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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!
Bike The Golden Gate Bridge
Riding a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge is great fun! Here are my tips on the best ways to do it: how to rent the bikes, how to choose a tour, and tips for taking the ferry back from Sausalito.
Many visitors say this is one of the best things they did in San Francisco. You can experience the Golden Gate Bridge up close, and get a birds-eye view of the beautiful bay and city skyline.
After crossing the bridge, you have the option of riding down into the charming town of Sausalito, to browse the quaint shops and enjoy fresh seafood…and the delectable ice cream shops.
Another cool thing: when you’re ready to return to San Francisco, you can hop on a ferry in Sausalito (with your bike) and enjoy one of the prettiest boat rides in the world.
Two Ways to Bike Across the Golden Gate Bridge
Rent bikes to cross the Golden Gate Bridge
There is no shortage of bike rental places in the city, especially around Fisherman’s Wharf where the self-guided tours often start. You’ll see the bike kiosks and offices all over the wharf. But which one to choose?
I looked into this for my own ride across the bridge, so I’ll share what I discovered. There are some really good deals on renting the bikes;-)
San Francisco Bike Rental Companies
There are lots of bike rental companies in San Francisco, and at least 9 of them provide bikes to cross the Golden Gate Bridge and ride down into Sausalito.
It’s pretty overwhelming comparing all the prices and reviews, but I spent some time on it and came up with what I think are the four best options for renting bikes.
Book online to get a discount
The following companies rent bikes for the day in the $24 to $27 range for the standard mountain bike (after the discounts, which range from 10% to 25% for booking online)
- Wheel Fun Rentals – Taylor St. and Wheel Fun Rentals – Pier 43 1/2
- Alcatraz Bikes and Tours (alcatrazbikesandtours.com)
- Bike and View (bikeandview.com)
- Bay City Bike (baycitybike.com)
- Extranomical Tours (extranomical.com)
- Blazing Saddles (BlazingSaddles.com)
All of the companies listed above have rental offices at Fisherman’s Wharf, convenient for picking up the bikes, plus the Blue and Gold ferry from Sausalito brings you back to Fisherman’s Wharf so you can easily drop off the bikes.
Most of these companies also rent electric bikes and have seats for kids, trailers, and other accessories. Check with the individual companies for more info.
Should you rent an electric bike?
Most of the companies offer a variety of bikes to rent, including electric bikes. Do you need an electric bike to get up the hills on the ride to the bridge and Sausalito?
The short answer is…maybe. Depends on your fitness level and how you feel about pushing bikes up hills;-) The route is pretty much flat all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge from Fisherman’s Wharf…with three exceptions.
There’s a pretty steep hill just as you leave Fisherman’s Wharf and enter Fort Mason, but it’s not terribly long. You may have to get off and push it at least part way there, but most people don’t have a problem with that. And there’s a long, steep hill right after the Warming Hut at Crissy Field; most people will have to push part of the way (or the whole way, like me). Finally, there’s a long (but not steep) hill climbing up to the Battery East trail.
The bridge itself is actually a slight hill, but they don’t allow you to use the electric mode on the bridge. That’s not a problem, since the incline to the center of the bridge is mild.
Once you’re across the bridge, it’s downhill all the way to Fort Baker. But the worst hill of all is between Fort Baker and Sausalito. This is a serious hill; see photos below under the Ride to Sausalito. At that point, I really wished I had chosen the electric bike!
Besides, electric bikes are a lot of fun to ride! They’re more expensive, but the trip would certainly be a lot easier. The hills would be effortless, and you could enjoy the scenery a bit more. You have to be at least 16 to ride them, and you can’t use the electric boost on the bridge itself (which you wouldn’t need, anyway). I have an electric bike and love it; perfect for San Francisco hills!
That being said, when I did the ride, I was not in particularly good condition and had to push the bike up the hills, but I was able to do it and had a great time anyway.
On these tours, a guide takes you to the Golden Gate Bridge, across the bridge and down into the town of Sausalito. You’ll hear about the history of the sights you’re passing and interesting tidbits along the way.
When you get to Sausalito, you’re free to explore the shops, galleries and restaurants and then return on the ferry with your bike to San Francisco.
The Golden Gate Bridge bike ride…
When you get your bike, you’ll also be provided with a helmet and bike lock; some of the companies provide a route map, but that’s not really necessary.
Do you have to wear a bike helmet? California law requires that anyone under 18 year old must wear a bike helmet; for adults it’s optional. Parents and guardians of minors are responsible for making the kids wear the helmets. All the rental companies provide helmets, but adults don’t have to use them.
How long is the ride?
The bike ride from Fisherman’s Wharf, across the bridge and down to Sausalito is 8.5 miles. It’s hard to estimate the time, because it depends on how often you stop and how well you can pedal up the hills!
When we did the ride, it took us 2.5 hours to get to Sausalito from Fisherman’s Wharf. We took our time, taking photos, admiring the views, resting, and pushing our bikes up the hills;-)
- Fisherman’s Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge: 4 miles.
- Riding across the bridge: 1.7 miles.
- From the bridge to Sausalito: 2.8 miles.
The ferry ride back to the city takes around 30 minutes.
Riding to the bridge…
The typical bike ride starts in the Fisherman’s Wharf area where most of the rental places are. (See maps below.)
The Route: from the rental office, you ride to the western end of Fisherman’s Wharf, past Aquatic Park, then into Fort Mason (where the first hill awaits).
The route takes you through Fort Mason, then you join the bike path that runs all along the waterfront almost to the bridge. There’s a nice, long flat run past the San Francisco Marina and Crissy Field.
Then the route turns left and goes up to the trail leading to the Golden Gate Bridge.
It’s not that well-marked here. You’ll find the route behind the Warming Hut at the end of Crissy Field. Take the left turn and go up another steep hill (aptly-named Long Avenue). There are a couple of small signs at the turn telling you you’re headed for the bridge.
Daylight to 3:30 pm, east sidewalk.
3:30 pm to dark, west sidewalk.
Weekends and holidays:
Daylight to dark (all day, in other words), west sidewalk.
Tips for biking across the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Dress warmly in layers, even if the day is warm. It’s cold and windy up there!
- Weekends and holidays it can get crowded; go early.
- Pick your time for the view you want: bay or ocean. The bay view includes the city skyline, Alcatraz, & Angel Island. The ocean view includes the Marin Headlands and the entrance to the bay.
- If you use the West Sidewalk, you won’t have to wrestle your bike down and up the steep stairs to take it under the bridge to the bike path.
Biking to Sausalito
You don’t have to ride to Sausalito; you can always just turn around and ride back across the bridge. But if you have the time, I highly recommend the ride down to Sausalito. The views are great, and Sausalito is a fun place to visit.
When you get off the northern end of the bridge, you will be following a path that goes under the bridge and taking a scenic route down the hill into Sausalito. This is a newer route, safer for bikes, with less traffic and prettier views than the previous Alexander Avenue route.
Biking with Kids
If you have kids with you that are a bit unsteady on bikes, then the trip down to Sausalito may not be the best idea. There’s one really long uphill climb between Fort Baker and Sausalito which will require pushing the bike for many people, and probably most kids.
There are also some steep downhill places and you’ll be riding with traffic on narrow, winding roads once enter the town. But if they can handle their bikes reasonably well, they should be fine.
Finding the Bike Path (after the Bridge)
The bike trail to Sausalito starts at North Tower parking lot, on the western side of the bridge.
Crossing the Bridge on the East Sidewalk: you’ll arrive at the Vista Point parking lot. From there, you’ll need to cross under the bridge via an underpass to get to the North Tower Parking lot (aka the Trailhead).
Take a sharp right as you enter the parking area at Vista Point, and you’ll see the steep stairway going down to the underpass.
The Underpass. This maneuver with a bike requires some agility and strength. There’s a long stairway down and another long one back up again. Next to the steps there is a narrow metal ramp to wheel your bike.
The tunnel goes right under the bridge, which is pretty cool (and loud if a truck is passing overhead). You’ll come out at the North Tower parking lot.
At the North Tower parking lot, there’s a sign painted on the pavement showing you the way to the Sausalito bike path. At the edge of the lot, you’ll see the beginning of a bike trail and the sign for Sausalito.
Crossing the Bridge on the West Sidewalk: you will already be at the North Tower parking lot. Find the signpost for the bike route to Sausalito, and enjoy!
The Ride from the Bridge to Sausalito
Follow the bike path downhill, pass under the bridge and coast down to Fort Baker. Great views of the bridge along here!
The bike route takes you through Fort Baker, formerly a military fort, and home to a hotel, restaurants, a yacht club and a very popular children’s museum, the Bay Area Discovery Museum.
There are signs in Fort Baker that direct you to Sausalito, so it’s easy to find your way through it.
The Hill. As you leave Fort Baker, there is a really long, steep hill! I wasn’t expecting it, and it was quite a climb. Some folks (fit, younger ones, lol) seem able to cycle up it, but it’s a challenge. I had to push my bike the whole way up.
Eventually, you reach the top, and then it’s an easy ride downhill to Sausalito (but narrow and winding). At the bottom, you’ll find yourself on the Bridgeway, the main street in Sausalito.
It’s a flat ride along Bridgeway; after a couple of blocks, you’ll be at the ferry landing. The ferry area has bike racks (free in winter, $3 for valet bike parking the rest of the year). There are also more bike racks further along the same street (free ones).
The Trident restaurant, which you’ll see as soon as you come down the Bridgeway, has free bike racks for people eating there.
What to do in Sausalito…
The main street with shops and places to eat is Bridgeway, and the houses and residential streets climb up the steep hills behind it.
There are lots of small shops in the town that sell all sorts of interesting things. It’s a fun place to wander around and browse. There are some local art galleries to check out, as well.
If you want to see more than the quaint downtown, you can ride your bike farther north along the main street, Bridgeway, look at the cool houseboats, and check out the very unique Bay Model up the road (a huge, working model of the entire system of waterways for the Bay Area).
Restaurants. Sausalito is a great town for food, as well. They have a Scomas seafood restaurant (sister to the one in Fisherman’s Wharf) sitting on the water in a pretty wooden building at 588 Bridgeway.
The Trident is another good seafood restaurant, also with great bay views, which has an interesting history. This was a famous hangout for 60’s rockers, and was originally owned by the Kingston Trio. It still has its original hippie decor. (Ask the staff to point out the table where Janis Joplin used to sit.) 558 Bridgeway. Many people swear Sausalito has the best ice cream in the area. Lappert’s is the place most people head for. They have over 260 flavors in their creative repertoire, so their selection changes frequently. 689 Bridgeway.
Tips for taking the ferry back
The tickets for the ferry aren’t for any specific sailing; they are good for 90 days (Golden Gate Ferry) or forever (Blue and Gold Ferry), but there are no reserved places. People line up for each ferry, first come, first served, but the ferries are large enough so it’s rarely a problem getting on for pedestrians.
There are two lines for boarding: people with bikes and those without bikes.
With a bike, it’s not quite as easy, as there’s only room for a limited number of bikes. Most of the year, it’s not a problem, but in high season the ferry fills up with bikes. Ditto for holidays and spring break. But there’s a solution; see below.
1. Taking the right ferry. There are two ferry companies that run between Sausalito and San Francisco.
The Blue and Gold Ferry goes to Pier 39 and the Golden Gate Ferry goes to the Ferry Building. If you need to return your bike near Fisherman’s Wharf, make sure you take the Blue and Gold Ferry. If you rented a bike near the Ferry Building, you would take the Golden Gate Ferry.
2. Lining up early. The ferry rarely fills up for pedestrians, but there can be long lines to board in Sausalito, especially towards the end of the day. The ferry is first come, first served.
They suggest being at the dock 30 minutes before the scheduled departure. In busy seasons with a bike, 30 minutes is not enough; you may have to wait for the next ferry.
We did the ride during spring break, got there 20 minutes before departure, and there were already way too many in line to get on the next ferry. I recommend getting there an hour before sailing during the busy seasons to be sure of getting on.
Travelers with bikes board before those without bikes, though sometimes they alternate, and people with bikes get off the ferry last, after the pedestrians.
3. Buying the tickets.
There is no staffed ticket office in Sausalito. It’s called a ferry terminal, but there’s no building, just a dock. You can purchase tickets online for either ferry, or buy the tickets on the boat (Blue and Gold Ferry) or from the ticket machine at the Sausalito dock (Golden Gate Ferry).
Blue and Gold Ferry. You can buy the ticket after you get on the ferry. There’s a cashier on the boat who sells the tickets (cash or credit cards). You don’t need a ticket to get on the ferry, but you do need a physical ticket to get off. If you bought your ticket online, you can show your confirmation number, either with a printout or using your cell phone, to get your paper ticket from the cashier on the boat.
Golden Gate Ferry. You can buy your tickets from a ticket machine near the dock. If you’ve already purchased the tickets online, you can show either the printout or the confirmation on your mobile phone for your ticket when you get on. Either way, you have to buy your ticket before you board. You can also buy the tickets at the Ferry Building.
Avoid the ticket line on the Blue an Gold Ferry. You can also buy the ferry tickets in person in San Francisco before you go, at the Blue and Gold ticket office to the left of Pier 39. An advantage to doing that: you don’t have to stand in line after you get on the ferry to pick up your paper ticket. We spent 10 minutes of the ferry ride standing in that line, and it’s a beautiful trip!
4. Reserving a space for your bike in advance.
There’s a limit to the number of bikes the ferry can carry, which is a problem with the large crowds in summer, especially late afternoon. They board the bikes first come, first served, but people with bike reservations get on first. You can avoid waiting in the long line of cyclists in the standby line if you have a reservation. On really busy days, some people without bike reservations will have to wait for the next ferry.
It’s free to make the reservation, but many people aren’t aware of this option. Go here to make a bike reservation.
5. Return your bike in Sausalito.
There’s a new program that lets people return their bikes in Sausalito ($12 per bike). They will return the bikes to your rental place in San Francisco for you, and you don’t have to deal with getting your bike on the ferry. See bike return for info.
They have someone posted near the ferry line to direct people who are interested in doing this.
We used this system recently (during spring break) when we found a mass of cyclists ahead of us in the ferry line for the 4:20 pm sailing. We would have had to take the last weekday SF ferry at 5:35 pm and not made it back to the bike rental office before they closed at 6 pm. Worked out very smoothly!
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