These tips to bike the Golden Gate Bridge will help you find a bike rental, ferry back to San Francisco and more! If you’re looking for the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge, renting a bike is the way to go!
When we visited San Francisco last year, I knew before we arrived that my teens would have a blast biking across the Golden Gate Bridge! The height, the views, the thrill of feeling the wind hit you… it had their names written all over it.
It also made me feel sick to my stomach just thinking about it! I’m scared of heights to the tune of “I don’t even like being on football bleachers”, so no matter how much I tried to talk myself into it, I just couldn’t bring myself to join them.
Luckily, my husband was game and to this day, the 3 of them say it was one of the greatest highlights of our San Francisco vacation!
Bike the Golden Gate Bridge
There are a few things to know, though, before you head out. I spent quite a bit of time researching what this part of their day would look like and what all it involves, so I wanted to share what I found with you to make your planning a little easier.
Where Can I Rent a Bike in San Francisco?
There are so many biking rental stores in San Francisco that it can get a little overwhelming. I had it narrowed down to 2 for our trip: Bay City Bike Rentals and tours and Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals.
Both stores had locations that were convenient to Fisherman’s Wharf, which was where I wanted to be. They also both had combination bike rentals plus a ticket for a ferry ride back from Sausalito.
Bay City Bike Rentals also had electric bike options. I considered whether we wanted to keep the bikes for all day and explore more of the city. With those famous San Francisco hills, an electric bike wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing!
Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals won out, though because your bike rental is free with your San Francisco Go Card! The normal cost of a bike rental is $32/adult so it can really add up fast! I highly recommend grabbing a Go Card! There are so many activities and sites included on it and it’s not that much more expensive than some of the individual ticket prices.
We were thrilled with Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals! The location was perfect. As soon as I sent them off, I could head down to Fisherman’s Wharf and keep myself busy for a couple of hours!
When you arrive at Blazing Saddles, they will fit you for your bike and helmet and then walk you through a quick safety course. With your rental, you’ll also get a lock, handlebar bag and a map that has your course marked on it.
How Long Does It Take to Bike the Golden Gate Bridge
It really depends on how many stops you make along the way and what your plan is for once you reach the other side!
You don’t start your bike ride at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. You start closer to Fisherman’s Wharf and bike amongst the traffic (it’s much safer than it sounds) as you make your way towards the Bridge. It’s actually a gorgeous ride (I drove over so that I could see some of the same sites as the rest of my family).
You’ll ride past Crissy Field, the Aquatic Park, Presidio National Park and more! Take the time to stop every once in awhile to enjoy the view and grab some pictures.
The bridge itself is about 2 miles across, and while flat, it can get really windy! Once you cross the bridge, you have 3 main options: you can bike back across, head to Sausalito where you’ll take the ferry back or head to Tiburon where you can also pick up a ferry back.
I highly suggest taking the time to explore Sausalito a bit. Grab lunch over there and enjoy the view of San Francisco from across the bay, then hop on the ferry for the return trip. My kids really enjoyed the ferry ride back… it was almost 2 trips for one price!
If you bike across and then get the ferry from Sausalito, it’s about 8 miles total. You should plan on 1.5-2 hours for this trip.
If you head to Tiburon, it’s a little over 22 miles total and I would expect it to take closer to 3 hours.
Tips & Tricks to Biking the Golden Gate Bridge
- Dress warm! We visited San Francisco in February, and were surprised with just how chilly it got! Especially when you’re faced with the wind up on the bridge and on the ferry back. Be sure to have a windbreaker or coat with you.
- Take the helmet that is offered to you at the bike rental shop! I really don’t know why anyone wouldn’t take it. You’ll have a short period where you’re riding between streets and all the tourist traffic. Also, depending what time of day you’re riding, there could be a lot of bike and pedestrian traffic on the bridge. Just wear the helmet.
- Be courteous of others on the bridge. I know, the view is amazing and it’s your one chance to get that picture. Just be aware of stopping too fast or stopping in the middle of the lane. Pull yourself over to the side and make sure there is no one behind you that you’ll cut off. There are a lot of local commuters who bike the Golden Gate Bridge to get back and forth to work, so make sure you aren’t blocking them as well!
- Check the ferry schedule before you leave so you know how much time you can spend in Sausalito. The last ferry leaves to head back to San Francisco at 7:20 (even earlier on Saturdays), so if you miss it then you’ll be biking back!
- As you’re heading out, be sure to stop at Fort Point (right before your uphill climb onto the bridge starts). The view is breathtaking!
- There are 2 sidewalks on the Bridge itself that are reserved for pedestrians and bikers. For the most part, the bikers use the western sidewalk. Be aware that bike traffic goes in both directions so keep to the right and stay aware of your surroundings.
Once you arrive back to Blazing Saddles to return your bike, be sure to explore the area some more! You’re right by Ghiradelli Square, Fisherman’s Wharf and more! It’s the perfect way to make a day of that area of the city- the morning biking, lunch in Sausalito and San Francisco in the afternoon/evening!