Autumn biking is always brilliant on Angel Island, and a pedal around the park is especially poignant now. Bring your two-wheeler or rent one at Ayala Cove ($10/hour or $35/day). The 5-mile, mostly paved Perimeter Road (some patches are a bit gravelly) roams from the cove past sweet-scented eucalyptus forests and historic military buildings that were saved from the fires. Rolling toward the southern part of the island, you’ll catch the unmistakable smell left from the blaze; you’ll see the fire-scorched moonscape just past Battery Ledyard as far as Fort McDowell. This two-wheel perimeter survey offers some of the bay’s most spectacular viewpoints; you can even score a rare double-bridge sighting of the Golden Gate and Bay bridges in full form. And it shows nature at its rawest: beauty, fragility, and resilience. Full circle.
From the dock at Ayala Cove, follow the bike route signs to Perimeter Rd. November 23 is the last day of operation for the bike rental shop until the spring of 2009. It’s $13.50 to take the Angel Island Ferry ($14.50 if you take your bike). Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry schedule.