San Francisco: Bike the Golden Gate Bridge and ferry back!

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The post was contributed by my nephew Jack, who is studying business at Dundee University. He’s an avid traveller and technology addict!

With only one day to see the sights of San Francisco and 4 children (10 to 18yrs) to entertain, we decided to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. Parking near Fisherman’s Wharf was easier than expected, but look out for cheap offers displayed roadside for the various covered lots. We picked up a free Baycity flyer from a kerbside newsstand which included a 25% discount from Wheel Fun Rentals (conveniently located at Pier 43) – always appreciated when multiplying by 6!  

The bikes all had quick release seat adjustment, maps, (with several suggested routes), phone holders, cycle locks and a free audio tour was available. Helmets were, of course provided. The helpful squad at Wheel Fun recommended cycling out towards the Golden Gate Bridge then crossing over to Sausalito and getting the ferry back.

Be aware that on leaving Fisherman’s Wharf, you need to share the road with cars and trams for a few hundred metres. We then got onto a cycle path which takes you past the Ghirardelli Factory and store for those with a sweet tooth. This is followed by a short hill climb that was a bit of a challenge for a certain more mature member of the group (mum) who had to push the last section!



When breathing rate had returned to normal (!), we were able to appreciate the wonderful view over Fort Mason towards the bay and over to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. By this time (mid-morning) it was free of the infamous fog which very often obscures it. We had an unobstructed view all the way through the park with the cycle path marked out for pedestrians on one half and cyclists on the other.

After a further pleasant flat section of the path, we reached the Warming Hut Visitor Centre, which had a shop and restaurant with free restrooms and plenty of bike racks. We had a wander out to the old pier to watch the locals fishing; we took a few photos with the bridge in the background. From here we also saw Alcatraz and the city of San Francisco skyline. Following our short break we had the challenge of another uphill (which most of the group managed without pushing) to a newly built viewing platform area just below the visitor centre. As we were on bikes we decided to just head onto the bridge but if you want to go into the visitor centre there is plenty of bike parking.



Due to the huge numbers of people and lack of cycle lane, we pushed our bikes for the first 20 metres of the Bridge, but soon got into our rhythm – single file in the cycle lane, ringing our bells if a pedestrian strayed onto our path. There are plenty of places to stop on the bridge and the views are spectacular. The best stopping places are at the bottom of the towers on the bridge.

Once we had crossed the bridge we had a rapid descent into Sausalito, a picturesque Mediterranean-style seaside town. Beware of an “official” looking chap in high vis vest directing the hoards of cyclists to paid cycle parking. We rode a further 150 metres to find plenty of free parking. We dined streetside at the Venice pizzeria, with waterfront views across the bay to the City skyline. After looking around a few of the shops we caught one of the frequent ferries for a 30 min journey back direct to Fisherman’s Wharf. Rows and rows of bikes leaning side by side occupied the bottom deck! This leisurely return journey took us past Alcatraz and gave us a different view of the Bridge.



On our return, we cycled to the famous pier 39 to watch the antics of the sea lions and look around the pier – filled with shops and eateries, before returning the bikes and taking one of the old trams up to Union Square, to Lori’s Diner, before returning to pick up our car, satisfied we had experienced some of the best sights of San Francisco.



There’s a very detailed Trip Advisor step-by-step guide for biking the Golden Gate Bridge here

Wheel Fun Rentals 627 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94133 +1 (415) 770-1978

Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals and Tours 555 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94133 +1 202-8888

San Francisco Bicycle Rentals 425 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94109 +1 (415) 922-4537

Bay City Bikes 501 Bay St, San Francisco, CA 94133 +1 (415) 346-2453

Dylan’s Bike Tours  782 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133 +1 (415) 932-6993



Wander Mum
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  1. 08/08/2017 / 22:11

    We’re just getting into cycling as a family and are loving it. This has to be one of the most amazing city routes I’ve heard about. I think I’d be pulling over every few minutes to check out the views!

  2. 07/08/2017 / 11:30

    Brilliantly written. I am desperate for my Daughter to learn how to ride her bike! I am also desperate to visit San Fran!
    Mary Louise recently posted…How to Style a courtyard gardenMy Profile

  3. 05/08/2017 / 21:23

    What a fabulous thing to do – I have only ever visited for work. I would love to take the boys. They would relish something like this.

  4. 05/08/2017 / 12:15

    I always think this sounds an amazing thing to do – a friend of mine wrote a guest post on the same subject for us last year. Magical stuff – would love to see those views for myself!

    • 05/08/2017 / 16:16

      It’s a great thing to do if you are an active family and want to see the sites. I did it a long time when I lived there, but haven’t taken the family yet. Another good thing to do is to Bike Angel Island – I wrote a post on that last year. There’s so much to do in San Francisco it can be overwhelming and you can easily fall into the tourist traps.
      Susanna recently posted…San Francisco: How to bike the Golden Gate Bridge (and ferry back!)My Profile

  5. 04/08/2017 / 18:28

    Ohh you’ve had a blog makeover. Its looking really good and what an amazing thing to do, bike over the Golden Gate bridge, that is the kind of thing childhood memories are made of. Your family are very lucky Susanna. Mich x
    Michelle Twin Mum recently posted…Days out by Coach – Do you Enjoy Them?My Profile