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San Francisco: Bike the Golden Gate Bridge and ferry back!
The post was contributed by my nephew Jack, who is studying business at Dundee University. He’s an avid traveller and technology addict!
With only one day to see the sights of San Francisco and 4 children (10 to 18yrs) to entertain, we decided to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. Parking near Fisherman’s Wharf was easier than expected, but look out for cheap offers displayed roadside for the various covered lots. We picked up a free Baycity flyer from a kerbside newsstand which included a 25% discount from Wheel Fun Rentals (conveniently located at Taylor St) – always appreciated when multiplying by 6!
The bikes all had quick release seat adjustment, maps, (with several suggested routes), phone holders, cycle locks and a free audio tour was available. Helmets were, of course provided. The helpful squad at Wheel Fun Rentals recommended cycling out towards the Golden Gate Bridge then crossing over to Sausalito and getting the ferry back.
Be aware that on leaving Fisherman’s Wharf, you need to share the road with cars and trams for a few hundred metres. We then got onto a cycle path which takes you past the Ghirardelli Factory and store for those with a sweet tooth. This is followed by a short hill climb that was a bit of a challenge for a certain more mature member of the group (mum) who had to push the last section!
When breathing rate had returned to normal (!), we were able to appreciate the wonderful view over Fort Mason towards the bay and over to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. By this time (mid-morning) it was free of the infamous fog which very often obscures it. We had an unobstructed view all the way through the park with the cycle path marked out for pedestrians on one half and cyclists on the other.
After a further pleasant flat section of the path, we reached the Warming Hut Visitor Centre, which had a shop and a restaurant with free restrooms and plenty of bike racks. We had a wander out to the old pier to watch the locals fishing; we took a few photos with the bridge in the background. From here we also saw Alcatraz and the city of San Francisco skyline. Following our short break we had the challenge of another uphill (which most of the group managed without pushing) to a newly built viewing platform area just below the visitor centre. As we were on bikes we decided to just head onto the bridge but if you want to go into the visitor centre there is plenty of bike parking.
Due to the huge numbers of people and lack of cycle lane, we pushed our bikes for the first 20 metres of the Bridge, but soon got into our rhythm – single file in the cycle lane, ringing our bells if a pedestrian strayed onto our path. There are plenty of places to stop on the bridge and the views are spectacular. The best stopping places are at the bottom of the towers on the bridge.
Once we had crossed the bridge we had a rapid descent into Sausalito, a picturesque Mediterranean-style seaside town. Beware of an “official” looking chap in high vis vest directing the hoards of cyclists to paid cycle parking. We rode a further 150 metres to find plenty of free parking. We dined streetside at the Venice pizzeria, with waterfront views across the bay to the City skyline. After looking around a few of the shops we caught one of the frequent ferries for a 30 min journey back direct to Fisherman’s Wharf. Rows and rows of bikes leaning side by side occupied the bottom deck! This leisurely return journey took us past Alcatraz and gave us a different view of the Bridge.
On our return, we cycled to the famous pier 39 to watch the antics of the sea lions and look around the pier – filled with shops and eateries, before returning the bikes and taking one of the old trams up to Union Square, to Lori’s Diner, before returning to pick up our car, satisfied we had experienced some of the best sights of San Francisco.
Article by Susanna of AModernMother.com – View Original Article Here
Wheel Fun Rentals – Bike Rentals and Tours
With multiple locations in Fisherman’s Wharf, Wheel Fun Rentals is the ultimate “Bike the Golden Gate Bridge” tour experience. Wheel Fun Rentals is the only bike rental outfitter to offer the Free GPS-Guided Audio Tour with every bike rental! Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Bay City without the hassle of stopping to look at a map. It’s like having a knowledgeable tour guide with you, but you can go at your own pace! Plus it’s available in multiple languages, and each bike rental comes with a free single-use earbud.
And with our Deluxe Infinity Shifting Priority Hybrid Bike – found here only – San Francisco’s rolling hills are a breeze. The bike’s effortless shifting makes it easy for all ages and abilities to climb even the steepest inclines, meaning it’s even easier to see the city. These bikes are lighter-weight, have more stopping power, and provide a smoother shifting experience than any other bike on the road! They are chain-free, grease-free, and hassle-free with an infinite number of gears for the best ride in town.
As the nation’s #1 bike rental destination, we also offer a variety of other products including road bikes, tandems, electric bikes, kids’ bikes and attachments, and more. Whether you’re a repeat visitor or here for the first time, don’t miss this unique way to bike the Golden Gate Bridge and explore San Francisco!
Biking In The Presidio Of San Francisco
On a typical Presidio day you’ll see hundreds of happy cyclists enjoying a spin around the national park. Bicycling is a great way to explore the Presidio’s 1,500 acres of outdoor beauty and fun. The park is also a wonderful launching pad for biking adventures that extend well beyond the Presidio – our trails connect to San Francisco’s extensive waterfront (think the Marina Green, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Ferry Building) and north across the Golden Gate Bridge to more fabulous biking in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Getting to the Presidio on a Bike
The 511 Regional BikeMapper provides turn-by-turn directions so you can find the fastest – or flattest – route to the Presidio, as well as tips for safe cycling. If you’re looking to save energy for some of San Francisco’s best bike trails, bring your bike on the free PresidiGo Downtown Shuttle, which offers daily direct service from the Transbay Terminal and Embarcadero BART to the Presidio.
Bike Link Lockers
Bike Link offers secure bike parking on the west side of the Presidio Transit Center, across from the Presidio Visitor Center. For a low hourly fee, you can safely store your bike and protect it from the elements while you explore the park by foot or shuttle. The lockers use “smart cards” to pay for the cost of storing the bikes. Visit www.bikelink.org for the locations of card vendors and instructions on how to operate the lockers.
Bike racks are located throughout the Presidio. Check out the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s page for bike rack locations, and find the perfect parking spot via their handy map. If you have a recommendation for a new bike rack location, call the Transportation Hotline at (415) 561-2739, or email email@example.com.
If you need to pick up some wheels, Wheel Fun Rentals – Taylor St. or Wheel Fun Rentals – Pier 43 1/2 offers high-tech, Audio Guided Bike Tours of the Golden Gate Bridge, or Presidio Sports Basement is located at Crissy Field and offers bike rentals.
Best Bike Rides in the Presidio
Check out the Presidio Bike Map for designated in-road and off-road biking opportunities, or selected the perfect ride for your interest and skill level from the list below.
Biking Across the Golden Gate Bridge – 1.7 (one way)
Why We Love It: Whether you’re a local or just visiting, biking the Golden Gate Bridge is a MUST!
Insider Tips: Bundle up – it can be extremely windy and foggy on the bridge
Getting There: Get to the Golden Gate Bridge by Biking Crissy Field or the Presidio Promenade (both described below) or take the free PresidiGo Shuttle – CRISSY FIELD ROUTE to the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center. See the detailed bike map >>
Challenge Level: Moderate. Bike Path – path exclusively for bicycles.
Biking the Golden Gate Bridge is a wonderful way to get up-close and personal with one of the world’s most iconic landmarks. To begin, ride northwest along the Golden Gate Promenade at Crissy Field toward the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center (note that you can rent a bicycle at the Presidio’s Sports Basement at Crissy Field if you don’t have your own), OR take the free PresidiGo Shuttle (and use the bike rack) right to the bridge. Once you’ve reached the north end of the bridge, you can turn around to return to the Presidio, or continue toward the Marin Headlands or Sausalito. From Sausalito, you can take your bike on the Golden Gate ferry to return to the San Francisco Ferry Building. Learn more about the Golden Gate Bridge >>
Biking at Crissy Field – 1.9 to 4 Miles
Why We Love It: Golden Gate Bridge views, birdwatching, and the perfect flat spot for bike lessons
Insider Tips: Finish with a snack at the Warming Hut, or take in the views at Torpedo Warf
Getting There: PresidiGo Shuttle – CRISSY FIELD. See the detailed bike map >>
Challenge Level: Easy. Mixed-use path – path exclusively for bicycles and pedestrians.
Crissy Field is a flat and easy adventure that offers amazing views and plenty of spots to take a break. You can actually begin your adventure outside the Presidio using the San Francisco Bay Trail, which connects Fisherman’s Wharf to Crissy Field. We suggest starting at Fort Mason on Marina Boulevard and Laguna Street. Enjoy the views of the northern waterfront and the Marina Green and turn right at Baker Street to connect to the Golden Gate Promenade Trail. Continue on the Promenade to Fort Point National Historic Site. With wide flat surfaces and beaches perfect for playing in the sand, this is a great ride for families. Learn more about the Golden Gate Promenade/Bay Trail >>
Presidio Promenade to the Golden Gate Bridge – 2.2 Miles (one way)
Why We Love It: Travel through the heart of the park with bonus views of San Francisco Bay
Challenge Level: Moderate. Most of the Promenade is mixed-use path (bike and pedestrian), separated from traffic. However, for some small segments near the Main Post, cyclists need to use the bike lane (a striped lane alongside car traffic).
Begin your adventure at the Presidio’s Lombard Gate and ride through the heart of the park. This route features the Letterman Digital Arts Center (home of the famous Yoda statue), the historic Main Post (where Presidio Visitor Center is located), and beautiful San Francisco National Cemetery. You can also stop at Crissy Field Overlook for a glimpse of Alcatraz and San Francisco Bay before heading uphill to the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center. Take a break with a hot chocolate at the Round House Café before biking north towards Marin. Learn more about the Presidio Promenade Trail >>
“Around the Park” Loop – 4.6 Miles
Why We Love It: Offers a taste of the historic Main Post, the coastal bluffs, and breathtaking views
Challenge Level: Moderate. This route includes both mixed-use paths (bike and pedestrian) and bike lanes (striped lanes alongside car traffic).
Want views that will knock your socks off? This route includes five of the Presidio’s beautiful scenic overlooks. Start at Arguello Gate and head past Andy Goldsworthy’s Spire before riding down Arguello Boulevard to see the Presidio Officers’ Club and the Presidio Visitor Center. After getting learning a bit about the park, pick up the Presidio Promenade Trail towards the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center. Then you can choose to ride across the bridge or head back to Arguello Gate. On your return journey, ride along Washington Boulevard, where you’ll experience expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and see one of the oldest golf courses on the West Coast. Learn more about Presidio overlooks >>
Find The Perfect Bike Tour In San Francisco
San Francisco is a bike-friendly city. Hopping on your own set of wheels is a great way to see the city. Whether you want to follow one of our partners’ predetermined routes or have a guide peddle along with you, there are plenty of options for seeing San Francisco by bike tour.
Find Your Bike
Wheel Fun Rentals (2627 Taylor St.)
Wheel Fun Rentals (Pier 43 1/2)
Wheel Fun Rentals has a variety of bicycles (manual and electric, road and mountain, adult and family tandem). Their guided tour takes you across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and Tiburon, after which you can ride the ferry back across the bay to San Francisco.
Bay City Bike Rentals and Tours (501 Bay St.)
Bay City Bike offers guided tours that range from six to 15 miles, both in the city and beyond, and for all skill levels and ages. You can also rent one of their bikes and explore the city on your own. Traveling with a big group? Bay City Bike is great for private events.
Bike & View San Francisco Bike Rentals and Tours (1772 Lombard St.)
All rentals at Bike & View San Francisco include a helmet, bike lock, map and bag for your belongings at no extra cost. Their suggested route for a self-guided tour takes you to 32 of San Francisco’s most impressive points of interest, from AT&T Park to Fisherman’s Wharf and all the way to the Legion of Honor.
Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals & Tours (2715 Hyde St.)
Blazing Saddles’ guides will take you across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, while their self-guided tours offer routes that can take you even deeper into hilly, scenic Marin County. They also have a fleet of electric bikes that can be used by anyone who isn’t up to peddling the whole time.
Dandyhorse San Francisco Bike Tours & Rentals (1259 Hampshire St.)
The tour routes at Dandyhorse were designed to take you off the beaten path, and with its staff of expert local guides, you’ll really get an authentic taste of San Francisco. We do mean that literally—one of their offerings is the Mission Food & Murals tour!
Dylan’s Tours (782 Columbus Ave.)
We included Dylan’s Tours on our list of excellent bus tours, but they offer guided electric bike tours as well. See all the places in San Francisco that you can’t reach on four wheels but you can on two! You can opt for a fully guided tour or one that allows you time to explore the city on your own.
Golden Gate Park Bike & Skate (3038 Fulton St.)
If you’re not looking to go too far, consider renting a ride from Golden Gate Park Bike & Skate. Located near the de Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences, this company’s bikes can be used around the park itself, up to the Presidio, and even across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Parkwide Bike Rentals and Tours (501 Bay St.)
One big benefit of Parkwide’s service is that they have multiple locations around the city, meaning one-way rentals are an option. Traveling with a group and want to share the work of peddling? Parkwide has two- and four-seater surreys that you can ride along the roads of Golden Gate Park and others.
Find Your Route
Guided tours are great, but if you’re set on exploring San Francisco on your own, the city has plenty of clearly marked routes you can follow on your bike.
The San Francisco Bay Trail
Lining the city’s bayfront from Dogpatch to the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s portion of the Bay Trail is just a tiny part of a 500-mile total route that takes you across the entire bay perimeter. In San Francisco, it’s a flat and easy ride that takes you past a number of the city’s most iconic attractions.
Would you rather ride along the ocean? Start high up near Land’s End and the Cliff House and cruise south down through the Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods along Great Highway. It’s a smooth ride without much vehicular traffic to contend with. Bonus: you can easily peel off into Golden Gate Park and ride along its many roads and lanes.
Fun fact: this path existed before cars, before bikes, even before horses! Once a trail that local Native Americans used to avoid San Francisco’s steepest inclines, this bike route connects downtown Market Street to NoPa and Haight-Ashbury. It earned its name for the frequent turns along its one-mile stretch. Your arms may get more of a work-out than your legs!
Sure, many of our bicycle rental and tour partners offer you the opportunity to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge—but why not do more riding once you reach the other side? The roads in the Marin Headlands feature designated bike lanes, meaning that you can keep peddling up and over the high hills, exploring this protected refuge and witnessing tremendous views of the bay, the bridge, and the city behind you.
Looking to journey beyond city limits and explore the peninsula? Skyline Boulevard (also known as California Route 35) begins in San Francisco, but the best stretch for cyclists lies between Half Moon Bay and San Jose. Traffic is light and the elevation of the road itself gives you some spectacular views of Silicon Valley, the south end of San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
Make the Most of Your Ride