The Ultimate San Francisco Bike Ride

A few Sundays ago, I did something I’d never done before…I bunked off church. I’ve missed church many times in the past but always for planned events or reasons. However this particular weekend, the Dude had a sleepover until 5pm on Sunday afternoon and so I bunked off church and went cycling with the Husband. It felt naughty and awesome.

Our route was a ride I’d wanted to do ever since we moved here but had never got round to doing. It’s amazing how a deadline can motivate you to do stuff you’ve meant to do for ages! We loaded the bikes into my much-loved Honda Fit (does anyone want to buy it?) and drove into the city, parking at the little car park on Lincoln Avenue, near the bridge.

It’s a classic SF route. Over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Headlands. Up Hawk Hill, down the drop-off and back round the loop, finishing with a trip back over the bridge. That loop is about 15 miles, more or less. We considered continuing on to Sausalito or Tiburon but the bike ride was the day after the Husband did his Spartan race and he was still rather ‘sore’ post-battle.


The ride was gorgeous. It’s always wonderful to cycle over the bridge, dodging the tourists. I was nervous about the climb – the bottom section of Hawk Hill is steep and I was worried I’d be so slow that, clipped in, I’d just keel over…but I didn’t fall. We worked steadily and without too much trouble reached the top and the views made it all worth it.

We’re going up there!
At the top

The road then narrows to a one-way street and drops precipitously over the side. It’s steep, winding and honestly looks like you’re dropping off the edge of the world. I freaked out, stopped, unclipped and walked my bike shamelessly for half a mile or so until the gradient became less terrifying. A cyclist flew past me and asked if I was okay. ‘Yes, just scared.’ I yelled back. ‘Me too’, he told me, which I appreciated even if he was whizzing fearlessly into the distance.

See the road snaking down the hill? It was scarier than it looks!

Back on flatter roads, we bowled along happily for the next few miles until the detour climb back up to Conzelman Road. The climb was solid but not brutal and before long we were whizzing back down Hawk Hill, stopping at the wonderful lookout point for photos.

Beardy Wierdy, happy me, Karl the Fog

The fog was rolling in now and the Husband’s Spartan-trashed legs were aching, so we cycled back over the bridge. It was freezing in that deathlike Karl the Fog way but before long we were back at the car.

Clearly this isn’t an epic tale of endurance and fortitude – it’s a tale of a delightful ride on an iconic SF route. I’m so glad we did it before we left. A week or so later, Lexi Miller, who make the most wonderful cycling clothes that I can’t afford, did a 4-minute video of one of their ladies cycling the same route. It’s inspiring (even if she didn’t have to walk the scary bit) so get your cup of tea and have a watch! I know I’ll be watching it when we’re back in the UK and getting all homesick for the city by the bay.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. So beautiful! I miss those views.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yeah, they’re great. I’ll miss them too.

  2. gracechua31 says:

    Beautiful views! And what luck with the weather. You know what – social media these days is all about #hardcore #epic endurance feats so it’s really nice to see a post about one enjoyable bike ride with no Strava segments. Heh.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Ha, yes this wasn’t exactly #epic #cycleallthemileseatallthepizza. It was fun though 🙂

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