San Francisco Bike Tour

Oct 16, 2008

A little flavor of the city that Rice-a-Roni built

After a 4:30am red eye flight, I arrived in San Fran with plenty of time to kill. Luckily, my hotel agreed to hold onto some of my stuff. I was more mobile for it.

To stay awake, I just started walking north, which is quite a workout given all the hills here. Before dawn, I passed Lombard Street, crookedest street in the U.S., and several other landmarks. No one was about, so I had the town to myself.

After some time, I found a breakfast joint (Home Plate), where I grabbed coffee and a bite. From there, I wandered around looking for the bike rental place, whose whereabouts I vaguely remembered from looking at GMaps—yes, Sean, an iPhone would've saved me some meandering (still, I found my way by actually talking to people...imagine that?!).

After renting a bike, I headed through The Presidio, across the bridge, and toward the Marin Headlands. Somehow I ended up on a hiking-only trail, but the NPS trail workers who spotted me were tremendously nice and pointed me toward the actual biking trails.

From there I passed through Sausalito, a wealthy town with a houseboat community (and snobby bike shop). After several more rollers and onshore breezes, I ended up in my destination, Tiburon. From Tib, I took the ferry back to town, jumped a streetcar, and arrived at my conference hotel in time for orientation. Great day!

As a funny aside, I was a little worried that, given the constraints of trying to pack two small carry-on bags with clothes for 13,000 feet, the beach, and a "with-it" town, I would arrive at the conference somewhat of a rag-tag clown.

Ah, but these are the Arts and Humanities, and judging from the sartorial choices of my conference peers, I fit right in. I even ironed my shirts!

As another aside, while at the Mauna Loa Observatory, I bumped into a Google engineer who, like me, was riding his wife's coattails at 13,000 feet in Hawaii. It just so happens that he's working on a beta project called Knol aimed at higher education. We're officially invited to test drive it and provide feedback. Serendipitous, eh?!

See y'all soon! Go Sox!!