Crazy ride

Day 11: Bodega Bay to San Francisco, 74 miles

I wake to a chilly morning. My plan is to take two more days to reach San Francisco. I ride out from Bodega Bay, climbing over hilly farmlands to reach Point Reyes Station. The legs are complaining, ignoring my calls to be quiet. This is my fifth day riding, having covered much elevation on the Shoreline Highway through Mendocino and Sonoma Counties.

I roll into Samuel Taylor State Park and set up in the early afternoon. It’s a lonely site, except for a homeless many who is a bit too friendly. I get a bad feeling about my security, being there are no other cyclists in the Hiker/Biker camp. I shower and eat a late lunch, then decide to ride on.

This is the first time in four years of touring I’ve felt at risk for my safety. Riding alone has its drawbacks, one is the relative isolation of my travels. I text Lulu and she says to come on in. My inquiry into Google Maps has Sausalito only 23 miles away. I think that I’ll make the Golden Gate by sunset.

No chance of that. I climb Sir Francis Drake and pass the summit at the sun is setting. Twenty miles of city bike lanes and paths put my new DIY headlight to test, as well as my resolve and strength. Google bicycle directions have me on a dark bike path for miles. I ditch that and head to Magnolia Drive, a wide thoroughfare with bike lanes. But it is dark and my wits are frayed. I push on, raw will my only resource.

I’ve done this kind of crazy marathon ride a few times before, usually when I’m heading into SF. Maybe I just don’t like the city riding, so I tack it onto another day’s riding. Or maybe the draw of the city brings out the mad cyclist in me. At last the Marin bike path under the 101. Then the swank waterfront of Sausalito. I am dodging limos and diners in heels and jackets. Watch out, insane cyclist cruising through!

Then the climb to the bridge. Up, up, how many hills today? Then I see it, the north tower of the Golden Gate! I whoop a victory call. More climbing, then onto the bike path, west side of the bridge. No view tonight, except the full moon overhead against the rust-toned tower. Then I’m over, checking Google again for directions to Lulu’s place on Haight.

I’ve ranted about the cycling directions on Google Maps before, but usually think their city navigation is good. However, it doesn’t take into account hills. Which San Francisco has no shortage of. Check the screen shot of the route Google picked for me. Climbing over the Presidio. The over Golden Gate Park, then over SF University.

I arrive at Lulu’s apartment finally at 10pm, 14 hours since I left Bodega Bay. My legs are throbbing, but my spirits are high. Brief chatting with my hosts, though I’m in a near state of delirium. Endorphins are potent. But the hot bath is medicine. The couch divine. Tomorrow, the City!








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