CLC 2019 Ride 7: Playing Tourist

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Crissy Field in the San Francisco Presidio, my happy place, was the start of my final Cycle Life Challenge ride this year. It’s where I can see the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay and the beach and the city all just by turning around in place. It was going to be in the 90s at home so I thought I’d go to that part of the city where it’s usually cooler. It was a lovely day, with blue skies and lots of people enjoying themselves.

My plan was to ride across the bridge and head over to the town of Tiburon and from there take a ferry back to the city. And Reader, I did so. I was unabashedly a tourist today. I took as many photos as anyone else who was here for the first time. It’s just such a wonderful place to be able to live.

From Crissy Field it’s a steady up to the bridge. Going across we had to be careful of the dozens of folks on rental bikes as well as pedestrians. And a trike takes up a little more width that usual so I had to be even more patient (not my strong suit). Once across there is a nice zoom down to Sausalito. I meandered a little through the marinas on my way to the bike path north. While doing that I saw a sign for the Bay Model. I’ve gone by that sign a zillion times but never made a point of going in. Today I said, why not? I’m a tourist today, not Parnelli Jones.

The Bay Model was created by the Army Corps of Engineers to study how the tides affect the bay, fluid dynamics, all that stuff. It’s in a 3-acre building that was originally built during WWII as the parts depot for Marinship, a shipyard for building Liberty ships. Bill can tell you all about it. I thought I had arrived at slack tide since there wasn’t much going on as far as I could see, but there was. I learned that the model does a complete day’s tide cycle within 15 minutes. So it’s pretty subtle. These days the bay currents and dynamics can be modeled on a computer so the Bay Model is now open just for educational purposes.

Once I left the Bay Model I rolled along the bike path with the temps getting increasingly hotter. I was baking on the uphills in the more sheltered areas. I didn’t escape the 90 degree day as I was hoping to do. It was taking a little bit out of me and I was out of water by the time I made it to Tiburon. It was a little cooler right by the water but only when a little breeze kicked up.

However, once on the ferry it was wonderfully cool. I hardly sat down the entire trip. I was going upstairs and downstairs and fore and aft taking photos and getting misted by the spray and just loving being on the water.

After debarking in San Francisco I had to navigate through crowded Fisherman’s Wharf and dodge more rental bikes and pedestrians. Just before the big bad hill to Fort Mason I saw that the gate to the Municipal Pier was open, so I turned Pokey that way. Hadn’t been on the pier in ages so another opportunity to be a tourist. From the end there’s a nice view of the wharf and the city and where my wife lived before I knew her.

While getting through Fort Mason and the Marina Green I enjoyed a cool headwind back to Crissy Field. I was pleased to see that despite the heat I managed to ride 29 miles today but then realized that eight of those miles were on the water. All good. What a great day.

And we’re off! We’re heading to the Golden Gate Bridge.
To get up there is first a sharpish but short little hill that gives one a beaucoup view.
Such a beauty, eh? There are great bike and pedestrian paths that get you to the bridge and they have pullouts to take these postcard photos.
Made it across the bridge. Bikes and pedestrians share one walkway on weekdays, which is not a great idea. But it leaves the other walkway for the crews to do the constant maintenance on the bridge.
Now in Sausalito looking back across the bay to downtown SF.
There must be a Canadian or British or Australian harbourmaster.
Riding along Bridgeway in Sausalito I came across this. Nothing really nearby, just a few houses across 4 lanes of traffic. A trike, yes, but just weird.
This is the former Record Plant where lots of legendary rock albums were recorded. One of those was Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. Watched a 20th anniversary documentary about that album, and we’re lucky it was made. The McVies’ marriage was falling apart, Lindsay Buckingham was coked out of his mind, Stevie Nicks was writing odd lyrics that somehow worked. Can’t remember what Mick Fleetwood was up to.
Pokey is not as excited as I am to finally get to the Bay Model. She’ll just enjoy some shade for a while.
First view. I seem to have come at slack tide. This building is huge – 3 acres – but the action is muted.
I used to work in this part of the bay, and I showed you a photo of it from last ride.
Hard by the Bay Model we have a new brigantine being built, which a sign said is the first one built on SF Bay since 1895. It’s a teaching vessel. There are two men up in the rigging yelling at each other about something they’re working on. The sloop behind them is also a teaching vessel. Interesting that they’re berthed in what is still called Marinship, a huge boatyard where Liberty ships were built in just days during WWII.
Finally getting on the bike path. Here we’re riding under US 101 at a point where it’s 10 lanes across. Dead ahead is Mt. Tamalpais, a local landmark.
After enduring excessive heat through the more sunny and protected areas of Marin I’m finally heading into the breeze and it’s a lot cooler. Towers of the Golden Gate Bridge poking up over the hills on the right.
We’re waiting for the Tiburon Ferry. Still hot so Pokey is parked in the shade. While there I had a lovely conversation with a gal from France who was riding rental bikes with her family. We talked about school hols, last vacations with 17-year-olds, comparative housing costs, touring in Africa, and San Francisco.
Nice open area on the ferry for parking bikes.
Bye, Tiburon!
Hmmm. Making a stop before San Francisco. This is the Sausalito Ferry landing, where a few hours ago I rode past.
A few more cyclists got on the boat at Sausalito. Almost all rental bikes.
Chugging past Alcatraz.
San Francisco dead ahead. Inadvertently I caught the French tourist I was speaking to in Tiburon. That’s her and her husband and daughter on either side of her. They were riding rented bikes all day, starting near the SF ferry dock. They had them until 7 and were planning to keep going to the last minute. Given how hot it was and how tired I was in late afternoon, I expect they had electric bikes.
I love this city. Can you blame me?
The view from the Muni Pier, a crumbling concrete edifice near Fisherman’s Wharf. The white ship-like building in the foreground is the San Francisco Maritime Museum. The brick building with the clock tower is the former Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, now full of shops and restaurants. Before I knew her my wife had an apartment with of view of the bay through the Ghirardelli sign, which I think is a quintessential SF view.
Nearing the end, where there is a wedge of Monterey cypresses at the corner of Crissy Field. Can you spot the bridge?
Back where I began, tired but still as happy as when the day, and I, were much younger.




tricycle tricycle tricycle I want to ride my tricycle tricycle tricycle I want to ride my tricycle I want to ride my trike I want to ride my tricycle I want to ride it where I like (And I like to ride my bicycle too)

11 response to "CLC 2019 Ride 7: Playing Tourist"

  1. By: The Navigator Posted: April 30, 2019

    Looks like an absolutely perfect ride. I loved the Bay model and that ferry ride sounded refreshing. Probably too many people for me… but I have enjoyed San Francisco the few times I’ve been there. SFO is also infinitely nicer to fly through than LAX, but the connection times and costs mean I always fly through the hole that is LAX instead. Thankfully, the LAX international terminal is decent these days, at least!

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: April 30, 2019

      The ferry ride was pretty crowded for a Tuesday, but only from Sausalito. It’s a good end point for most tourists to ride from SF across the bridge on their rental bikes. If you’re boarding the ferry from there on a bike you have to get a bike reservation (no additional cost). That’s one reason why I rode to Tiburon – no reservation necessary.

      One of the things the French gal and I talked about was how many people were around. All of France is on Easter holiday for two weeks, so she thought the ferry would have been on the holiday schedule.

  2. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: April 30, 2019

    ‘Playing the Tourist’ is a great mindset to be in, we often take our own back for granted and it’s just down the road. The extra letter ‘u’ in such words as favour, savour, flavour etc is there to denote a French origin apparently.

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: April 30, 2019

      Yes, “flavour” is so Continental and therefore more sophisticated.

  3. By: Suzanne Posted: April 30, 2019

    What a stellar ride! I loved hearing the names of the places, too. My sister lived in San Rafael and I used to visit her via SF frequently.

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: April 30, 2019

      Oh, then you know how wonderful it is around here when you play tourist. I used to live in San Anselmo and worked in San Rafael.

  4. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: April 30, 2019

    Great ride in a beautiful place — lots of things of interest
    The Bay Model is particularly fascinating.
    And, yes, there are many places to visit right close to home.

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: April 30, 2019

      Thanks, Rich. Being a tourist got me out here, and has kept me here since 1980.

  5. By: Seasidejanet Posted: May 1, 2019

    Oh now you’ve gone and made me homesick!! I love SF and that ride….we would ride our bikes from home in Alameda catch the ferry from Oakland to SF and ride to Tiburon….ferry back to SF then reverse the trip home. Always a fun day! Love all the photos. When I was running my gal pals and I would do that ride as a run….once we got to Sam’s in Tiburon we wold have margaritas but once we all forgot our $$$ so we pooled all our change and haded it to the bartender and said “how many margaritas will this buy” he must have felt bad for us and we each got a double😊

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: May 1, 2019

      We’ll have to do a Marauders Ride with ferry connections!

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