Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Bike Riding (Across the Golden Gate) 2007

When I was younger (Elementary and Midde School) I was really into bike riding. I used to take long rides on the weekends and road a 200 mile plus ride on the 4 of July weekend of the summer between 7th and 8th grade. I was a member of the Onondaga Cycling Club ( http://onondagacyclingclub.org ) and I was a regular at the Wednesday evening time trials (10 and 25 Miles) that started in Kirkville.

However, as I entered High School running became more important. While I enjoy running, bike riding provided the ability to cover greater distance. Although bike did have two major drawback in getting chased by dogs (I did get chased by dogs running because I ran the same routes I got to know where the dogs were and would make changes) and equipment breakdowns (usually flat tires). I bought a new bike when I was a junior in High School but never was able to get it setup right even though I spent quite a bit of money trying.

Eventually, I gave up and just concentrated on running. In fact my road bike was stolen for the porch of my apartment in Edison, NJ. I always planned on buying a new bike but it just never happened. One of my coworks in the System Administration Group at Bell Labs brought his bike to work and rode at lunch but I stuck with the runners.

About 10 years ago it because difficult for me to run on a regular basis. I made the plunge and invested in a middle of the line Trek Mountain Bike (I think an 880 but I am too lazy to go out the garage to check). Eventually I was taking daily rides which got longer and longer (usually between 10 and 30 miles depending how much time was available). The mountain bike worked out well for me since I was able to bail out on traffic if I needed to without potato chipping my rims.

Not long after buying the mountain bike I started to think I wanted to get a good road bike. I started to look around but I never could make the purchase. Cut to 2007 and I am still without a road bike and the mountain bike has not moved in about a year (it needs some work after the last move and I just have got around to getting done).

I am determined to make this year the year I get a road bike. While I was in San Francisco this year I wanted to go across the Golden Gate Bridge without a car. I ran into one of my high school classmates in the hotel I was staying at. She and her husband had run across the bridge during their stay in SF and I thought that would be fun but running that kind distance was not going to work for me. I knew that you could rent bikes to ride across the bridge and take the ferry back. However, I wanted to cross the bridge and get a good workout in.

Turns out that the tourist bike vendor (www.blazingsaddles.com) also rents good road bikes. Since I knew I was going to take a weekend off of skiing I made my plans to rent the bike for two days. I picked the bike up on Friday afternoon and made plans to get up early to ride over the bridge and into Marin County.

The funny thing is that while riding over the Golden Gate Bridge was the driving force behind the adventure in reality the bridge is just an obstacle to the real riding that can be done in Marin county.

Once I got over the bridge I just followed the crowd. I rode on both Saturday and Sunday. I think I did over 100 miles between the two days. I followed the bike path signs and just explored on Saturday. On Sunday I was feeling more comfortable and a fellow cyclist suggested a loop through Tiburon which I followed and it turned out to be a great ride.

You can find Marin County Bike Maps (http://www.marinbike.org/Map/Index.shtml) in most of the bike shops. I think I paid $9 after I was done riding but I am planning using it again real soon.

Now if I can get a bike here on the East Coast I can get some good rides along the Jersey Shore (http://www.njbikemap.com/). There was a recent article in Bicycling (www.bicycling.com) that listed the 100 top climbs and several of them are in New Jersey and New York. I would love to have a go at close ones for the adventure.

I am still trying to decide between a

Maybe I will make a decision soon. In the mean time I am going to just have to be happy with my spinning classes on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

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