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San Francisco, California, United States

Bike the Bridge

The shortest and flattest possible route to the Golden Gate Bridge, with plenty of great side trips on the way!

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Difficulty: Makkelijk
Length: 7.6 miles / 12.2 km
Duration: Een halve dag
Goed voor families
 
Overzicht: No journey to San Francisco is complete without a trip to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and there's no better to experience it than by bike.

Take your time weaving through the crowds on the eastern sidewalk and enjoy the city views, or speed along on the bike-only western sidewalk and marvel at the engineering and architectural genius behind the bridge. Or better yet, time it right and you can bike both sides of the bridge!

We've laid out a few side-trips along this route for you to consider, including the twisty Lombard Street, a military fortress, and a musical curiosity controlled by the waves and tides of the bay.

Bridge biking hours:
• Bikes have access to the bridge 24 hr/day!
• Weekdays east walkway open at all times except 3.30pm - 9pm when only the west walkway can be used.
• Weekends east walkway open at all times. West walkway is open between 5am and 9pm.
• Check the signs for seasonal adjustment of times.
• Late hour access on the east walkway uses a gate and remote buzzer system.

Tips:
• Foggy days can be some of the best times to explore the bridge and this part of the San Francisco Bay because of the dramatic views revealed as the patchy fog burns off during the warmest parts of the day.
• Be sure to pack layers of clothing so you can keep comfortable as the weather changes.
• Read the Blazing Saddles safety tips at the beginning of this guide.


Points of Interest

Junction
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Start Here

The route to the Golden Gate Bridge is remarkably flat considering San Francisco's reputation as a hilly city.

Just two short hills come between you and the bridge, and each of those are easily walkable if you're uncomfortable about cycling up them.

Click on the image to see more information about the small hills you'll face. Vertical elevation is exaggerated - if we matched the horizontal scale, then you'd hardly even see the hills at all!
Junction
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Side Trip: 'Twisty' Lombard St.

A side trip here would add 0.9 miles to your total journey. There's elevation gain of 174ft (53m) to reach Lombard Street.
Landmark
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'Twisty' Lombard Street

One of the most iconic images of San Francisco, Lombard Street is also one of the crookedest streets in the world. The quarter-mile long switchback road was designed this way in order to reduce the hill's natural 27% grade, which was considered too steep for cars and pedestrians alike.
Landmark
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SF Maritime National Park

Travel back in time to see how 19th Century sailors fared on the Pacific Ocean at the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, which includes tours of historic vessels, a visitor center, a maritime museum, and a library/research facility.

(415) 447-5000
Free admission to Hyde Street Pier.
Paid admission required to board vessels.
http://nps.gov/safr/index.htm
Shopping
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Ghirardelli Square

Formerly the headquarters of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company this preserved block of historic brick buildings is now home to a selection of stores and restaurants.

(415) 775-5500
Free admission.
http://ghirardellisq.com
Junction
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Short Hill: Fort Mason

If you're feeling uncomfortable on this short hill, dismount and walk your bicycle.
Junction
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Side Trip: Palace of Fine Arts

A side trip here would add 0.3 miles to your total journey. There are no hills on this side trip.
Building
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Exploratorium

A huge warehouse of science experiments, the Exploratorium has hundreds of hands-on exhibits for a child or an adult to explore, discover and play.

Touch magnetic black sand, watch a giant ring of mist rise 30 feet in the air, perform some math on a calculator powered by gravity, or crawl and feel your way through a dark obstacle course in the tactile dome.

Fun for all ages and you’re guaranteed to learn a little something too. We're also a fan of evening events which include a wet bar and hardly a child in sight to crowd the exhibits.

(415) 561-0360
Paid admission.
http://exploratorium.edu
Landmark
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Palace of Fine Arts

The Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915 was an event dedicated to progress, the celebration of the completion of the Panama Canal and the rebirth of San Francisco following the disastrous 1906 earthquake.

Considered by many the most romantic feature of the fair, the Palace of Fine Arts was the only building to remain in place after the demolition of the Exposition. Surrounding the Palace is a lovely park and a lagoon.

(415) 561-0360
Free admission.
http://exploratorium.edu/palace/index.html
Junction
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Side Trip: Wave Organ

A side trip here would add 0.9 miles to your total journey. There are no hills on this side trip.
Landmark
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Wave Organ

Listen to the music of the waves at the Wave Organ, an art installation that includes 25 organ pipes that rumbles, gurgles and sloshes when the waves move in and out of the pipes.

This piece of environmental art was created by Peter Richards and George Gonzales in 1986 for the Exploratorium, including pieces of masonry salvaged from a demolished gold-rush era San Francisco cemetery. The Wave Organ sounds best at high tide.

(415) 561-0360
Free admission.
Link to Official Wave Organ site
Link to Tide Forecast
Junction
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Side Trip: The Presidio

A side trip here would take you to the Presidio area which you may choose to explore in depth. View our Free Ride guide to see more details of routes in the Presidio.
Landmark
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The Presidio

In 1846 the U.S. Army took control of this once windswept dune area from Mexico and transformed it into a large military base called The Presidio. In 1994 the National Park Service took over the area and it became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Today, the military buildings still stand, although non-profits, businesses and apartments now occupy the refurbished premises. In addition there are over 25 miles of hiking trails, 14 miles of paved roads (perfect for cyclists), a golf course, bowling alley, tennis courts and athletic fields.

(415) 561-4323
Free admission.
http://www.nps.gov/prsf
Landmark
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Yoda Statue

Today's Presidio has as much in common with Star Wars as it does wars past. The revitalized former military base is now home to many companies including famed movie special effects artists Industrial Light and Magic and LucasArts. This modest Jedi statue is a welcome nod to the current tenants. Impressive, it is.
Building
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Walt Disney Family Museum

Celebrating the life and achievements of the father of Mickey Mouse, the Walt Disney Family Museum is a relatively new addition to San Francisco having opened in 2009. The museum is a great attraction for both children and adults alike, as it presents the story of the man's rise to great things, as told by himself and those who knew him well.

(415) 345-6800
Paid admission.
http://disney.go.com
Landmark
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Crissy Field

Once the military’s first Air Coast Defense Station on the Pacific Coast, Crissy Field is now a great place to take a break at one of the cafes or picnic tables that sit along a promenade trail. After a quick break you can head to the beach and watch the kiteboarders and windsurfers weave and bob under the Golden Gate bridge or check out the wildlife along the shore.

(415) 561-3000
Free admission.
http://parksconservancy.org/visit/park-sites/crissy-field.html
Landmark
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House Of Air

Want to catch some air? House of Air is an indoor trampoline park that lets the kid in you jump and twist on a floor covered with 42 trampolines!

The trampoline floor is also surrounded on all sides by full-sized trampoline walls set at angles to the floor, allowing flyers maximum uninterrupted bounce.

(415) 345-9675
Paid admission.
http://houseofairsf.com
Junction
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Side Trip: Fort Point

A side trip here would add 0.8 miles to your journey. There are no hills on this side trip.
Building
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Fort Point

The once grand military fortress guarding the entrance to San Francisco Bay is now dwarfed by the bridge stretching above it. Fort Point National Historic Site has been well preserved for its architectural and historical appeal and can be explored for free by the public.

(415) 556-1693
Free admission.
http://nps.gov/fopo/index.htm
Junction
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Short Hill: Long Avenue

In contrast to its name, Long Avenue is quite short. Dismount and walk if you're feeling uncomfortable.
Landmark
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Golden Gate Bridge

The World Records that the Golden Gate Bridge held back in 1937 may have now been surpassed, but the jewel in San Francisco's crown remains proud as an icon of engineering and art-deco design and possibly the most recognizable bridge in the world.

Held in place by cables supported by the two 750ft tall towers, the 1.7 mile span connects the San Francisco peninsula with Marin County and carries five lanes of traffic as well as walkways for cyclists and pedestrians on both sides.

Cyclists can travel across the bridge for free at any time day or night. The following times may vary slightly depending on the season:

• Weekdays east walkway open all times except 3.30pm-9pm when only west walkway is open.
• Weekends east walkway open all times. West walkway open 5am-9pm.
• Late hour access on east walkway uses gate and remote buzzer system.

(415) 455-2000
Free admission for bikes.
Golden Gate Bridge - Bikes and Pedestrians
Golden Gate Bridge - on Wikipedia
Junction
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Alt Route: Sausalito & Ferry Return

This alternate route would deduct 3.5 miles from your total journey, and you would progress downhill to Sausalito and catch the ferry back to San Francisco. Elevation-wise, it's virtually all downhill from here!

Blue & Gold Fleet sails back to San Francisco's Pier 39 (Fisherman's Wharf).
(415) 705-8200 | Blue & Gold Ferry website

Golden Gate Ferry service sails back to the San Francisco Ferry Building (at the end of Market Street).
(415) 455-2000 | Golden Gate Ferry website
Landmark
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Sausalito

At the former fishing village of Sausalito you’ll find a perfect place to browse the little boutique stores that line the bay-side road. Follow this up with refreshments or a meal at one of the many well regarded restaurants near the center of the town where you can also enjoy views of the San Francisco skyline across the water.

(415) 332-0505
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sausalito,_California
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Sausalito Ferry Dock

Blue & Gold Fleet sails back to San Francisco's Pier 39 (Fisherman's Wharf) whilst the Golden Gate Ferry service returns to the San Francisco Ferry Building.

(415) 705-8200 | Blue & Gold Ferry website
(415) 455-2000 | Golden Gate Ferry website
Restroom
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Restrooms

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Restrooms

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Restrooms

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Restrooms

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Restrooms

Foto's in deze gids zijn genomen door: BlazingSaddles, © Stuart Green 2011

Content © Stuart Green 2011 including text, images and route detail.

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