Crossing the bridge again, heading south, was easier than the other way round : the game was on. I was also riding close to the road and not close to the 20-floors drop to the ocean 😉
And then, I switched from the SF city map, to the first panel of the first map from the adventure cyclist association. That made the moment even more formal 🙂
The route sent me through Presidio and then the Golden Gate parks. Both are really nice and impressive. I just love American parks, like Central Park in Manhattan. They feel natural, are generally huge, and feature various areas, for sports, picnic, museums…
I keep on being impressed by how much drivers respect everyone. They wait for a bike at a stop, they don’t honk when you block their way through a right turn on red… And they wait all day long, far behind you, to have enough space to take over, and then do so with twice the distance. It feels like a different planet.
The route goes west through the park up until the Pacific Ocean. I had finished my first panel ! Ok it was a zoom in on small areas for the next panel, but making the switch felt like a first victory. Only 200 more to go ! Plus, the route was now following the ocean due south, and that was a great feeling.
After I left the city environment, the landscape looked more and more like the French Riviera. It even smelt like it, with sand and pine trees. But the slopes also started to appear. And I had to use the highway 1, which looked worrying but was really ok as the shoulder is very wide.
Two other cyclists popped up just before a long slope after Daly City. I passed the first one (who quickly went on foot) and kept behind the other one, who dragged me all the way up ! I would never have done it without him 🙂 At the top of the slope, I went to salute him and strike a conversation – which was the real challenge for me. Although it had been made easier as, one hour before at the Subway, I was approached by a very nice blonde who complimented my beautiful setup (the bike setup, of course). Anyway, he told me about them going south to Mexico, and also about not using the tunnel that was looming ahead, but rather the secondary road that was embracing the ocean. It was the former road, totally refurbished for bikes and pedestrians. The view was breathtaking.
After a few more kilometers of flat terrain, I reached my objective of a Comfort Inn just before Half Moon Bay city, after a reasonable first day of 60 kms. I treated myself with a bath and pizza 🙂 I also went on the beach to make the traditional picture of the bike in the sea, getting run over by a wave in the process 🙂