Biking San Francisco!
There is far too much fun to fit in a status update, so here's the note to encompass all of this “fun”. I had so much fun playing the Fleet Week gig on Sat that I decided to come back to San Fran to experience all of it. Plus, I have been wanting to ride my bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. So, Sunday morning I got up super early to beat the crowds down to the city. I decided to park in the Ghirardelli Square parking garage and work my “magic” on Carolyn, our sponsor, to see if I can squeeze some free parking out of her (one day late). C'mon, I am a member of Travis Brass and she just LOVED us the day before! Bike number one was out of commission because the movers took the pedals off and at the time of trip preparation, I didn't know that the pedals don't follow the “righty tighty; lefty loosey” rule – (this is according to my brother, Mike, the former bike repair tech). So, after trying and probably stripping the bolts on bike number one, I decided to just bring bike number two (the 29er). Bike is loaded and I am ready for San Fran! Following Jill's directions for Saturday I parked on level 6 (had to turn left at the “No Left Turn” sign) and moved a cone. I was good to go!
The day was actually pretty normal until after the Blue Angels show! I am so glad I brought my bike and can't imagine spending the day in S.F. and actually walking. Public transportation was out because there were so many people, I didn't want to get stuck with that problem – so it was nice having the bike. The hills were something else; too bad my gears were acting up – my rear gears weren't changing! Not a problem you want to have in San Francisco. Okay, so I go up and down The Embarcadero checking out ships and stores and things like that and then found an excellent spot to watch the air show. Right in between Fort Mason and Fisherman's Wharf is a place called Gashouse Cove. That's probably one of the best places to watch the air show. Why? Excellent view and not a lot of people. Awesome! You can check out my photo album for those pictures.
So, the air show is over and now it is time to ride the bridge. Before I set out on that adventure, I figured I'd go find Carolyn to see about that parking pass. $32 is a LOT of money to pay for a day of parking. So, I found her in the little concierge box that she works in and I was my charming self and GUESS WHO GOT A PARKING PASS??? THIS GUY! Awesome. Okay, now to the riding part. I was set on riding my bike across the Golden Gate Bridge and nothing was going to stop me. It's only about 3 miles one way from the parking garage to the bridge and there is a really nice bike/running path that connects it all.
You'll notice (or maybe you won't) that the bridge is a lot higher than the ground level I am actually on. That implies that there is going to be a lot of “up” in my future. And man, there was.
But it was a beautiful day and the views were spectacular!
So, at this point, I have made it to the bridge and all I have to do is follow the bike path under the bridge. The pedestrians go to one side of the bridge and the bikers go to the opposite side. Well, just as I am crossing under the bridge, my frickin' bike chain breaks! All of the tension from the gears being all messed up and the uphills caused it to just snap. (I'm guessing that's where “Oh Snap!” comes from). FYI, if you are biking and your chain breaks and you have no tools or extra chains, then you are out of luck. Seriously, God?!! I tried every MacGyver trick I could have thought of and nothing would work. I made it to the Golden Gate Bridge – but couldn't go across. 🙁 Sadly, I had to turn around and 'walk' my bike back (3 miles) to the parking garage where my car was. Fortunately, it was mostly downhill for awhile. This is the point where I got my bro Mike on the phone, asking if he knew any tricks. “No” was his answer. He recommended I find a Wal-Mart (since they are EVERYWHERE) or something – and I tried to describe that I was in a very secluded part of San Fran. Lots of warehouses and stuff, but no Wal-Mart. Then, I saw it. “Sports Basement”. Could it be????
THE ANSWER TO MY PRAYERS! It was 6:30pm on a Sunday night, and they were open to 8pm! But, when I walked in I was confused. It looked like a grocery store!
So I made my way back to the Fish/Bike department where I found a full bike repair shop! I WAS going to ride across that dang bridge!
So, I got my new bike chain put on and the cable replaced, since that's what was giving me the problems in the first place, and now, at 6:50pm I am making my way back *UP* the giant hill to ride across the bridge!
It's about a mile and a half across the bridge – so I rode over and turned around and rode right back. What a beautiful view! I wish my camera took better pictures at night, but to see the city all lit up was wonderful. All in all, it was a great day! So, friends, when you come to visit me, we are taking the bikes to San Francisco!
Oh, and the parking pass. I stopped at the Buena Vista Cafe for a famous Irish coffee before heading out. it was AWESOME. Then I grabbed my car and followed Carolyn's instructions. She said go right to the exit station (do not pay at the machine before you get to your car) and insert your parking ticket. When it asks for money, put in the parking pass – that is your money. So I did. After putting my parking ticket the display said “$32.00” exactly as I knew it would. I put in the pass and BOOM! gate goes up and I am a free man. LOVE IT!