Bicycle die-hards headed to the newly opened eastern span of the Bay Bridge on Tuesday morning, even though the full route won't be completed for the next two or three years.
Still, the mood was joyous as cycling enthusiasts were able to pump their legs between Oakland and Treasure Island, enjoying the sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan was the first to pedal across the 2.2-mile span - which stops short of Yerba Buena Island and doesn't fully connect to San Francisco. She joined the mayor of Emeryville and dozens of other riders who wanted to test out the 15.5-foot wide bicycle and pedestrian path on the south side of the bridge. The ride is for the beauty - not for the commuting possibilities between the Bay Area's largest cities.
"I wasn't sure I'd still be alive when it happened," said Rick Rickard, a member of the East Bay Bike Coalition, who along with the San Francisco Bike Coalition, the Bay Area Bike Coalition and others, lobbied hard for a way to travel the bridge without having to hop in a car. "Hopefully, I'll be alive when the western span is built."
From the East Bay, the bike path can be picked up in both Oakland and Emeryville. The formal name of the path is the "Alexander Zuckerman Bike Path," named after the late East Bay Bike Coalition's founding chair. Zuckerman's two sons, Ron and David, were on hand at Tuesday's ceremony to honor their father's legacy.
For now, the path ends past the new bridge's lone tower, which is technically inside San Francisco city limits, but doesn't take riders all the way into the city.
The old part of the bridge - known as the infamous S-curve - still has to be taken down, which could be a two- to three-year process.
There are design ideas, but no money, to build a bike path all the way from the East Bay to downtown San Francisco.
The path is expected to be fully connected to Treasure Island sometime in 2015 after crews dismantle portions of the original bridge, including the S-Curve detour created in 2009, in order to install the rest of the path and connect it to Yerba Buena Island, as well as replace the temporary path at Oakland Touchdown.
During construction, the bike path will close at night and reopen every morning.