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5 Greatest Views of San Francisco

 

2015.09.11 07.16.15

Jones & Union…sort of Russian Hill Sunrise.  Photography Darren Codd

Normally these high vantage points are reserved for people with cars, or bicyclists with calves the size of ham hocks, or even tourists with $7 to dump on a cable car ride.  But not this week buddy.  This week I got a bike with an electronic motor on it.  This week my fat ass is going up ALL the hills.

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The E-bike looks just like a regular mountain bike, only it’s secretly doing all the work for you

It’s called an ‘E-bike’, and the people at GenZe loaned us a couple for a spell.  When the delivery man dropped them off we assaulted him with questions; “How long does the battery last? Do I actually have to pedal?  (Because we don’t really want to pedal).  If I ride this baby real hard is their a chance it will explode? Do I have to tell the people I’m racing that my bike has a motor on it?”

The Delivery man looked at us blankly and said, “Well, the rechargeable battery lasts 15-20 hours depending on how fast you want to go…they don’t explode.”

When you’re on one of these E-bikes it looks and feels like you’re on a normal mountain bike, it’s got a solid frame, disc brakes, multiple gears etc.  What’s different is there’s a silent partner on your back wheel that will do most of the pushing for you if you ask it.  If you’ve got the power set all the way up, you can breeze past most cyclist who are actually trying.  The best part is if you continue pedaling while using the electronic motor no one notices you’re cheating, they just think you’re really fast.  It’s most noticeable on hills and when starting from complete stops, I like to add a couple fake grunts here and there, some heavy breathing to make it look real when I’m passing someone.

Now for the first of the five best views of San Francisco.  On top of a peak I never could have reached without the help of modern science.

Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks. Photography by Darren Codd

You know it, I know it.  Twin Peaks is actually the 2nd highest point in SF, second only to Mt. Davidson (but the view is arguably better here)  According to SF Recreation & Parks its original name was “Los Pechos de la Choca”.  Which means “The boobs of the Maiden” in español.  I know that sounds like someone broke in and changed the wikipedia page as a joke…but it’s actually all true.  If you want to see all the way down market street and check out the Oakland hills at the same time, there is no other place.  Elevation 922ft.

Treasure Island

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“The most majestic views in the western hemisphere are found in the San Francisco Bay Area”
– A quote I made up and attributed to Mark Twain

Now I know what you’re going to say next.  “This isn’t a hill, in fact I’m pretty sure it’s sea level.  Then you’re going to say, you can’t even bike to Treasure Island from San Francisco.  And you’re right, but watch how I change the subject on you.

Treasure Island is a man made Island built in 1936 for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition.  It’s a historical site full of repurposed naval stockades, storage facilities, and a couple odd little wineries.  The view of the SF skyline and Bay Bridge is unparalleled though, and you can bike there now from Oakland, across the new Bay Bridge expanse.  (currently closed for construction, re-opens Dec 2105).

Now back to cheating gravity with electricity:

Hawk Hill

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Hawk Hill. Photograph and terrible Instagram filter by Jenny Shu

Since I normally have a maximum bicycling radius of 7 miles, I had to ask a bicycling nerd I know named Jenny about Hawk Hill.  You’ve got to cross the Golden Gate and climb to 734ft to get there but once you do, you get to look at the gates of the bay from the outside.  This is actually a fantastic ride across the bridge from the city.

Corona Heights

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Corona Heights, above the Randall Museum

I call this one the “Baby Twin Peaks”.  It’s a nice view of the city but it’s only a few hundred feet off of Market Street.  From here you can see Sutro Tower, Diamon Heights, Dolores Park, Potrero Hill, and all of downtown.

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This is that panoramic thingy on my iPhone

And Lastly, and maybe this is just made better because of the sunrise I don’t know, but photographer Darren and I thought I would be amazing at dawn on Russian Hill, and it was.

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Upper Jones St.

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What’s cool about this corner is if you look east you see the rising sun and the bay bridge, and if you look north you actually have a clear view of Alcatraz….

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Well sometimes when it’s not foggy you have a clear view of Alcatraz.

Thanks to the fine folks at GenZe for letting us ride around the city on their bikes, I literally could not have done it without them.

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

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