The view, the view! And then I notice the railing’s height – or rather lack of – and remember people leap from this bridge. And even though I do not want to fling my body up and over, the edge nonetheless draws my body toward it, pulls my bike out of line for a beat till a different part of my brain kicks in, makes my arms straighten the handlebars and I return to admiring the expanse as my thighs rise and fall, feet spin, the bike propelling me forward forward forward as the waves break against the shore 220 feet below and what looks to be a Navy vessel noses under us toward the open sea.

I pause on the Marin side of the bridge, take photos, snap a selfie and post it to my Insta story.

The trek from my place near the SF Zoo to the bridge doesn’t rate as all that difficult, nothing like what shows up in my Strava feed, a place where I embrace the satisfaction of micro-achievement among my more ambitious friends, but the winding slog up Lincoln through the Presidio had forced me to stop a couple times, to reconsider whether I needed to go all the way to the bridge, to think maybe this spot on this hill could serve as an end point instead. As I’d thought this, some dude wheeled past me up the slope like he was cruising through a flower-filled flatland meadow. I stepped back on the pedals and continued toward the Golden Gate. Of course I would keep going.

I stand straddling my bike for another minute admiring the scene and pleased with myself. I wish I had someone to high-five me; I’ll take the online kudos instead.

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Lands End/Sutro Baths

I pedal back on Geary, veer onto Point Lobos Avenue, arrive at the start of Land’s End to see lines like parallel mountain ranges stretched across the ocean – the outer bar is alive with swell. People stand on the Sutro Baths ruins and point, tiny in comparison to the force coming their way. I roll downhill a bit to take in Ocean Beach from the south side of the Cliff House.

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Ocean Beach looking south from the Cliff House

The sea is a mess of heaving closeouts and whitewater. People play volleyball, soccer, toss Frisbees. Waves triple the height of an average human warrant little attention from beachgoers – except from the surfers, who stand waiting for the ocean to organize this late season swell into proper peaks with shoulders and stand-up barrels. I duck my bike between parked cars, fly the rest of the way down as Point Lobos becomes Great Highway, pedal the length of the Outer Sunset until at last I’m home.


The original Reluctant Cyclist post

The Reluctant Cyclist, NCJ series

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