Sunday, March 13

test ride over the Golden Gate Bridge

Join Me for the official SRCC March Magic Ride March 28th at 9:30 AM in Corte Madera

24.5 miles 2 hours 5 minutes

In two weeks I lead a club ride from Corte Madera to the far end of the Golden Gate Bridge and back. I needed to have ride sheets to pass out giving distances, turns, Street names, and other details, so I decided to do a test run. Today the spouse dropped me off by the California Pizza Kitchen in the Corta Madra Town Center at 11:00 AM.

Calif. Pizza Kitchen at Corte Madera Town Center
Calif. Pizza Kitchen at Corte Madera Town Center

Cyclist's route description: First, around the shops and exit left on Tamal Vista. At the light, eyeball the third left only 100 feet ahead. A steady 1 mile climb up Meadowsweet hooks left just where the route continues south on a path separated from the 8-lane Hwy 101 by a chain-link fence. Path becomes Lomitas—be sure to take the opportunity to enjoy the really good views of the Bay here.

Lomitas turns left at a little school, then reaches a light at Blithedale, a major local road. The bike path continues on the other side of Blithedale. It runs on a old railroad grade for several miles across brackish wetlands. After passing under the 101 and reaching a controlled intersection by Mike's Bikes, a good way to go on is to cross the local main road and take the bike lane. The side roads and old bike paths are rough. On one stretch along the old RR grade, tree roots have made the path almost unrideable.

A caution when going thru central Sausalito on a weekend. Shoppers and tourists don't always use the cross-walks and will move without warning. At the south end of town the road turns right—west—uphill. In one block, there is a left turn for 3-4 blocks, then another left turn, and the climb to the Bridge has begun.

A-level or less fit riders will need their lowest gears often.
CAUTION: When resting, move off of this busy, narrow, twisting road.
Fit riders who are not bothered by narrow, dark underpasses can go straight to the top of the climb, under the 101, past the on-ramp, left into a little parking lot, and on to the Bridge.

Other riders are advised to take the Ft. Baker road to the right, double back under the main road, and ride on into the old army base. (The base used to tend the submarine nets protecting San Francisco Bay during WWII.) The route reaches a T-intersection where you go left on Moore. Past the Coast Guard base one weaves past several concrete barriers and starts a serious climb up a wide, smooth, traffic free road. (In a 40-gear-inch low I stopped twice climbing to the little parking lot at the north end of the bridge.) Even if you are not tired (I was), stop anyway and get a good look at the bridge structure and the seismic retrofitting.

At this point wipe off the sweat and put on a light wind breaker. The Golden Gate Bridge with approaches is nearly two miles long, one mile gentle climb and one mile drop down towards San Francisco. Take care going around the towers and other obstacles, there isn't much clearance and oncoming cyclists don't slow down much. At the south end the path makes a sharp right, doubles back under the bridge, climbs steeply up to the south (pedestrian) bridge-walk, then drops to the tourist area and snack shops. I took one hour, nine minutes going south with note taking.

Rest, eat, rehydrate, and return.

When you take the bike path next to the 101 that goes over the hill between Mill Valley and Corte Madera, resist using your brakes. The last 100 yards is sharply up and momentum can carry you over it. Once off the path go straight down the frontage road. Do not turn left and go back the way you came. Freewheel down this STEEP hill past a small on-ramp. I reached 43 MPH without trying. Smooth gentle curves. This road leads back to the intersection you crossed leaving the Corte Madera Town Center. Head into the lot and back to your car. I have a voucher for the California Pizza Kitchen and will have a snack before going home—any who like are welcome to join me. In this test trip, I took 56 minutes to return.

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