The “cycling across the Golden Gate” plan was made weeks in advance even though the bridge is a mere 45 minute drive from my home. This was definitely a case of “taking for granted what’s in your own backyard”.  I had never even walked across what has been called a modern wonder, much less took the time to pack up my gear and cycle the 1.7 mile distance.

At temperatures of 88 degrees and above, we wouldn’t even have to wear a sweater today, which is almost unheard of on the otherwise mostly chilly bridge. We conveniently parked at the Marin Headlands lot which was surprisingly free with plenty of vacancy. It is located at the last Southbound exit {Sausalito} just before the bridge.  

I was given the heads up beforehand that bikers were only allowed on one side of the bridge. But, upon arrival we realized that there were specific hours on each pathway for cyclists:

EAST sidewalk 5 am to 3:30 pm
WEST sidewalk 3:30 pm to 9 pm

Weekends & Holidays
EAST sidewalk 9 pm to 5 am 
WEST sidewalk 5 am to 9 pm

We arrived too early for the west side ride, so maneuvering the bikes down one steep set of stairs and up another was a must in order to get to the East side. This turned out to be the most strenuous part of this adventure, I thought I was going to burst a lung. That does not mean that I am really out of shape…does it? 

Even for a Monday, there was plenty of pedestrian & cycle traffic bustling about. We started our ride at the North end of the bridge, anticipating a relaxing and picturesque journey. Picturesque? Yes. Relaxing? Not so much. The crowds proved to make for quite the obstacle course for us novice bikers, weaving amidst other sightseers. I was grateful for my borrowed helmet. At one point, an obviously more professional cyclist scolded me for not staying on the right hand side {I only ventured to the left briefly to avoid crashing into an oncoming tourist group…I swear!} This was serious riding, though we were able to stop at a couple of look out points and take the quintessential remembrance photos.

All in all, despite the aforementioned, I completely understand why folks flock to the Golden Gate Bridge…it is a spectacular structure with stunning views and an amazing experience.