700 ft (2042 m) long treacherous opening of San Francisco Bay and represents one of the Modern Wonders of the World. Many people said at the time that a bridge could not be built, given the ferocious ocean currents and the almost constant 60 mph winds.
Like a harp
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most aesthetic man-made structures and its location, spanning the western end of San Francisco Bay, offers breathtaking views of the city and the Marin Headlands. Several years ago I had seen a documentary of the men that climb up the bridge’s cantilevers to paint the structure, and I was just marveling that any human being would have the courage to climb up on the big metal pillars and the thick metal cables that connect the two towers.
Some of the components of the bridge with the Pacific Ocean in the background
The sun was starting to set as we started to cycle back from the Marine Headlands, and the westwards view over the Marin County coastline and the Pacific Ocean was simply breathtaking. We really stepped into the pedals and raced back to Bay City Bike to return our two-wheeled vehicles just around 6 pm when the store was closing. What an exhilarating experience!
The sun is starting to go down
We took our bicycles back, thanked the folks at Bay City Bike for a great experience and resolved to come back in the next couple of days for another bicycling experience. We straightened ourselves out a little and decided to head to another San Francisco institution for dinner: McCormick and Kuleto’s — a seafood restaurant located in the former Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory. Mia Harriman, the General Manager, sat down with us and gave us a great overview of this restaurant and the San Francisco lifestyle.
Ghirardelli Square – a haunted place