One of our favorite things to do in San Francisco is riding bikes across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. We did this for the first time a couple of years ago when Lisa lived in the city. We had such a great experience, we knew we had to do it again on our trip there!
1) At the time of its opening, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest and tallest suspension bridge in the world.
2) Instead of the widely recognizable “international orange” color the bridge is today, it was almost painted yellow and black to make it easily visible for naval ships to pass. However, the bridge was painted orange to compliment the natural surroundings and enhance the bridges visibility in fog.
It’s not often that we ride bicycles (in fact, we don’t own any here in Arizona), but there isn’t anything like riding freely, hair flowing through the wind, on one of the most well-recognized bridges in the world. It brings Lisa back to simpler times when she was in a bike gang in elementary school (story for another time).
We always rent from Sports Basement because of its proximity to Golden Gate Bridge, reasonable pricing and their staff is always helpful in adjusting our bicycles to our specified needs. They also have an extensive collection of outdoor clothing and equipment. If you’re planning on cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge, make sure to rent from the Presidio location as they have another one located in the Mission District. We paid $24 each for our bike (helmet included) and our friends Grant and Summer paid $50 to ride on a tandem bike together for 3 hours.
If you start your route from Sports Basement, you will pass Crissy Field, a former U.S. Army airfield. This is a perfect spot for picnics, playing frisbee, walking your dog and getting that Instagram-worthy picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. From there, you can head down Marine Drive where you’ll be riding along the coast and approaching the bridge. At this point, you’ll need to bike up a fairly steep hill, so make sure to change your gears as needed.
The Golden Gate Bridge is 1.7 miles across and has east and west sidewalks. We spent approximately 30 minutes crossing the bridge each way (including stops to take pictures). The east side walk (bay side) are open to pedestrians and cyclists on weekdays until 3:30 P.M. On weekdays and holidays, it’s pedestrian only. Since we biked on a Friday, we shared the east sidewalk with pedestrians. Luckily this day wasn’t crowded compared to the last time when there was an anti-vaccination rally being held (again, story for another time). Be mindful when riding your bike and make sure to always be aware of pedestrians. Always stay to the left side of the sidewalk and tell pedestrians when you are passing. There are a lot of seasoned cyclists out there, some who think they are the next Lance Armstrong, but don’t let them intimidate you. Once you cross the bridge, you can ride to the Golden Gate Bridge View Point for another spectacular view of the bay and bridge from another perspective. The west sidewalk opened around 4 P.M. for bicyclists only, so there was more more room to cycle freely. On your way back, you’ll see the other side of the bridge (not as scenic but extremely relaxing with breathtaking views of the Marin Headlands. Once you’re back on the other side of the bridge, you can return your bike and make sure you have all of your belongings.
Whether it’s your first time riding or a seasoned cyclists, make sure to appreciate your surroundings, take memorable pictures on the bridge and most importantly have the time of your life cycling across one of the wonders of the modern world. The Tanners would be proud (hope you’re old enough to get that reference)