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  1. #1
    hup
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    Bike friendly route advice sought - SF to Sausalito

    Hiya - I'm coming out of lurkerdom to ask for some route planning advice. Please indulge me.

    My daughter lives in SF at the tip of the Panhandle (Baker/Fell). We are hoping to ride together from there to Sausalito (or thereabouts) and back. She is a relative beginner, I am slightly more experienced than she. Both of us will be on road bikes. This will be a leisurely ride, more just to hang out together than anything else. Can anyone help me out with a somewhat detailed route to avoid huge traffic or maybe give some general tips for making the ride a "non ordeal"? I know my way around SF pretty well, but lack any cycling experience there.

    The plan is to start mid morning (weekend) and break for lunch in Marin (suggestions for this or other "stuff to do" would be welcomed, as well), then back. Thanks very much in advance.

    BTW, even though I rarely post, I very much enjoy lurking here. You all are quite entertaining (and I mean that in a most complimentary way)

    Peace,
    hup/Henry

  2. #2
    Direct Hit Not Required BlastRadius's Avatar
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    Hello Henry,

    Henry here. Here is one way to go. http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=2496759
    There's some short steep hills getting through the Presidio but go slow in an easy gear and you and your daughter should be OK.

  3. #3
    these go to eleven
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    ^^^

    If you're looking for the easiest and safest route, that's the way I go on recovery rides except that I stay on Washington Blvd through the Presidio until it joins Lincoln and take that to the base of the bridge. That route is almost completely flat through the Presidio. If you take that route and back, the only significant hill will be coming back from Sausalito to the base of the bridge. After that, it's pretty flat all the way back home.

    I like to stop at Piccolo cafe on the waterfront but there are a lot of great little cafes and places to stop.

  4. #4
    hup
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    Thanks, BR (Henry ) and 513. It definitely looks doable for both of us.

    Any hints on crossing the bridge itself? Are both walkways open on the weekends? Is one preferable to the other? (I know that the east side is a zoo at times ....) I've only ever been on the east side.
    Also, any tight traffic spots to be aware of?

    You guys are great. Sorry for being such a noob.

  5. #5
    Senior Member subframe's Avatar
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    On the weekends, only the West side of the bridge is open to cyclists. It can get a bit crowded, between the hardcore cyclists and the sightseers. If you don't try and race across however, you'll be fine. One thing to be aware of: the wind really whips around the towers, so when you get to those sections, be a little extra careful.

  6. #6
    hup
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    Great advice, subframe. Thanks so much!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by subframe View Post
    On the weekends, only the West side of the bridge is open to cyclists. It can get a bit crowded, between the hardcore cyclists and the sightseers. If you don't try and race across however, you'll be fine. One thing to be aware of: the wind really whips around the towers, so when you get to those sections, be a little extra careful.
    Try to ride in a straight line whenever possible. If you need to swerve around a pedestrian or slower cyclist, then look back first so you don't cut someone off. When you ride around the pillars, slow down to a walking speed and stay as far to the right as possible. If you want to stop and take a picture, pull over to the side so you don't block the path. Beware of people riding mountain bikes labeled "Blazing Saddles" since they will usually break all of the above safety recommendations.

  8. #8
    these go to eleven
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    Weekdays after 3:30PM and on weekends, the west side of the bridge opens up for bicycles only. The above advice about avoid pedestrians is good, but if the west side is open, it's pretty smooth sailing as pedestrians aren't allowed on the west side at any time.

  9. #9
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    More on the west side of the GG Bridge: I agree with all that has been said, but wanted to add a couple more details.

    In addition to the "Blazing Saddles" bike renter types, who can be counted on not to hold a line, beware of the hyper-racer types. These are the heads-down, other-traffic-be-damned Lance Armstrong wannabes who have little to no regard for anyone else out there, and God forbid that they actually break rhythm. There aren't many of them, but they can be unnerving as they dive through gaps you and I would never dream of taking on.

    As for the towers, the comment about the wind gusts is spot-on. But as long as you know to be prepared for it, it will not be a problem. What is a problem, however, is that the each tower amounts to two very blind corners in very quick succession. The combination of blind corners, relatively narrow pathway, razor-sharp 90 degree turns, wind gusts and inexperienced riders means there is a good chance that someone will be in your right of way as you come around one or both of the outer turns at the tower and you will not have a lot of time or space to react. As with the wind gusts, knowing to be on the look-out will take care of 99 percent of the issues.

    To boil it down, I'd say: go when you can use the west side of the bridge (thus avoiding the pedestrians) and take it slow and careful around the towers. Do that, and you';; have a great ride.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  10. #10
    Senior Member silentben's Avatar
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    If you take the West side of the bridge, here's an alternate way to get into Sausalito:

    http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=2504211

    It is more scenic and with less traffic than taking Sausalito Lateral. The only potential issue is if you were to to return from Sausalito on this route the climb is a bit steeper. It's the same amount of vertical (230 feet) but you get it done in a shorter distance.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentben View Post
    If you take the West side of the bridge, here's an alternate way to get into Sausalito:

    http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=2504211

    It is more scenic and with less traffic than taking Sausalito Lateral. The only potential issue is if you were to to return from Sausalito on this route the climb is a bit steeper. It's the same amount of vertical (230 feet) but you get it done in a shorter distance.
    I always take the route through the Coast Guard station. It is more scenic and has almost zero car traffic. You can access this route from east side of the bridge by taking the tunnel to Conzelman Road.

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