The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

A ride across the Golden Gate Bridge (Photos)

Posted by on December 30th, 2011 at 10:20 am

Join me for a ride on the Golden Gate.
Scroll down for more photos.

Yesterday I rode across the Golden Gate Bridge with my family and friends. It was invigorating, exhilarating, and pretty darn amazing.

We rode on the west side of the bridge — where only bikes are allowed — and enjoyed a smooth ride the entire way.

Being on a bike is a great way to explore the Golden Gate. You feel the moist fog, you hear the ships passing below, and you feel small in the presence of giant steel arches that loom above.

It was also very easy to stop and take in the sights…

Here’s my friend Joe staring off into the abyss, trying to see one of the ships below (we heard their fog horns, but could barely see them)…

Built in 1937, the Golden Gate is much more than a bridge. It’s an inspirational icon that draws tourists from around the world — many of whom rent bikes to pedal across it.

Here’s a trio of tandems hauling tourists…

I can appreciate the complexity of managing bike traffic on this bridge. Besides throngs of tourists (both on bikes and on foot), the Golden Gate also connects Marin and San Francisco — two places where bicycling is a big deal. This all adds up to a bridge that offers an interesting cross-section of people on bikes.

Managing bike access has been a thorny issue for local advocates and bridge officials. We noticed this speed reader board on the northern end where there’s a slight downhill. It not only showed bike speed, it would also flash a white dot if you were over 15 mph…

But we weren’t in any hurry… As we rode back toward Marin (north), the Headlands emerged from the fog…

Many people stopped to take it all in…

Riding across the bridge with family made it even more memorable. Here’s my daughter 9 year old daughter Eleni was a bit anxious about the ride; but she had a great time…

And my six-year old loved it too…

Even my little guy was with us (Hi Everett!)…

Having driven, walked, and biked across the bridge, I sincerely believe that seeing the Golden Gate by bike is the best way to go. Hope you enjoyed this little ride-along. Check out a few more photos in the gallery.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Joe December 30, 2011 at 10:24 am


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  • lisa smillie December 30, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Looks like fun! Nice photos, as usual.

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  • Joe Rowe December 30, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Great pictures. It’s great your kids got the experience. I worry for future Portland kids who will ride under our ugly 10 lane CRC. The CRC lanes will fill up again soon, and kids will wish we had built an alternative plan using less money and time, with a bike path that inspires like the GG Bridge.

    In my 10 years living there I never heard one politician selling the myths of more lanes & more jobs. They know active transportation means doing more with the lanes you’ve got. Even the new span of the Oakland Bridge has no new lanes.

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  • Frank Peters December 30, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Nice job, as always

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  • Carl December 30, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Those points where the bridge widens and you can step out of traffic and just look around? Belvederes? Love ’em. Your pictures made me realize how great it would be to have more of those in Portland. It sure would make Breakfast on the Bridges a more scenic (and literal) affair.

    Also, that picture of Eleni is hilarious.

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    • laura December 30, 2011 at 2:39 pm

      The new Sellwood Bridge will have 4 belevederes!

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  • Julia December 30, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Love biking the golden gate! Fun!

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  • Lenny Anderson December 30, 2011 at 11:27 am

    A second deck was considered for the GG Bridge, but rejected as well as wass a BART link to Marin. Instead Golden Gate Transit and Ferries were launched, underwritten by the one way toll. Pretty simple fix. Put a toll on a bridge (GGB always had one), and use the $ to create alternatives to driving…vanpools, carpools, better transit, even ferries. Interstate had a toll into the 60’s, so its not a stretch to bring it back. But then there is politics…Clark county is not Marin county, except that both seem to want to keep their big brothers at arms length.

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  • Nathan December 30, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Jealous! Great post!

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  • Nick V December 30, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Great photos! I’ve never been to San Francisco and have always wanted to go.

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    • matt picio December 31, 2011 at 12:26 am

      Nick, you should – awesome place to bike, lots to see, great food. Too crowded for me to want to live there, but an amazing visit, and biking over the Golden Gate is as great as Jonathan makes it look & sound. I was there in 2008 on a trip of 8 cyclists led by Jeff Bernards – it was quite the experience.

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  • Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten December 30, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    There’s also a great bike path (away from cars) from near the northern side of the Bridge (near Sausalito) to Mill Valley (the heart of Marin County) some number of miles north; and as well great bike facilities on the San Francisco side through the Presidio or along the Bay past Crissy Field. This great Bridge was built in the middle of the Great Depression (mid 1930’s)! Aside from its transportation value, what has been its PR value to San Francisico over those 70 plus years?

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  • Chris December 30, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Lived there for 6-years, and always enjoyed my rides across the bridge. I hope you get a chance to stop at the SFBC office while you are there. They are good folks, and organize so many cool activities there in SF.

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  • Mark Allyn December 30, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Great pictures!

    Thank you for sharing!

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  • Mark December 30, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Great fun. My boy & I did it a couple years ago. He was about 12ish. I see you had your own bikes. Definite step up from the rental bikes which we did.

    We started on the Wharf, rode to Marin and came back on the ferry.

    Good times

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  • Jackie Wayman December 30, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Can’t believe you traveled with bikes for all! You never cease to amaze me. Your photo essay was a treat. What beautiful scenes in the fog! It would have been a whole different feeling had it been clear! Loved it!

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  • mike December 30, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Kind of shocked there isn’t any complaints about how the lane is too narrow, no sharrows, etc, etc. It is nice to know that someone from portland can travel to another city and not bring the complaining along. Shocker!!!

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    • matt picio December 31, 2011 at 12:27 am

      Biggest complaint on that bridge is “too windy”. It really is the windiest bridge I’ve ever been on. Awesome view, though.

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  • drosen December 31, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Way too high up! I get antsy just looking at the photos. Kids! Get away from the edge! NOW!!!

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  • esther c January 2, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Beautiful photos. One of my fondest memories is of my first trips to the bay area about 30 years ago. Went to visit my sisters who had just moved to Berkeley from Virginia. The three of us walked across the Golden Gate and into Sausilito to meet a friend for lunch then took the ferry back to Berkeley.

    I am convinced that the Golden Gate bridge is the most glorious man made structure in the world. We are lucky to have the St Johns which is also a great beauty.

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  • michael January 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Great photos! Love the fog! The main thread that all these photos have is that everyone is having fun! All smiles! Wonder if everyone in the cars on the bridge were smiling! Bikes make you smile! Hug a bike today!

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  • cw January 3, 2012 at 10:32 am

    how did you get your bikes down there? i rode mine to SF from PDX this year, but didn’t get to do as much riding around SF as I wanted… am planning a trip back but am thinking I will fly down with my bike instead of riding it the whole way?? Was it a pain to ship your bikes?

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