Forum home Road cycling forum Tours, routes, audaxes & organised rides Tour & expedition

Road riding in the Bay Area - San Francisco

edited April 2012 in Tour & expedition
I hope to go for a week or more with the Misses who will be going for work, plan to pack my road bike so I can amuse myself during the daytime, we will be staying in Emeryville in Oakland (where her work is) so I plan to use the BART off peak to get over to SF or out of the city before starting to ride. Is this a good idea?

I have found some maps and routes to follow but was looking for any other ideas or tips of where to go? Are there any parts of town (both Oakland and SF) I should avoid?

The 1 highway that runs by the coast both in Marin County and south of SF looks like a good ride, anyone know if these are very busy with traffic? I like climbing so any advice on where to find this would be warmly welcome.



  • crankycrankcrankycrank Posts: 1,830
    Yes, take the Bart into SF, fast and easy. I have been to SF a number of times on a motorbike but always wished I had my bike with me so I tried to keep in mind where the good cycling routes are and I'll give you some of my observations. As you're staying in Oakland a trip north to Berkeley would be nice for a shorter sightseeing ride since the city is fairly picturesque and Berkely University is worth checking out. Keep your wits about you in the poorer parts of Oakland though as crime is a problem but basically the same as in any poor section of a large city. SF again is generally safe but the southeast section of the city is pretty drab and higher crime but just trust your instincts. Also the Tenderloin district is a little seedy. Mostly sex shops, prostitutes, drugs. Not overly dangerous but would be last on my agenda. Traffic all around the city can be pretty heavy most of the time. There are plenty of other cyclists who ride all over the city and Marin County and demand respect from drivers so you won't be alone. "Critical Mass" for cyclists rights originated in SF and at a time when CM actually stood for something positive. Riding almost anywhere around the north part of SF is very interesting with it's unique architecture and individual neighborhoods but there are many very steep hills all over the city. You can take them on for the challenge or with some route planning most can be avoided. You can ride across the Golden Gate Bridge in a seperate lane from the cars so that won't be a problem. Sausalito is worth seeing for it's houseboats and wealthy fackers and from there go west to Marin and Muir beach by way of a small mountain road and if I can recall there are some forested areas and great views overlooking the ocean on your way to Muir beach. Anywhere along Hwy 1 near SF is very beautiful and I think, the best part of California. Plenty of info and brochures available on the net. Too much to list here. Learning a little of the history of SF really makes sightseeing far more interesting IMO. Each of the neighborhoods were formed by different immigrant groups who put their own style of architecture and culture in place (Russian Hill, Little Italy, China town, etc.) and the great earthquake of 1906 is a worth researching. Many photos and personal accounts exist from the quake. Bring a hefty lock and choose a parking spot wisely if you plan on stopping for a look around anywhere. Most bike shops have a bike route map that you can get either for free or cheap and possibly available on the net now. Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip!!
  • Thanks crankycrank, some useful tips there. The Golden Gate ride and an explore of Marin County will be 1st on the list.

    Anyone have any pointers about where to head out of the city? like wise are there any long mountain type climbs near by? Typically my rides are around 50-80 miles at home.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    I'd google something like 'cycling club Bay Area' - should give you an idea of where the locals go. Maybe even some rides to join/people to hook up with.
  • crankycrankcrankycrank Posts: 1,830
    Also try this site. From what I have seen of Marin, any one of these routes looks really nice and most have some good climbs. The "Pt. Reyes Light House via Mt. Tam" ride looks like the one I would try first. Listed as 120 miles round trip but you could skip the last 20-40 miles and still have a fantastic ride. I believe there may also be options of taking a ferry (with your bike) from Sausalito or Tiburon to Oakland if you wanted to skip going back through SF.
  • If you're on the Oakland side of the bay, then take the BART to Walnut Creek and go to M. Diablo/ Morgan Territory.
    On the Marin side this is a nice ride, just about to do it!
    No problems taking the bike from Tiburon/Sausalito, in fact it's almost part of the ticket conditions. :D
  • Cheers malcolmfrost, that's just the kinda thing I am looking for.

    andymiller, thought about that, only hitch seems just like at home most rides are at weekends and I will be out and about Monday-Friday, will keep digging mind as it would be great to have company/guide.
  • bikergirl17bikergirl17 Posts: 344
    head right across the bridge into marin county, and you will immediately hit some nice climbs to your left (admittedly i had started using a road bike about three months prior to cycling there, so they could be less steep than seemed at the time) ... and as someone mentioned going farther out there's mt tam (and farther out is muir woods, where we passed some cyclists as we drove up some twisty roads).

    i was able to rent a decent bike from blazing saddles -- brought my own pedals. also may want to check for local cycling clubs (in napa, i contacted the local club ahead of time and then met up with them for a ride).
  • I changed my mind and did SF to Sausalito, Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, Sausalito SF on day 1 (80km)and Pleasant Hill to Mt. Diablo on day 2.
    I've also just discovered Mt. Hamilton, SE of Fremont on the BART. 61km to the top. Next time!
Sign In or Register to comment.