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An Epic North San Francisco Bike Route, California

Updated On 3rd January, 2020

San Francisco – FINALLY, I got to explore you!

I had just one day to explore San Francisco and decided to do so on bike, taking on an epic 23-mile route to cover the major landmarks in this Californian coastal city.

Apparently I don’t like to do things by halves.

I begun my adventure with a yummy fresh smoothie from Coles in The Haight, before renting a bike from Bay City for $8 an hour or $32 a day and beginning the leisurely spin through Golden Gate Park.

Top tips:

  • If you rent the bikes by the hour, the total price will cap at $32 should you be longer than you intended.
  • If you book online you save 20% off the rental rate.

When I walked into Bay City Bikes and the guy asked what route I was going to take – he laughed. In my face.

Probably because I was in my sweats with photo ready hair and nails, and I later found everyone else on my route to be head to toe in pro cycle gear.

But it didn’t phase me, in fact it fuelled me – I love a challenge.

Top tip: San Francisco bike rides are stunning, but the city is very hilly and you will want to map out your route prior to setting off – trust me.

The route

This is the route I took.

I {consider myself to} have a moderate to high fitness level and found the majority of this ride manageable.

But some stretches were rather challenging, particularly the stretch from Ocean Beach up and around Land’s End to Baker Beach. Don’t underestimate San Francisco – in moments I seriously felt the pain of an intense spin class.

But the roads aren’t too busy and you can stop along the way of course. I just thought it was right to warn you that, whilst I may have made it look easy, I certainly wasn’t going to be snapchatting and taking photos whilst enduring the harder parts.

Points of interest along the route…

  • The Haight

There’s nowhere in San Francisco more flower-power, peace-and-love or urban city kid than The Haight. This upmarket neighbourhood is filled with second hand boutique stores, high end vintage clothing brands, quirky bars and restaurants displaying cuisine from all over.

  • An Epic North San Francisco Bike Route
  • Golden Gate Park

1,017 acres of Public Ground including a variety of attractions including the Botanical Gardens, The Japanese Tea House and if you fancy – even segway tours!

  • Ocean Beach

The West Coast Beach bordering Golden Gate Park and the Pacific Ocean – a hot spot for surfers!

  • Lands End

Arguably, on a clear day (which I did not have), Lands End boasts some of the best views in San Francisco. But aside from epic views over the Golden Gate Bridge, there is the Legion of Honour and an incredibly humbling art installation called ‘The Survivor’ – a commemoration of Auschwitz.

An Epic North San Francisco Bike Route
  • Baker Beach

Baker Beach boasts stunning views {on a clear day} of Golden Gate Bridge, it is also home to SF Nude recreation {north side of the Hazardous surf sign}.

  • Golden Gate Bridge

The iconic red suspension bridge that spans 1.6km across San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

An Epic North San Francisco Bike Route
A guide to San Francisco: The best things to do in the city
A guide to San Francisco: The best things to do in the city
An Epic North San Francisco Bike Route
How I turned my love for travelling into a career | Where's Mollie? A Travel And Adventure Lifestyle Blog

Top tip: If you get a clear day, head over to the epic photo opportunity that lies in Kirby Cove, and then continue on to Sausalito. I’d love to go back and do this if I get luckier with the weather next time!

  • Warming Cafe, Presidio

Somewhere to warm up and escape the rolling fog with a cup of tea and an American style treat.

  • Fisherman’s Wharf

One of the main tourist attractions in San Francisco, here you can indulge among the abundance of restaurants, sweet stands, cake shops and well-known American eateries like Chipotle, In-N-Out Burger and Aunt Anne’s Pretzels.

  • Pier 39

This Pier sits on the North shore of SF and hosts many an attraction for us tourists. From street performers to waterfront dining, and from jumping on a boat cruise under the Golden Gate to watching the Sea Lions reside on the Pier – you’d be silly to skip a visit. See more on the Pier 39 Website here.

An Epic North San Francisco Bike Route
  • Union Square

The place to shop the biggest names in retail, experience city life and hop on one of the iconic cable cars.

An Epic North San Francisco Bike Route
  • Market Street 

Heart Of The City Farmers Market on Sundays 7am-5pm + Weds 7am-5.30pm

  • My dinner recommendation: Ploy II Thai, Haight Street

Upon return to The Haight after dropping of my bike, food couldn’t have been more warmly welcomed and came in fine form of Thai at this small upstairs restaurant. You may miss the entrance if you aren’t looking closely but I promise you won’t forget the food! The Pad Thai was insane.

Tips and tricks for exploring San Francisco:

– If cycling isn’t your thing, hiring a GoCar or embarking on one of their tours is a very popular option. See here.

– If you’re looking to explore on a budget, check out

– There are lots of routes that have been identified to help you avoid having to take the SERIOUS hill routes in SF. Trust me they are ma-hoo-sive! The Wiggle is one of them and helped me get from Market Street back to The Haight a lot easier! 

Have you been to San Francisco?

What were your favourite spots? I’d love to know!

Love as always + happy adventuring,


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