A Bike Friendly Big City

The Ugly

The very ugly reality about biking in San Francisco his bike theft.  Bike theft is totally out of control, regular citizens are oblivious, the police ultimately are only sympathetic.  If you are not extremely careful to ensure your bike is safely locked up in a safe location, you can expect to return to your bike to find the wheels or seat or the entire bike  gone.  Forever.

As an example, my city commuting bike was stolen in the Castro Neighborhood Commercial District on a busy sidewalk with two San Francisco police officers standing about 20 feet away, the entire incident was captured on a security camera.  The police later found the guy who stole the bike, but because two days later he no longer had it in his possession, they let him go. And I never saw the bike again.  I have lost four locked up bikes in the past few years.

San Francisco Bike Share

Our city bike share program is relatively new, but it can get you about on 30-minute rides fairly well.  Compared to Paris or Melbourne, it is expensive $2 for a 30-minute ride, or $10/day of unlimited 30 minute rides.  A problem for tourists is that there are no stations in most of the tourist areas of town.  For more information, see https://www.lyft.com/bikes/bay-wheels.  One advantage is that you don’t need to worry about bike theft at your destination, as long as you properly return the bike to the dock.

Biking from the House

If I am here and you are here on a Saturday morning, you can expect that I’ll be leaving the house at 08:42 for the 18 minute fairly level bike ride to arrive at Stow Lake Boathouse in Golden Gate park for SF FrontRunners.  I’ll be riding my one-gear bike.

Here are some of my favorite ways to show off the City (yea, some of the links to google maps aren’t working on phones… If you have a better idea):

Western Park Loops

8-17 miles.  GG park via the panhandle, to the beach, Dim Sum and back.  Add an optional visit to Marshall’s Beach to hang out at low tide.

Golden Gate & the Marin Headlands

9-32 miles. This is a hilly one – across the bridge, climb 1000′ feet to the top of the hill, and down a steep one way road to the Bonita Point Lighthouse, to fish and chips lunch in Sausalito via the tunnel, back to the bridge, or for $6.50 with a clipper card, take the ferry from Sausalito to the Ferry Building and then bike Market upwind to home.  Or if taking the Ferry, skip the crowds, ferry to Sausalito and loop the other way

Sono Un Turista

(Je suis un touriste – Ich bin ein Tourist – Jag är turist – मैं एक पर्यटक हूं  – Я турист – Jsem turista – 我是旅遊者 – Rwyf yn dwristiaid)

16 miles.  Quick ride to the GG Bridge, down the hill to Fort Point, across Crissy Field to the Marina, Fort Mason into Fish Wharf, then to Chinatown for a Won Ton Soup lunch, then through the Stockton Tunnel to the Apple Store, Union Square, and home into the headwind.

Treasure Island and the Bay Bridge

16 miles.  Take the bike on BART to MacArthur Station, then ride down 40th Street to the Bay Trail to the Bridge to YBI, then over to Treasure Island.  Signup for a IKEA Family card to put in your Apple Wallet and get a $4.99 manager’s special Lunch on the way back.