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10 Tips for Bike Rides on the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is a must-visit whether you are a first timer or repeat visitor to San Francisco. Depending on the time of year (or even the time of day) you visit, the weather can vary from blue skies to foggy gray. But no matter what, there’s nothing like crossing this California icon on a bike ride. 

The ride across the Golden Gate Bridge can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes (one way), affording views of Alcatraz, the Marin headlands, and the city skyline along the way. From there, it’s really your ride: Head down into Sausalito for shopping and dining, head back over the bridge to Baker Beach, or take your time enjoying the views of the Bay Trail through Fort Mason, Crissy Field, and the Marina.

So what are you waiting for? Rent your bike or e-bike today, with all accessories included such as a helmet and a map when you book with Unlimited Biking, conveniently located at Fisherman’s Wharf. 

Here are 10 ways to enjoy your bike ride en route to the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Take it easy on the flat Battery East Trail

From Fisherman’s Wharf, it’s a short 1.5-mile ride to Fort Mason, where you can enjoy a variety of things to do. 

When you’re ready to hop on the bridge, head east and you’ll be treated to a wide path separated from car traffic. Just stay to the right and enjoy. 

When you get to Crissy Field you can choose between continuing on the paved path, or heading off to the right (down by the SF Yacht Club) to hug the coastline on a smooth, well-maintained dirt path. Either one is great, one’s just a little bumpier than the other. 

In both cases you’ll be sharing the path with walkers and joggers, so be aware of your fellow leisure-seekers as you go and try to ride in a single file. Once Crissy Field ends, you can share the two-lane road heading out to Fort Point and the foot of the Golden Gate bridge. Keep an eye on the traffic, stay single file, and you’ll be fine.

Pack layers

Any San Francisco local will tell you, no matter what time of year, wear layers! The City by the Bay is made up of microclimates. While you may be enjoying a pleasant sunny moment at Fisherman’s Wharf, just a short bike ride away into the Marina could bring fog. When you ride the Golden Gate Bridge, there is a chance that it can be windy, foggy, or misty, so be prepared with a nice jacket that you can take on and off. When you rent your bikes from Unlimited Biking, we equip you with the necessary safety equipment such as helmets.

Spend time at Fort Mason Center

Fort Mason, also called Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture is a great place to stop for history, art, coffees, food trucks, and brews. The 13-acre campus is mostly open air, and the four main buildings offer a variety of arts and crafts, museums, and more for those who want to take time to explore the old army fort, now managed by the National Park Service. On Sunday mornings, you can park your bike and enjoy a farmers’ market. On Fridays, don’t miss Off the Grid, when some of the best Bay Area’s food trucks pop up for an evening event. 

Take time to explore the Golden Gate Recreation Area

While you could spend two or more days exploring the Golden Gate Recreation Area, which spans some 60 miles, take some time to enjoy a stretch of it along the Bay Trail. The well-maintained natural trails that make you feel like you’ve left the city behind with sweeping views of the bay and Marin headlands. The paved path is flat, making it easy for people of all ages to enjoy the ride. Be sure to stop by Crissy Field for some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Ride on weekends or after 3pm during the week 

For a smoother ride, consider renting your bike to ride the Golden Gate Bridge on the weekends, or after 3pm on weekdays. During those times, the west side of the bridge is open to bike traffic only. Otherwise, expect to share the road with pedestrians. 

Make a day of it with a Sausalito ferry ride

Once you make it over the Golden Gate Bridge, head just a few miles further downhill to arrive in Sausalito. The main drag is filled with galleries, boutiques, and eateries. Once you’ve done the main drag, take your bikes along the waterfront to see the colorful houseboats bobbing in the Marina. For those up for a longer ride, extend it along the Mill Valley Sausalito Pathway. The 4.5-mile ride is flat and paved, leading you into Mill Valley for another glimpse at a Marin hamlet. 

When you’re ready to head back into the city, just hop the ferry to arrive back at the Embarcadero within 30 minutes. It’s another great way to see Angel Island and Alcatraz from a different point of view.  

Take your time and enjoy the ride

A Golden Gate Bridge bike ride is what you make of it. The ride across the bridge doesn’t take more than an hour, leaving you plenty of time to stop and look at the famous International Orange structure, and the ocean as it sprawls in front of you. Unlimited Biking rentals can be made on an hourly basis, or you can rent the bike for a full day. Our rentals include helmets, maps, and add-ons like trailers and tag-alongs.

Always get a high-quality bike rental

When you are looking to cover more ground in a city like San Francisco, don’t go for the roadside rentals, or bike share stations. When you rent from a legit bike company, you are getting quality bikes, ebikes, and equipment that is constantly tested and tuned up to ensure the safety and comfort of your bike ride. 

Our Cannondale bikes and customer service ensure your safety and peace of mind comes first, so you can explore the icons such as Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, and more by bike. 

Take a bike tour for help navigating the ride

For those traveling in groups or first-timers, a tour can help you get better acquainted with the sights you see thanks to a local expert guide, and can give you peace of mind when it comes to biking safely in the city. Join us on a 3-hour tour, starting in Fisherman’s Wharf, to get the most of your experience biking through Fort Mason, Crissy Field, and over to Sausalito.

Book your bike rental or tour in advance 

San Francisco welcomes tourists year round with pleasant weather, top-notch festivals and events, and more. Some of the best weather typically happens between September and October, bringing people outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, be sure to book a quality bike rental in advance. With Unlimited Biking, get ready to explore more, and enjoy more on your Golden Gate Bridge bike ride. 

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