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North South Bikeway

August 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I was fortunate enough today to have some time on my hands and felt like doing one of the three main ‘arteries’ of bikeways SF is trying to push to make the city more cyclist friendly. I think the most well-known one is the one is the one that links the bay to the beach, running west-east.

The one I was able to ride along today was the north-south one, and I was rather curious about it, as I usually don’t go in this direction of the city.

First thing is first, I did not do the entirety of this route, but I can honestly say that I have done most of it. I have broken it up into three sections; Lake Merced to Ocean Ave, Ocean Ave to Market Street, and  Market Street to the Maritime Museum. I have done Ocean Ave all the way to the Maritime Museum, having not done the first section, but I can pretty much guess the rest of the route based on topo maps, and what I have ridden through already.

The North-South Bikeway isn’t as polished as one would think, and does require quite a bit of pedaling power if one is not accustomed cycling already. There are a fair amount of slopes for the average commuter, and I would definitely recommend some sort of gearing ratio, and not riding a fixie. A rider on a fixie that doesn’t have strong legs, will get quite the workout. Make sure to budget the time appropriately if this is the case. Google Maps estimates that it will take 1 hour for the routine I took, and I think that is fair. I am about on par with that time, and I bet I could be faster if I was more comfortable with the routine. It was my first time, and

Japanese Parking Only

Japanese Parking Only

no doubt if it was something I did daily, I could probably cut off 15 minutes from start to end. The roads themselves are mixed condition, not a shocker for anyone that cycles through the city. I would say that the majority of the road is smooth riding with cracks and minor holes coming in second. Then comes pot holes and hastily filled potholes that create uneven ground. Most of the route does not take you through heavily driven areas, the one area I would keep an eye on are the turn on and off Ocean Ave. The reason for this is because I have never really been good doing left turns, and most drivers seem simply bedazzled or dumbfounded as to why a cyclist is in the left lane. A very small few are even angry that a cyclist is ‘blocking’ them, but I am glad I don’t come across those often.

Overall, I think it’s a good route. I can’t wait to see what the city plans to do to polish it up to make it more ‘accessible’. Right now, the bikeway is cobbled together with dedicated lanes, and share-ways. I would definitely want to see something put down to let people know where and when to turn if they wanted to take this.

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