With sharp bike maneuvering and a bit of patience, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge is always an auspicious start to adventure. Gusting winds blow our pannier laden bikes sideways. We get raged by time-trialing roadies and stuck behind tourists teetering on rental bikes. But we persevere, beckoned by the North Bay’s redwooded valleys, windswept coasts, and chaparraled hills.
On the return, we ride the bridge again. At twilight the hordes pass and the bridge is ours. I wager that bike adventurers know better than anyone — possibility excepting a night guard or engineer — the secrets of the bridge after dark. At 9pm, the bridge closes to pedestrians and a tall gate blocks egress to the walkway. A pedestrian can press the call button on the public telephone all she wants, but the security cameras won’t even bat an eye. For cyclists however, we simply buzz the gate and it unlocks — open sesame — enacting a secret handshake between public infrastructure and the intrepidly pedal-powered.
This Sunday, the Golden Gate Bridge celebrates her 75th anniversary with a fête and fireworks. The Flaming Bike initially planned to join the celebration by riding from north Marin and crossing the Gate in the evening. However, to get a head start on the aforementioned roadies and tourists (x100!), my cross-Marin dirt ride will proceed north instead.
Since I’m missing out on the festivities, I’m doing my hip-hip-hurrah here at the Flaming Bike Blog. Here are three memorable golden gateway adventures from the archives.