Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tour of California!


Of sorts at least. I just spent a nice three days in California doing some pretty fun riding here and there. We finally left the great northwest after doing 2 shows in Portland. In spite of a late arrival in San Francisco, I was able to make a pretty nice day out of it. We pulled into town at about 2:30 and I just checked in, changed clothes and headed out towards the Golden Gate! Went up to Lombard Street and just headed in the general direction. Once I had the bridge in sight, I just sort of meandered around a bit (after almost committing to the highway!) until I saw cyclists and used the force a little bit to get over to the bay where there was a bike path heading toward the bridge followed by a steep and occasionally confusing climb (I am pretty slow). Here is the view from the approach:

Going over the bridge was pretty neat. It was a bit weird to think of all the people that have jumped off of it. It almost creates this sort of magnetism towards the water, just looking, looking, looking. Really beautiful up there though. Lots of people out on this sunny and windy Friday afternoon.

I got across and figured out how to go under the first exit off the 101 and get over to the marin headlands side.

I then did about 2.5 miles of pretty steep climbing, at least for a tourist riding a loaded, 31 pound (including lock and spares bag) steel bike with a 53/39 crank. According to my mapmyride phone application, I hit some 6% grade for a decent part of this ride. It felt like it too! I'm getting pretty obsessed with climbing, perhaps it because of the complete lack of anything resembling hills or mountains in Chicago, but anytime I go to Austin or anywhere else with hills, I just get drawn to them. Of course, the descent is always a big payoff too.

I ended up at a little peak with a spectacular view of all of San Fran, Oakland and Berkeley, Yerba Buena, Alcatraz, everything! It was some seriously beautiful stuff. Here is a sampling:

Don't know what to say about this car I saw on the way down from the headlands. Only in San Francisco! (?)

The descent was pretty fun though I didn't get much above 30 mph as there was relatively a lot of traffic. Once back on the south side of the bridge, I sent a text asking where all my peoples were and then I rode along the bay for awhile until finding out that they were at Hog Island Oyster Company over at the Embarcadero. With the help of the trusty iPhone, I got there in about 10 minutes and had some incredible local oysters and other delights. I ended up doing a 19 mile ride and climbing a good 600-ish feet over the course of the afternoon.

Here's my route:

More on a fun little ride in Hollywood to follow!

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