Biking on the iconic Golden Gate Bridge is scary, surreal and amazing. I imagined it in slow motion so many times before I arrived in the city, yet for some reason my mind managed to erase the fact that I don’t like heights and water.
The reality is the bridge is long – like a surprising 1.7metres long. It’s super windy thanks to the cars that speed across the bridge and the fact that it’s 67 metres above water.
The bridge doesn’t have any of our tragically English, health and safety barriers, which means that the views of the bay below really are within reach. It’s exhilarating and strangely hypnotic cycling at such a height.
As most travellers will tell you, it’s not just about the destination though. It’s about the journey, so grab a bike and roll with it.
This post contains a gifted experience.
Bike the Golden Gate Bridge
You have two route options really. You can cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge, follow the hill down to Sausalito and enjoy some time there. And then cycle back over the bridge to the city. Or you can follow that same route and then jump on the ferry (with your bike) back to the city.
Cycling to the Golden Gate Bridge From the City
From Fisherman’s Wharf cycle along Marina Green, past the Palace of Fine Arts and the Walt Disney Family museum, and past Crissy Field. You’ll soon see the Golden Gate Bridge.
There are a few little uphill bits just before you get to the bridge where you really have to use your pedal power, but after that it’s pretty easy.
Cruise along the bridge, taking it all in. So many films feature the bridge and it’s hard not to think of that scene in X-Men when it’s pulled into the air – or perhaps that’s just my wild imagination. In all seriousness, the views of the bay are gorgeous and it really is an amazing experience.
Once you reach the other end of the bridge follow the winding hill down into the adorable town of Sausalito. It’s so beautiful.
Once you’ve explored this spot (and more importantly, refuelled) you can then cycle back over the bridge. Bear in mind you’ll need to cycle up the hill you came down. And that hill is a beast.
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Bike the Golden Gate Bridge Return By Ferry
I had big intentions to bike both ways, but after a hearty meal in Sausalito I couldn’t be bothered to cycle up the hill and instead, jumped on the ferry back.
It’s really easy to catch the ferry back and really common to take your bike on board. It will drop you off at either Pier 41 (right by Fisherman’s Wharf) or Pier 1, the San Francisco Ferry Building (near Justin Herman Plaza).
If you hire bike with Blazing Saddles you’ll find a ferry schedule inside your map, complete with a detailed list of times and drop-off locations. They’ll also provide you with ferry tickets at the start of your ride, but if you don’t use them you can just return them to Blazing Saddles at no extra charge.
Tip: Catch the evening ferry and enjoy watching the sun go down as it shimmers in the water.
Bike Hire San Francisco
Blazing Saddles San Francisco has a few pick-ups throughout the city so there’s sure to be one by your hotel. The closest pick up to the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the branches at Fisherman’s Wharf. From there’s it’s an enjoyable 20-minute cycle to the Bridge.
Simply stroll in, pick your wheels and get going. You can go for a guided tour (in which case it’s probably best to book ahead) or you can hire the bike and do your own thing. If you want a bit of help, go for an e-bike and/or use the little route map on the front handlebars.
The best thing about Blazing Saddles San Francisco is that if you get back to the depot after closing time, you can just pop your bike in the storage unit and check-out with one of their forms. It means that you can enjoy the sunset views without rushing.
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Blazing Saddles San Francisco really make it all too easy to enjoy the best bits of the city. It’s a breeze to get your bike and drop it off, they give you as much (or as little handholding) as you need. And their rental prices are super cheap.
With loads of depots in the city they’re also on hand should you have any problems with your bike. The bikes are sturdy and well-maintained so I doubt you’d
run pedal into any issues. Go on, bike the bridge!
Cycle Hire Tips
A little word of warning – San Francisco is a busy city. There are lanes of cars to compete with, lots of tourists and commuters, as well as cable cars and Munis (the buses).
Do yourself a favour and decide your plan of action before setting off. It’s hard to shout over the noise to your friend/partner to turn left or to quickly whizz through the lights before they change. That said, most of the roads are those lovely wide American ones and you’ll often find dedicated cycle lanes.
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Have you been to San Francisco? Is it somewhere you’d like to go? Are you a fan of bike tours? X