If you ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, you know how chaotic it can be. Even on the weekends, when the bicyclists get the far side to themselves, the combination of two-way traffic and lots of tourists bobbing and weaving on rentals can make for a lively crossing.
Well, on Saturday around 5:30PM, it was not like that at all, because it had been raining steadily for hours and there were hardly any cyclists out. In fact, at that point, there was just me headed from the Marin side to the SF side, and a tourist on a rental approaching from the opposite direction.
On most of the bridge, the lane is narrow, but after the northern stanchion it widens considerably -- I would say the lane is at least forty feet wide. There is, however, a lamppost in the middle of that space. It's pretty hard to miss -- about a foot wide, painted the same color orange as the bridge, in short, a very visible obstacle.
The other cyclist was riding uphill, at a relatively leisurely pace, on a flat-bar hybrid. His head was up, he seemed to be looking straight ahead, aware of the lamp-post he was heading directly toward. But as he approached -- twenty yards, ten yards -- he stayed right on course and -- bang! -- somehow the lamp-post caught him totally by surprise.
Luckily, he appeared to escape the lamppost's wrath unscathed; I guess his wheel must have absorbed most of the initial impact. I stopped and asked him if he was all right, he indicated that he was fine, and then he quickly continued on his journey. Apparently no amount of rain or stealthy lampposts were going to spoil his vacation ride.
I've ridden across the bridge many times and I never think about that lamp post. Usually I'm more concerned with the couple of bumps on either side of the bridge and the turn on the west side where the trail is. That's usually where the tourists get their toe clips messed up and block part of the path to oncoming cyclists just exiting the bridge.