I was all set to load the car for a tennis tournament in Mill Valley, California, just north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge. I came across the Marin County Bicycle Coalition bike map and convinced myself I didn’t need a car.
Everything for my trip fit in a Red Oxx Air Boss bag, while the yellow Lightning bike panniers only have a jacket and bike repair items. I preferred to have everything in one bag, and it fit fine on top of the panniers with velcro straps. The bike was easy to take on the train from the central San Joaquin Valley to Emeryville, and on the bus from there to the San Francisco Wharf. The bus to Emeryville had a front bike rack, while the return trip required putting the bike in the bottom storage. The Amtrak employees on the train and bus were always very helpful.
I talked my sister into going up with me to ride the Golden Gate. We arrived in San Francisco at 11:30 and she rented a bike from Blazing Saddles near Pier 41. We had a pleasant ride on the bike path past the dog walkers at Crissy Field, the many pedestrians and bikes on the East side of the bridge, and a fun downhill ride to Sausalito. After a stroll and late lunch, we took an afternoon Blue and Gold ferry back Pier 41 to return the bike I bid my sister farewell and she caught the bus and train back home, while I took the ferry back to Sausalito. I rode the bike path to my motel, and for the next three days was able to ride to the tennis club, go shopping, play golf, do laundry, and general sightseeing without any worry about parking or heavy traffic.
Travel writer Rick Steves writes about the advantages of bike riding on vacations in Europe (“Biking in Europe: A cultural bridge,” June 16, 2010, CNN.), but the San Francisco and Marin County area is well suited to vacation biking.
My Lighting Voyager was highlighted in the Ecovelo gallery before, but without the completed paint job. I don’t take apart the frame often, but on longer trips it is a lifesaver. The Thunderbird theme was painted by Spectrum Powderworks in Colorado, with red and white nose stripes, Thunderbird logo and lettering on the down tube, and Air Force logo with stars and stripes on the chain and seat stays. I shortened the cranks, added new wheels and stem, and a new seat cover.
Now, I have to practice my serve. —Larry