Sunday was another beautiful day, so Andrew and I decided to break in our new bikes and head to SF for an adventure to the seaside city of Sausalito. We boarded the Caltrain in San Mateo and locked our bikes in the carriage – and then got told off in the friendliest way imaginable by the train conductor for locking said bikes (apparently it is not allowed for elf and safety reasons). You can’t even get admonished here without a smile!
From SF Caltrain station, we cycled along the bay all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. I spent most of the cycle in total awe and wonder – the sky was electric blue without a cloud in the sky, framing SF’s dramatic skyscrapers and the Bay Bridge. You can cycle along the broad “sidewalk” along with pedestrians, which is a welcome contrast to London where you aren’t even allowed to cycle in most of the parks. Things seem a bit more relaxed here.
We got a good glimpse of Alcatraz and also cycled past a few tourist hotspots including the Exploratorium and Aquarium of the Bay. We also cycled through Fisherman’s Wharf, which we realised we had only seen a tiny portion of the last time (thanks Google Maps) so it was a bit more interesting than I had previously given it credit for. This included a dinky park and a sandy beach at a place called Aquatic Cove. From here, we cycled up our first monster hill, which turned out to be one of many (*cry*).
It was worth the horrendous hill for our first really good view of the Golden Gate Bridge, which is a mile long and very much red rather than gold. The next part of the cycle was joyful, through parks and along the bay surrounded by trees and greenery. I had to pinch myself as I can’t quite believe this is our new home.
Before we reached the bridge itself we had to cycle up another monster hill, this one more devilish than the last – it has been a while since I have done any challenging cycling and I can tell you it wasn’t pretty. By the time I reached the top, I almost fell off my bike, and Andrew was barely even breaking a sweat. B*stard.
Cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge itself was quite the experience – there’s a cycle lane on one side and a pedestrian lane on the other, although we had a few confused pedestrians on our side clearly full of regret. The noise of the traffic is quite intense, as was the wind rushing in our faces, but the views were simply astonishing – it was a challenge forcing myself to look forwards and concentrate on where I was going.
At the end of the bridge, we caught our breath then cycled down a suspiciously steep and long hill towards Sausalito. The seaside community starts off with a steep incline downwards, and then it is flat is a pancake. It reminded me of Lake Garda in Northern Italy, with its quaint shops and cafés and beautiful waterside views. We made a quick stop in a shop called SOXalito where I went to town on socks – we have now purchased socks in SOXalito and in Sokcho, South Korea.
All that was left now was to make the 12-mile journey back to SF Caltrain, via the biggest hill of all. By this point by bottom was starting to feel the burn, but we soldiered on. We managed to make our train by a couple of minutes, and were back in our cosy Airbnb by 6:30pm. Andrew rustled up a delicious bowl of Jamie Oliver’s sausage & fennel pasta, and we were in bed by 9pm. Hard core.