Tuesday, August 07, 2012

San Francisco Cruising

It was a beautiful day for riding in the city. My friend, Henry, and I set out to North Berkeley Bart around 10:30 and caught the next train into San Francisco. As we sat on the train we noticed a sprinkling of Giants hats getting on at each stop. Jumping to the assumption that there was a game that day, we started cursing our luck. Our minds wondered and we decided that the occurrence of a Giants game would be beneficial, drawing all the city locals and tourists to the park and off the streets, leaving us to ride through the empty city as though it were struck by a zombie apocalypse. This was not the case. It was a beautiful day and we were far from alone.

We road down Market St. to the Embarcadero and found it crawling with tourists. I mean, totally packed. Our vague plan was to ride to the Golden Gate, and across to Marin. As we road up the Embarcadero, we wove in and out of the crowds of tourists walking and on rental bicycles (which by the way is an awesome resource, but basic etiquette of riding might be a good addition). We road on. Raced a pair of cyclists in full kits, riding super nice fixed gears for a ways up the Embarcadero. We passed loads of tourists as we cut our way through and as we got closer to the Golden Gate, we winged our navigation, our wheels eventually leading us to it's mouth. Henry was on his road bicycle and I was riding my California Blue fixed.

Henry is a great person to ride with. Especially in the city. We both have the same level of familiarity with the lay of the city and it made navigating the crowded streets much more enjoyable for the both of us. Feeding off of each other's energy, we backtracked and re-routed many times, searching for the streets that felt right at that given moment during the ride. As we headed back from the bridge after reaching the Marin side, we searched for a spot to eat a quick lunch. We had heard of a place called Rapha that was supposedly a cycling oriented cafe of sorts. We found it. They sold full kits, and other high class accessories. It was a very clean place. With minimal yet utilitarian style decor, it had an "expensive" feel to it. They had a small selection of cookies and a ton of beverages, but after looking around and catching a bit of the olympics, we split in search of food. As we cut through the traffic, we found ourselves in Pacific Heights. To our surprise, we came across a pizza place. It had some outdoor seating  with snowboard tables. We decided to try it out and it was delicious! It was well worth the $5 for two vegetable covered slices. We people watched the bleach blond hair and fake tans for a while, finished our snack and thought out our plan of action. It was still quite early in the day since riding the bridge took a lot less time than we had anticipated. We thanked the folks who worked at Extreme Pizza and headed out, exploring and feeling our way back towards downtown.

Our path through the city eventually met with Embarcadero and we road down till we hit Market. We stopped at the plaza and enjoyed the time to chat and took advantage of the excellent opportunity for people watching. We headed back to Bart and from Downtown Berkeley, road the rest of the way home.

Henry is a great friend of mine and it was great to finally get to ride together in San Francisco. The feeling was mutual and I don't get to see him as much as I'd like to but it was awesome to spend the short time together in the Bay Area on our bicycles. Henry is an experienced cyclist and riding with him is always a great time. On this occasion, through the city by the bay, San Francisco.
We plan to do it again one better on our next visit home.

- RideaBicycle

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