Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco with a bunch of new friends while listening to Bob Dylan is one of those moments in life you hope you’ll never forget.
The throngs of tourists and locals around us looked bemused as a disparate bunch of cycle tourers let out euphoric whoops and cheers while pedalling onto the bridge.
After cycling more than 1,200 miles down the Pacific Coast Highway, the crossing felt like a milestone in our journey that had been earned, an achievement to be proud of.
It was the highlight of an almost perfect day. We’d spent the previous night camping at Samuel Taylor State Park after a relatively easy 40 mile ride the day before.
There was a group of us staying in the hiker/biker section of the campground and there was a jovial atmosphere among people who’d been riding together for a while now.
We were all heading to San Francisco so there was a sense of anticipation as we packed up and made for the city. Pierre and I agreed to meet Eric, Sarah and Kalyana at the Golden Gate Bridge and make the crossing together.
We rode with our new mate Eric through farmland and small towns before the scenery became residential suburbs as we edged closer to the city. It was one of those days when our legs felt strong, the bikes felt good and we knew we could tackle anything the road threw at us, which included a couple of steep climbs and a screaming downhill.
After lunch at Sausalito we all pedalled towards San Francisco and then as we rounded an uphill bend there is was, the Golden Gate Bridge in all its glory. The fierce headwind couldn’t muffle a loud cheer from Eric ahead and I (James) was nearly blown off my bike as I punched the air. I looked behind me and snatched a glimpse of a huge grin on Pierre’s face.
My iPod shuffled onto Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ In The Wind, which was the perfect soundtrack for the blustery crossing. Our excitement intensified as a helicopter suddenly appeared on our left and flew right under us, popping out the other side of the bridge.
We spent the next half an hour looking up in awe at the red metal structure, soaking up the view of the city, grinning at each other and taking numerous photos. Sometimes in life everything clicks into place and you feel like you’re floating in air. This was one of those special moments.
And then we were on the other side of the bridge. After a group photo the five of us cycled into the city and went our separate ways, leaving with promises to meet up over next few days.
We’re now about two thirds of the way through our journey but before we cycle further south we have a city explore, old friends to catch up with and new people to meet I’m sure. But that’s a story for another time.