After living for a while in Shanghai we all have to admit it's freaking flat. So flat that whilst on vacation in San Francisco, the idea of getting on a shopping bike in the rain and riding up the world's steepest city streets sounds like a dream. The Argonaut Hotel is right at the bottom of a pretty big hill, and happens to have a few Public Bikes for free rental so I waited until the rain was right at it's heaviest and put on a few too many layers of clothing for a session of the hardest climbing I've ever done (with a basket).
Let's just say it wasn't pretty... as my Strava logs will show. However it was a beautiful way to see San Francisco from all angles. The feeling of grinding up a block or two and turning round to see the city fall away is spell binding. Which is probably why I celebrated finding the famous crooked street along Lombard by almost becoming a human landslide down it and then slipping with no grip back up against traffic like a Shanghai Salmon. It may look dry from the photos but that's merely an illusion.
Shedding layers into that convenient basket like a pro, all that was left was a downhill glide over to Mash SF to talk Lattice chainrings and then around a couple more landmarks, including the beautiful Painted Ladies. They're worth one shot, or 0.5 shots without a blue sky - here's mine...
But what if you're not up for getting drenched or breaking yourself to climb the hills. How to get around? The tram silly. It's super-cool, especially the one which cruises alongside the water from fisherman's wharf and then all the way down Market Street to The Castro.