San Francisco in Northern California is such an incredible place and somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit. After visiting LA & Las Vegas we spent a week in San Fran prior to leaving for our Summer Camps where we spent a summer working as Camp Counsellors. We spent our week exploring the quirky city of San Fran with its constant fog, extremely hilly landscape, cable cars, beautiful Victorian houses, Alcatraz and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. We decided the best way to see the city and take it all in was to hire bikes, cycle around the city & over the Golden Gate Bridge.
We hired our bikes from Blazing Saddles, a family owned and operated company who have been hiring our bikes for over 30 years in San Fran. The staff were super friendly and set us up with bikes, instructions, maps and directions before sending us off on our way. The maps offer a number of self guided tours and we decided we wanted to go to the extreme and bike across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausolito and on to Tiburon and then catch the ferry back over the bay.
We started at Fisherman’s Wharf near the famous Powell/Hyde cable car turnaround and then cruised along the footpaths all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. We passed a number of parks, and sites including Fort Mason, the Marina and the beautiful Presidio National Park.
Nina is much more skilled at taking selfies whilst riding then I will ever be!
The route was fantastic because it was mostly footpaths and cycle lanes with the occasional short stint on a road. We followed the gorgeous Bay the whole way along to the bridge, stopping for photo ops and simply just to admire the view!
We then rode onto the bridge, where we managed to ride slowly along most of it, only stopping occasionally for photos or if there were too many people! My photos on the bridge are somewhat limited because I didn’t trust myself to take photos & not run into someone (which is probably for the best)!
Cycling the Golden Gate Bridge was an incredible experience and such a good way to see San Fran! We saw so much more than we would have if we were walking or driving! After we made it to the other side of the bridge we took a 15 minute downhill ride into the gorgeous, colourful, bayside town of Sausalito where we locked up our bikes and stopped for lunch.
After we had filled ourselves up with lunch, wandered along the beautiful bay & admired San Francisco from the other side of the bay we hopped back on our bikes and cruised the nice and flat path past a cute houseboat community, through marshlands and into the Old Mill Park where we stopped to wander around and admire the enormous, beautiful Californian Redwood trees.
It wasn’t easy to get back on our bikes at this stage, our legs (and backsides) were pretty sore! But we continued along the beautiful waterfront cycle path to the small fishing village of Tiburon. But we made it!! As you can see we were prettttty tired and sore by this stage…
We had a wander around Tiburon whilst we waited for the next ferry which took us (and our bikes) back across the bay to San Fran! Blazing Saddles don’t include ferry tickets in the tour as they are operated by a different company but they provide tickets as a convenience when you rent the bikes. Then you simply either return them if you haven’t used them or pay for them when you return your bike, easy as that!
We did make the error of getting off at Pier 1 however, rather than Pier 41, which meant we had another long ride to make it back to the bike rental shop! So just make sure you get on the right ferry when you board!
I know it looks like we spent the whole time posing for photos but we did ride most of the day! For two girls who don’t often bike ride (and one, being me who broke 4 bones bike riding when I was 15) I think we did pretty well! We calculated it to be over 40km in total and to say we were tired and sore by the end is an understatement, although we did manage to recover and head off on a Napa Valley winery tour the next day.
We had the best day bike riding around San Fran (& surrounds) and would highly recommend it to anyone visiting! It’s such a good way to experience the area and there’s shorter/longer routes depending on age, riding ability, fitness etc!
Blazing Saddles were an excellent company to hire the bikes from as they were friendly, helpful, affordable, their bikes were in great condition and their maps & directions were excellent.
We paid $36 each for the entire day bike hire & you can see more on their website: http://www.blazingsaddles.com/san-francisco