By Doug Oakley Staff Writer Bay Area News Group email@example.com
OAKLAND -- It was a beautiful day to bicycle across the bay.
On a floating bicycle that is.
Judah Schiller, of Mill Valley, who just may be the first person to ride a water bike across the San Francisco Bay, pedaled his pontoon bike boat from Port View Park in Oakland to Pier 1 in San Francisco in about an hour.
"No buses, no taxis, no cars, no pedestrians," Schiller, 41, said to a throng of media he invited to his San Francisco arrival in order to publicize alternative forms of transportation. "If someone gives me a better way to get across the bay on a bike, I'd like to see it."
Timing his ride between the end of high tide and the start of low tide gave him a window with no current. And on a day with no wind, it was like riding on Lake Tahoe on a hot summer day.
Schiller, who runs a San Francisco design firm, said he doesn't want to wait "10 years and another $500 million" for a bike path to be completed on the Bay Bridge.
Next week he plans to bike across the Hudson River from Hoboken, N.J., to Manhattan.
Schiller's public relations team, which organized media at his departure in Oakland and his arrival in San Francisco as well as a tagalong boat with his own video and still photographers, insists he's not trying to sell the $1,000 to $2,000 bike boats manufactured by just one company in Italy. Nor, do they say, is his design firm planning on designing or manufacturing its own bike boat.
He simply wants to "show the world that biking across bodies of water is possible even where there are no bridges or bike lanes," according to a news release announcing the BayCycle Project, which is "introducing Bay Area residents to the new sport of water biking, an aquatic biking frontier for sport recreation and transportation."
Upon arriving in San Francisco where his two children were waiting with their uncle, Schiller said he had a fine time on the bay.
"There were a handful of boats within about a mile of me," Schiller said. "It was majestic going under the Bay Bridge. I bet nobody has ridden under the Bay Bridge before. Anyone can do this."
Asked what she makes of her dad bicycling across San Francisco Bay, 11-year-old Naomi Schiller said, "It's cool." Then she elaborated. "Well, I guess it's pretty hard to do it, but he's been practicing in Sausalito," she said, adding, "I'm proud of my dad."
Contact DougOakley at 510-843-1408. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/douglasoakley