The day we nearly wrote mum off

Hey Dad,

“Let’s ride bikes” she said. “It will be fun” she said. Two statements mum is now seriously regretting.

As we were walking around yesterday we noticed dozens of people on bikes. They had hired them from a local company and were going to cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge. Mum decided this would be a fun way to see the bridge, and we should spend our day today doing just that. So we did. 

We got up this morning and prepared for a nice leisurely bike ride. We arrived at the bike hire place just before 10am, were fitted for their ‘comfort range’ bikes and watched a short route video. Watching this video I knew we would never manage the route in the times they were suggesting, athletes would struggle! Let alone us three on dodgy hire bikes. Well with a head full of dreams and positive thoughts we all set off – after of course i had to swap my helmet for a child’s one as my head is so small. I got a captain America one! 

Now did I mention San Francisco may have a hill or two? Well mum seemed to have forgotten this. The video mentioned a ‘warm up hill’ well I walked down this hill on day one. Who were they kidding. We got to the bottom of this hill and mum gasped. We laughed. We were not even one mile in! 

Jon and I made it to the top, and mum pushed her bike up. We survived hill number one! 

We carried on cycling through what we would later learn was one of the only flat parts of our cycle ride along the coast and cycled to the fort. 

The fort is tucked away underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. As we cycled up to it, we heard a huge bang. Someone had reversed straight into another car! The driver looked around to see if anyone saw. We of course did. He looked as though he was about to drive off, so I stood there and took a picture of the scenery, with him and the car in it. He eventually confessed to the driver as he came back to the car. We stood at the waters edge and watched some surfers for a while before getting back on our bikes.

Now this seemed to escape the attention of mum and Jon, but at the fort we were underneath the bridge, and the bridge was a long way up. We would have to cycle up there. We started up the next big hill; and even I gave up! I decided there was no point in burning out at the beginning; and mum was already walking so I kept her company. We worked out the route to the top at a flat spot and carried on. I made it to the top of the hill; and the entrance of the bridge with Jon. Mum we knew would be walking, but she seemed to take a while. 

Then the inevitable happened. 

As we were about to turn to see if she was coming, mum came up behind us. She had fallen off. In attempting to get off her bike her leg got stuck, and she toppled over. She even had a war wound! A graze on her knee.  .

We gave her a minute to regain her composure and we set off over the Golden Gate Bridge! Well almost. Mum’s chain had come off!

We cycled over the bridge, which was awesome. We also stopped constantly for photos. The bridge is really cool. 

We got to the other side of the bridge and decided to cycle to Sausalito. That was mainly down hill too which was a bonus! 

We made it to Sausalito and stopped for lunch. We all felt we could do with a break by then. A quick lunch and a stretch out we got back on our bikes. By this time we were pretty tired. 

The video told us a 30 minute bike ride north of Sausalito would take us to see some redwoods in Mill Valley. 

The video lied.

We cycled for ages. Well over an hour. We saw no signs for Mill Valley. Mum spoke with a ‘proper cyclist’ at a set of traffic lights who laughed when she said Mill Valley. That should have been our first clue. We eventually came to a fork in the road. One sign said Mill Valley, the other said Tiburon. We were exhausted. Mum was done. Her ‘comfort’ bike seat was already padded out with her fleece, her knee was hurting and her legs were jelly. She was convinced we were trying to kill her. To be honest I was not far behind her. Even Jon was knackered! 

Mum decided maybe we didn’t need to see the trees after all. We could get a ferry back to San Francisco from Tiburon, and it was the same distance to Tiburon as it was to go back to where we had lunch to get a ferry from there. We all agreed to head to Tiburon. This may have been our second error in judgement. 

It took us hours! Everything hurt! And somehow the route to Tiburon was uphill, then downhill; then uphill. We could barely move! One hill mum even got over taken by a group of 6 year old kids. Another hill we all pushed our bikes up, and applauded the ‘professional cyclists’ who made it up. We could barely move. Tiburon was also getting no closer. We passed houses; parks, villages, shops, and cycled round an entire bay. We stopped for a few seconds because we could see where we had come from. The people and cars were dots! 

We carried on. Somehow. Now even Jon was saying he was done. 

Mercifully, we made it to Tiburon. We parked up our noble steeds and attempted to walk to a cafe for an icecream. Everything hurt. It was about half past three. We had been cycling for five and a half hours, give or take a few stops and for lunch.

We boarded the ferry and sailed back to San Francisco. We walked our bikes back to the depot. We couldn’t even bear to ride the bikes down the road. 

We got back and the girl who served us that morning asked us how it went. We told her the video is a pile of *insert your favourite 4 letter word* and the times were out. She smiled and laughed sweetly. She must hear that every day. 

We asked her how far we had cycled today. She told us “oh about 5 miles or so”. Honestly dad I could have punched her! Her distance is about as wrong as her stupid video! 

We walked very slowly; looking a little like frogs back to the hotel. We all needed to lay down. 

After a hot shower and a relax we suddenly realised we were hungry. We took a taxi to Pier 39; not a chance were we walking anywhere! 

Mum and Jon wanted seafood. So we went to Bubba Gump Shrimp. Now any place that is based on one of my favourote films, serves me cocktails at a bar with Forrest Gump on a big screen is good with me. I was very happy. 

We ate, sat and laughed at how far we had cycled. Then we laughed at how stupid the video was.

We got a taxi back to the hotel and we are all ready to crash out! 

Big day again tomorrow, bring on the mustang!

Night dad x


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