During our trip to San Francisco, we are going without a car for a couple of days. One of the days we are out there, we want to see a bunch of places, but we don't want to have to get there via motorized vehicle. Thankfully, San Francisco appears to be a very bike friendly town. From talking to the engineer at the station I'm working at out there, I know some people aren't very happy about how bike friendly it is (drivers) but it's great for those who don't want to deal with the car traffic.
I found some bike shops that rent bikes for $34/day. There are some cheaper places but they're out of the way from where we are staying and it would be more of a hassle getting there and back. We figure the price of two bikes for one day is what we would spend on a rental car plus parking for the day. On a bike, we can stop whenever we want and not have to worry about finding parking or (even better) worrying about paying for parking wherever we end up. I've been playing around in Google Maps a bit, working with their new biking map. It's still in beta, so I can't embed the bike map in here but it is essentially this same route.
We are staying near the Wharf, so we will pick up two bikes at one of the bike shops at the wharf. We might chat with the concierge at our hotel to see if they have a recommendation, but I believe I have found some good places via Yelp. We're going to grab our bikes at the wharf and head over to the Ferry Building to get some sustenance for a picnic lunch in the park. From there, we will bike over to Golden Gate Park.
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Once we are in the park, we are going to take a leisurely ride around, checking out the sites as we go. We're going to do this on a weekday, so the pedestrian traffic won't be as bad as a weekend day, we think. We're going to go the entire length of the park and head west until we hit sand and ocean. There are lots of things to do/look at in the park, so we won't have any trouble keeping busy as we ride through. We'll find a nice place to stop and take a break for a snack or lunch. If we can bike through the area, I'd like to see the Japanese Tea Gardens that I've been seeing some amazing pictures of online:
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When we're finished with the park, we will ride over to the coast. This will be my husband's first time putting his feet in the Pacific Ocean. I think that's so exciting. He just looks at me funny when I tell him that. Men just don't get it sometimes. :) Anyways, we'll ride up the coast and there are two places I want to stop. I want to get a drink at the Beach Chalet Brewery and Restaurant and then I want to ride up the coast a little further to take some pictures of Cliff House. It looks amazing from the photos I have seen online and I want to see it in person.
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From Cliff House, we will continue up the coast and head over to the Golden Gate Bridge. We will bike over the bridge, stop for a bit to rest and then head back over to the wharf.
Phew! That's a lot of bike mileage! It's 20 miles by bike and that's if we take the route that I have mapped out in Google maps. It also doesn't take into account the whole "getting lost" scenario. Or going off track for anything at all. For an all-day trip, it won't be horrible. We have done 15 mile bike rides with no problem in the past and that's with no stopping during the ride other than a stop or two for water. If we start to worry about what our bodies (read: rear ends) will feel like the next day, we do have another choice we could make. The easy route.
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The easy route would take us over the Golden Gate Bridge, but it would not take us through Golden Gate Park. We can ride from the wharf and over the bridge. We'll probably stop at vista point to take a breather and take in the view back to where we came from. On our way back over the bridge, we'll hop off and head over to the Presidio. We'll be hungry by this time, so we'll stop at Crissy Field for our packed lunch.
These are two good choices. We'll probably make our decision on how we feel that day and what we really want to accomplish while we're out on our bikes. We might decide to just do a half day on the bikes and then go on foot to take a ride on the cable cars along Powell Street.
I love that I'm able to map all of this out before we go. I'll print these directions out and probably see if we can get a bike map when we're in town to get a more accurate representation of bike paths in the city. I'm not a huge planner, so I don't sketch out every moment of every day for our vacations. I want to make sure we do the things we really want to do without feeling rushed or like we're missing out on something. I feel like planning a half of a day each day and then having tentative plans we can toss in for fun here and there works well. That way we don't feel rushed from one thing to the next and so on. I'll be sure to let you know how that works out after our trip!