What I Did On My Holidays

Chapter 16

Golden Gate Bridge

Day 11

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the tourist attractions of San Francisco. We had no choice but to see it up close like. We caught one of those zany, wacky cable cars down (and I mean down) to Hyde Street, where we hired mountain bikes and they told us where to go. (To get to the bridge, of course)

There is a bike path along the beach that take you past marinas and parks. This makes for very pleasant cruising in the sunshine. This path leads almost directly under the bridge before turning off up a short steep hill that winds back to the start of the bridge. In our case, the path led directly under the bridge and then we turned back, found the turn off and continued on our way.

The thing about this hill is that it is full of gum trees. Yes, native to Australia, it was just like a chunk of the Dandenongs. The trees, the leaves and bark, the smell. The air smelt right for a change. I felt so at home, I nearly rode on the correct side of the rode. Fortunately, I sorted out left from right and which continent I was on before we reached the bridge.

It's a big bridge. The view is great. The noise is terrible. The perpetual stream of cars and trucks hitting the expansion joints is so unpleasant that stopping to enjoy the view is not an option. It's only when you reach the huge pylons that you can shelter in the noise shadow and pause to admire the view.

A different angle.

They take speeding seriously on the bridge. Not only do they double the standard speeding fine, they have at least one van cruise back and forth across the bridge with a big sign telling all the potential speeders that it'll cost them. What a great career! Drive a Don't Speed sign! I can see the armed forces style ads now:

No adventure!
Don't meet new people!
Don't see the world,
except for this one bridge over and over again....

Guess which sights these guys don't go to see on their days off.

So we crossed the bridge, rode down a hill into Sausalito. (Note: mountain bikes are slow and boring going downhill on road.) As we approached Sausalito, there was a bang and a hiss from Linda's rear tyre. She continues riding, looking around and saying, "What was that noise?" So after lunch, we got to visit a bike shop. Dang.

The ride back was uneventful. We got to see the same sights from the other direction, but the sun was still shining and we enjoyed it. Bikes are such a great way to see a city.

Note for Brendan et al.: spotted a coffee shop from the cable car called "Shaky Grounds". That applies at so many levels.


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© Copyright 2000 Andrew McIver

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