This was part 2 of the Taxi comeback. This was a ride that we did a while, back but I did it on my regular road bike, with gears, and shifting, while Pete did it on his fixed gear. Well, this was intended to be a fixed gear ride, so I went ahead and brought my IRO fixed gear bike. I did this with some apprehension, as I had not done any climbing on this bike at all … mainly rode along flat bike trails with this.
There were a few hills of note that I was really weary of … first, the hill climbing out of Sports Basement to get to the bridge. Then, there’s the descent into Sausalito, and unless you’ve ridden a fixie, you won’t know how fearful that is. Since this is fixed gear, you can’t simply coast down the hill. You have to pedal fast, just to keep up with the speed that you are going. I like to coin this as descending like a bionic gerbel. There’s also the climb going up Camino Alto, but the worst I think is the climb out of Sausalito over to the GG bridge … you know, the really fast downhill we went on??? I gotta climb up that coming back home!
I did surprisingly well … I guess you gotta conquer your fears by just doing it once … I wasn’t suffering as much as I thought I was. I just had to make sure my cadence was at a manageable level, and if it got too hairy, apply the brakes! After this ride, I think I will put on the rear brakes … when I bought it from Henry, he only had front brakes on … if I do more rides like this, I better put on rear brakes as well. One thing this ride did … it sure tested my left hand braking skills.
As expected, I was the last of the fixies to complete the hills, but I was not the last one totally. That actually did a lot for my confidence level. When we started going on the Tiburon loop (which by the way is a great loop for fixies), I really got into a good groove. In fact, I was ahead of everyone. Once you get into a nice rhythm, you just wanna keep going.
After getting to Tiburon, we decided to take a few shots. From Tiburon, on a clear day, you can get a great view of the SF Bay skyline … it was a little hazy today, so the visibility was not the best I’ve seen, but it wasn’t bad either.
We had lunch at one of Pete’s favorite Mexican restaurants. This was not on the main road, off the beaten path a little bit. This was nice, as it was not crowded, didn’t have to wait, and you can just sit down, and relax, and wait for your food. Burritos are a nice way to chow down in the middle of a ride … I had the El Chewbacca. hmmm … that went down good.
On the way back, the imfamous climb from Sausalito back to the GG bridge. This is tough on a fixie, but it was still doable. I was able to keep balance at all times, and I didn’t feel like I was rolling to slowly up the hill. I just wonder where I had all this energy from? I finally made it to the GG Bridge, and the next challenge was to cross the bridge with all the Blazing Saddles tourist traffic. Blazing Saddles is a company that rents bikes for tourist to pedal across the bridge. However, most of the people who rent either are not very strong riders, or they don’t know how to handle themselves on the road. This makes for a dangerous combination on the GG Bridge. In fact, I saw about 10-20 people, hanging out at one of the structures of the bridge, and blocking the way for cyclists to come through. This almost got me in an accident, as I was trying to maneuver around them, and then another bike came head on to me. Adding to the frustration at this point, there were a couple of kids, who were struggling around the structure, with the wind, and they were obstruction my way to get across.
Later on, I saw not one, but two Blazing Saddles riders, who were riding northbound, with one hand free, taking video camera shots as they cross the bridge. Talk about risky! Then, there are a number of other people who would just stop right in the middle of the path, to take a picture of the bridge … there are cutouts where you can take pictures, but I guess these folks didn’t know about that. Dang … it’s just getting worse and worse out there. So if you do plan to ride across the bridge, be very careful of those Blazing Saddles riders … big big hazard!