Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Bike Trip – Sausalito to Tiburon

Sausalito Houseboats
Mid-1800's Lyford Mansion
Bike Ride to Tiburon
The warm weather and gentle breeze in Richardson Bay seemed the perfect opportunity to go on a bike ride.  We rode our bikes along a dedicated bike path from Sausalito to the other side of Richardson Bay to visit the communities of Tiburon and Belvedere.  As we headed north out of Sausalito, we passed numerous houseboats similar to those in Seattle.  One group of houseboats however looked like the “low-rent district;” apparently not everyone in Sausalito has money!  As we made our way around the bay and up a hillside, we came upon a historic Victorian home overlooking the bay.  The Mansion was built in 1867 by Benjamin Lyford and Hilarita Reed Lyford and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  John Reed, the father of Hilarita, received Marin County’s first Spanish land grant.  John Reed’s 1834 land grant of the Rancho Corte Madera del Presidio comprised the peninsula incorporating today’s Tiburon, Belvedere, and much of southern Marin County.  Land grants were common practice in the early 1800’s.  The Spanish and later the Mexican government encouraged settlement of the territory now known as California by establishing large land grants with grazing rights called ranchos.  Rancho boundaries became the basis for California’s land survey system and can still be found on modern maps and land titles.  The Lyford home was originally located at Strawberry Point at the end of the bay and was moved in 1957 when threatened with demolition.  The house and property is managed by the Richardson Bay Audubon Society & Sanctuary, offering educational classes for children and adults.  After our brief stop, we continued down the hillside and around the bay enjoying the beautiful views of Tiburon and the San Francisco skyline in full view from the bike path.  Tiburon and Belvedere are posh communities with mansions built on the hillsides and along the waterfront; a foot ferry runs between Tiburon and San Francisco and is quite popular among bicyclists.  Tiburon was formerly the southern terminus of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad which carried lumber to the town and then shipped to cities around San Francisco Bay.  In 1884 Peter Donahue, a San Francisco industrialist, extended his railroad to Tiburon and provided ferry service thus creating a railroad town on the Mexican land grant held by Hilarita Reed Lyford.  The Depot, now a museum, was preserved and is located near the present day ferry landing; the former railroad right of way now forms the multi-use bike path.  After a short rest and a fruit smoothie, it was time to head back.  By the time we arrived home at the boat, we had biked 18-20 miles on our little fold-up bicycles – our bums were sore and our legs were tired, we definitely had a good workout!
Belvedere at Tiburon
A couple watching the Ferries at Tiburon
The Donahue Depot

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