Best Bike Tours in San Francisco

Touring San Francisco by bike you will be able to see the same places of the city from another perspective. Here are the tours you can't miss.

Andressa García

Andressa García

9 min read

Best Bike Tours in San Francisco

Bicycling in San Francisco | ©Michele Ursino

Enjoy the city on wheels. On these tours you can travel through the most iconic places in San Francisco pedaling along with groups of people. It is an incredible experience that anyone can do, but you will love it especially if you are sporty or like outdoor activities.

If there is one of the things to see and do in San Francisco that you can't miss, it's the bike tour. Although it depends on the tour you choose, one of the places you have to bike around is the Golden Gate Bridge. Keep reading if you want to find out all the details about this two-wheeled tour, which you can also book online.

The most complete option

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito Bike Tour

A complete tour of Golden Gate, Sausalito and other interesting places in SF.

You'll make stops at Fisherman's Wharf, Aquatic Park, Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, Warming Hut at the Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge, so you're guaranteed beautiful views.

One of the advantages of this guided bike tour is that once the tour is over, you can request a bike rental for the rest of the day. The bicycles you will use during the tour are electric, so you won't have to worry about pedaling too much.

As for the places you will visit, the stops will be from 10 to 30 minutes in each place. During the ride you will be able to see other interesting places in the city, but you will not stop at them, so the tour is quite complete.

Recommended if... You like sports and outdoor activities.

How to book a bike tour in San Francisco?

Bicycles| ©Roland Tanglao
Bicycles| ©Roland Tanglao

To book a guided bike tour in San Francisco, you have multiple options in tourist stores in the city that offer this service. If you want to save yourself the hassle of having to go to a store to book a bike tour, the best option is to book in advance online.

When booking this kind of tours online, you have to pay special attention to the itinerary and take into account the conditions of the company you hire. A good tour of this style must have an expert guide who will take you to the most interesting places aboard a bicycle.

When booking, pay attention to the cancellation policies. In most cases cancellation is free but you must do it in time so you can get your money back. Some of these tours may be cancelled if the weather is bad, so this is something to keep in mind when booking.

Book a bike tour in San Francisco

Duration of San Francisco bike tours

Bikes to the Bridge| ©Roland Tanglao
Bikes to the Bridge| ©Roland Tanglao

The bike tour of the city usually lasts between one and three hours, it all depends on the number of places you visit according to the itinerary of each company. Personally, I recommend the three-hour tours, because in addition to having the opportunity to see more interesting places, you can do it with more tranquility.

This type of tours suitable for the whole family are ideal to include in an itinerary of things to see and do in San Francisco in one day, because you will not need much time to complete the tour, and best of all is that it is a healthy way to visit the most incredible corners of the city.

In general, bike tours in San Francisco usually offer you the option to rent the bike to continue touring part of the city for as long as you want. In this type of tour the bike rental occurs after arrival in Sausalito, from where you can go back to San Francisco crossing the Golden Gate or taking the ferry.

There are also longer tours, up to five hours, by electric bike, which also will take you to make a stop to replenish your strength by doing a chocolate tasting in the Mission District.

Book a bike tour of San Francisco with tasting

What will I see on this type of tour?

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge by Bike| ©Roland Tanglao
Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge by Bike| ©Roland Tanglao

One of the best activities you can do in San Francisco is to go around the city on a bicycle, that's why in this kind of tours what you will find along the way are parks and green areas. Depending on the type of tour you choose, you will be able to appreciate more spectacular views than others.

On most of these tours you will have the opportunity to cross the Golden Gate Bridge from one side of the bay to the other side. This is one of the most incredible experiences thanks to the views that this tour leaves.

On the other hand, the bike tours are incredible to know more places that in a streetcar, train or private car you will not be able to see. Among the destinations you will enjoy the most are Little Italy in North Beach, and Alamo Park. It's not uncommon to catch a glimpse of the Painted Ladies.

But again, the itinerary will be up to the team you hire to do the guided tour. Other options also offer you to visit other interesting places like the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood or a neighborhood that has become very fashionable like the Hayes Valley.

Book a bike tour in San Francisco

Tips for a bike tour in San Francisco

Biking with kids| ©John Markos O'Neill
Biking with kids| ©John Markos O'Neill
  • Although these types of tours are usually cancelled in bad weather, be aware of the weather conditions, because San Francisco is a somewhat unpredictable city when it comes to weather. That's why I recommend wearing layered clothing and comfortable, closed-toe shoes.
  • If you are going with children, first make sure that the experience you hire has baby seat access. It is also essential to provide the child or baby with the necessary protection to travel safely.
  • Bring water and supplies or money to buy because most of these tours do not include food and drink. In some cases, the group makes a stop for lunch, but it is at your own expense, it is not included in the guided tour.
  • It is recommended that before choosing this option you make sure you know how to ride a bicycle. These tours are done on electric bicycles, but if you have not ridden one, you should at least know how to ride a mechanical one in order to adapt easily to the electric one.

Book a bike tour in San Francisco

How much does a bike tour in San Francisco cost?

Bicycles in San Francisco| ©Richard Masoner
Bicycles in San Francisco| ©Richard Masoner

It all depends on the length of the tour and what is included in it. But generally prices vary from 50 euros and up, and can cost up to 150 euros per person. The price variation is usually due to how new the bike is or how many stops the tour makes.

It is also influenced by the number of participants in the tour and of course, the company you choose to live the experience. Before looking at the price, I recommend that you take a good look at the advantages and disadvantages that each option offers.

Another option that you might want to try is the bike rental, in this case you can assume a lower price, but the experience is self-guided. In case you choose this option, most of them propose you to rent the bike for a whole day.

Book a bike tour in San Francisco

What are the places I will surely see on the bike tour in San Francisco?

Sea Lions at Fisherman's Wharf| ©Tony
Sea Lions at Fisherman's Wharf| ©Tony

This San Francisco bike tour is one of the must-do activities among the things to see and do with kids in the city. They love to visit every single place on the itinerary, marvel at the awesomeness of the Golden Gate Bridge and find it great fun to visit the Painted Ladies.

See the Sea Lions at Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf is one of the most beautiful and iconic places in San Francisco Bay. You will be able to stop for approximately 30 minutes. While not one of the best views of San Francisco in all its splendor, it is a good view of a slice of the city. It's also a fun time that the kids really enjoy.

Contemplate the city and take pictures from the Golden Gate Bridge

It is a spectacle that I recommend you put on your list of things to see and do in San Francisco in summer, taking into account that this is the time of the year when you can see everything clearer.

The stop at this iconic place can last a little more than 20 minutes, giving you time to take many snapshots.

Stop at Sausalito to look at the bay from the other side

One of the things you can't miss in this town is its typical food, that's why I like to include this town among the best gastronomic experiences in San Francisco. As Sausalito is a coastal area, most of the gastronomic offer you will find in this place will be seafood.

Get to know a bit of history at the Ferry Building

Currently this place has been remodeled as a market for producers and farmers of San Francisco, so in addition to the historical attraction, it is a place where you can take pictures of the iconic building and also have the opportunity to buy some fruits and vegetables sold in this place.

Enjoy the Painted Ladies at Alamo Square Park

A mandatory stop is at the Painted Ladies, a place that besides being magical, offers one of the best views of San Francisco given its location at altitude. It is a group of very picturesque painted Victorian style houses. From here you can take pictures not only of the houses, but also of the entire city of San Francisco that can be seen at a very good angle from here.

Admire the street art at Clarion Alley Murals

Clarion Alley is one of the most picturesque streets you will find in San Francisco. This alley was intervened by artists from the Clarion Alley Murals Project.

If you like urban photography or want lots of cool photos to instagram, this is definitely a good place to do it.

Why is it advisable to take a bike tour in San Francisco?

Bicycling in San Francisco| ©Roland Tanglao
Bicycling in San Francisco| ©Roland Tanglao

I fully recommend you to include this activity among the things to do when you go to San Francisco not only because it's an opportunity to do outdoor activities, but also because it's an amazing way to get to know the city in depth.

While it is comfortable to visit the interesting places by private vehicle, there is no experience that compares to touring San Francisco by bike. It is especially recommended to go by electric bike because it gives you the possibility to go up the steepest hills and places that you could not do on foot or by car.

Another thing you are sure to like about this tour is that you will also get to see firsthand many of the stories behind San Francisco's most iconic structures. It's also an activity that won't take you too long, so you can include it in your itinerary, whether you're staying for one or five days in the city.

Book a bike tour of San Francisco

What are the advantages of taking a guided bike tour vs. going on your own?

Bike Tour| ©Dustin Jensen
Bike Tour| ©Dustin Jensen

You definitely already know why I love touring the city of San Francisco by bike and why I recommend it. But what about self-guided bike tours of the city? Well, I show you a comparison of advantages between one option and the other.

  • Guided Tour
  • Tour of places selected by the guide.
  • Detailed explanation of each of the places where there are stops.
  • Security of all the equipment in charge of the contracted company.
  • More visits in less time.
  • Limited time between one and three hours.
  • Varied group that can be up to 25 people.
  • Self-guided tour
  • Places selected by yourself, without the help of a tour guide.
  • You will have an audio guide to accompany you on your tour.
  • You are responsible for your own safety throughout the tour.
  • You can stay as long as you want and do the route you want.
  • You can rent the bike for a whole day.
  • You can do the tour alone, as a couple or with your family group.