Summer Bike Rides
And Other Fun Diversions
From the June/July 2004 edition of the Tube Times
Ah, summer in San Francisco — lots of sun, lots of fog, late-afternoon wind, that annual noway- it-is-raining-in-August rainshower. It’s a good time to ride. Here’s a few great things you, your friends, and your bikes can do this summer.
Ride Under the Golden Gate Bridge
Did you know you there’s a carfree road under the Marin end of the Golden Gate Bridge? It links the bike-side parking lot with Fort Baker below. From the bridge bike path, go toward the corner of the parking lot near the trailhead. Go around the car gate and down the paved switchback road underneath the bridge — watch your speed! You wind up cruising along the shores of Fort Baker. Turn right at the stop sign, and follow the Bay to eventually rejoin Alexander Dr. right before the big curves and descent into Sausalito. It’s a great, mellow way to ride back up to the GG bridge, too.
Sleep Under the Redwoods
Summer fog and redwood trees fit together beautifully. Nearby Samuel P. Taylor State Park has a great class-I bike path and hikerbiker campsites among the redwoods. Ride from SF, or catch a boat from the Ferry Building to Larkspur. Consult the excellent Marin Bicycle Map and follow bike route signs for alternatives to Sir Francis Drake, then eventually Sir F.D. out of Fairfax, up the one long hill, and into beautiful rural Marin county, about 10 miles to the park. Lagunitas has a store/deli. Road narrows as it enters the redwoods — practice your vehicular riding skills! After you pass under an old railroad trestle, left into the park. On the way home, you’ll see the trestle is a bike path that connects back to Sir F.D. No reservations for hiker-bikers sites, $2 per person. (www.parks.ca.gov)
Boat, Bike, and Walk to the Top of the Bay
Ride Down Crooked Vermont St.
Everyone knows about Lombard St., but did you know the real crookedest street in town is Vermont? From 20th to 21st along Potrero Hill, Vermont is steep twists and turns, just like its more famous cousin, but it’s quiet. OK, ignore the background roar of Highway 101 — focus on the trees, the houses, and lovely McKinley Square park at the top. The park has a spectacular city view, perched up high on the east side of town. Enjoy your twisty ride down, then cross over 101 on a pedestrian bridge. You’ll wind up behind SF General; turn left to get to 23rd St., then right to jog across Potereo Ave. and head into the Mission—you look like you could use a burrito.
Listen to the Wave Organ
Planet o' the Apes Ride
Too bad there aren’t actually any non-human primates on this lovely coastal bike ride. The name refers to an abandoned stretch of Highway 1 that can make you feel like you’re Charlton Heston, the last human on the planet. The broken pavement is surrounded by thick poison oak and brush, but it is an entirely pleasant, car-free climb up a ridge. From SF, ride south to Pacifica. Try out the new stretch of bike path from Rockaway Beach to Linda Mar. Turn off Hwy 1 at Linda Mar Blvd., then take Adobe to Higgins, and enter a forgotten world. Plenty of good mountain biking, or you can keep going all the way to the Montara hostel if you like (road bikers will need to walk a few stretches). Instead of riding Hwy 1 back home, take the uphill bike lane on Sharp Park Blvd. You’ll fly back down to South San Francisco BART near historic Molloy’s bar, open all afternoon.
Jump in a Big Free Outdoor Swimming Pool
Right in front of the Maritime Museum is a fantastic pool also known as San Francisco Bay. Lots of folks, including a number of SFBC members, swim in the sheltered cove at Aquatic Park, both wetsuited and (nearly) au natural. Summer water temperatures get up into the balmy 60s. Lock up and wade right in, there’s an outdoor shower on the shore. You can also be a guest of the historic South End Rowing or Dolphin Clubs; pay a day-use fee to avail yourself of their bike parking, guest lockers, showers, and sauna. Spot Some Whales or Dolphins At Ft. Funston, walk beautiful dog-friendly beaches as far as Daly City, so tow your best friend (and a ball) in the bike trailer. Walking south just a fraction of a mile gets you far from the crowd. Watch for harbor seals, pods of brown dolphins, or a leviathan spout, a notuncommon sight in the summer.