$500 Toll to Ride Across the Golden Gate Bridge

$500 VIP spots on Golden Gate Bridge

It's hard to fault the city of Sausalito for trying to raise money for its charities during this year's Tour of California. It's just that it costs motorists $6 to drive across the bridge these days, so charging a select group of VIPs $500 each for the thrill of pedaling a bicycle across the iconic span (on the roadway itself) seems to send the wrong message at the wrong time.

This is not business as usual... California has dropped its budget chain, unemployment is spinning faster than a runaway fixie on Lombard Street, and the dopers in Detroit still haven't figured out the world doesn't need a new fleet of gas-guzzling SUVs.

There's an opportunity here, and sadly we're missing it. Instead of opening the bridge to a small peloton of bib shorts with deep pockets, why not close the bridge to motor traffic both ways for two or three hours and allow cyclists to cross the span for the regular $6 toll. Imagine thousands of cyclists of every kind, young and old, riding together through that Golden Gate as a symbol we need to change our priorities. And by all means give the money to the charities.

Now I understand closing the bridge, even for a short period of time, is a logistical nightmare with an economic impact. And it's true that cyclists can ride across the bridge perimeter most days of the year, but this is different. If it wasn't, Sausalito wouldn't think they could charge $500 for the experience.

It's ironic that sharing a bridge could be the perfect metaphor for sharing the road. I wish someone had thought that through before I did.

8 Responses to $500 Toll to Ride Across the Golden Gate Bridge

  1. Richard says:

    Agreed. The whole elitist, ‘VIP cyclist’ thing is also a huge turnoff.

    Good cause aside, it’s essentially sold using a clumsy rendition of Master Card’s advertising tagline, as an opportunity to ‘follow Lance Armstrong’ (caveat: actual athlete roster may vary).

    Please. You’d have to pay ME.

  2. BR says:

    I saw this last week and assumed that it was Lance collecting money for Livestrong? Riding the bridge is a treat if the weather is good but the West side can be a mess and cycling head on’s are common. I really don’t see how they can stop riders from crossing behind the TdC caravan. And if I were Lance I sure would not some squirrel riding up next to me at 25MPH to snap a picture. Could you imaging taking him and several others out? I’ll park in the woods and see how the pro’s hit Tunitas or descend into Santa Cruz.

  3. It’s doesn’t appear to have anything to do with Livestrong, charities are local, including the Marin Bike Coalition. They won’t be riding at the same time as the pros.

  4. BR says:

    I checked out the noble charities as well as the “offset the cost” comment. I can’t imagine elevating any rider to the level where I felt compelled to write a check to ride with/near/adjacent/ahead/behind them. I have to assume that if it has Lance’s name on it then LAF gets a chunk. Good for Lance and LAF if that be the case. I have seen coverage of charity rides where anyone can ride up alongside Lance. Pics are all over the web. The only time that I would have loved to be a fly on the wall was when Lance was training on A-D Huez in preparation for TdF.

  5. Scott says:

    Hey Michael,

    From a complete outsiders point of view, out of the two options presented (yours and the actual event) yours does seem much more inclusive and forward-thinking. Any cycling event gets a gold star from me, but it is a real shame when they fall just short of what is possible.

    On a completely unrelated topic (sorry I couldn’t contact you any other way), I am beginning commuting via bike this year. Would you recommend the Rapha backpack or musette for carrying a couple of lecture pads? Have you had any issues with sweat/heat with the back pack? Cheers,

    Scott

  6. Hi Scott,

    The Rapha backpack will give you much more room than the musette… while maintaining a sleek low profile. I’ve had no issue with sweat or heat. The raised padding on the underside of the backpack allows air to circulate.

    I expect we’ll see a slightly larger backpack from Rapha this spring… it’s been on the drawing board for some time.

    Hope that helps.

    ::M

  7. Mike says:

    Amgen was too cheap to pay the toll on the bridge so VIP fans had to chip in.

  8. Your post was classic Mike. thanks

    ::M