Summary – day 15 – Further Tales from the City … (Friday 9 September)

Summary – day 15 – Further Tales from the City … (Friday 9 September, San Francisco)
Posted by Matthew

We’ve been enjoying San Francisco’s gay and lesbian heritage today in the Castro. We dropped our bicycles in to a cycle store for a quick tune at the American Cyclery on Stanyon and Frederick, (americancyclery.com). It’s a really lovely old bike shop, (established in 1941), with a very nice range of machines and some beautify classic cycling jerseys hung on the wall. We were attended to by a helpful guy called Brad – who’d been to the Condor bicycle store in London and recognised Mike’s bicycle brand! He quickly checked our bikes and arranged for everything to be serviced before the end of the day. If only we had such efficient service in the UK – we normally have to book our bikes in for a service at least a week ahead.

We wandered from the bike shop through the Cole Valley, past Mount Olympus and into the Haight Ashbury district and then over to the Castro district – the most obviously LGBT quarter. It’s pretty special when you’re welcomed to a neighbourhood by a gay welcome committee! Just beside the metro station in Harvey Milk Plaza two guys were sitting behind a table with leaflets, maps and guides to the area. They gave us a warm welcome, a map with the local attractions and directions to a nice place to eat. We checked out the LGBT museum and then had some lunch.

While we were eating I noticed Razor’s barber shop opposite and decided to see if they could give me a trim. The answer was yes – at 4pm (a 20 minute wait), so we walked around the corner to see the Harvey Milk memorial outside his former camera shop. Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected official in the UK. He was assassinated in 1978.

After the 20 minutes I was in the seat being trimmed by a very friendly gay hairdresser called Everett. My hair, beard, nose and ears all received a trim, (ready for the anticipated heat as we ride south) and we were given lots of advice about beaches to stop at on the trip tomorrow, (including some nude ones!).

We strolled back from the Castro to pick our bikes up. Mike had been a little worried about the hub on his front wheel, which had squeaked a little and leaked grease on some of our faster descents. The cones and bearings were replaced on the front for $65 – a good price. Matthew’s bike had the cables tightening up, as it’s new – they tend to stretch a bit at first, and stores will normally do this for free a few weeks after a new bike has been bought … a little difficult with Cheltenham being 8490 kilometres (5270 miles) away! The American Cyclery shop also had a lovely friendly resident dog, so as well a beautifully smooth riding bike we also got to pet the dog.

We cycled back through the Golden Gate Park past the beautiful Dahlia Garden, flower glass house and the Stow Lake. We finished our ride at the Green Apple second-hand book shop before heading back to Heidi and Martin’s house for our last night in San Francisco.

We have a long ride tomorrow, around 120 miles including a rather alarmingly named hill called the Devil’s Slide. If we get past the Slide ok we should be in for a good ride with coastal views all the way, but hopefully with no more fog!

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