Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Big Ring Coffee Ride

Yesterday, I got to head out on the bike with two of my best friends, Coach Tim and Brian.  The riding plan was an easy loop out of Sausalito, around Tiburon, over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marina, and back.  The real plan was to spend 3+ hours chit-chatting followed by lunch.

This day came about in a rather unique way.  It starts with the fact that Brian’s family owns a small cabin in Lake Tahoe.  A couple of weeks ago Brian asked Tim and I if we wanted to go up to the cabin with him to secure it for the winter.  The original plan was to make it a “guys day.”  We would drive up (almost 4 hours), go a quick ride in the mountains, secure the cabin and come home.  Earlier this week Brian discovered the cabin was already secured so we moved our “guys day” to Sausalito (about an hour away).

Starting in Sausalito turned out to be the right call.  It was 31 degrees in Santa Rosa when I got up.  The high yesterday in Lake Tahoe was 36.  When we arrived in Sausalito it was a balmy 46.  And there was not a cloud in the sky.  Just another gorgeous fall day in Northern California.

tiburon1 Now, we think that Sonoma County is quite the Mecca for cycling.  However, when we rolled into the parking lot there were cyclists everywhere.  There wasn’t a single cafe or coffee shop that did not have a large group getting ready to ride.  We had already seen 2 or 3 large groups on the road.  There had to literally be hundreds of cyclist either riding or getting ready to hit the road.

We find a place to park, get the bikes ready, and join the masses.  Here’s the other reason we chose Sausalito.  Are plan from the very beginning was to go for a very easy ride that allowed for ample talking.  So the bike path out of Sausalito was perfect.  We could ride side-by-side and chat to our heart’s content without worrying about traffic.  Plus, all of the other cyclists, walkers, joggers, strollers, and dogs forced us to keep the pace nice and slow.  That was important since the rule for the day was the first person to shift to the big ring had to buy coffee (hence the name of the ride and this blog’s title).

CoffeeWe make our way around the point of Tiburon where our view shifts from the San Francisco skyline to the hills of the East Bay.  We rode along Paradise Drive, which I have only driven, and decide it may be the best cycling road within driving distance of home.  Then it was back to the bike path and back into Sausalito.  The total distance so far was 22 miles. 

Now it was time to head for the City across the Golden Gate Bridge. I have driven over the bridge hundreds of times and I have walked across it twice but I have never ridden over it.  So we followed the same route as this year’s Tour of California out of Sausalito and we are on the bridge.  The views of the City and Pacific Ocean were simply stunning.  In the summer, the bridge is usually covered in fog.  In the fall, it is spectacular. 

Bridge 2We rode through Crissy Field to the Marina where we stop at the Chestnut Street Coffee Roastery, which was yet another great new discovery.  Tim also bought pastries from the bakery next door.  While sipping our mid-ride coffee and eating pastries, we decided that so far it was the perfect cycling adventure. 

Finally, it was back across the bridge to Sausalito.  Once we were back we reloaded the bikes, changed and  enjoyed lunch at a locally famous pizzeria. 

There you have it.  Just another outstanding day on the bikes with great friends.  So, did we stay nice and slow as planned?  Well, the final numbers were 35.5 miles in a time of 2:41 and an average MPH of a 13.5 so I think I’ll let you decide.


1 Comment(s):

Nicole said...

if I lived in CA that's a ride I would love to do...easy pace, pastries and pizza...that defines the off season for me!!!