Visiting the Bay Area? Bicycling is a great way to feel like a local and take in all the sites. Here we'll explain bike share vs. bike rental so you can choose which is best for you.
Biking in San Francisco
With so much to see and do in San Francisco, hopping on a bike makes it easy and affordable to enjoy it all. From visiting one of the museums or parks to seeing a show or dining out, getting there on two wheels even allows you to sightsee along the way, while avoiding traffic jams and expensive rideshare fares.
Bike share is similar to bike rental, but with a few distinct advantages. It consists of a fleet of specially designed, sturdy and durable bikes that are locked into a network of docking stations throughout the city. The bikes can be unlocked from one station and returned to any other station in the system, making bike share ideal for one-way rides. You can also use it to take a longer round-trip rides for just $3 for each additional 15 minutes.
Ford GoBike is the Bay Area's official bike share program, designed to give residents and visitors a fun, affordable and convenient alternative to walking, taxis/rideshare, buses and subways. Once rollout is complete, there will be 546 Ford GoBike stations and 7,000 bikes across San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville and San Jose, making Ford GoBike one of the most accessible ways to get around and explore the Bay.
To use Ford GoBike, purchase an Access Pass (unlimited 30-minute rides in a 24-hour period for $9.95), a 3-Day Access Pass (unlimited 30-minute rides in a 72-hour period for $19.95) or a Single Ride (one 30-minute ride for $3). You’ll get access to all bikes in the system in San Francisco, San Jose and the East Bay. If you live locally or will be using the system frequently throughout the year, it may make more sense to purchase an Annual Membership for $149 (unlimited 45-minute rides).
If you plan to ride with children under 18 years old, are looking for a specific type of bicycle, are interested in a guided tour, or would like to keep a bike in your possession for several days at a time, traditional bike rental would be your best bet. You will typically need to decide in advance how long you want to keep the bike out, and when you’re finished, you will usually be required to return the bike to its original location.
There are a lot of bike rental places in San Francisco. Here are the ones we recommend:
Bay City Bike
Bay City Bike offers bike rentals and guided tours. They also offer helmet rentals for $5 per day to use with Ford GoBike.
Prices: Starting at $32 per day ($10 restocking fee for returning bikes to different location) Options: Bikes for men, women, kids; hybrid, electric, road, tandem bikes, tagalongs, trailer bikes and child seat available Rental Length: Full day rentals Hours: Daily from 8 AM to 8 PM (hours vary according to location) Includes: Helmets, front camera bags, bells, maps, water bottle holders, puncture repair kits and locks Pickup & Drop-off Locations: 501 Bay Street @ Fisherman’s Wharf; 2661 Taylor Street @ Fisherman’s Wharf; 2830 Jones Street @ Fisherman’s Wharf; 2800 Leavenworth Street @ Fisherman’s Wharf; 1669 Haight Street http://baycitybike.com/rentals/
This is a trusted bike rental company with 7 locations in San Francisco, offering specialty bikes and guided tours.
Prices: Starting at $8 per hour Options: Bikes for men, women and kids; electric, road, mountain, tandem bikes; baby trailer, baby seat and tagalong equipment available. Rental Length: Hourly up to 24 hours Hours: Daily from 8 AM to 6:30 PM (hours vary according to location) Includes: Helmet, small pouch, bike lock, map Pickup & Drop-off Locations: 2715 Hyde Street; Pier 41; 465 Jefferson Street; 550 North Point Street; 2555 Powell Street; 757 Beach Street; 433 Mason Street @ Union Square https://www.blazingsaddles.com
Golden Gate Rides
Golden Gate Rides provides bike rentals and tours as well as camera gear rental.
Prices: Starting at $36 plus taxes per for full day on hybrids and 95/day for road/mtbs. Options: Bikes for men and women; comfort, mountain, off-road, performance, race. Rental Length: Rent for half a day, full day, weekly or monthly. Hours: Daily 6 AM to 9 PM (when reserved online) or 8 AM to 8 PM (for walkins) Break between 2-4PM. Includes: Helmets, locks, water, maps, free bike swap, roadside assistance if needed. Pickup & Drop-off Locations: 609 O’ Farrell Street, San Francisco, CA 94109 http://www.goldengaterides.com
Parkwide provides bike rentals and tours. They also provides “Spider Bikes” that seat 7 for special events.
Prices: Starting at $32 for a full day Options: Bikes for men, women and kids; electric and tandem bikes, tag-a-long, kid’s trailer and child seats available Rental Length: Full day rentals Hours: Daily from 10 AM to 6:30 PM Includes: Helmet, small pouch, bike lock, maps Pickup & Drop-off Locations: Golden Gate Park - Bandshell; Golden Gate Park - Stanyan & Haight Street; Justin Herman Plaza; Fort Mason; Union Square Plaza https://parkwide.com/
San Francisco Bike Rental
San Francisco Bike Rental offers rentals and guided tours.
Prices: Starting at $16 for two hours; $6 extra to drop off at a different location; 20% online discount of full day rentals Options: Bikes for men, women and children; comfort, mountain, performance, race, tandem bikes; baby trailer, baby seat and tagalong equipment available. Rental Length: Rent for 2 hours minimum or full day Hours: Daily 9 AM to to 7:30 PM (hours vary depending on location) Season: Closed in winter during heavy rain Includes: Helmets, maps and locks Pickup & Drop-off Locations: 425 Jefferson Street @ The Cannery at Fisherman’s Wharf; 1816 Haight Street; Ferry Building http://www.bikerentalsanfrancisco.com
Streets of San Francisco Bike Tours
Named "Best SF Bike Tour" by U.S. News & World Report in 2017, Streets of San Francisco Bike Tours offers a great insider’s view of the city's most popular neighborhoods.
Prices: Tours starting at $79/person Options: City bikes with multiple speeds and upright sitting position, or electric bikes with five levels of pedal assist Rental Length: Tours lasting 4-6 hours; private tours also available Hours: Tours offered daily with various start times Includes: Helmet Location: 370 Linden St, between Octavia and Gough, in Hayes Valley https://sosfbiketours.com/
The Bike Hut
The Bike Hut is a socially responsible company providing affordable bike rental.
Prices: Starting at $7 per hour or $26 per day Options: Mostly hybrid and mountain bikes, along with some tandems, touring, road, cruiser, single-speed/fixie, and kids’ bikes; baby seats, one Burley trailer and two tag-along attachments for kids are also available Rental Length: Hourly, daily, weekly or long-term Hours: Wednesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM Includes: Helmet and lock Pickup & Drop-off Location: Pier 40, near AT&T Ballpark at Townsend and the Embarcadero http://thebikehut.org/
Wheel Fun Rentals
With a spectacular waterfront setting, gorgeous vistas, and exclusive amenities, Wheel Fun Rentals at Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 43 1/2 represent the best venue for recreation, education, and leisure in San Francisco!
Prices: Hourly starting at $8 and 24 hour starting at $32.
Options: Infinity Shifting hybrid bike, Road and mountain bike, Youth and tandem bikes, Kids' seats and trailers available.
Whether you decide to use bike share or bike rental for your trip to the Bay Area, there are some great rides around San Francisco and the East Bay that you can try. Here are a few of our favorite routes – they’re great for tourists or locals alike!
If you plan to sightsee throughout the day – traveling from one attraction to the next – bike share is your best bet to allow you to take short but frequent rides, with the convenience of hundreds of pickup and drop-off locations throughout the city.
As opposed to traditional bike rental, a Ford GoBike Access Pass or 3-Day Access Pass will allow you to take as many rides as you'd like while your pass is active, with the first 30 minutes of each ride included in the cost of the pass. When you're done with a ride, you can dock your bike at any station near your destination, without the worry of having to lock up a bike on the city streets.
With Ford GoBike, the Bay Area becomes a navigable and fun place to explore. Check out some of our favorite attractions, along with the Ford GoBike stations nearby.