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A "Bike Commuting Tips" Visitor Wrote:

Dear Paul, Marianne, and Muki,

GOSH, was I ever THRILLED bumbling into your Homepage. Just started bike commuting this week (30 miles RT) to my job (I'm also a writer/editor for a small educational publisher in St. Louis, MO) and while beset by a few tortured stretches of mega-traffic, I'm LOVING it! (How to resist the warm smugness that comes over one after yet another day of resisting the ugly quotidian?!)

Coincidentally, am visiting San Francisco with my partner, Danny, August 13 - 19 and was wondering about bike rental, good bike trails, good bike routes while in town. If you have any ideas in this regard, please advise.

Many thanks and best wishes,

Lisa Marty

" " "

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for your message.

Regarding bicycling in San Francisco: There are several great bike rental businesses in San Francisco. The going rate is about $25 a day. I highly recommend Blazing Saddles, who have five locations in the Fisherman's Wharf and North Beach areas. There are also several bicycle shops along Stanyan Street near Golden Gate Park that rent bicycles. Which shop you choose probably depends on where in San Francisco you're staying. Any bike shop can provide info on trails and routes, depending on your interests and available time. But there are three San Francisco cycling experiences that you should NOT miss:

1) Ride across the Golden Gate Bridge
To get to the bridge you ride through the Presidio, a former military base that is in process of becoming a big national park. Plenty of great views, quiet woods, historic buildings, etc. The bridge itself is incredible: absolutely breathtaking views. Once you reach the Marin side you can choose to ride into Sausalito, a quaint little town on the bay with lots of cafes, shops, etc. You could return on the ferry if you're tired, or continue on to Tiburon, another quaint town with ferry service back to San Francisco. If you cross the bridge and feel like getting away from civilization, you could ride into the Marin Headlands, a huge, beautiful open space preserve that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Or you could do both!

2) Angel Island
The entire island is a state park and is only accessible by ferry from San Francisco, Tiburon, Vallejo or Oakland. There are NO cars on the island (except for park staff.) A mostly paved perimeter road takes you completely around the island, with incredible views of the whole bay and all bridges. Before becoming a state park, Angel Island was used as a military base, a quarantine area, and an immigration station. Many Asian Americans trace their ancestry through Angel Island, often called the Ellis Island of the west. There is an interesting museum on the Asian, especially Chinese, experience on Angel Island. My favorite part of the island is the dirt fire road about 100 feet above the perimeter road, which also circles the island, has fewer people on it and offers even better views.

3) Golden Gate Park
On Sundays, a 1.5 mile portion of John F. Kennedy Drive (the park's main road) is closed to car traffic, and is filled with skaters, bicyclists, joggers, kite pilots and others of all ages. You could continue on all the way to the ocean, where there's a bike path that runs along the beach. You could then ride around the Lake Merced bike path and return to Golden Gate Park. The park is also home to the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, the Asian Art Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, the Strybing Arboreteum and other stuff. (Personally, if it's sunny, I'd skip the museums and keep riding.)

Anyway, enjoy your visit to San Francisco. Best of luck with your bike commuting as well. Thanks for visiting my web pages.

Best regards,


Helpful guide books for bicycling in San Francisco and Bay Area:

Bay Area Bike Rides: Third Edition

Short Bike Rides in and around San Francisco, 2nd (Short Bike Rides Series)

Adventure Cycling in Northern California: Best Tour and Mountain Bike Rides

Send other suggestions or experiences to
Comments? Suggestions? Contact || Updated 11.18.06