There’s no doubt about it — San Franciscans love biking. According to statistics provided by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), about 128,000 trips (and 6% of journeys made in the city overall) are made by bicycle each day. A full 16% of residents in the city travel by bike more than twice a week. At Mosser Companies, we’re aware of our renters’ love for bike travel; after all, our property at 1751 Market Street has a BikeScore of 91. Our residents can easily commute or complete errands by bicycle without worrying about traffic hazards or poor connectivity.
But we get it — sometimes, you want to use your bike for more than riding to the grocery store or commuting to work. You want to share your love of biking with your family in a safe environment; you want to enjoy the ride rather than travel from point A to point B.
Luckily, San Francisco has countless opportunities for engaging, stress-free family cycling. For your next family excursion, plan a weekend trip to one of the bike-friendly hotspots listed below!
Want some fresh air and a break from the urban bustle? Visit Angel Island! No cars are allowed, so you can feel secure that neither you nor your children will face any traffic risks while you explore the island. Visitors can ride the six-mile, partially-paved path that loops around the island and enjoy an uninterrupted panorama of the San Francisco Bay. Getting to the island is easy — all you need to do is catch the ferry at Pier 41. If you don’t have your own bicycle, you can rent them from the island’s visitor center — however, bicycles are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so get there early if you’re planning on grabbing a bike!
McLaren Bike Park
McLaren Bike Park provides excitement for those of all ages and skill levels. It’s a half-acre expanse meant for youth mountain bikers and BMX riders. The space used to stand as an unused parking lot in McLaren Park; however, it has since been transformed by the city into an extensive course. While the park maintains some flat spaces for new bikers, it also provides advanced features such as a pump track, progressive tabletop jumps, wooden ladders, wall rides, and flowing trails.
Currently, McLaren Bike Park is open to the public and allows for drop-in riding. It also has staff on-hand to assist younger or learning bikers. During the summer, the venue even offers a camp program! Operating hours during the usual year vary; during the fall and winter season, it’s open from 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM — in spring and summer, however, it remains open until 7:00 PM.
Golden Gate Park
The park is one of the safest spots in the city for young bikers. It has a network of smooth, flat trails for younger riders and parents, as well as exciting playgrounds, museums, and dog parks. The full loop around the park stretches for seven and a half miles of paved trails, although parents can navigate a shorter route if they want. If possible, try to plan a playdate on Sunday, when John F. Kennedy closes off car traffic from Stanyan Street to 20th Avenue — the empty blocks are perfect (and, importantly, safe) for adventurous bikers, skateboarders, and roller skaters. Don’t have a bike? Not a problem! There are several bike rental stations dispersed through the park.
Presidio Easy Loop
While the Presidio has multiple biking trails, this loop is perfect for families in search of a relaxing outing. It spans just two miles and has several rest stops — two picnic areas and an eatery. It also boasts fantastic views of the Bay, including sights of Angel Island, Alcatraz and, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge.
While the Muir Loop might not be ideal for younger children, it’s a perfect afternoon ride for teens. It takes about an hour to complete and spans just over 14 miles. It gets its name from the national park of the same name, as it passes through. The route has a top elevation of 1,518 and smooth descents. If the full loop is too much to complete all in one go, you can stop for a coffee at Equator Coffees & Teas or pause to take in their views at the Four Corners lookout post.
Cycling options abound in and around the city — so why confine yourself to the city streets? Plan your next family outing around a new venue this weekend!