I recently learned about the practice of speed biking—where cyclists compete to travel challenging courses as fast as possible, and they post their times on competition websites. Much to my displeasure, Sausalito is part of such a course: Sausalito bicycle speed racing!
Serious athletes, cyclists, come blasting down the incredibly steep hills from the Golden Gate Bridge or even from the headlands and fly at outrageous speeds into this very narrow, congested, 90° curve into Sausalito to be clocked by a permanently mounted radar designed to ensure that cars are traveling no faster than 25mph. The cyclists then post their speeds to their website, bragging about their “accomplishments.”
This is crazy dangerous!
Last year Sausalito had over 250,000 cyclists and expects a 10-20% increase this year. The vast majority of these are tourists who rents bikes and have no idea how demanding these hills are—both up and down. I get so nervous driving by little children wobbling, exhausted, trying to stay upright, on their bikes. Additionally, the city has an untold number (and growing) of tour buses clogging up the narrow two lane streets, stopping (on and off tours), drivers holding handheld mics while trying to navigate through the city without running over the hundreds upon hundreds of pedestrians (plus the cars and bikes), spewing diesel fumes into the air as they chug, pedal-to-the-metal, to make it up the steep hills through the south part of town.
But, the speed biking is, in my opinion, the most dangerous.
Today I drove up to the west peek of Mount Tamalpais. The views were stunning, as you can see from these photos. But, coming down the mountain, a speed biker zoomed up behind me, virtually riding my bumper. As fast as we were traveling, he was actively pedaling downhill with great force! When I had the chance, on a straight section of the downhill, I glanced at my speedometer. We were traveling at 38mph, and he was on my bumper! In many places the Mount Tamalpais roads are sharp S-curve switchbacks. I have no doubt that if he had hit a single small rock on the road, he would have been seriously hurt if not indeed killed.
This is speed biking.
I admire the extra-human physical fitness of these (mostly) men.
I’m sure it’s one whale of a rush.
These men are extreme athletes.
But this is insanely dangerous!
Stop the madness, already!