San Francisco Top Five Bike Rentals
Bicycle rentals are a popular choice in San Francisco with tourists and often serve as a fun daytime activity for residents as well. You will see offers to rent bikes when you are walking anywhere along the Embarcadero and Fisherman’s Wharf as well as in certain spots in Golden Gate Park and Crissy Field. At first glance, each of these bike rentals may seem the same. However, they each offer something a little different from the others, so knowing as much about them as possible can help you choose the one that’s best for you. This guide will tell you all that you need to know about the top six San Francisco bike rentals so you can make the right choice when it’s your turn to rent a bicycle.
Bike and Roll – Best for a Guided Tour
Bike and Roll is a nationwide chain of bicycle rentals with locations in major cities including Chicago and New York. They have five locations in San Francisco via (415) 229-2000 – three near Fisherman’s Wharf, one in the heart of North Beach and one near the Ferry Building. Renters are allowed to pick up their bikes at one location and leave them at another at no extra charge so you could bike from the ferry building to North Beach and then leave the bike behind if you wanted to do so.
This bike rental option is great for bicyclists who are picky about the bikes that they ride because they offer so many different types of bicycles. There are road bikes and mountain bikes, racing bikes and full suspension bikes, bikes for men, bikes for women, bikes for kids, bikes with stroller/ trailers for the little ones and even tandem bikes. There are even a couple of electric/hybrid bikes so if you’re worried that you’ll get worn out when riding then this may be something to look into.
The rates here depend on the type of bicycle that you rent. There are hourly rates on many bikes ranging from $8 - $15 per hour. All bikes also have a daily rate that ranges from $20 per day for a kids’ bike to $110 per day for a professional racing bike. Most average bicycles rent for about $40 per day and discounts are available when booking in advance online.
Bike and Roll offers suggestions for self-guided bike tours of all major attractions. They also offer four guided bike tours ranging from 5 – 15 miles in length and $55 - $80 in cost per person. The most popular bike tour is the trip across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, returning by ferry, but there are also tours of the city’s coast and main neighborhoods. This can be a fun activity for locals to enjoy with their visiting family members.
Pros: Large variety of bikes, five different locations, both daily and hourly rates, several guided tours
Cons: Slightly more expensive than other rental places, large chain business instead of a local business
Blazing Saddles – The Popular Choice
Like Bike and Roll, Blazing Saddles also has other locations besides San Francisco but only in Monterey and New York. However, they have more locations within San Francisco than Bike and Roll does with seven different rental spots spread out across various neighborhoods of the city that you can reach via (415) 202-8888.
The number of different types of bikes that they have for rent is comparable to what Bike and Roll offers. There are more than one dozen different styles of bike, included two types of electric bikes and three sizes of kids’ bikes. Their bikes are rented by the day and range in price from $20 for kids’ bikes to $78 for high performance tandem bikes. In general, their rates are slightly lower than Bike and Roll, with their most popular bikes averaging about $34 per day. They offer a ten percent discount when booking in advance online. This bike rental business also has weekly rates starting at $99 for the active visitor.
They offer maps for self-guided tours in the city and in Marin County. They offer a daily guided tour across the Golden Gate Bridge, returning on the ferry, for $65 including the cost of the ferry ticket. They also offer an electric bike tour of the Golden Gate Bridge for $80 including the ferry back. Groups are able to set up additional tours of Golden Gate Park, Angel Island State Park and even wine country.
This business offers a 24-hour drop-off location so that you don’t have to worry about getting your bike back at a certain time.
Pros: Large variety of bikes, seven different locations, slightly more affordable than the other large business alternatives, regular and electric bike tours of Golden Gate Bridge, 24-hour drop-off, weekly rates
Cons: Pricier than some of the smaller businesses, only one major guided tour option
Bay City Bike – Mom-and-Pop Favorite
Bay City Bike is a San Francisco based mom-and-pop business for bike rentals. It opened as a single location in 2011 and has now grown to three Fisherman’s Wharf locations that you can reach via (415) 346-2453.
This shop’s main bike, the Comfort bike, rents for $32 per day. They also have four styles of performance bike renting for between $40 and $68 per day. Like the other rental spots on this list, they have kids’ bikes and trailers for $20 per day. And they do also offer electric bikes. They provide a 10% off discount when making online reservations.
This company offers a guided tour leaving twice per day. They cover the main trek to and across the Golden Gate Bridge. The price depends upon the bike. For example, the price with the main comfort bike is $55. This makes them the most affordable option for a guided tour across the Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately, they don’t offer any other guided tours at this time although they will customize a tour for groups.
Pros: Support a local business, lower cost than the big chain stores, most affordable guided tour of the Golden Gate Bridge
Cons: Although there are three locations they are all only at Fisherman’s Wharf, only one major guided tour option, smaller selection of bikes than the bigger rental stores
San Francisco Bicycle Rentals – The Affordable Option
San Francisco Bicycle Rentals has three locations around town – at Fisherman’s Wharf, in Golden Gate Park and at the Ferry Building. One option they recommend is to start at their Golden Gate Park location and end by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and taking the ferry back to their Fisherman’s Wharf location. This rental site doesn’t offer guided tours and can be reached via (415) 922-4537.
This bicycle rental business generally offers the best rates in town. They offer both hourly and daily rates. Hourly rates start at just $7 and daily rates at $29. Additionally, they offer up to a 20% discount when booking in advance online. San Francisco Bicycle Rentals has five basic bikes. They have a kid’s seat and tandem options but don’t have trailers for small children. They do not offer electric bikes.
Pros: Support a local business, locations in three different points of the city, best hourly and daily rates
Cons: Small variety of bikes, no guided tours
Parkwide – Start In One Spot, End In Another
The main appeal of Parkwide is that you have the option to pick up a bike in one spot, use it to see the sights and then drop it off another location later in the day. It can be really nice to plan your sightseeing from point A to point B without having to figure out how you’re going to get your bike back to its starting point before your rental time is up. Parkwide has five locations – two in Golden Gate Park, one at Union Square, one near the Ferry Building, and one by Fort Mason.
Parkwide offers hourly rates starting at $14 and day rates starting at $46. They don’t have a large variety of bikes to choose from but they do have trailers for babies and one tandem bike option. One neat thing they have here that isn’t an option at other bike rental places, though, is the surrey. These little four-wheel carts are designed for two people (at $25 per hour) or four people (at $45 per hour) and are a really great way to get around the park. Golden Gate Park is a large park, stretching over forty blocks in length, so this can be a smart way to see a lot of it in one affordable manner.
Pros: Five locations including two in Golden Gate Park, option to rent a surrey instead of a bike
Cons: Highest cost hourly and day rates, limited selection of bikes, no guided tours
Plugz Rental – The Electric Option
Several of the companies on this list offer a couple of electric bikes but Plugz is the city’s all-electric bike rental location. As a result they have the most variety of different types of electric bikes so if you know you want to go electric then they may be the best choice. They have the tag-along kids’ seat or a baby seat to mount on an adult bike.
Plugz offers hourly rates starting at $10 per hour and can be reached via (877) 737-5849. Their day rates are between $45 and $50 (except for the tandem electric bike which is $109). These day rates are slightly lower than the day rates for electric bicycles at the other locations where they are available.
Plugz has a single location near Fisherman’s Wharf. They do not offer guided tours.
Pros: Support a local business, best rates on electric bikes, best variety of electric bikes
Cons: No “regular” bikes (all electric), only one location, no guided tours
By: Kathryn Vercillo Copyright SFTRAVEL LLC