Garrett (garote) wrote,

Too-Short San Francisco Ride

My original intention with this ride was to cross the Golden Gate by bike, fart around on the north side of the bay, and cross back over... But I got a late start, and then wasted too much time hanging around in the park. By the time I arrived at the bridge it had been dark for quite a while, so I ended the day's riding there.

I also underestimated the hills. Not the hills in the city - those were exactly what I expected - but the hills north of the park, which went up and down like the waves in a storm over deep ocean, forcing me to take many breaks. I hadn't seen those hills on the 3D map when I was planning the route.

Another thing that messed me up was the lack of a "granny gear". The folks at the bike shop were due to install one, in the form of a small 22-tooth gear mounted on an adapter, fitted to the inside of my current crankshaft assembly. But the adapter wouldn't fit. So I ordered a new crankshaft with different gears, due to arrive in a week. Meantime, I went on this ride ... and sorely missed that low gear.

Here I am outside the hotel where La attended her anthropologists' conference. Instead of riding, I had to push the bike for three blocks or so, because the sidewalks were crammed with people, most of them tough looking, like that bruiser over my left shoulder, or unfriendly looking, like the girl next to him in the hip sunglasses, knee-high leather boots, and "vintage" Star Wars t-shirt. As I moved away from the taller buildings, the toughies and hipsters became more ragged in appearance, and soon faded into the background of busy 30-somethings, musically-inclined beggars, and the occasional tough old lady.

When walking alone, each lady used the same grim expression and stiff gait that said "I might have a fireplace poker under my sweater, and I just might be unhinged enough to hit you with it. Do you feel lucky, punk?" I recognized it immediately, because it was how I used to walk between classes in Middle School.

Anyway, the crowds thinned, and I rode upward just for the hell of it.

Pretty soon the nifty architecture began to appear.

The sunlight was fading fast, though.

This was the last picture I managed to take before the "magic hour" sunlight faded away.

Then it was all downhill riding to the park.

I waned to explore the Japanese Gardens, but bicycles weren't allowed inside, so I contented myself with one picture and then changed into warmer gear and hung around snacking for a while.

Then I rode on, until some cute ducks forced me to stop, with their wiggly tailfeathers. It was getting very dark, so I made a loooong exposure on a group of them ... which is why one of the ducks in this picture appears to have two heads.

The fog was pretty thick by now, and would get even thicker.

I tried to get one more picture in the park, of the windmill. That turned into almost a dozen 30-second exposures as I fiddled with knobs and tripod placement. Eventually I gave up and rode out to the sidewalk along the shoreline, which was totally lost in fog. A few bonfires were still sputtering in the distance, but people were quickly abandoning them and wandering in, staggering over the sand and out of the mist like zombies in a cheap horror film.

After a lot of uneventful riding and rest breaks, I ended up outside an art museum whose name I currently forget. Please excuse the ham-handed color correction of these photos; I was attempting cleanup with a fuzzy, decade-old CRT monitor tethered to the end of a 50-foot VGA cable. Everything came out over-saturated.

Despite the heavy fog, my dynamo, headlamp, iPhone, and battery all performed fine.

Near the museum, at kind of an awkward spot near the entrance, was a Holocaust memorial.

It was a strange approach, but an effective one.

After ten zillion hills and an unplanned ride through a golf course, I made it to the cusp of the Golden Gate Bridge. But it was way too late, of course, and the bridge was closed to cyclists. Oh well, next time perhaps. Next time when I get a decent "granny gear".

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