My right medial tibial plateau is bruised and the overlying skin abraded. We slept in this morning; 10:00 Toronto time was 07:00 San Francisco time. We got out of bed after half an hour of Dan trying to stay asleep while I fidgeted, too excited about our day in a new city. We ate toast and fresh fruit downstairs in the hostel before walking 2 blocks East to pick up bike rentals and burst out a barely planned 11-hour day of cycling around this extremely hilly city. We set off southeast down Market St, heading towards a giant park and some shopping neighbourhood when my right foot slipped off my pedal and my knee slammed into my bike frame; the grip on the pedals was worn smooth. A block later I decided my hands were too cold to cycle without gloves and I wanted to exchange my bike if we were to spend a day cycling up and down hills, so we circled back around, picked up our gym gloves from the hostel and I exchanged my bike.
It took a while to get to Golden Gate park; we gave up cycling half way up most hills, a mix of poor aerobic fitness and not wanting to exhaust ourselves too soon. We marvelled at the architecture (I love bay windows) and whizzed downhill when the opportunity arose. When we finally made it to Golden Gate park we saw a flower conservatory and paid a pittance to get in (Dan, $8 adult and me $5 student) and spend half an hour taking photos of flowers. A woman walked right up to me, seeing the rental bicycle lock keys on my wrists and exclaimed, “You locked your bike to my brother’s bike!” “How!?” I was truly incredulous. We’d chosen one of two spare bike posts and locked our bikes together – to each other. Thankfully the brother showed up and declared it was all sorted, we were not the culprits and the woman backed off, and apologised. I was distracted by an amazing purple-green leaf that Daniel had pointed out, wondering how the plant produced such a glow and in such an odd distribution (across the leaf) before realising it was light from the stained glass in the walls.
The Conservatory of Flowers had many varieties of pitcher plants and orchids. I drained my iPhone battery taking photos, and got stressed I’d have a dead phone by the time we made it to the Golden Gate Bridge, our planned destination for the day.
We cycled through Golden Gate Park, past bison and a Dutch windmill before heading up the coast (a beach!) and many, many more hills, to get to the Golden Gate Bridge and our meeting point (a sports store) with Anna, and her second-cousin’s family. We had spent 4 hours cycling by then, ate Cliff Bars and Gatorade while I claimed a spare power socket and charged my phone up.
We met up with Anna and the McGlashans at Sports Basement in the Presidio, just South East of the Golden Gate Bridge. The sun came out from the cloudy sky and it was a cool afternoon. The bridge is beautiful. Cycling across it reminded me of climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge; it’s a traffic bridge and it’s high over water. I got a little scared halfway through when on one side there was buses flying past and on the other, a mortal fall to cold water. We survived. The kids loved it.
It sounds like a sausage. It made me hungry cycling there. We hadn’t had lunch. We found a burger place that churned out freshly made and quite good (not greasy or heavy to eat) burgers. We sat down on some grass before missing the ferry back to San Francisco, waiting until 18:05 for the next ferry. At the San Francisco Ferry Building we ate tacos for dinner (Mijita) before parting ways; the kids were falling asleep and we had to return our rental bicycles. What a day!