Our plan for today was to leave San Francisco around noon and to take an easy ride down the coast. We figured traffic would be pretty bad on a Sunday, but we didn’t want to wait until tomorrow so we agreed to do a fairly short ride today if the traffic was very stressful. Our late start meant that we were able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast with Mary Kay and Ryan. Mary Kay’s sister and her sister’s boyfriend also came over for breakfast and we had a nice time talking with them about biking and travel.
Leaving the city was a rather slow process since we hit a lot of red lights, but eventually we reached the famous (among cyclists) “wiggle” bike route through the city. It’s called the wiggle because it includes a lot of turns, but it’s about the flattest route you can take through the city so it was very handy for us on our loaded touring bikes. After the wiggle we rode through Golden Gate Park which had a major road closed to cars since it was Sunday. It was a delight to bike along the road devoid of traffic. There were lots of people out enjoying the sunny day in the park. All of a sudden the sunny day disappeared and we rode into a heavy, cold fog. It was amazing how different the weather was as we got closer to the Pacific coast. We stopped to put on an extra layer before turning south along the coastal highway.
Along the coast south of San Francisco is Daly City. We were surprised to encounter a very long, steep hill as we biked through a neighborhood of Daly City. The hill climbed over 600 feet before we zoomed down the other side back to almost sea level. I was seriously glad we had disk brakes to keep our speed in check down this steep residential street. We were chilly after the descent so we stopped for a hot chocolate and a snack at the bottom.
We continued south along the coast through Pacifica, enjoying the views of the ocean and surfers in the water. We had a wide shoulders or quiet streets to ride up to this point, but after Pacifica was a narrow two lane road with a fair amount of traffic. Thankfully the traffic was mostly courteous and after this short section we actually got off the highway and rode along the Devil’s Slide trail. This trail is where the highway used to go before they re-routed it through a tunnel. We had another climb on the Devil’s Slide section, but that allowed us to get up above the fog layer for a little while. It was nice and scenic, but after that we were back on the highway with the traffic. We were more than ready to stop when we reached Montara and found a decent room at the Ocean View Inn. Dinner was sandwiches and milkshakes from the deli next door as we watched a couple episodes of Downton Abbey. Tomorrow should take us about half of the remaining distance to Santa Cruz, then we’ll turn inland to Salinas where friends of Caroline live.