The 2-Wheeled Tourist: Exploring San Francisco by Bicycle

Exploring by bike is a great way to get around San Francisco, as the city is relatively small and there are a number of bike lanes and paths. It is a common transport choice for the locals and it is often the quickest way across town, which is why you will see so many people cycling here compared to other American cities. The city itself is fairly small and it is only around 7 miles in circumference from east to west or north to south, so you will be able to get from one end to another with ease.

If you are looking for more info about cycling while you search for San Francisco city things to do on a vacation, here are some tips for cycling in San Francisco, such as where to rent bikes, how to keep safe and how to handle those hills.

Where to Get a Bike

There are a number of bike rental companies all throughout San Francisco, including Bay City Bike, Dylan’s Bike Rental and Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals. Most of the bike rental shops in the city are clustered around Fisherman’s Wharf.

During the summer, bike riding is very popular and you will find it more difficult to get your hands on a bike. You can reserve a bike online in advance to make sure that you get one, which sometimes can even save you money.

Once you pick up your bike from Fisherman’s Wharf, you can start your journey by cycling north on Jefferson Street to the Aquatic Park along the gentle bay side trail. You could also bike along the pedestrian walkway of the Golden Gate Bridge or through the charming waterfront town of Sausalito.
If you prefer a guided tour, there are a number of different options offered by the bike rental companies at Fisherman’s Wharf. This is a great way to get some exercise while learning about the history of the city.

Important Safety Tips to Keep in Mind

When you are cycling, it is always important to keep safety in mind. Most motorists will generally be aware of your presence on the roadway, but you should still ride with caution, especially at busy times and during gridlock. Be aware of the rules of the road and keep your eyes and ears alert to what is happening around you. Always make your intentions clear to other cyclists and drivers with hand signals, and ride in the designated bike paths and cycling lanes rather than on the sidewalks.
Unfortunately, bike theft is very common in San Francisco and you should avoid leaving your bike unattended in public for a long period of time. Always secure your bike with a strong lock to a secure bike rack or railing.

How to Handle Those Hills

Of course, there is no denying that San Francisco has many steep hills. These inclines can be painful for your legs to climb up and dangerous to come down, as you might find yourself picking up speed too quickly and barreling out of control into traffic. How do you avoid this?

The secret is that there is almost always a bike route that will get you from point A to point B without having to make any major climbs. You can ask a local cyclist for their advice on which route to take.
If you find yourself facing a big hill, you can either hop off and walk your bike up or change your cycling technique. Crouch down low in the saddle and keep your upper body relaxed. Shift to a low gear and keep pedaling to maintain your momentum. Keep your effort constant and steady and once you get closer to the top, you can stand up from the seat and use your body weight to help you push down hard on the pedals.

When descending, use both of your brakes and don’t go down too quickly. Keep your eye out for cars and pedestrians on the road.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind while you are exploring the beautiful city of San Francisco on a bicycle. Have fun and happy pedaling!

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