Day 32: Pacific Coast, Check! (San Rafael to San Francisco)


Johnny & Sang Hyun at the Golden Gate Bridge

Johnny & Sang Hyun at the Golden Gate Bridge

This is it.  The final post of our trip.  With only about 25 miles to ride, we finally arrive to our destination in San Francisco where I started by Pacific Coast journey in 2010 and Sang Hyun did his in 2011.  We did snag into a snafu while rolling into the city so check out what happened.

Getting to the Bridge

Johnny & Darcy at the Golden Gate

Johnny & Darcy at the Golden Gate

We all agreed to leave Darcy’s place in San Rafael by 10 AM today as she needed to ride into the city for a job and she can show us a less strenuous route.  We reloaded our bike once more with our panniers and started our journey through the local neighborhoods of San Anselmo, Kentfield, Larkspur, and Corte Madera.  Darcy took the time to explain to us about the neighborhoods we were riding through.  One of the nation’s richest zip codes as many celebrities and entrepreneurs occupy multi-million dollar mansions.

We were faced with the first climb towards San Francisco as we zig zagged up neighborhood streets until we reached the top of Mill Valley where we plunged into a fun descent.  Darcy with her light road bike zoomed up way ahead of us while a few other roadies easily negotiated pass us and accelerated down the hill with ease.  We finally reached the other side where Darcy guided us onto the bike path which took us into Sausalito.

We joined hundreds of cyclists on the path into Sausalito.  Some people slowed to asked where we came from and where we were heading.  We even got people barking at us for not riding in a single file.  Oh it’s good to be riding in a busy situation.  We eventually got out of Sausalito after navigating through a busy town of tourists and shoppers.  We were then faced with the last and steepest hill of the day towards the 101 / Golden Gate bridge.  Darcy easily ascended the hill as I followed behind.  We eventually made it over to the North side of the bridge where it was over populated with tourists on bikes.

We Did It!

IMG_0284

We commemorated our achievements with a handshake and photos.  We relished the moment a bit and watched Darcy ride over the bridge first to her job.  Some folks came by to ask us about our journey.  We explained our trip for the last time while they congratulated us and rode off.  We finally got on the bridge and made our journey across the overcast bridge.  It was freezing while we dodge oncoming cyclists who were distracted with their photos and video moments.

One Last Thing

IMG_0287

When we got over to the South side of the bridge, we looked for the Presidio because we thought there would be camping for the night.  Unfortunately, that was not available so we spent a few minutes on Warm Showers and calling hotels and hostels but nothing was available.  The situation was looking dire so we decided to ride to Fisherman’s Wharf area for some lunch before figuring out our next step.  As a last resort we were going to ride down to Half Moon Bay to camp which was another 40+ miles.  As we relaxed and ponder our next move, one of Sang Hyun’s friend, Leslie, commented on an update and offered her place to stay.  Sang Hyun made some calls and text messages and we were offered a place to stay at San Leandro which was South of Oakland on the Eastside of the Bay.  She even drove over to pick us up after having dinner.  We were both relieved and happily paid for her dinner for the night.  Our bikes were happily unloaded and hung onto her car’s bike rack as she chauffeured us across the Bay Bridge and out of the city.

Carpool Back

The next morning, we had a quick breakfast at the local bagel shop in town while we waited for Dave to show up with a SUV rental.  Dave was the guy we met in Oregon and have been hanging out with after our rides for the past few nights.  We all thought it would be a good idea to come home earlier if we split the cost of the rental as Dave can drop us off in LA while he continues home.  This was a much better idea than riding further down to San Luis Obispo to catch the train, which would have taken another 6 days of riding and camping.  When Dave arrived, we played a little bit of car Tetris as we arranged 3 bicycles and multiple panniers in a medium-sized SUV and to have 3 available seats for passengers.  We were successful!  We said goodbye to Leslie as we drove out of the Bay Area and show up at our front doors 6 hours later on the 5 freeway.

On the way back, we all talked about things we would have done different and some of our favorite parts of our trip.  We relived every moment as if we were there again.  We talked about our bikes and our gears with nostalgia.  I felt happy and sad.  I still can’t believe it was all over and was excited to be back at home with my mom and being under a roof.


About Johnny Lam

Johnny is an avid cyclist who enjoys bicycle touring as well as anything bicycle related. Johnny has traveled the entire Pacific Coast by bike from Vancouver to the border of California and Mexico. He’s also toured through-out locations in Southern California. Johnny is also a League of American Bicyclists League Certified Instructor (LCI) and also completed the Adventure Cycling Association’s Leadership Training Course (LTC). He is an active member in Los Angeles bicycling community being involved in organizations like the Los Angeles County Bicycling Coalition (LACBC), C.I.C.L.E. (Cyclists Inciting Change through Live Exchange), and Bike San Gabriel Valley (Bike SGV) by taking part in ride marshaling, pedestrian & bike counts, and other volunteering opportunities.