One of the best ways to experience San Francisco is on two wheels! Biking offers the ideal way to discover everything from small boutique shops to breathtaking nature and scenery.
Riding across the Golden Gate Bridge by bicycle is an unforgettable experience that visitors and locals alike shouldn’t miss! In this guide, learn all about renting bikes, what attire to wear for safety reasons and much more!
How to Rent a Bike
One of the best ways to experience San Francisco is on two wheels – renting one is easy and affordable with several excellent bike rental companies like Blazing Saddles and Bay Bikes available around town.
From anywhere in the city, cyclists can ride to the Golden Gate Bridge via bike from any direction or the Presidio. Keep in mind that bridge sidewalks only permit bicycle use during specific times during the week and weekends (see schedule here).
Important to remember when crossing the bridge are that bikes must be operated manually rather than using an electric-powered mode, roller skates, scooters and other wheeled devices are prohibited, and Ferry service can return you back to Fisherman’s Wharf from Sausalito after your ride – making this an excellent day trip from San Francisco!
What to Wear
Before venturing onto a bridge with your bike, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with its rules. Only pedestrians, wheelchairs and bikes are allowed on its sidewalks – e-scooters, roller skates, skateboards, non-service animals or drones are not.
As a general guideline, when cycling from San Francisco you should ride on the east sidewalk (right side). After 3pm you may use the west sidewalk instead if riding within city limits or after 3:30 pm weekdays. Keep an eye out as sidewalk hours vary regularly so visit their website before you start biking!
At peak times, the walkways can become very crowded; to avoid crowds I suggest visiting mid-morning when fog has cleared for optimal bay and city views. Also leave yourself enough time for this 1.7 mile round trip as the average pace can be slow and steady with only some minor uphill terrain in the beginning.
Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge is an exciting way to experience San Francisco and the Bay Area’s spectacular scenery. On one side you can take in views of Alcatraz Island, Angel Island and sailboats on San Francisco Bay; while on the other there are rugged cliffs of GGNRA/Marin Headlands along with dramatic fog/cloud cover on display on ocean side.
Bike riders on the Golden Gate Bridge should be mindful of its rules as it can become overcrowded with pedestrians. On weekdays before 3PM, cyclists must share the eastern sidewalk with pedestrians. On weekends and holidays however, only cyclists may access the western (ocean-side) sidewalk for biking purposes.
Prepare yourself for the steep hills on the bike path from Fisherman’s Wharf to the bridge and down into Sausalito before beginning your ride. California law mandates anyone under 18 years old wear a helmet; additionally it would be wise to bring water and snacks for the journey.
Rules of the Road
Travel from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge and back can take anywhere from one to two hours depending on how often you stop for photos. For maximum safety and comfort, try biking at a leisurely pace with your children.
Consider that the Golden Gate Bridge is an extremely busy place, filled with pedestrians and cyclists sharing space. To prevent collisions, always ride in single file line while giving people space by calling out “on your left” when passing them. A bell may also help alert pedestrians that you are passing them.
The Bay Area features many microclimates, so its weather can vary dramatically from side to side of the bridge. Be prepared for warm and sunny conditions on one side while foggy and cool weather awaits on the other side; be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way!
Chris is a passionate learner and writer. When he’s not working on his blog or learning something new, he’s a full-time systems administrator and father of two beautiful girls. Chris loves spending time with his family, reading, writing, and playing hockey.