If you were in San Francisco for Memorial Day weekend, you may have noticed a lot of runners. To pay homage to Golden Gate Bridge and its marathons, Sports Basement held a, "guided run through Presidio National Park and across our iconic landmark to celebrate its 75th anniversary." Those that signed up for the event received a free commemorative running shirt.
Along with this type of activity is a quirky slew of memories and press headlines from Golden Gate Bridge's history that have touched on the world of sports.
Bridge's long past of weird sports associations
Is doing something goofy a common theme associated with Golden Gate Bridge? Jessica Bernstein-Wax of the Marin Independent Journal does an excellent job of proving that very point. In her article about the anniversary, Bernstein-Wax says, "A day before traffic began whizzing across the Golden Gate Bridge on May 28, 1937, some 200,000 people walked, roller-skated and ran across the span."
She continues to write about, "log sawing contest[s], stilt walkers and unicycles." Bernstein-Wax also gathers a quote from Mary Currie, a spokeswoman for the bridge district who claims, "From day one, it's been a stage."
Golden Gate Bridge skater ban
Despite the fact that roller skating was allowed the day before the Golden Gate Bridge opened to traffic, OurGoldenGate.org blog says skating of any kind has been banned for a few decades. While it may not be legal everyday, there has been an annual skate across Golden Gate Bridge event for about 20 years.
In addition, a group of roller skate advocates tried to lift the current ban in May, 2010. Sadly, an April, 2011 document from GoldenGate.org states that scooters, skating, and skateboarding are still not allowed on the bridge.
Can you jump off the Golden Gate Bridge?
Filmed on-location in San Francisco, the television series "Fairly Legal" had a recent episode featuring Golden Gate Bridge. Titled, "Teenage Wasteland," one of the main story lines involved a man bungee jumping from it wearing a winged costume. Of course, this could be a nod to the Dangerous Sports Club that pioneered the first bungee jump at Golden Gate Bridge in 1979.
While Golden Gate Bridge authorities regularly field permits to use the bridge for fundraisers or special events, bungee jumping is not one of them. A good example of a well-intended request is Lori Galina and her bungee permit application for a breast cancer charity jump.
After doing all of the paperwork, administrative staff at Golden Gate Bridge denied Galina's request and told the Huffington Post, "If it's not legal, we don't approve it ... Not even for movie shoots." In other words, "Fairly Legal" must have used a green screen for their opening scene. The fine for bungee jumping off the bridge is currently $10,000.
Walking and cycling have odd rules
Can you walk or ride your bike along Golden Gate Bridge? Yes you can ... with some exceptions. According to the website for the bridge, you can walk on the east side, but not with your dog (unless it is a service animal). Depending on the time of year, you are allowed to walk on the bridge starting at 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Those hours are extended to 9 p.m. during Daylight Savings Time.
For cyclists, there are stricter regulations for using Golden Gate Bridge's eastern and western sidewalks. Mainly, if your bike is electric, it cannot be "used under power" while you are on the bridge. On the other hand, if you are on a bike, you do not need to pay a toll. While they probably have several good reasons for all of the rules, they seem impractical for commuting. For example, you will need to be buzzed in by the security gate outside of normal sidewalk use hours.
Sporty gift for Golden Gate Bridge
About a month before the 75th anniversary of Golden Gate Bridge on May 27, 2012, a boating accident that killed five led to a temporary ban on sailboats. Interestingly, the prohibited boating was lifted in time for a well-publicized 'gift' lined up for the big festivities. Hosted in 2013, the America's Cup yacht race wanted to show San Francisco their appreciation.
After days of build-up and secrecy, the SFGate published photos of specially decorated boats wishing this bridge a happy birthday from the 2013 America's Cup organizers. Although these unique sails are the most recent example of how sports have strangely intertwined with the Golden Gate Bridge, history proves that it is unlikely to be the last.
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