Sunday, April 5, 2009

13 miles anyone?

Aaaaaaaah, the joy of a clear warm Spring day in the Bay Area! What a day to get that new folding bicycle out of the flat and out fer a ride around the block!

Okay, so I haven't been on a bicycle for over 30 years.... so I haven't ridden a bike in SF for about the same time! Well, with this folding bike, I first had to adjust to the smaller wheel base which gives one a strange sensation when riding, if you're used to a bigger normal-sized bicycle.... BUT of course in my case, I haven't been on any bike in so long it really doesn't matter.

I did take the bike out for a short 10-minute test ride a few days ago, but to adjust the seat height and check the condition of the brakes. No problem except trying to get up a hill!! NoT!!


So back to today: I coasted down to the Embarcadero at the end of Beach Street, then headed toward the Ferry Building. As usual, everyone and their dawg was out there, and it was difficult at times to weave through the crowds, but I made it. Once there, I rested for a bit riding around in slow silly circles to enjoy the joy of a bicycle....

Then I rode back toward Fisherman's Wharf thinking to head home, but somehow I got distracted and ended up at an isolated pier there where I stayed for a bit to enjoy an excellent view of Alcatraz Island and the rest of the bay. A huge transport cargo ship was steaming past the island and blocked it out for a few minutes, its massive size gliding through the waters of the bay.

Back on the trail, I had the hellish idea to ride the bike to Crissy Field in the Presidio and started off in that westernly direction. The crowds of tourists were thick on the sidewalk but I got through the crowds okay. At one point I stopped for a few minutes at the Aquatic Park Municipal Pier which offered a better view than before. From there I headed into the Presidio and rode past Crissy Field and on the bumpy gravel trail toward Fort Point at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge.

It was so funny.... All these people were walking and/or biking also, and they were spinning their heads to look at my tiny bike!! It was hilarious! There I went, riding my little folding bicycle down this bumpy road, on a bike for the first time in decades, just enjoying the wind, the sun and the antics of those around me... I couldn't think or know what seemed funnier: the people laughing at my bike or me laughing at their reactions! hahahahaaa

At the waterside entrance to Fort Mason, I even managed to make it up a quite steep hill, starting in 4th gear to build up speed, then quickly geared down to 1st and made it up to the top!!

At the very end, I mapped out my route on google maps and determined the route I took today gave me a total of 13 miles, not including the bits of detours.... and while 13 miles doesn't seem too impressive, for the born-again first-time rider it's a lot. I think this folding bicycle really passed its initial ride test with flying colors!

Also I thought of the many times I rode a ten-speed bike from my North Beach home to the bridge through a very different Presidio to the bridge, crossing that into Sausalito, then to Mill Valley then up to Mt Tam then zoom down to Stinson Beach. Then I returned home the way waaaay, and I did that as a young teen not even 14-15 years old!


How times have changed!!!
me riding the bike around in dizzying
circles behind the Ferry Building