Descending The Final Blocks & Entering Sausalito
This section is important for families riding with kids and for less experienced riders. This section applies both to the Sausalito Lateral Route and the Fort Baker route, since they rejoin just above this narrow stretch of road.
When you first reach the outskirts of the town of Sausalito the road descends steeply as it goes through about 2 blocks of a very narrow, very busy street . There is a sharp, blind curve as you turn left where Alexander Ave. transitions into South St. If you are riding with kids youll want to supervise them closely or walk your bikes in this narrow 2-block segment.
The traffic coming up the hill is making a blind turn at this spot, there are wide commuter buses going both ways on the narrow street, and much of the year in the afternoon the sun blinds the oncoming drivers as they turn uphill. Enough said about why you want to be very careful in this spot!
After this sharp left turn and one more right turn youll be riding downhill on 2nd St., the last slope before the flat area in downtown Sausalito. There are crosswalks in this area, and when cars stop for pedestrians in these crosswalks they often surprise high-speed bike riders who have been drafting behind them.
Weve seen many near misses and multiple accidents. Please be ready for sudden stops as you complete your descent into town.
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Bicycle RentalsNear the Golden Gate Bridge
Our shop is one of the nearest bicycle rental places to the Golden Gate Bridge! Why rent from Fisherman’s Wharf if we are closer to the bridge? Check out our bicycle rental shop on Lombard Street and see how you can start your memorable bike ride using our custom bike rental map for the city of San Francisco!
The Reward: One Of The Best Views In The World
After that last choke point youll round a corner, descend a short section of street and see the bench and view shown in the photo above. Youll be riding right next to the Bay in one of the most beautiful spots in the world! From here on youll be on normal city streets. We refer to the bench pictured above as The Conference Room because of lunchtime meetings we have here!
Follow the main road, now called Bridgeway in honor of the Golden Gate Bridge. This area is the Bridgeway Promenade. There are benches along the edge of the Bay here, and you can buy sandwiches at nearby delis for an inexpensive impromptu picnic!
To reach the Sausalito Ferry for your return to San Francisco, take Bridgeway north to the intersection with El Portal and turn right to reach the Ferry pier. Our Downtown Sausalito page gives you all the information on this area.
Do not ride your bike on sidewalks in Sausalito, since this is prohibited and you could get a ticket.
Insiders Tip: If you stop to eat lunch at a restaurant in Sausalito, make sure you lock your bike and take valuables with you, as you would in any other city.
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Options For Your Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour
You can do your own Golden Gate Bike tour or join an organized group. If you want to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge on your own, rent a bike in the Fishermans Wharf area. You may be able save money by booking the bike online in advance here.
*If you purchase the San Francisco Go City Card a day-long bike rental is included.
You can choose to ride all the way to either Sausalito or Tiburon . Then you can take a ferry back to Fishermans Wharf to return your bike. I wanted to go all the way to Tiburon, but Russell and I decided we could play it by ear and see how we felt.
If you want to be ambitious, you could also bike both ways. I will warn you though the path from Sausalito back to the bridge is a long steep road. It would save you the cost of a ferry ticket though.
If you are worried about the steep hills some of the bike rental shops do have e-bikes. Be aware you must pedal the bikes when you are on the bridge. Luckily, the bridge is flat!
You might prefer the option to do a guided Golden Gate Bridge bike tour especially if you are not good with directions. The route to bike to the Golden Gate Bridge is not as straightforward as I would have thought. Also, if you are traveling solo, I would recommend doing a Golden Gate bike tour. That way if you run into any bike problems, you have someone to help you. .
Signal Then Pull Over If You Want To Stop
You’re at one of the most iconic tourist destinations in the nation so naturally you want to take a photo. You want to stop and enjoy the view, look over the Pacific Ocean, and admire Karl the Fog in his full glory.
Before you stop, signal that you’re about to stop then pull over completely.
It’s also dangerous to stop at the entrance to the bridge since it’s a blind spot for cyclists coming off it. I’ve seen a few collisions here, so to be safe, try and go a little ways away to pull over and watch for others coming around the bend.
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About The Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge runs from San Francisco to Marin County. It gets its name because it spans the area called the Golden Gate, where the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean meet. The Golden Gate Bridge has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World.
It was built in 1937 and was the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1964 . You can drive across the bridge on U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1. There is also a lane for pedestrians and bicyclists.
If you are interested in learning more about the history of the Golden Gate Bridge, check out this tour. It also includes some spectacular views from a special vantage point.
Biking To Golden Gate Bridge
Most people bike to Sausalito from Fishermans Wharf since most bike rental companies have offices there. The ride from Fishermans Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge is approximately 4 miles.
First, you leave the rental office toward the western end of Fishermans Wharf. Go past Aquatic Park, then into Fort Mason. Here, you have to join the bike path that runs along the waterfront. When you get to Crissy Field on Mason Street, you turn right onto Crissy Field Ave. and then turn right onto Lincoln Boulevard. Youll make a slight right onto Battery East Road and join the bike trail that takes you to the bridges entrance.
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What Should I Wear
With average highs in San Francisco only in the 60s, you will find it’s actually quite cool and windy on the bridge. Make sure to wear layers and bring along a light windbreaker for your ride. Here are a few more pieces of advice on what to wear when you bike across the Golden Gate Bridge:
Pants: I typically wear light pants that don’t interfere with the peddles or chain on the bike. I like leggings or pants that have a tight fit around the ankles.
Short Sleeves: I usually wear a short-sleeved shirt. This allows me to cool down after the ride up the hill to get to the Golden Gate Bridge trail entrance. In the winter, typically wear a light, long sleeved shirt as highs this time of year are usually in the upper 50s.
Light Jacket or Windbreaker: I always bring a light jacket with me. This allows me to warm up on the ride across as I usually ride slow and stop quite a bit as I go.
Flat Soled Shoes: I always wear sneakers or other flat soled shoes. This makes it easier to get on and off the bike. Plus, at times, you’ll need to walk your bike, and this will make it a more comfortable adventure.
Running or Biking Gloves: I recommend these only if you plan to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge during the winter. This will keep your hands warm as you cycle across.
- Some also offer patch kits
Here are a few things you will want to bring along.
Expert Tips For Your Bike Ride Across Golden Gate Bridge
- Book your bike rental online in advance here.
- Study the map before venturing out so that you dont get lost.
- Be sure to take note of the ferry schedule so that you dont miss the boat back.
- Allow extra time for biking across the Golden Gate Bridge. While it is only 8 miles to Sausalito, you will want to stop and take lots of pictures.
- If you have more time in the Bay Area, you could also take the ferry to Alameda Island and ride your bike on the beach there. Check out this post for more family-friendly activities in Alameda.
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Ferry To San Francisco
The second and most popular alternative is to bike to Sausalito and ferry back to San Francisco. There are two companies running ferries between Sausalito and San Francisco:
- Blue & Gold Fleet Blue & Gold Fleet departs from the Sausalito ferry terminal and arrives at Pier 41 on Fishermans Wharf. An adult ticket costs $13.75 for a one-way trip, and childrens tickets cost $7.50.
- Golden Gate Ferry Golden Gate Ferry departs from the Sausalito ferry terminal and arrives in the SF Ferry Building. Golden Gate Ferries charge adults $14.00 and children $7.50 for a one-way trip.
No matter which company you choose, both will have two lines for boarding: one for people with bikes and another for people without bikes.
Even if you buy your ticket in advance, ferries work on a first-come, first-served basis. Consequently, people simply line up to board them. The problem is that each ferry has room for a limited number of bikes, so people with bikes may have to wait longer to board the ferry back to SF as these fill up quickly.
Tips For Biking Across The Golden Gate Bridge
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Rent A Bike From A Reputable Shop
A positive experience biking across the Golden Gate Bridge begins with a solid bike rental. There are several bike rental companies throughout the city, but some are better than others. Do your own research but here are 3 of the bike rental companies in San Francisco I recommend.
Before I get into the recommendations, know that the cost of a one-day hybrid bike rental is an average of $32. Also ensure that the rental includes a helmet, lock, and map. Dont forget to check Groupon for deals as well.
Sports Basement: I freaking love Sports Basement. Its like REI without the air of superiority. There are multiple locations in the Bay Area, but the one you want to rent your bike from is the Presidio location. I recommend Sports Basement if you have a car because you can easily drive there and park your car in the lot for the day. This will also save some biking time as youll start the bike ride as close to the Golden Gate Bridge as possible.
For certain bike rentals, Sports Basement also offers early pickup which means that you can pick up your bike the night before your bike ride at no extra charge. So if youre planning to start before they open at 9:00 am this is a solid option to inquire about.
- Hybrid bike: $32/day
- E-Bike: $135 with $1500 refundable credit card deposit
Location: 610 Old Mason Street
If you book in advance online there is a 20% discount.
Blazing Saddles also offers guided tours if thats of interest to you.
Location: 721 Beach St
- Hybrid: $32/day
Can You Bike Across Golden Gate Bridge To Sausalito
Yes! And it was one of my favourite things to do when I lived in San Francisco as a young adult. We visited California over the summer and the entire family biked over the bridge and took the ferry back to Fishermans Wharf. We had so much fun! Its a good to way get a little exercise AND do some sight-seeing along the way. I highly recommend biking across the Golden Gate.
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What To Expect Biking Across The Golden Gate Bridge
Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most unique and awe-inspiring experiences. Even as a local, its one experience Ive never gotten tired of, and I look forward to sharing this experience with others. First of all, you get to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, which was at one point the longest and tallest bridge in the world. Secondly, you get to do so overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Marin Mountains. On top of that, there is a wide, safe, and dedicated bike lane to ride across the bridge.
There are also and many spots to comfortably stop and rest and take photos. Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge will give you a great overall feel of San Francisco, from the small boutique shops, nature and scenery, and of course, those hills.
The Embarcadero To Golden Gate Bridge
Riding along the Embarcadero gives you some of the best views of the San Francisco Bay and promenade. Its a relatively easy path to cycle too as its mostly car-free and fairly flat for San Fran! Cycling from The Ferry Building to Battery Spencer is roughly 8.1 miles long and takes about 50min to complete.
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Detailed Sidewalk Hours For Cyclists On The Golden Gate Bridge
Winter Standard Time Hours: First Sunday in November to the second Monday in March
- Weekdays: Use the east sidewalk between 5 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Use the west sidewalk between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
- Weekends & Holidays: This is the busiest time on the bridge. Between 5 am and 6:30 pm, all bikes will use the west sidewalk.
- Overnight: If you arrive between 6:30 p.m. and 5 a.m., the gate will be down. You ride across on the east sidewalk. When you arrive, you must press the buzzer and the security will let you through. This is only for cyclists as pedestrians are not allowed on the bridge during these hours. You must again press the buzzer when you reach the other side. Security will again open the gate for you to get off the bridge. This is for both weekdays and weekends.
Summer, Spring & Fall Hours: Second Monday in March to the first Sunday in November
- Weekdays: Use the east sidewalk between 5 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Use the west sidewalk between 3:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- Weekends: Use the west sidewalk between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.
- Overnight: Same protocol as above. If you arrive when the gates are down, enter on the east sidewalk. Press the button and as long as you are on a bike, the security guards will open the gates to let you bike across the Golden Gate Bridge.
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