Biking the Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of those tourist traps that is still an absolute must see. Much like Times Square, it is very hyped up and always crowded, but also completely worth the trip.
While I did get a chance to drive over the bridge a couple of times during my visit, I honestly feel the way to get the best experience is to bike the Golden Gate Bridge. It gives you time to really take in the view of the bridge and as well as from the bridge. Plus bikes are one of the 5 ways San Francisco stole my heart.
I got lucky and my friend Sara had bikes for both of us, but if you don’t have someone you can borrow a bike from, there are plenty of rental companies. Try Blazing Saddles for a simple bike, or Electric Bicycle Outlet if you feel like you might need a little help on San Francisco’s infamous steep hills.
Biking the Golden Gate Bridge is serious business
When Sara and I set out for the day, I knew it would be a long and tiring one. Although one can simply drive to the bridge and then bike across, we decided to ride our bikes from her apartment in the Mission neighborhood all the way to the bridge, across it, and back. Champions of bike riding!
I should mention that prior to this trip the last time I rode a bike was when I rented one in Argentina, about 2 and a half years ago.
No but seriously, I rode like a champ!
Sara and I did wuss out and walk our bikes up one insanely long and steep hill, but other than that, we both powered through. We weren’t zipping around like the pros with the bicycle shorts and streamlined bikes and clothing, but I like to think that was because we were soaking up the incredibly scenery. Plus, for those of us who don’t ride bikes regularly, there is something a little bit exhilarating about the wind in your face and your glide along after pumping away at the pedals. It is reminiscent of childhood, when a bicycle meant freedom, long before the word “commute” meant anything to you.
We mapped out the bike route on Google maps, using the bike function to make sure we were on roads with bike lanes whenever possible. It was pretty easy, even for two girls who are not particularly great with directions. Once you getting closer to the Golden Gate Bridge, you will start to see signs that will point you in the right direction.
Once you arrive at the bridge, your route depends on the day. Some days both sides of the bridge will be open, one for bicyclists and one for pedestrians. Sadly, this was not the case on the day we went. There are separate lanes for pedestrians and bicyclists, but that doesn’t necessarily mean people will remain in the proper lane. So whether you are walking or on a bike, be careful. Also, be aware of your surroundings. It’s not only rude but rather dangerous to stop suddenly to take a photo. The bridge has several areas where the ledge is extended so that anyone who wishes to take a photo can step off the path and snap away.
Completely worth it
It was a beautiful day with just the right amount of wind and sun for an ideal bike ride. I was thrilled to have finally arrived.
We stayed on our bikes all day long, riding to grab Burmese food and check out a couple of museums. More on those adventures later. For now, just enjoy the view.