“Sort-of-Sabbatical” Day Ten, Tuesday June 12
Even though it turns out to be a popular rendezvous point, a parking lot seems like a strange place to meet up with some guy I’ve known only from EX.com. So I email him the night before and suggest that perhaps starting our ride from a cafe might be nice. He’s agreeable.
But between the cafe and the Ducati lies an obstacle of sorts.
I can not believe I’m about to ride across the Golden Gate bridge! I’ve been marveling at the thought of it since I left Arizona, jabbing my friends in the arm and informing them of this over and over until they wanted to whack me on the Shoei. But today is the day! Even though I’ll ride many more miles, and find myself much further from home than San Francisco, for me, the bridge has come to represent the relative bigness of my ride. It’s so spectacularly, well… landmark! I’ve come a long way!
Here’s “Apriliarider” arriving at the BridgeWay Cafe on his Italian rocketship.
Meeting at a cafe turned out to be a good idea. These eats are the real deal!
After enjoying our croissants and coffee, (and after I’ve decided Apriliarider is not going to cut my body into pieces and throw them off the bridge), we head off to our parking lot, which happens to afford spectacular views of the bridge. We are not the only ones here, though, oh no. The spot is mobbed with tourists (many of them on motorcycles) all angling this way and that to get a shot like this:
Apriliarider is a gracious tour guide, allowing me time to take countless photos of the Ducati and the bridge, and he has planned out a nice loop for our day. We stop at the Marin Headlands for another view.
But the scenery for the rest of the afternoon flies by faster than any camera shutter. The Panoramic Highway (“Mt. Tam Road”) is freshly paved, and we have it 100% to ourselves, which, in a populated area such as this, is a near miracle. Never in my life have I seen switchbacks in this kind of shape: the pavement is flawless, and there’s not a speck, no not even a crumb, of gravel or sand or road surface hazard of any sort to worry about. It’s one thing to arrange for a good sporting run on your own turf, it’s quite another to have one fall into your lap while touring. The only fly in the ointment, and it really is just a small fly, is that I’m moving at “never seen this road before” speed. Apriliarider is outriding me easily, but he’s a polite enough host to honor my reconnaissance pace and I’m hoping he finds it respectable, at least. Still and all, my boots kiss pavement a time or two as we dodge about the redwoods, bikes swinging left and right beneath us. We fly north next, squeezing between the Point Reyes National Seashore on our west and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area on our east, and then dart southeast with a zig and a zag, before we – whoosh! - close the loop and part ways with a friendly wave and salute. It was Splendour on the Asphalt, Glory of the Throttle! And with that I offer my thanks to Apriliarider... and my apologies to William Wordsworth.