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Old 06-29-16, 11:13 AM   #1
eja_ bottecchia
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Golden Gate ride to Sausalito and back to SF

Next week my wife and I will be traveling to San Francisco. I am fairly familiar with SF, having traveled there many times (two of our adult daughters live there).


This time I am planning to cross the GG Bridge by bike. I am an experienced rider who suffers from gephyrophobia (fear of bridges). Every year, when I do the ADA Tour de Cure ride in Long Beach I "suffer" through two bridge crossings; the Gerald Desmond Bridge(not too bad) and the Vincent Thomas Bridge (really bad). I do this ride because I am a Red Rider (diabetic) and it is important to rise funds for diabetes research...otherwise I would just as soon ride elsewhere.


I need some advice about the crossing from the Marina district over the bridge to Sausalito and back to San Francisco. Suggestions, advice, pointers, route description, best hours to ride, anything that you can offer will be greatly appreciated.


Thank you in anticipation.
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Old 06-29-16, 12:50 PM   #2
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From the Marina district, take Marina Blvd (bike path on the north side of the street) and Old Mason Street (bike lanes) toward the bridge. After you pass Sports Basement, keep left at the fork, then turn right on to Crissy Field Ave (up hill). At the top of the hill, there is a bike path to the right that takes you to the bridge.

The best time to cross the bridge is before 10am on weekends. On weekends, the west sidewalk of the bridge is open to bicycles only and is much less congested than on weekdays when bicycles and pedestrians share the east sidewalk. Most of the tourist bicycle traffic doesn't start until after 10am. If you can't figure out how to get to the west sidewalk, ask for help (don't ride on the highway here).

After you cross the bridge on the west sidewalk, I like to turn left from parking lot down the hill on old Conzelman Road. This is a car-free road that loops underneath the bridge. After you pass the coast guard station, turn right on East Road then follow the marked bike route to Sausalito (Alexander Ave, 2nd St, Bridgeway). There can be a lot of car traffic here.

Reverse the route to get back to San Francisco. If you don't want to climb the steep hill underneath the Golden Gate Bridge on the way back, you can take Alexander Ave all the way to the bridge, but I don't like all the car noise.
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Old 06-29-16, 03:10 PM   #3
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I agree with the above comments that early on a weekend day would be best. As bridges go, the GG is pretty good for cyclists: wide, separated path with a smooth surface and guard rails at a good height. The only tricky spots are where you have to ride around the two support towers with some sharp turns and limited visibility of oncoming cyclists. On a breezy day the wind can really swirl around the towers so be prepared for sudden wind direction changes.
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Old 06-30-16, 11:33 PM   #4
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I took the train up and did a version of this ride for the first time this past weekend. There was pretty clear signage directing bikes to the west side of the bridge. I'll echo the comments about starting early to avoid crowds as much as possible and taking care around support towers; getting around them were kind of like blind curves.

I did not go to Sausalito, but instead went the other direction and climbed Conzelman Road / Hawk Hill. Nice climb, great views, highly recommended. Then I braved the 18% drop down Conzelman and came back via Bunker Road and the tunnel. It was an amazing contrast; I went from the crowds in SF and on the bridge, to a relatively empty area with only a handful of cyclists.

I was meeting a friend for lunch back by the Ferry Building so I didn't have time to go down to Sausalito, but had enough time to climb up to Hawk Hill again, but this time descending back the way I came. Once again, great descent, great views.
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Old 07-01-16, 07:13 PM   #5
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If you don't like bridges, the GG Bridge may be a bit much, and getting around those towers will be especially unpleasant for you. They involve sharp turns, tourists weaving and not pang attention, racer wannabes zooming and not paying attention, and the aforementioned wind gusts. For most people, I'd just say be careful. But for someone with bridge phobia issues, I have different idea.

So how do you feel about ferries? Why not take the ferry (Google "Golden Gate Ferry" or "Golden Gate Transit") from the SF Ferry Building (on the Embarcadero at the foot of Market Street) to Sausalito? No problem taking your bikes, and it lets you off pretty much in the heart of downtown Sausalito. From there you can ride up and down the hills of the Marin Headlands or go north along the pancake-flat bike path to Mill Valley or beyond ("beyond" is less flat and sometimes downright hilly, depending where and how far you go), or even head up Mt. Tamalpais (definitely not flat) if you are feeling adventurous. Return to Sausalito, take the ferry back to the SF Ferry Building, and you've had a great, scenic (and potentially chilly - bring layers) boat-and-bike day and no bridge anxiety. Easy peasy lemon-squeazy.
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Old 07-11-16, 12:33 PM   #6
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Thank you everyone for your suggestions and recommendations. As it turns out I had to postpone the trip due to some unforeseen circumstances. When I finally make it to SF, I will be sure to follow on your recommendations and post my experiences.


Again, thank you very much. You guys are a great bunch...maybe I will even see some of you at the Velo Rouge café.
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Old 07-11-16, 01:52 PM   #7
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Ferry - Fisherman's Wharf To Vallejo and Riding North into Napa 11 miles, and the valley is also Nice.
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Old 07-13-16, 10:41 AM   #8
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Another ride from the Marina is over the GG through Sausalito and then to Tiburon where you can catch a ferry back to SF, down the Embarcadero through FT Mason and back to the Marina. My wife hates bridges also. Good luck.
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Old 07-13-16, 07:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
Another ride from the Marina is over the GG through Sausalito and then to Tiburon where you can catch a ferry back to SF, down the Embarcadero through FT Mason and back to the Marina. My wife hates bridges also. Good luck.
If you're going to take a ferry back, you may as well continue on the (beautiful) Paradise Loop from Tiburon to Larkspur, then take the Larkspur ferry back to San Francisco. However, beware that the Tiburon and Larkspur ferries have sparse schedules on weekends.
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Old 07-14-16, 12:47 PM   #10
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I did a similar trip like this from Pier 51 to Tiburon and rode the ferry back. Blazing Saddles has a map that you can grab to help you navigate it. About 16 miles or close to that for the ride.
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