This medium 51 mile ride from the Golden Gate Bridge to Lagunitas Brewing Co can be turned into an an easy century if you decide to ride back home. Otherwise, do as I did and hop on Golden Gate Transit at the Copeland Street Transit Mall for a ride back to San Francisco on the 70/80 all day, or the 101 before 2PM, both departing hourly on weekends. Total elevation gain for the outbound stretch is 3,700 feet.
The ride is fairly urban until Novato, when you will begin to pass through 14 miles of agricultural knolls leading up to Petaluma. This section contains the most noticeable and condensed amount of elevation gain: 1,317 feet total. Although the number look like a no-brainer, keep in mind that you will be unsheltered by trees or structures, exposed to the brunt of the gusty winds and heat of the sun, especially if you ride alone. When I went, I was slammed by multi-directional gusts up to 23 mph. In addition to adding resistance to your efforts, the wind picks up neighboring farm dust and cow manure, making the stretch even more challenging for those with sensitive palates.
The Lagunitas Taproom (sat/sun 11:30 am – 8 pm) features a covered outdoor picnic area and special-release brews that are not sold anywhere else. They offer prizes on their daily tours, and over half their sandwiches are vegetarian. I sat down to their home-made red pepper hummus and pita chips, artichoke heart sandwich on ciabatta, and a glass Cappuccino Stout.
If you’re looking to escape the rowdiness of the tap room, Aqus Cafe (189 H Street) is close to the water and the bus terminal. Located in a quiet, residential nook, this community space has plenty of bike parking and outdoor seating, as well as live music on Sunday afternoons. In addition to a spicy cup of Babba Chai, they also have vegan-friendly and gluten-free options on their extensive menu.
START at the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge, and take your pick of the following routes to Sausalito: Continue reading