Freitag, 26. April 2013

Urban cycling in San Francisco

Today the weather behaves the same as the other two days, which means that the sky is overcast in the morning and temperatures are below 10 degrees. First thing today is mending the flat tire and the tube, which is rapidly done as the culprit was a small sharp needle (see yesterday) and the small hole is easily fixed. Never the less I got a new tire and tube from the Santa Rosa Treck Store and also pumped my tires again to 7 bar, which would have been impossible with the little hand pump I have.

Today I wanted not to do some fixed route ride, but rather stroll a bit around to get the acid out of my legs. So I choose to make a sightseeing tour of San Francisco. I hoped also that around 1130, when I would get there, the overcast fog would have cleared up.
So off I went and at the north end of the GG Bridge it was still cloudy, windy and cold (12 degrees C). Crossing the GG is always a great experience no matter what the weather is. The first stretch went along the Lincoln Blvd. and a look out on the see shows exactly how the weather felt. 

Afterwards I just criss-crossed through the roads without any plan, only following what seemed interesting to me and with the rough goal to traverse the city and make it to the Embacadero on the other end. Here in the vicinity of the coast are some really nice neighbourhoods.

As anybody can imagine strolling around in SF means one thing climbing and descending all the time.

Any doubts on that? Then watch this ( Some of the grades of the street are brutal (25% and more). I wish I could say that I looked great on all of these grades, but on some (e.g. the next photo) I needed to do some zig-zag in order not to over stretch my chain and my muscles.    

In these side roads there was literally no traffic and riding was really pleasant and over many turns, climbs and descents I made it to the St. Ignatius church and from there on down Fulton to Alamo Square, where the park and the view invited my for a little rest. 

The uncool thing regarding the bike ride here is that at every 50 m you have a traffic light or worse and much more often a Stop sign. I was told that the fine for not stopping is 250$ and that the local police is completely without humour regarding this issue. So stopping means to come to a full stop with the bike and put at least on food on the ground. I did this exactly twice and then had enough. If I would accumulate the fines for transgressing Stop signs only today we would look at 10’000 $ or even more. But sometimes there was no choice other than to stop due these “car driving bastards” ;-)
Around Alamo square SF looks just like San Francisco, who knew?

You will also notice, that now, just a few kilometers from the coast, the sun is shining from a blue sky. Still the wind, at the moment tail wind, was very chilly. How did Mark Twain allegedly say: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”.  

Well now all went straight down to the Civic Centre which you can see with the golden cupola in the far back of the next photo.      

Riding down Market street and passing the financial district with its sky scrapers I arrived at the Embarcadero with the famous clock tower that plays the Big Ben melody ever quarterly hour. If you zoom in hard on the next photo you can see the bells... ehmm sorry the loud speakers ;-(

Now we are of course near the Bay Bridge and I slowly drove passed Fisherman's wharf (very bussy and packed with tourist) back and cross the GG to Sausalito where I parked my car. Now we are of course near the Bay Bridge and I slowly drove passed Fisherman's wharf (very busy and packed with tourist) back and cross the GG to Sausalito where I parked my car. Now the wind was full inmy face and really brutal.

I tried to avoid the Friday evening rush hour out of SF north and took off at 1510 from Sausalito, however it took my 2 hours to get to Santa Rosa as compared to 50 minutes that it took me in the morning.    

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