The best way to conquer the Golden Gate Bridge and it’s surroundings is through riding a bike. Rent it—and start from the Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s a long ride but the scenery along the way is worth hardening your muscles. As far as I could remember, there’s an uphill struggle twice: one is overlooking the Alcatraz island and one is on your way up near the Golden Gate Bridge itself. On both occasions, I walked up with my bike in tow. I blamed it on the hills, not on my strength. Once you are up on these two hills, you’ll be rewarded by two different magnificent views while gasping for breath and taking in the air from the bay.
San Francisco is synonymous to the Golden Gate Bridge, if not to earthquakes (there was one on my last night in the city). The bridge was once the longest suspension bridge in the world and it’s 3.6 miles long. While its color is not gold but red (the website claims it is international orange—really?), it is called as such because it crosses the Golden Gate Strait, a narrow margin between the Pacific Ocean and city’s bay.
Biking the Golden Gate Bridge can be a bit dangerous especially when there’s a lot of tourists. Both bike riders and pedestrians share the same lane and if you’re a nervous wreck/biker, you’ll end up walking with your bike or bumping on someone. However, most of these tourists/pedestrians won’t really last long to the end of the bridge, but only walk halfway through the bridge and go back—after taking a lot of pictures.
If you are more adventurous, bike ’till the end of the bridge and continue all the way to Sausalito, a town with a hidden charm, I heard. From there, you can take a ferry back to the Fisherman’s Wharf. I didn’t make this route because I thought I had time to explore the place the next day. It turned out, something better happened—and I ditched my plan going to Sausalito.
On the day I biked, a heavy cloud was hovering around the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s kinda strange that downtown San Francisco was sunny and the bridge area was covered in clouds. Apparently, it’s not strange to the residents of the city. I was told that weather forecast is different in many areas of the city. The bridge area is notorious for fogs and clouds.
Both sides on the bridge have beaches where both humans and dogs frolic in the sand. The beach on the eastern side is where mostly dogs with their humans hangout together. It’s also where some water sports action is happening.
Baker Beach, on the western side, is a nude beach where few nudists and many tourists don’t bother each other. You can’t blame the tourists if they invade the privacy of the nudists here because Baker Beach has a better view of the bridge and is ultra stunning at sunset. If only I had enough time, I could have stayed here until sunset. The thought of the golden sun, the red bridge and the blue ocean gives me a sight that would, for sure, be memorable.
Tips for renting bikes
Ask the hostel where you are staying if they have discount coupons/brochures. At San Francisco Downtown Hostel where I stayed, they have a brochure that will entitle you to rent a bike for $18 only, including a camera bag, a helmet and a locker. That’s a pretty good deal!
Enjoy the rest of the photos.