Biking the Golden Gate

We were only in the San Francisco Bay area for a long weekend, with a long list of coffee shops and restaurants to visit, sights to see and things to do. Realizing we didn’t have a lot of time to accomplish them all, my husband and I decided, jointly, that we would not bike the bridge.

Evidently, plans change.

We were bumming around in Golden Gate Park, dipping our toes in the water, admiring the sea lions basking on the rocks near the shore and snapping photos. The day was warm and clear, perfect for wandering and holding hands on the beach. Or so I thought. While I was enjoying the relative perfection of my surroundings, my husband was snared by the idea of a biking adventure across the bridge. He announced that we’d be going after all, and still holding my hand, pulled me into a bike rental shop.

Now, in general, I like riding a bike; but not in a dress, and not when I haven’t planned bike-riding, and especially not when the bike rental price is exorbitant! But when my other half gets an idea in his head, there it stays.

A few minutes later, my maxi-dress was converted into a tunic as I thanked my stars that I had the forethought to add leggings to my ensemble that day. A flash of intuition, perhaps? A stiff breeze flipped my hair this way and that, in turns both helping and hindering the ride. At first it was pleasant, until I overheard someone say that it takes two to three hours to complete the whole ride … which is approximately two hours longer than I wanted to be on that bike.

My husband was having the time of his life: riding with no-hands, giggling with abandon, smiling from ear to ear. He continually looked back, cajoling and teasing me, and I have to admit, it was breathtaking. The views are unbelievable, the bridge, majestic. The water beneath is such a deep and intoxicating shade of blue that you feel you could get lost in it. But the wind is merciless and forceful. On the bridge, it blows hard and without ceasing as cars whiz by only feet from your bike. The cables and steel and roaring wind become a deafening, monotonous trial.

We reached the end of the bridge and rode into Sausalito for a celebratory glass of wine. My husband was still all joy, and I realized that I needed an attitude adjustment. Wind-beaten with hair tossed into knots and tangles I thought I’d never tame, I was tired down to my bones. But he was right. Looking back to the bridge I had crossed with the power of my own two legs, I was filled with pride and wonder: proud of myself for accomplishing something even when I didn’t feel like it, and wonder because man can build a bridge so perfectly befitting one of the most beautiful cities we’ve ever visited.

My husband finished his wine and smugly asked if I was ready to ride back. My attitude adjusted and positivity restored, I said that I was ready to ride back … on the ferry. You’re beautiful, Golden Gate, and I’ll never forget our time together, but you looked just as marvelous from the boat deck as you did beneath bike tires. ♦


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