After a day of hoofing it around San Francisco I was ready to trade in my walking shoes for two wheels. Meet Franny.
I rented Franny from a Hays Valley business called Streets of San Francisco (SoFS). They were more affordable than the other bike rental locations in the more touristy areas, especially since I planned to keep the bike for several days. They were also very helpful and sent me on my way with some good advice and a great bike map.
My plan for that night was to check out a social ride, the First Friday Bike Party, which met at a statue near the Conservatory of Flowers. The party was robot themed and a handful of people came up with some pretty creative costumes. This guy didn’t need a costume. He was a reggae party on one wheel.
We rode out through Golden Gate park to Ocean Beach for the first stop and then on to some awesome cliffs overlooking the ocean for the second stop. The steep hills helped keep me warm as it got pretty chilly once the sun went down.
I was pretty unprepared for riding on a cold winter night 🙂 I will say that the social cycling scene in SF isn’t quite up to par with Austin’s. We have a lot more options and much larger rides. Still, it was a lot of fun and I made a few new friends.
The next morning I got up early for my epic ride around the city. Well, I didn’t actually make it all the way around, but I saw a good portion of SF during my 30 mile trip. I rode from the Mission out to the Ferry Building and along the coast. I passed Alcatraz and the Fisherman’s Warf and then rode up to the Golden Gate bridge. It was a beautiful ride along mostly mixed use trails. I stopped to take a ton of pictures and then rode across the Golden Gate Bridge.
What impressed me the most as I explored the city on two wheels was that I didn’t seem to be such as surprise or an inconvenience to drivers. I felt that drivers both expected to see me on the road and respected my space as another vehicle. I also liked that along the main bike throughways much of the bike lane was blocked from cars by some sort of barrier or clearly marked with bright green paint. Of course many people assume that biking around SF would just be a sufferfest because of the huge hills. But, actually there are plenty of routes that bypass the steep inclines and I found them very easy to navigate. The “wiggle” was especially awesome. It is a well-marked route that navigates you around the big hills through a big part of town.
I believe that most cities are best explored on two wheels and San Fransisco certainly lives up to that notion. The City treated me quite well and I can’t wait to return to ride some more.