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Bike the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco to Sausalito | Don't Ever Look Back

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Biking the Golden Gate Bridge

Biking the Golden Gate Bridge

One of the must-do’s on our list when arriving in San Francisco was to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, regardless of how we did it. This was a non-negotiable and upon discovering our WharfPass included a two-hour bike rental, we knew what we had to do.

Bike The Bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge looks enormous from a distance!

So off we went to Blazing Saddles, a local bicycle rental company, and decided to Bike The Bridge from San Francisco to the lovely seaside town of Sausalito. After this 8-mile (13 kilometer) journey, we would then catch the ferry back across the bay to the city at the end of the day – thank god!

The brochures said the ride would be “a fun and enjoyable activity for the beginner to the advanced rider” but considering we hadn’t ridden bicycles in a very long time, we decided to wait until after the ride to make a decision on that. Fortunately we were pleasantly surprised at (generally) how well we handled it!

Our bike ride started in Fisherman’s Wharf, through Fort Mason and along Marina Boulevard. We then proceeded to ride through the Presidio of San Francisco, a beautiful park along the shoreline of San Francisco Bay.

Bikes overlooking the bridge

Our bicycles overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

But beware of the San Francisco hills! We decided it was a smarter move to conserve our energy and walk our bikes up a couple of the steeper hills, particularly the one from Fort Point to the start of the bridge. The effort was well worth it in the end and we were rewarded with this stunning view of San Francisco.

View of San Francisco from Fort Point

View of San Francisco from Fort Point.

Here’s the view we saw before crossing the bridge. A word of advice to recreational cyclists – stay on the city side of the bridge. Unfortunately we followed the ‘bicycle’ signs and ended up on the wrong side of the bridge with lycra-clad cyclists flying past us at great speed. Hence the lack of photos from on the bridge itself!

Before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge

Before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.

Once you’ve conquered the bridge, it’s an easy downhill cruise to Sausalito. As we rode into Sausalito, the ferry we wanted to catch was just leaving – but this turned out to be a blessing as this charming town was one of the highlights of the bike ride. We locked up our bikes and wound up at a seaside café munching down some delicious baguettes.

Sausalito

A photo of Sausalito from the ferry.

After you’ve finished in Sausalito, hop back on the ferry and it’s back to San Francisco. The bike ride was definitely one of the best parts of our visit to San Francisco and we would definitely do it again if the opportunity presented itself.

Have you biked across the Golden Gate Bridge or any other famous landmark? How was your experience?

19 Comments

  1. Posted June 1, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, it sucks that you guys couldn’t get pics while on the bridge and that’s a good piece of advice to stay on the city side. I absolutely adore Sausalito too……if anyone visits SFO, be sure to check it out. It always reminds me of Italy……
    Renee recently posted..Flying high with the Loews in New Orleans!

    • Posted June 2, 2011 at 12:04 am | Permalink

      We’ll be back in SF in August so we might cross the bridge again and make sure we get some photos this time!

      Totally agree about visiting Sausalito… we would love to spend a few days in a houseboat there but our budget just doesn’t allow it.

  2. Posted June 1, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    Wow, some great photos from the San Francisco side of the bridge! I’ve only ever driven accross the bridge and seen the view from the Marin county side. These are great views you had too!

    I’ve done bicycle rides in Taroko Gorge and Kenting in Taiwan, both with stunning views, but also beware the hills on these, especially when not used to them! And also the lack of bicycle paths…
    Brett recently posted..Photo of the Week- Mickey Mouse Muffins from Tokyo Disneyland

    • Posted June 2, 2011 at 12:07 am | Permalink

      Thanks Brett. We drove across the bridge too (completely by accident after getting lost!) – lucky we had cash to pay the tolls on the way back!

      Hills are a killer for the beginner bike rider… we’re definitely gonna strengthen our leg muscles over the next couple of months so we can conquer them the next time we get on a bike.

  3. Posted June 2, 2011 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    I did the same trip, except on foot (I’m not much of a bike rider). It’s an awesome trip, and Sausalito was a great place to recover and have some lunch after it all.
    Claire recently posted..From Essaouira- with love…

    • Posted June 2, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      We might do it by foot later this year – how long did that take? We didn’t set off until the afternoon, definitely better to do it early so you can really enjoy your time in Sausalito.

  4. Posted June 2, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I chickened out of doing this when I was in SF last year – my excuse was that I was on my own and since I’m such a disaster on a bike these days my mishaps wouldn’t have been funny…just depressing!

    My sister biked the bridge with a friend and apparently they got in the wrong lane or something?! At any rate people were yelling at them and honking their horns – she said they cried the whole time. 😀
    Megan recently posted..Things I liked in May and you might- too

    • Posted June 2, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Aww that sucks Megan! Hopefully on your upcoming travels you won’t be making excuses… we know we’re going to be as open-minded as we can.

      Oh jeez! If they somehow ended up on the road with cars that would have been terrifying! We thought being in the ‘advanced’ bike lane was bad enough!

  5. Posted June 2, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Even after living in San Francisco for a year, we never biked (or even walked!) across the Golden Gate Bridge! I imagine driving across (which we’ve done a billion times) isn’t half as fun, so we’ll have to make it happen next time we’re there. 🙂
    Christy recently posted..Photo Essay- The Oregon Coast

    • Posted June 2, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      It’s interesting how travelers don’t do things in their own city – we are guilty of the same thing in Melbourne but hoping to cross a couple of the list before we set off on the road. You’re right though – driving just isn’t the same experience (although the first time is pretty exciting!).

  6. Posted June 3, 2011 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Ooh! We spent some time in Sausalito as well when we were there. Loved the boat yards. There is this awesome place that has sustainable fishing and clam chowder that will knock your socks off.
    Erica recently posted..The Magical Meat Market of Oaxaca- Mexico

    • Posted June 3, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

      We only had the afternoon there and didn’t get to explore the boat yards… have added it to the list for next time!

  7. Posted June 4, 2011 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    I don’t think I ever cycled across a famous landmark before, would definitely cycle across this one when I have the chance. I usually walk everywhere or take the public transport when I’m travelling. Not sure why, but never rent a bike. Maybe it’s because I already cycle 7 days a week at home. More cycling is not the first thing that comes to my mind when I arrive in a new place 🙂
    Tijmen recently posted..Diving the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

    • Posted June 4, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      I could imagine cycling would be the last thing on your mind if you already do it everyday!

  8. Posted June 4, 2011 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    That would have been awesome to ride across guys. Pity you couldn’t get any photos and I guess you didn’t fancy riding across it twice 🙂
    Chris recently posted..How Much Did It Cost – Naples Budget

    • Posted June 4, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      It sure was! We definitely weren’t going back up those hills though to ride back to the city haha.

  9. Giulia
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    When I went to SF I also crossed the bridge biking… but it was so hard just to get to the bridge itself! I thought I was going to die 😀
    I recently posted a photo of that, subtitled “Struggling on the Golden Gate”!
    I stopped on the bridge to take pics but this caused a biker to insult me. Opsie…

    • Posted June 7, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Haha yes some of those hills to get to the bridge were a killer, hence why we decided to walk up them instead of ride after nearly using a day’s energy getting up the first one. Haha you must have been on the wrong side of the bridge too!

  10. Posted July 1, 2011 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    You know, I lived in SF for the better part of 25 years and I haven’t ONCE biked across the Golden Gate Bridge! Ashamed of myself, really. Next time I go back to visit my parents, I’m going to make sure I do this! =)

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