Along with running and hiking, the Presidio, a former Army base and one of SanFrancisco’s most glorious outdoor spaces, is a popular spot for cycling, with more than 50 miles of bikeways. It’s also earned a place on the League of American Bicyclists’ annual list of bicycle-friendly places. Hardcore roadies blaze through the Presidio’s winding roads on their way to a long ride in Marin, while families and tourists take more leisurely routes through its multi-use trails and dedicated bikes lanes. New lanes are added every year, but some routes share the road with cars, so some experience riding in traffic is helpful if you plan to tackle anything other than its multi-use trails.
What Makes It Great
Towering redwoods, stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the Marin Headlands, fun, flowy route options: the Presidio’s many appeals are easily explored on two wheels. Plus, the Presidio’s bike infrastructure is constantly improved, with new bike lanes added. Though it may seem surprising based on the geography, one of the most popular bike routes in San Francisco—the Golden Gate Promenade—is actually part of the Presidio’s network of bikeways. The 4.9-mile route starts around Fort Mason and leads bikers west along the coastline, past the marina, historic buildings, former airplane hangars repurposed into shops and businesses, and finally up to the Golden Gate Bridge. The route, while one of the most beautiful in San Francisco, is often crowded with tourists; go slow or use the dedicated bike lane along Bay Street to avoid some of the pedestrian congestion. For families and young bikers, the 2.1-mile flat paved Promenade is stress-free and full of beautiful places to stop for a history lesson. The trail starts at the Lombard Gate and is like a rolling history lesson, winding the San Francisco National Cemetery and the historic Cavalry Stables before heading up to Crissy Field Overlook, where visitors are offered stunning views of the San Francisco skyline, Alcatraz, and Angel Island.
Who is Going to Love It
Families will appreciate the no-traffic options of the Presidio’s dedicated bike lanes and multi-use trails. More dedicated road cyclists, meanwhile will appreciate its easy access within the city and ability to deliver a quick, kick-butt workout with plenty of elevation gain.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The Presidio is relatively easy to access from San Francisco and Marin County. From Crissy Field and the Marina, there’s ample parking for an easy cruise along the Golden Gate Promenade, and you can also access it from the Lombard and Arguelle gates at each of those streets. There are no fees for exploring the Presidio or permits required. However, be careful where you park—there are some restrictions in certain areas, especially along Crissy Field—so pay close attention to signs.