Take a Ride!
Ben's not-so-secret City rides
by Ben Caldwell
Everyone knows the Wiggle (especially now that it has its own special signs), but what about the Duboce Street Bikeway? What about the views from the ramp over Market Street at Romain (part of Bike Route 44), the bike bridges under 101 along Cesar Chavez, mellow (carless) Middle Drive in Golden Gate Park, or the unmarked lane left of the cars coming out of the Park on JFK Drive that leads straight into the Panhandle bike path? Or the complementary Shrader Valve, eastbound off the Panhandle onto Fell, for a graceful entry to GG Park?
San Francisco is chockablock with bicycle shortcuts and sneaky routes that are easily overlooked and, once found, never get old. A few of my faves: Following the waterfront around the perimeter of the city (counter-clockwise is best), a twice-a-week ride for me when I lived in the Mission. After dodging taxis on Jefferson St. and threading through tourists at the Aquatic Park, busting it up the hill behind Fort Mason, for a glimpse of the Golden Gate through the pines, is cake.
If you can handle a little dirt, there's a path in the Presidio paralleling Arguello that's smooth enough and always fun.
Grant St. through Chinatown is mayhem during the day, but later at night it's deserted, and if you're riding your fixie to see Pinback at Bimbo's, or you just don't want to get sweaty, it's the fastest and flattest way to go. (Try the Stockton tunnel home).
If you like your fun with a side-dish of torture, head across the bridge over 280 at 20th Street and take a left.
Finally, I love the Panhandle path at 11am or 11pm, rain or shine. And there's a bike path slicing through GG Park (Bike Route 830) that's good fun any time of day, but — this is not for the faint of heart — really gleeful at night. Should it be lit? Probably, but make sure you night-ride it once (under a full moon, at least) before it is.