The true feeling of freedom comes in many different forms, one of which is when you let go of the brakes, take your feet off the pedals and let yourself speed down hill. The wind brushed over me and I imagined my face was wobbling in the wind, I couldn’t hear anything but my heart beating at this simple thrill. This is a feeling that is often reserved for children, not often am I willing to cycle up-hill just to enjoy the feeling of a tummy-flip on the way down. But sometimes you need to put in the hard ride to reap the benefits – like the stunning view of the bay and the city that is high on the hill.
Considering the last time I rode a bike that was not bolted to the ground was when I was 13, cycling the renowned Golden Gate Bridge was a breathtaking experience in more than one sense. Attempting to maneuver a bike up arduous hills as wind rumbles in your ears all while you are navigating ambling people and reminding yourself Americans stick to the right it seems like a crazed idea, but the payoff was well worth it – a tick off the bucket list, a sweeping view and an ice cream in Sausalito.
It may have been blown up and destroyed by earthquakes or various other life forms in at least 20 movies, but the Golden Gate Bridge is standing strong and cycling it should be the pillar of any trip.
We hired out bikes from Blazing Saddles near Pier 39, but you will find various bike hire companies dotted around. The best thing about this company is that they gave you a ferry ticket, which you didn’t have to pay for if you didn’t use. This saved us so much time at the other end when it came to lining up for a ticket and we got on the first available ferry unlike others who had to wait.
As far as the cycle, I would be lying if I said there were no hills … this is San Francisco after all so there are a fair few and they are pretty steep. But there is no shame in walking your bike up them. Before you get super sweaty, you might want to take a photo of you and your bike and the journey ahead of you. There are plenty of photo ops on both sides of the bridge, you may just need to practice patience to get a people free photo. The best spot on the San Francisco side of the bridge is at Crissy Fields on Marine Drive. When you are on the other side, the best spot is at the bottom of the hill down on the pier.
Whatever you do in San Francisco this was without a doubt my favourite thing and the epitome of a San Francisco trip.