The plan was to head north from San Francisco and find a beach to sleep on before riding back to town in time for an Ikea shipment; we ended up sleeping in a stranger's VW Westfalia pop-top camper. It all started back in Sacramento where I left work early to make sure my front Surly Nice rack was waiting at my door, packed up my other bags, and biked over to Edible Pedal to get the rack installed and to throw on a new chain. Fully loaded, the first stage of the trek to SF via rail began on the Capitol Corridor Amtrak train. Two hours and $31.00 later I pass through Emeryville, bike two miles to the MacArthur BART Station, and meet Lauryn at the 24th Street & Mission stop. Four blocks later we are at her apartment unloading my bags to split the load and repack in the morning.
|Fully loaded in the MacArthur BART station.|
|Unpacking and redistributing weight.|
Bikes may run on human power but humans still run on caffeine. Quick stop at Ritual Coffee on Valencia Street and we are good to go.Valencia to South Van Ness, South Van Ness to Van Ness, we are already at the waterfront. This way cuts off the extra six miles I was thinking of taking by biking to AT&T park first and then heading up Embarcadero.
|Ready to ride...after some caffeine intake.|
Somehow we luck out and get to cross the Golden Gate Bridge without battling the fog, a rare occurrence in San Francisco. Tourists aren't awake and renting bikes at this time so the ride is actually nice. Off to Sausalito we go.
|GG Bridge...and no fog!|
Following signs for Sausalito brings bikers underneath the bridge on a steep curvy downhill before dumping you at the bottom of a big hill to climb before coasting downtown. Continuing straight through town leads to the bike path toward Mill Valley. This is all familiar from my July 4th ride up Highway 1 to Point Reyes and then back to SF, but it feels good to not need a map this time around.
|Turning off the town road to the "highway".|
|Lauryn crushing the hills.|
Hills and loaded bikes demand calories. Trail mix with a "healthy" portion of three different types of M&Ms along with PB&J on tortillas does the trick. Overnight trips typically involve sleeping somewhere, and at this point Stinson Beach wasn't looking as good as I had thought. Camping on the beach would involve carrying the bikes and all of the gear to the far end and then hoping we wouldn't get kicked out by the rising tide or police in the middle of the night. We decide to "figure it out later" and continue biking north.
|Lunch detour off of Hwy 1. Trail mix for days.|
|The ultimate touring machines.|
Ends up that people in town are more than pretty relaxed, they are also overly generous. Lauryn and I decide to stop at the only restaurant in town for dinner and to ask some locals where we should sleep. The restaurant host overhears us talking to two other guys and offers up his VW Van at no charge. Before we knew it he was walking home to grab the van and park it near the beach for us.
|Local beach in Bolinas complete with surfers and no waves.|
|Loading up on protein.|
With the clock ticking past 0945 we set off south on Highway 1 for the straight shot back to Mill Valley. City and bridge views were traded for ravine and ocean views on this route. The uphill climbs never end on Highway 1, but the reward of flying downhill is totally worth the battle. Temperature swayed as we rode through sun and fog, uphill and downhill, so a stop to rest and shed layers at the Muir Beach Overlook was due.
|Ocean views heading south on Hwy 1.|
|Endless stairs to the Muir Beach Overlook. Worth it.|
|Enjoying the cool fog and rest overlooking Muir Beach.|
Passing by the Highway 1 and Panoramic Highway intersection means it is all downhill from here. The best way to head downhill safely is to take the whole lane and let any cars coming up just ride behind until they can pass. Most all drivers were pleasant and respectful; however, there is always the one person who must have had a bad experience biking as a child and likes to pass bikers with only inches to spare.
|To the right we go...|
Highway 1 turns off to the Mill Valley-Sausalito bike trail to downtown Sausalito, just a straight shot away from the Golden Gate Bridge. Not too long after struggling through tourists biking and stopping in random spots over the bridge we are dodging potholes on Van Ness Street heading back toward 21st Street.