Riding a Bike on the Golden Gate Bridge

In this video, I’m riding my bike south towards San Francisco around the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. I used a GoPro HERO3+: Silver Edition to capture the video. The occasional clicking sound is the downshifting of my Campagnolo Chorus Ergopower controls.

In the video poster frame, you can see the water just outside San Francisco Bay in the gap between the orange barriers. That doesn’t help my acrophobia, especially knowing that there is a 227 foot drop to the water. And it’s only blocked by a temporary Cyclone fence.

There’s almost always a constant wind off the Pacific Ocean, blowing across the bridge to the east . This year, the bridge authority retrofitted the railings to withstand 100 mph gusts. Now, when the wind is >25 mph, the new sidewalk railings emit a deafening hum that can be heard miles away. Add the sound of cars and trucks three feet away going south at 50 mph, it’s not a wonderful experience.

I just try not to look to the right.

Conzelman Road, Marin Headlands

Conzelman Road, Marin Headlands (GoPro HERO3+)

To do a little extra climbing on my short bike ride to Battery Townsley at Rodeo Beach, after I ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, I’ll ride down Alexander Avenue then south on East Road. East Road winds it way through Fort Baker past Cavallo Point Lodge and the Bay Area Discovery Museum to Center Road and Moore Road to the beginning of Conzelman Road. There, it’s about 15 ft above sea level near the Moore Road Pier, pretty much under the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge.

As Conzelman climbs up the headlands, it passes several scenic turnouts where all those generic Golden Gate Bridge photos (with the San Francisco in the background) are taken. The road climbs up Hawk Hill for almost 770 feet in a little less than 2.5 miles to the Marin Headlands Vista Point.

If you venture down the hill past the Vista Point parking lot, you’ll be rewarded with this view of the Marin Headlands, the Pacific Ocean beyond the Golden Gate and a brief but very steep 18% drop in the road.

Worn Chain

worn chain

Old SRAM PC-870 chain (top); new SRAM PC-870 chain (bottom).

The chain on my De Rosa started skipping on the lower gears on the Campagnolo 8 speed cassette. Unfortunately, by the time the chain was skipping, the lower cogs on the cassette were worn out.

Measuring from the center of one rivet to the rivet 23 away on a new chain is 12 inches (~30.48 cm). My chain was over 1/4 inch longer. Park Tool recommends replacing the chain when it is 1/16 inch too long.

Replacing the 8 speed cassette is a problem because of the dearth of parts, considering I need a ≥28 tooth lowest cog. I’ve found Miche 13-28 Campagnolo compatible cassettes on eBay in the UK and Italy, but then I start to wonder whether I should keep trying to support shifting components that were last produced in 1997.

I’ve also found on Branford Bike that a Campagnolo 9 speed hub could be used by dropping one sprocket and using a Wheels Manufacturing 8 speed spacer kit, but that spacer kit is also no longer available.

Specialized Roubaix Armadillo Elite Redux

In February of 2013, I switched to a Specialized Roubaix Armadillo Elite for the rear tire of my De Rosa Professional bike.

Last month, I finished building up my Eddy Merckx Professional. After some research, I decided to use Continental Grand Prix 4000S tires on that bike. Because the Merckx is “new,” I’ve been riding it on sunny days. When the roads are wet, I’ve been riding my De Rosa Professional. There was a significant difference in the feel of the bikes. Except for the Merckx being 1 cm larger in the seat tube and the corresponding geometry changes, the bikes are similar, both probably made by De Rosa with the same brake bridge and bottom bracket shell.

I attributed the difference to the tires. I can’t complain about punctures with the Specialized Roubaix Armadillo Elite – I don’t think I got one in 5800 miles. As is evident in the photograph, it did wear into a large, squared off, contact patch, 9/16″ (14mm) wide. I switched the rear tire on the De Rosa to a Continental Grand Prix 4000S and the De Rosa no longer feels like a truck.