on June 8, 2009
There are several bicycle rental places at Pier 39 and vicinity that offer the opportunity to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. It is an 8-mile ride on a mainly flat or downhill paved path that takes you along the coast of San Francisco, across the bridge, and into Sausalito. From Sausalito, you can catch the ferry back to San Francisco or you can continue another 8 miles to Tiburon and catch the ferry from there. Those who want more time on the bicycle can always bike their way back across the bridge instead of using the ferry. We knew from our walk the previous day that all the rental places have pretty much the same rates. We chose Blazing Saddles at Pier 39 because it was close to our cruise ship. Additionally, we were able to use the online discount coupons we had printed from BayCityGuide.com before the cruise. My wife and I wanted to rent a tandem bike. We decided to abandon that idea after the friendly rental guy let us take a test ride. My wife was on the back seat and did not like the idea of not being able to steer the bike from there. Therefore, we each rented a Comfort Model bicycle.We were given a map, ferry tickets, helmet, and key for the bike lock. The bike had a convenient pouch for storing other items we brought with us or purchased along the way. We had to ride on busy Jefferson Street for 3 blocks before we reached the start of the bike path.Although most of the path is flat, we did have to huff and puff up two hills before we got to the Golden Gate Bridge. The pavement on the bridge is wider than the typical sidewalk. This was good because there were several walkers and riders out that morning. Our ride across was smooth. Even with all the motor vehicles speeding by, we felt no bouncing or swaying.The path runs out after crossing the bridge. We coasted the rest of the way down a winding road into the town of Sausalito. Fortunately, most of the road has a wide shoulder and we did not have to worry too much about motor vehicle traffic.It was an overcast and chilly morning when we began our bike ride but by the time we reached Sausalito, it was sunny and mild. Therefore, it is best to dress in layers. The bike ride from San Francisco to Sausalito normally takes about 1.5 hours but it took us 2 hours because we stopped several times to take pictures.Sausalito is a quaint bayside town with shops and eateries. My wife did a little shopping before we took the 25-minute ferry ride back to Pier 41 in San Francisco. We returned the bikes and settled the bill. Blazing Saddles will charge you the hourly rate ($8) or day rate ($32) depending on whichever is cheaper for the amount of time you rented the bike. I thought the bike ride was a nice, relaxing way to enjoy the bay area.
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