Biking from the City to Sausalito

The three superficial things which I would hate to live without are my laptop, smartphone and bike.

When the mover dropped off my big red bike in pieces, I struggled to put her back together. She survived the long journey, but has some battle scars on the seat, gear switch and fenders.  Thus she sat unused in storage for the first couple weeks of being here, while I continued to put the rest of my life together.

Her time came when my friend Katie invited me to bike to Sausalito this past Saturday – I simply couldn’t say no. Luckily, San Francisco is a bike friendly city despite the calve muscle killing hills, so finding a repair shop was easy. I didn’t have to wheel my chainless bike far to find a pro to get her up and running again. Market Street Cycles down the street from me had her road-ready within hours. A tune/set-up and a new bike chain cost me about $60.

Worth every penny.

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I met up with Katie Saturday morning and headed to Alcatraz Bike and Tours near her place so she could rent a bike. She was able to rent a bike at a discounted rate of $21 for being a local (if they only knew, eh?) versus the regular rate of $32, and the regular deposit of $100 was dropped down to $50. We were also able to buy our Blue and Gold ferry tickets for the ride home for $11 – this saved us a bit of a hassle and time in the long run.

Word on the street is this is also the place to buy your Alcatraz tickets when everywhere else is sold out. Explains the name.

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Katie hadn’t been on a bike in years, but she proved the old saying true and we were off.

Starting out full of energy, we took the scenic route along the Embarcadero to the Golden Gate Bridge. Getting through the traffic in the heavily populated tourist area that is Fisherman’s Warf was a bit dicey, but once we got past that things started to get really pretty.

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Katie pointed out swimmers in the bay which are most likely part of the Bay Breakers Open Water Swim Team. I like to swim, but taking on the rough frigid waters is nothing short of hardcore in my mind. Talk about survival skills. Spot the bobbing heads in the picture below – I thought the arrow might help.

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We passed Chrissy Field which is currently playing home to an exhibition of eight large-scale steel sculptures by renowned artist Mark di Suvero thanks to a partnership between the San Francisco MOMA and the National Park Service. Turns out this exhibition ends in May of this year, so I’m glad I caught it.

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From Chrissy Field, it was just under a mile to get to the bridge. I won’t lie there was a big hill there that neither Katie or I (and many others to be fair) were in the shape to take on. We gave it our all, but what was a seemingly 35 degree incline was too much for us. We took in the wild flowers along the side of the road between bated breaths.

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Clearly, we weren’t the only ones who thought a bike over to Sausalito was a good plan.

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We stopped at the top of the hill leading on to the bridge for a water refill and got ready for the big cross. It was windy, but warm with incredible views and lots of other cyclists. Going around columns on the bridge we fought against the wind something fierce, but you couldn’t deny the beautiful view. Luckily sticking to the right of the walkway meant being roadside, because the view of the drop next the to the railing would have meant white knuckle riding for me.

What an experience.

I still managed to take some photos while biking – mostly of Katie’s behind (forgive me).

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When we got to the other side of the bridge, we took a long downhill winding road into Sausalito.

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After a long bike in the sun, our first mission was to find good wine and food. Katie had been to the small city before, so she knew of a place worth going to, The Trident.

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Located right on the water with a nice big dining deck, this place has been serving up seafood and more since the 60s. Framed in the entranceway is the restaurant’s psychedelic menus from  back in the day.

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We had to wait for a table outside, so we headed to the bar to select a bottle of wine. A friendly bartender gave us samples of white wine to help us choose, and we landed on a sauvignon blanc from Sonoma Valley. It wasn’t long before were sitting in the sun on the deck, sailboats going by. I ordered the crab melt with a side of Truffle Parmesan fries. The crab melt is different than what is currently listed on their menu. The new version I had was far simpler and served on a lemon infused toast. It was delicious. The fries were like nothing I’ve had before and I’d go back just for those.

Truffle Parmesan fries are the poutine of Sausalito (especially paired with a bottle of wine).

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After a satisfying meal we wandered through the shops in town, and I learned that smarties are a totally different candy in the U.S.

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The harbour is overflowing with boats and a bunch of house boats too.

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 I spotted this Taj Mahal inspired boat house from afar and had to get a closer look.

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On the way back to fetch our bikes, we passed a rock balancing artist.

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We arrived at the ferry about an hour before our 4:55 departure and I’m glad we did. We arrived just as another ferry loaded up and there was still a line. It was the end of the day and countless tourists were trying to make their way back to the city. While waiting in line we chatted with a dad and his son who were visiting from Australia as part of an epic three week long American vacation.

This part of the trip felt like the end of a visit to the Toronto Islands, but there was only a handful of bikes on the ferry that weren’t rentals.

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We parked our bikes with the rest below deck and sat on the top deck of the ferry for the trip back. While the bike ride home from Fisherman’s Wharf was slow, it was great to feel the warm wind in my hair again.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

 

1 Comment

  1. Egnaro /

    That is a fun ride. Did that trip last time I was in San Francisco. Of course I did a huge ride around San Francisco itself first and then actually went through Sausalito all the way around to Tiburon and then took the ferry back.

    Thanks for sharing the story and photos! Makes me miss San Francisco.

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