John Beagle

People, Places and Things

Biking the Golden Gate Bridge

Recently I had the pleasure of the Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour via the San Francisco Bay Trail, the Battery East Trail, Mill Valley Sausalito Path and numerous roads.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers there are only 7 wonders of the Modern World, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of them. Other great wonders include the Chunnel (Channel Tunnel), the Empire State Building, the CN Tower, Itaipu Dam, Netherlands North Sea Protection Works and the Panama Canal.

Fort Mason
Photo: View of the Golden Gate bridge from first hill climb at Fort Mason.

There were 2 of us on the windy, 21 mile, spectacular view, bicycle ride. Our bikes were all carbon fibre road bikes made by Specialized.

The route was primarily paved and mixed use, people and bikes. However in Sausalito we did encounter mixed auto and bike path traffic. The hill climbs and the auto traffic in Sausalito is too challenging for the inexperienced and young children. The weather was beautiful, sunny yet windy with gusts up to 20+ mph.

Blazing Saddles

We rented our bikes from Blazing Saddles located in North Beach, they are located on the corner of Columbus Ave and Francisco St. This is their main hub for our high end road and mountain bikes (Tel. 415.202.8888. The bike mechanics adjusted seats, installed special pedals and made us take a test ride before we took off on our trip. I have to say the service was excellent and the shop was well equipped.

We started our trip at the bike shop and rode to the ‘official’ start point on the San Francisco Bay Trail, near Fort Mason, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and the Herbst Pavilion. It was at Fort Mason where we encountered a significant climb in elevation.

Battery St

Photo: Top of first hill climb at Battery St.

We rode along the shoreline for few miles along Crissy Field then by the University of San Francisco Presidio Campus. Continuing on to Fort Point, a Civil War era brick fort. It lies at the southern end of the bridge and is open for tours.

South Shorline view of the Golden Gate Bridge

Note: You are unable to bring your bike on the Fort Point Tour. We turned 360 degrees around from the fort to start the second significant uphill climb on Long Avenue and the Battery East Trail. Since it was a weekend, we were to take the west lane. Weekdays daylight to 3:30 you have to use the east lane. We rode first under and then up and on to the Golden Gate Bridge.

GG Bridge from South Shore
Photo: View of bridge from southern shore near Ft. Point.

After going across the bridge we went uphill and then a large downhill ride where we had to share the road with cars. This was on Alexander Ave to Sausalito. A city of just over 7000 people, Sausalito is known for its houseboat homes, it’s wealthy and it’s artistic people. We continued on along Richardson Bay, through Bothin Marsh Preserve on the Mill Valley Sausalito Path. We crossed east to a bridge that took us over Pickleweed Inlet to Hauke Park. From there we took Hamilton Drive under RT 101 Redwood Highway. We traveled on a side road parallel to the highway to Strawberry neighborhood and then on to Tiburon Blvd to our final destination, Tiburon. From there we took the ferry back across the bay to our start point.

The riding portion of the trip took about 2 hours and took us 21 miles. I’d rate this  4.5 Stars.

There are lots of options for biking in San Francisco including Mountain Biking and other off road options as well as miles and miles of paved bike/walking paths.

If you like to bike, I would recommend biking the Golden Gate Bridge! Here is the official San Francisco Bike Map:


Bike Travels on My YouTube Channel

Visit “Bike Travels“, my YouTube Channel.

I’ve taken some amazing bike trips such as my trip to Skagway, Alaska where I biked down White Pass Summit!

Our trip started with a two hour train ride on the White Pass – Yukon Route into the Yukon Territory in Canada. We boarded in Skagway and traveled north to a summit elevation of 2865 feet at the White Pass summit.

There we got our bikes and started down on our 15 mile bike trip.

or Visit “Politics“, My YouTube Channel on Monroe Politics

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Doing the Duval Crawl

If you like to drink, eat and be merry, the Duval Crawl is something you ought to try. Great for groups of friends.

Bars line the entire length of Duval Street, Key West, Florida, 33040. As you crawl from one bar to the next, you hear so much live music coming from just about everywhere!

On the street there were street musicians and in the bars there was an excellent variety of mostly late 60s to late 80s music. Note: the Irish bars still played their traditional folk music.

Here is the Duval Crawl List

Bull & Whistle
801 Bourbon Bar (had the drag queens out front)
Bourbon Street Pub (had the shirtless bartender)
Green Parrot (live music, funny signs)
Virgilio’s (stuffy, can’t eat in the window seats)
Rum Barrel (where we had great onion soup)
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Café (foofoo drink land, packed all the time)
The Top (roof of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, see slideshow for photos from the roof)
Hard Rock Café (ok place, but nothing that special)
Fat Tuesday (wall o frozen drink machines, many flavors ready to go)
La-Te-Da (where we had shrimp cocktail, shrimp good coctail sauces, not so good)
Rick’s Key West (live music, draft beer, long bar next to Durty Harry’s)
Captain Tony’s Saloon (suprise entertainer at Hemingway’s place)
Sloppy Joe’s Bar (loud, crowded, young and fun)
Hog’s Breath Saloon (folk music, older crowd, nice place)
Pier House Resort (really nice hotel at the end of the street)

Here are a few of the bars on the Duval Crawl List:
Green Parrot
Key West 091Draft Beer Selection at the Green ParrotNo snivelling, excess in moderation, hippies use side door, enforcing the two-tooth minimum at the Green Parrot. Come inside and see the invisible men the signs all said. We went inside, I had a Newcastle. This bar is NOT on Duval, but its on our list. This place has live bands.

Fat Tuesday Crop
We had frozen drinks at Fat Tuesday. They had a whole wall of frozen drink mixers. I had a Rum Runner – 151 Rum, Banana, Blackberry and Tropical Punch with Pineapple Juice. Got a brain freeze.

801 Burbon Street
If you like drag queens, then you need to go to the show. Don’t look now but that one wants to talk to me. I said hi, then we went inside the bar portion of the place, we didn’t make the show. There were two bartenders who were serving a full bar like it was a walk in the park. They were fantastic as they waisted no moves mixing complex blender drinks. It was as if they were in a ballad and we were watching them dance around and make drinks. Oh, did I mention that this was a gay/transvestite bar?

Hogs Breath Saloon LIve Performers
These guys were great at the Hogs Breath Saloon. They played 60s folk music such as Simon and Garfunkel.

The Whistle Bar over The Bull
The Bull and Whistle bar are two bars in one. The Bull had nice live entertainment and a good variety of draft beer. This was our first stop, I ordered a Key West Pilsner, it was ok.

The Bull - Live Entertainment
These guys were great, one played a 12 string guitar, the other, a 6 string.

Sloppy Joe's Stage
Sloppy Joe’s was a young crowd with very loud music. The place was packed, yet the service was good. But this was not the Sloppy Joe’s that Ernest Hemingway frequented when he lived in Key West. If you want to have a drink at Hemingway’s favorite watering hole, you have to go to Captain Tony’s.
Captain Tony's formerly Sloppy Joes
The live entertainment was just ok. But when this patron asked if he could play a few songs, and then did, the place came alive with appause. I guess he was better than most.
Here is the unknown entertainer’s photo take at Captain Tony’s.
Live Entertainment at Capt Tony's

I am sure Hemingway sat right where I sat at the bar. It was a lovely bar and the people were all nice and friendly. Many of the people at Captain Tony’s appeared to be local.

From Captain Tony’s to Jimmy Buffet’s Margarettaville Cafe to The Bull, even drinks in the 3 gay bars on the list, the walk along Duval and its side streets gave us three nights of fun bar hopping. And yes, we conquered the entire Duval Crawl list, having a drink at each one, but it took us 3 nights to do it.

The best thing was really the food. There were so many restaurants, great seafood, steaks, salads and more. I think we might just do this again.