Inaugural bike ride

Leif Johnson — 22 Sep 2003, 01:09

After my bike arrived in a UPS box, I reassembled it Thursday and took it out on Saturday (a week ago now—how time flies) and rode out ... I had wanted to get to the Muir Woods, but as I rode up over the Golden Gate Bridge I found out a bit more of just how in shape I am not. So in Sausalito I rode a bit on a flat, windy, nice bike route through some low marshy territory, and then decided to head back to San Francisco.

Sausalito is down a considerably sized hill from the north end of the bridge. On the way down there were many Sunday bikers completely taking up the shoulder there, going about 10 mph. Frustrated, I rode around them, reaching about 25 mph in the road. But it didn't dawn on me until I'd reached Sausalito, exhausted already, that I had to ride back up that hill to get back to San Francisco.

Thus having expended most of my energy, I stopped at a bike shop at the start of this bike path in Sausalito, got a huge, wonderfully greasy club sandwich at a convenience store called something like The Bait Shop, and hungrily snarfed down half of it along with most of a bottle of Gatorade. Thankfully, that was enough energy to get me back up the hill and onto the bridge. The view of San Francisco from the hill at the north end of the bridge is quite nice ; maybe the next time I ride over there I'll get a photo.

I stopped for a few minutes to eat the second half of my sammy on the south tower of the bridge. As I munched, I noticed some flickerings down below the bridge, so I approached the railing and looked down to see three folks kite surfing along the water. Looked like a lot of fun, somehow a nice combination of walking on water and flying. I plunged onward, though, at this point quite eager to make it back home for a beer.

Thus was the inaugural bike ride in San Francisco completed. It was a pretty long one for me, about 25 miles according to my little bike computer, and it took me about 2 hours of cycling time (but about 2 hours 40 minutes including those necessary rest breaks !). I definitely need to work up to these long rides in the future ; this one took most everything out of me.

The Race

The next day I got to see some of the T–Mobile International (formerly the SF Grand Prix), a pretty cool bike ride that went right up Columbus and bragged several members of the US Postal team, in addition to some other famous pro cyclists that I'd never heard of. Surprisingly, the race also brought out a number of spectators with really nice road bikes, the likes of LeMonde and Pinarrelo (or something like that) and other random Italian bike companies. I'd never seen so much money invested in bikes in one city block of space before.

The race blocked off traffic pretty much all day, much to our frustration, since we were eager to get out and do some furniture shopping. The joys of city life.

Programming and settling

I'm getting a bit more settled here. Our house is quite the place, a nice combination of energetic and relaxing. I've been trying to get more focused on doing some real programming, especially after I checked the bank account balance and realized I need to work in order to make money. Nice. But for the time being I'm enjoying being here, coding when I can, and generally experiencing the city.


I've been going to do some volunteer work as a precal TA at a high school here. It's a fantastic experience, and the kids in the course have really impressed me so far. They're much more motivated than I expected. It's phenomenally difficult for teachers to address the ability gap in these classes, though : some students are capable of moving so quickly through these mathematics concepts, while some others really have to work at each one before they can move on. It's a challenge for anyone to address effectively.