Forget Alcatraz, forget Fishermans Wharf! In San Francisco – biking the bridge is the coolest thing to do!
Seeing the Golden Gate Bridge has been on my bucket list for quite some time now. Getting the chance to cycle across it with my family was not only the best experience I had in San Francisco, but it is one of the best family experiences I have had on any holiday!
We were staying at the Suites at Fishermans Wharf and on our first day we happened to stumble across Blazing Saddles – literally three minutes walk from our Hotel. I had heard about cycling across the bridge but I assumed the kids wouldn’t be able for it. Luckily the sales staff were good at their jobs and caught me curiously looking at the poster as we walked by. Within seconds they knew we were Irish and out came ‘Georgie’ from Blanchardstown to greet us! She not only assured us that the kids would be ok but let us try various styles of bikes until we found the right ones for us. We selected a tag-a-long bike for my husband and daughter Alex ( age 5 ), my son Luke ( age 8 ) was able to ride his own bike. There were also other options for younger kids with trailers or baby seats. After a 3 minute video showing us the highlights, we were given maps and helmets and we were on our way.
The bike path is so easy to follow and it is almost impossible to get lost. The fact that you can’t possibly miss the Golden Gate bridge helps too! We decided to go for the option of cycling across the bridge into the pretty town of Sausalito and getting the ferry back. Although it is only an 8 mile ride, (from Fisherman’s Wharf to Sausalito) I would advise you to take the whole day. You will find yourself constantly stopping for selfies and although a three hour time is recommended, we took a lot longer! You will pass beautiful neighbourhoods where you will stop to admire the opulent houses, the luxury yachts on the marina, the beach, as well as the numerous photo ops of the bridge itself. There is even a picnic stop if you fancy a break.
The cycle across the bridge is actually quite short and although busy with pedestrians, cyclists and of course cars – you never feel nervous. The cycle path is completely separate to the cars and you can stop as many times as you wish for photos or just to take in the view! Once you ‘make it’ across, take the downhill (steep) ride into Sausalito. It is a picture postcard town, complete with quaint shops and panoramic views across the bay. It also has some great restaurants so it the perfect place to enjoy a well deserved meal after your bike ride! We opted for Napa Valley Burger Company, a great organic burger house, ( they even pair their burgers with wines!) – there were clean plates all round.
After a quick spot of souvenir shopping it was time to catch the ferry back to the wharf. Queues can be long in the Summer months so make sure you purchase your boat ticket as soon as you arrive in Sausalito – the evening ferries in particular can get booked up quickly. If you book with Blazing Saddles you can pre-purchase the ferry tickets, so no need to worry about having to cycle back up the steep hill – trust me you wont want to do that!
For me it was definitely a case of ‘the journey was the destination’ – the whole day was a fantastic experience and one that the whole family enjoyed. My kids felt very proud of their achievement, particularly across such a iconic landmark. My son, Luke, couldn’t wait to tell his friends in school that he did it, and I must say I was pretty proud too!
If you are visiting San Francisco, make sure you put it on your to do list so you too can say you ‘biked the bridge’!
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