Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cycling in San Francisco and Long Beach

Besides visiting bike shops in downtown San Francisco, I also managed to find time to cycle at San Francisco! A must-go location for cycling in San Francisco is to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. At Fisherman's Wharf at San Francisco, there are many bike rental shops where you can rent a bike for a day.

For me, I did some research on the Internet and found some bike rental shops with a better review. The bike shop I eventually chose is San Francisco Bicycle Rentals, located at The Cannery.

The route that I planned for the day would be to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge to the town of Sausalito. The map shown below plots the route that I took that day. However, when I was cycling, I did not really plan out the route. It was more of just following the crowd and following the cycling path. It is an easy route to follow, as the Golden Gate Bridge is very visible in the distance. You just need to cycle towards the Golden Gate Bridge, and it is quite difficult to get lost.

After the ride, I plotted this route which showed the actual cycling route taken. It is about 15km one way to Sausalito.

This is where I rented the bikes from, San Francisco Bicycle Rentals.

Performance Hybrid for myself, and the Comfort Hybrid for my wife.

The Performance Hybrid is a Specialized Sirrus, with a 3x9 speed drivetrain.

Comes with Shimano ST-EF51 shifter/brake levers, which is very common on rental bikes. I also brought my own GoPro mount and the Shimano Sport Camera to film the ride. Video can be found below!

From the bike rental shop, just follow the crowd towards Fort Mason. After rolling across the lush greenery, follow the cycling path beside the road.

At some points along the way, you can spot the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

Along the cycling path, there were vast green fields where people were engaging in all kinds of sports, such as soccer or frisbee.

Looking back at the San Francisco Bay

As we near the bridge, there are some short but steep slopes to climb.

Almost reaching the Golden Gate Bridge!

To cycle on the Golden Gate Bridge, we had to pass under the bridge, and enter the west side walkway. This arrangement is only for Sundays, where the west side walkway is exclusively for cyclists, and the east side walkway for pedestrians.

Cycling along the west side walkway of the Golden Gate Bridge. Great weather, but very windy on the bridge!

Cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge, from the south end to the north end

At the end of the bridge, there is a car park on the left side. Go through the car park and you will roll down an enjoyable downslope that brings you under the bridge and towards the jetty.

This is the magnificent view at the jetty, after rolling down the above-mentioned slope.

Follow the road towards Sausalito town. Mostly downslopes along the way. 

At Sausalito town, we stopped for lunch and cycled around to explore the town. It took us almost 3 hours to get here as we stopped frequently to take pictures and to enjoy the scenery.

Here is an edited 5 minute video of the ride, from Fisherman's Wharf to Sausalito and back! Check out the wonderful scenery and the bike friendly route, as well as the areas that were not shown in the pictures above.

Misc: Bike lanes along many streets in downtown San Francisco

Misc: Green wave for cyclists at 15 mph. This means that if you cycle at 15 mph, you will enjoy a wave of green lights along the designated route.

Besides San Francisco, I also went to Long Beach. Over there, I also wanted to rent a bike to explore the place. However, I soon discovered that at Long Beach, the only bike I could rent was a cruiser bike. There are practically no road bikes or mountain bikes or any other bikes for rent.

Rented a cruiser bike from Bikestation at Long Beach, near the train station.

This was the cruiser bike that I rented. Comes with a gigantic saddle and a creaky front basket. The tires were a massive 26x3.45", which is the size of fat bike tires.

3 speed shifting with a Shimano Nexus internal hub and a Revoshifter.

Cycling along the bike path, along the marina. 

Reached the beach which Long Beach is famous for.

Flat and wide beach, but is curiously almost deserted

It was possible to cycle on the sand with the fat tires. Quite fun, but also very draggy due to the soft sand.

I returned the bike to the bike shop after just 1 hour, as there was nothing much more for me to explore. The other reason was that I did not enjoy cycling on the cruiser bike. Not only was the bike really heavy, the wide cruiser handlebars were difficult to steer with. Worst of all, the bike only had coaster brakes. This meant backpedaling to brake, which was very difficult for me as I could not brake and also put my foot down at the same time. All in all, it was not a nice bike to ride.

Cycling at San Francisco was much more enjoyable, as the bike was nice to ride, and there was great scenery to enjoy. Do remember to check out the cycling video above for the route across the Golden Gate Bridge!

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