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Friday, August 21, 2009

Brett's Adventure in San Fran

Had an opportunity to explore San Fransisco by bike yesterday. I am visiting my mother-in-law for a week. She lives in Alameda, CA. SF is a touristy kind of place, so it was no trouble finding a bike-rental shop. It is Fall-like weather here. Even though it is August, cloud cover/fog comes in from the Pacific every afternoon. Temperatures range from mid 50's and never get out of the 60's. I packed all my bike clothing in my messenger bag and caught the BART into SF. Got off at Embarcadero Station and then took the F Line Trolley to get up to 1095 Columbus where there was a bike rental shop. San Fransisco's
transportation system is rather amazing. You have subways, then you have "muni's," the electrified city bus system, then on top of that you have trolley cars. Then, of course, if you really want to, you can bring your 3,000lb automobile into the place. But why would you want to? Practically every street has bike lanes or sharrows. What's with Columbus? Why do we remain in the transportation Dark Ages?

Anyway, I rented a very nice aluminum/carbon road bike, a Marin, 20 speed. $48 for a 24hr rental. And I set out, going over the Golden Gate Bridge, up into Marin County. I had hoped to make it to Muir Woods. I was all mixed metaphor, mixing urban street clothing with spandex and arm warmers - but I noticed a lot of people (locals) outfitted the same way. I did not make good time. I kept stopping to take photos. And the map they provided really wasn't very clear. I kept getting lost. And I had no experience with the trail system. But there were lots of local bikers about and they were friendly and helpful. I finally made it up to Mill Valley. Then I got good and lost. But I finally got it straightened out. The road called Morino - that was a wicked climb. It just never stopped going up. It was not pleasant. If I had done it at least once before I might have known how
to pace myself. Basically, on the other side of that mountain was Muir Woods. But I ran out of time and so headed back down - taking Rt 1.

Again, that was not a comfortable situation. Cars kept stacking up behind me. It made me nervous only because of a lack of familiarity with the road. Most of the time you just had to be in the drive lane with a parade behind you. It was all twisty and windy and downhill and fast. There were places to pull over, wider shoulders and side streets and the like, but I never knew when one was coming up, and they evaporated quickly, and you had to get back in the drive lane anyway. Got back into Saucilito where I met up with my wife and M-I-L and friends for lunch. They came by ferry, and we took the ferry back to
SF. I only covered 28 miles! What humiliation. Looking forward to another go at it on a future trip.



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