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Biking for San Francisco Families: Routes and Resources

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San Francisco and nearby Bay Area towns have some great biking spots for kids young and older. Here are a few suggestions.  Thanks to the parents on the Glen Park Parents listserve, San Francisco Bike Coalition, and other family bikers who helped with this list: 

 

In San Francisco

  • Golden Gate Park. Golden Gate park is always a great place to start teaching your kids to ride. Try car-free days Healthy Saturdays (Apr-Oct) and car-free Sundays (all near) in Golden Gate Park along JFK Drive.Affoumado -- Girl on Bike at Haas (closeup)
  • Great Highway.  Along the Great Highway there is a separated path from Fulton/Lincoln to the Zoo (about 2 miles or so). You can also bike along Ocean Beach.
  • Try checking the San Francisco Bicycle Map (pdf) for ideas about more routes once you feel more confident. The map has street grade information, bike lanes and routes, indicates streets with wider curbs for safer riding, bike parking, bike shops (including rentals) and more.
  • Sunday Streets is an amazing event for biking kids and their families.
  • Crissy Field (and over the bridge). There's no more beautiful place to bike than Crissy Field. It's also very friendly for new bikers.
  • Embarcadero from Pier 39 to AT&T Park.  You can also go on to Mission Creek which passes in front of the houseboats.
  • Angel Island.  Jump on the Ferry and spend the day biking and enjoying the sites.
  • India Basin Shoreline Park.  Wide flat trail makes this a great place for kids to bike. Bike_Riding_Families
  • Join the SF Biking Families Yahoo Group.  Ask questions, share resources, routes, and ideas. 

 

Outside the City

  • Crystal Springs Reservoir/Sawyer Camp Trail (Peninsula)
  • Iron Horse Trail (East Bay). Near the Pleasant Hill Bart Station.
  • Canada Road (Peninsula) is closed to cars on Sundays. The trail also goes past Filoli Estate where you can stop and picnic.
  • Bay Trail.  The Bay Trail is a planned recreational corridor that, when complete, will encircle San Francisco and San Pablo Bays with a continuous 500-mile network of bicycling and hiking trails.To date, approximately 290 miles of the alignment—over half the Bay Trail’s ultimate length—have been completed.  Several sections are within San Francisco too.

    One section is along the Bay from SFO south to Coyote Point park. It's fun to watch the planes landing, and there's an excellent playground in Coyote Point, as well as a restaurant and a decent kids' museum (50% off admission if you're a member of the SF Zoo).  You can also go farther south from Ryder Park (just south of Coyote Point).  There are large free car-parks and a great kid-friendly playground.  Riding south you go under the San Mateo bridge and just keep going. It is a great path, not highly traveled, separate to the road and wide.
  • Tiburon. Tiburon has a flat bike path from Blackie's Pasture to downtown (beware, however, that the path crosses a couple of streets).
  • Alameda. Alameda is a flat island and is a great place to bike with little kids. Go for a scenic bike ride on the path that's along Shoreline Drive and Alameda Beach.
  • Berkeley Marina. There are tons of trails all around the Marina. It can be very windy but the views are spectacular and there's an added bonus of wonderful kites flying right above you.
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