Forget cabs and public transit. In San Francisco, the speediest route across town is a zig-zag bike path.
Known as the Wiggle, the path starts out on Market Street and winds its way West towards the ocean. Its real selling point, though, is the altitude — the route cleverly winds its way between the bases of the city’s notorious hills, and never climbs more than a couple of feet. The result is a super-fast, ultra-flat ride. From Duboce Triangle to Ocean Beach in 20 minutes? Take that, Muni!
Just head West on Market, then take a right, a left, a right, a left, another right, and one last left, and then speed your way to the beach. There’s no real need to memorize the route, though — just follow the crowd, and you’ll see the Pacific in no time. It’s so popular that the city even made a special, block-long left turn lane just for cyclists — a first in the state of California.
Legend has it that people have been using this shortcut since before the invention of the wheel. Before the path was paved, a creek wound through these coastal hills, creating a nice flat walkway to the beach, and Native Americans used it as a shortcut to avoid hiking over the seaside hills. Later on, soldiers living in the Mission made the Wiggle part of their horseback commute to the fort in the Presidio. The path is such a perfect cross-section of SF history that there are even tours devoted to its progress.
And according to some, it’s also the key to the future. San Francisco’s hills are a deterrent for most casual bikers, but any commuter can hop on the Wiggle and arrive at work without breaking a sweat.