Sunday, May 23, 2010

Twin Peaks

Who would be crazy enough to drive around San Francisco for 49 miles? Very few do, at least intentionally (although I think I met a French couple lost around here since the late 60s). Today, the 49 Mile Scenic Drive is best done on a bicycle, the car, if there must be one, parked by the hotel for the entire stay.
And so it was that today I joined a motley crew of eclectic local riders to take an unforgettable tour around time.
Bicycle culture here in San Francisco is something else. There's no equivalent in Southern California. The clothing, the choice of bikes (with a preference for 70s and 80s steel frames), accessories and cable locks, caps and spoke cards... We were quite a show rolling across the many intersections, or climbing up to the Twin Peaks.
The wind was implacable, as well as the the stop and go of the group, often broken by traffic or a few riders accelerating uphill (don't point at me!). I ended up burning much more than on equivalent half-century ride. Warming up riding over Nob Hill (I measured 19% at one point) after watching Ivan Basso triumph at the Zoncolan stage might have contributed to the high calorie consumption. The good thing about touring a city is that places to refuel are all but sparse. In San Francisco parks public fountains abound, and hot dog carts, corner stores, hole-in-the-wall pizzerias provide sustenance to the fatigued rider.
Amazing day. A big thanks to the ride organizers!

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