Recently deemed the #6 most bike friendly city in the country by Bicycle Magazine, San Francisco is home to miles of bikeable city streets (if you don’t mind hills) and park trails, so it is no wonder that a growing number of Bay Area dwellers are ditching their gas-guzzling automobiles in favor of two wheels.
A number of businesses have shifted their focus to account for the growing number of bikers on the road. Coffee shops, wineries and street parties centered around bikes have started popping up all over the Bay Area.
This weekend, do like the San Franciscans: take your bike on a date. Here are seven of my favorite bike-friendly things to do in the Bay Area (and beyond).
1. Grab coffee at Arbor Cafe
Bike-in coffee shops are becoming a trend in the East Bay, allowing customers to sip java without losing sight of their fixie. Arbor Cafe in Oakland is a popular place for Macbook-toting riders to spend the afternoon, offering indoor bike storage and drinks from the Bicycle Coffee Company (who delivers all of their roasted Arabica beans by bike).
2. Sip wine with East Bay Winery Bike Tours
East Bay Winery Bike Tours has come up with one of the most pleasant ways to explore some of the area’s best local wineries. Every weekend, owner Jon Zalon takes small groups on a five hour bike tour around Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley, making stops at local wineries along the way.
3. Dress up for the East Bay Bike Party
Every second Friday, bikers take to the streets for this monthly mobile celebration. All ages and levels of bikers are welcome. The route and theme changes every month, so be sure to check the website ahead of time to find out where to meet and what to wear.
4. Play Bingo at Actual Cafe
Every Thursday night, Actual Cafe in Oakland hosts Bicycle Bingo to benefit a local nonprofit. Some clever genius created a bicycle-driven bingo hopper, so participants are invited to pedal the bike in order to get the next number. Like Arbor, Actual Cafe is bike-in with ample space to hang your bike next to your table.
5. Go bike camping on Angel Island
Bring your bike on a camping trip by renting a bike trailer and pannier bags to pack your gear. Angel Island is a great bike camping destination for its easy accessibility (only a short ferry ride away) and car-free, paved trails. Bike Hut in San Francisco offers affordable rental prices and helpful information on bike camping.
6. Get artsy with Papergirl SF
A creative mix of art, community and biking, Papergirl SF hosts week-long exhibitions of locally-made art before delivering the artwork by bike to pedestrians all over the city. Anyone can send in their artwork for the show, and anyone with a bike can help distribute once the exhibition is over.
7. Ride the redwoods in Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Northern California is home to a number of bike-friendly parks. Humboldt Redwoods State Park, about five hours north of San Francisco, has to be one of the best options, offering 75 miles of trail for riders of all levels and ages. Away from car congested streets, visitors can pedal in peace beneath the awesome beauty of California’s ancient giants.
Alison writes for OffMetro.com, a website dedicated to getting people out of the city through alternative modes of transportation. As a runner, she spends much of her free time exploring the Bay Area’s great outdoors on foot, and has become an expert in discovering the most beautiful views in the East Bay (and avoiding mountain lion territory).