Bragging

San Francisco has 49 hills, and they generally fall into three categories: 1) Steep, 2) Steeper, and 3) Almost Guaranteed to Make You Pull a Hammy. One of the latter in our neighborhood is on Folsom Street. No surprise that it sounds so similar to fearsome: This beasty climb stretches for nearly a half mile [...]

Squirrel in San Francisco Bernal Heights

Don't let the pink handlebars fool you -- this bike is badass

San Francisco has 49 hills, and they generally fall into three categories: 1) Steep, 2) Steeper, and 3) Almost Guaranteed to Make You Pull a Hammy.

One of the latter in our neighborhood is on Folsom Street. No surprise that it sounds so similar to fearsome: This beasty climb stretches for nearly a half mile of increasing incline, inducing huffing and puffing at the bottom to gasping for air and the will to live at the top.

And that’s on foot.

Of course, yesterday when Chris challenged me to climb Folsom all the way to the top on my bike, it was game on. Mind you, the fact that I’d just polished off a slice of pie (not to mention movie theater popcorn, beer, French fries and cheese fondue over the course of the afternoon) would likely have crossed a sane – or, at least, not as insanely competitive – person’s mind, but oh, not mine. I had been challenged.

If I won, Chris owed me six home-cooked meals. If not, he’d get a front-row seat to me spectacularly crashing down the hill — it’s so freaking steep that just dismounting can send you tumbling — and/or vomiting on myself. We shook hands, I straddled my trusty blue bike and up, up, and away I went.

I’ll save you the play-by-play, which involved a lot of sweating, swerving and cursing, but I made it to the top of that damn hill (well, the top, according to my measurements) about the same time that pie made it to the top of my throat. Chris reluctantly agreed that I’d won, and over the next few minutes we took in the spectacular sunset as I tried not to spew into the bushes.

Bernal Heights sunset

The spew, I mean, view from the top

N.B.: I try to keep editing to a minimum with most of my photos. But since these killer filters by editing site Picnik [which, alas, is shuttering as of this Thursday] perfectly evoke the retro, 60s-esque vibe of San Francisco, I don’t feel too guilty using them.

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