Our first stop on our Amazing American Adventure was in San Francisco, the northern tip of California.
One of the must do’s on my list was to ride over the big red bridge – The Golden Gate Bridge. This bridge is an icon featuring in over 120 movies plus tv series, music clips and books. Yes, it is even more awesome than what I imagined. It has become one of the most beloved bridges in the world. Riding our bikes over the Golden Gate Bridge became the best way for us to see and experience so much of San Fransisco. Blazing Saddles fitted us out with helmets, locks, maps for our self guided bike ride. They also have a variety of different type of bikes, so if you’re looking for a tandem or a baby carrier on the back, those options are available. It’s about an 8 mile (13km) bike ride from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Ferry pier in Sausalito.
We left Blazing Saddles HQ and headed off along the car-free National Park bike path on a mostly flat ride through Aquatic Park, Fort Mason, the Marina, and Presidio National Park. We stopped off to look at the GoldenGate Bridge Pavilion display that gave us an understanding of how the bridge was built. The first on-site centre is dedicated to telling the stories of the Golden Gate Bridge (some very sad as it was also known as suicide bridge), plus it helps with orientation and information regarding the history of this icon. I didn’t realise just how big those nuts and bolts were ! We had a quick toilet break with half of the tourist population of the USA and then onto the Golden Gate Bridge.
It was an easy flat ride over the bridge with a dedicated bike lane and a barrier separating bikes from motorised traffic, so no interaction with cars which settled one of my concerns. It was very windy and some times I felt like I was going nowhere. We stopped for many photo opportunites and so pleased we did. I took my time and looked up and down left and right taking in that I was actually riding over this icon that I have seen in so many movies !
The Bridge offers great views of San Francisco, Angel Island, Alcatraz and the sailboats on San Francisco Bay. It took us about 3 hours (we are no athletes and had many photo stops along the way).
Over the bridge we rode down into Sausalito, you will quickly realize that it is a gorgeous little town full of small shops, restaurants, and parks with great bay views to enjoy. There are big bike racks in the heart of Sausalito for parking your bike near the ferry. We enjoyed lunch and a stroll around the shops to give our riding legs a rest.
I can only recommend that you go early morning to avoid the influx of lunchtime tourists as the bridge can become crowded. If you’re visiting during the summer months like we did, there are extra ferries added to the schedule in the late afternoon, when over 1,000 bike riders may be looking to return to San Francisco. Despite the extra sailings, there will be times when the line gets so long that the people at the back have to wait for the next boat or like us, two boats later. We sat back on the ferry and enjoyed a different view of San Francisco and a well deserved beverage on the 1.5 hour Ferry Ride back to Fishermans Wharf. You can ride back over if you like !
Our ride was one of the best ways to experience this world famous big red bridge with its world class views. This was one of our to-do attractions the next one, while in San Francisco is Alcatraz.
Check out Blazing Saddle bike tours