Initially we thought that we might had out to a coffee shop for bagels and coffee in the morning. But because we wanted to get the bike ride in by early afternoon, we opted to have fruit and bars for breakfast.
I called the bike rental shop (there are *lots* of places that rent bikes in SF). This particular store had great reviews on Yelp. So around 10 AM, we headed out. The plan was to rent bikes near Golden Gate Park, ride through the park, ride to the Golden Gate Bridge, and then ride back to the rental place. The plan looked great; however, I didn’t count on hitting several mammoth hills along the way.
After picking up the bikes at the shop, we headed to the park just a block away. We started the easy ride through the park. Jeri had heard about the Japanese Tea Garden (which is located in the Golden Gate Park); so we stopped to see it. After paying admission, we took a leisurely stroll through the grounds.
Although we had a map, I managed to get us lost after leaving the Tea Garden. However a kind jogger steered us back on path. As we continued through the three-mile-long park, we encountered a few mild hills. We were amazed at these skateboarders who would cruise down the main road going at speeds faster than us on our bikes. We even saw two guys cut between two moving cars. Crazy!
When we finally reached the end of the park, we were at the Pacific Ocean. The bike path turned north towards the Bridge. So we followed it. Soon we encountered our first monster hill. Even in first gear on our 15-speed bikes, we had to resort to walking. In hindsight, maybe we could have stood up and used our weight instead of our leg muscles to power us up the hill.
Unfortunately just when we thought we might be near the top, the bike path would turn and take us up another hill. Eventually we made it to the Golf Course where we stopped to eat a few bars and consult with a seasoned bike rider. She said that there was just one more big hill before the bridge. We also asked for suggestions on an easier way back to the bike shop. Our original route took us through Presidio Park which is quite hilly.
The scenery was beautiful along the way. Here we stopped for a photo.
Although we had to walk a good part of the hill, we eventually made it to the Golden Gate Bridge! The last time that we were here was probably in 2006.
Because we were behind schedule and because Jeri wasn’t mentally or physically up to riding back, I called the bike shop and asked for alternative ways back. They told us which bus to take.
I hung up the phone and as we turned to walk around the building to the bus stop, we see the very bus that we were supposed to take depart! No problem; we’ll just wait for the next one which should come in about 12 to 15 minutes. When it finally shows up, alas, its bike rack is already full with two bikes.
So we kept waiting and hoping that the next bus would be able to take us. Sure enough, it eventually came and had room for us and our bikes. We took it back to the Golden Gate Park and then made the easy ride back to the bike shop.