stories
World's Best Bike Commute
A Cable from the Golden Gate Bridge


January 30, 2012

After 74 years, the Golden Gate Bridge’s enormous main tendons are ready for some TLC. The impressive 3-foot-diameter orange cables that give the GGB its distinctive crown-like appearance, as they loop from tower to tower, are getting a facelift. The creation of these cables alone was an impressive feat, and their much-needed maintenance might interrupt bike traffic on the bridge for up to three years.

The bridge crew is going to strip the outside casing of the cables all the way down to clean metal, rough it up a bit, then recoat them with the bridge’s distinctive colored paint—International Orange. When the scaffolding is completely in place—they began erecting it yesterday on the western side of the bridge—the sidewalk’s width will be reduced from 10 feet down to about 7 feet. Bicyclists might be asked to walk their bikes through the zones of active work. Of course, you can always ride on the other side of the bridge, but during the height of tourist season, the bay-side sidewalk is a zoo!

Check out these cable factoids:

  • The length of one main cable is 7,650 feet
  • Each of the 3 foot diameter cables is made up of 27,572 individual galvanized steel wires wrapped inside a casing
  • 80,000 miles of individual wires were used in their construction
  • Along with the suspender cables and accessories, the main cables weigh 24,500 tons
  • All of the cable components were manufactured by John A. Roebling’s Sons Co., Trenton & Roebling, New Jersey