San Francisco on the West Coast was the last destination on our 2 week US Road Trip through America. We decided to rent bicycles during our 3 nights stay. Cycling in San Francisco is a must for your vacation in the lively active city. Whether it’s just for a day or for longer, it’s totally worth it. Cycling to locations like the Golden Gate bridge and Fishermans Wharf gave us more of a local feeling and highly recommend it.
Cycling in San Francisco
While in San Francisco it’s a must to rent bikes and cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. After our early bird tour from Alcatraz that morning we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf. From there you can rent different types of bicycles from one of many bike rental companies. All with similar prices and offers we ended up picking one close to where we had lunch. We had the perfect weather while cycling too, clear blue skies and sunshine.
Renting The Bikes
Since we live in the Netherlands, we cycle daily. Cycling in San Francisco however would be a whole new experience with the landscape. But it was so obvious and rather humorous that there were many people renting bicycles that hardly rode them. Swaying across the pathways with their helmets on and trying to read the map at the same time. I really think some tourists were cycling for the first time in their life! It was also a busy Saturday so we took our time going around the slower cyclists and made our way along the bike path from Fisherman’s Wharf to the bridge.
We rented bicycles for 24 hours, allowing us to cycle them to our Travelodge Presidio at the end of the day. Make sure they come with a bike lock so you can secure them. We checked with the friendly hotel staff and it was perfectly fine for us to lock the bikes up at the reception area overnight. Some places you can bring the bicycles back to a different location, so check this before you leave. We took our bicycles back the next morning before heading to the airport, giving us some fresh air and before our long flight back to Europe.
Viewpoint from South Side
At the start of the bridge on the south side it was very touristic, another popular spot for a photo. Be careful for all the pedestrians here as they are also there for a photo and likely standing in your way on the bike path. We had bells and definitely used them at this section!
Strava Cycling Stats
A good system is in place that cyclists must go on the left side of the bridge and pedestrians on the right side. This gave us a good opportunity to enjoy cycling across and setting a nice record on our Strava cycling app. As cycling ehnthusiastics we of course timed our selves and made some nice stats!
You can see from our stats that we didn’t do much, but perfect distance and time for an afternoon activity cycling in San Francisco.
The feeling of cycling in San Francisco over the Golden Gate bridge was pretty awesome. To cycle over a location you have seen so much in films, series or heard about. Since living in Rotterdam, I am often cycling over the many bridges so I was not worried about my cardio strength. However it was still a little challenge as it was a larger and longer bridge.
Cycling To North Side Battery Spencer Panoramic Viewpoint
Once over the bridge we cycled up a very steep road to the viewpoint on the northern side. From here you have fantastic views of the bridge and the city behind. I say cycled but only my partner cycled, I had to walk – was way too steep for me to cycle up! But totally worth the effort. There was space at the top for you to lock up the bicycles while you walked to the edge of the viewpoint just 1 minute away. It was very popular when we arrived, with cars queueing to park at the limited space available. So arriving by bike was definitely hassle free.
This Battery Spencer viewpoint is actually an 19th-century concrete bunker used from 1897 to 1942, when it was deactivated. Used for the defence of the harbour, it previously had three guns. There are many other batteries you can visit on this side of the bridge, but we only cycled to this one.
Read more of our USA posts!
Summary of Cycling in San Francisco
All in all we had cycled 22km through the streets of San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a shame we didn’t have any longer time in San Francisco as we would have made many more cycling trips around the city. Renting the bicycles for 24 hours was nice that we could use them during the evening and watch the sunset at the coast. Gave us a bit more freedom time-wise to use the bikes during our stay. Not all streets are suitable for cycling, so it was nice to stay on the bike paths along the coastal areas. We also found the city a nightmare to drive in that you can read about here! As for staying active on vacation, this was perfect to burn off some of those extra calories we were eating during our 2 week US road trip!!
- You can rent bicycles for just a day or multiple days, so take advantage of the gorgeous weather and explore by bike!
- Cycle only what you feel comfortable regarding distances
- Always smart to have some water and a snack with you
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Have you ever been to San Francisco and rented bicycles before? Did you enjoy cycling in San Francisco and see some of the top highlights? Let us know in the comments!