7 Cool Things About Bike Rides in Sausalito
1. How could the views from any bike route possibly be more beautiful? Whether you come across the Golden Gate Bridge from the south or take the bayside route from Mill Valley and Tiburon, mother nature and San Francisco will both be showing off for you all the way.
2. Ride across the Golden Gate and then take the Sausalito Ferry back to San Francisco. Your bicycle rides with you on the boat!
3. There are lots of cafes and restaurants that have sidewalk seating, and you can park your bike near or next to your table and enjoy the nice weather.
4. There are bike lanes or medians on much of Bridgeway, and lots of places to park and lock your bike, especially in downtown Sausalito.
5. Beautiful bay-side benches where you can sit and have a snack or sandwich, especially along the Bridgeway Promenade (the location where I took the photo above).
6. If you want to see where the locals eat and shop, allow time to go to bike-friendly Caledonia Street. Just don't tell the tour companies where it is!
7. Although traffic laws are enforced aggressively due to the crowds (see below) Sausalito Police and local events are bike-friendly. The SPD offers joint training events with the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, and the Sausalito Art Festival features free bike valet parking. You'll see officers patrolling downtown on their bikes.
A request from our readers: Many local residents who are trying to buy groceries or take the kids to their soccer game on the weekend can sometimes be stuck behind groups of riders who are not in the bike lane. Apart from avoiding a ticket, staying in the bike lanes makes life easier for the people who live here.
5 Insider Tips to Help You Enjoy Your Bike Ride
1. Dress in layers and stay hydrated. Perceived temperatures can move 20 degrees up or down as you cover a couple of miles and the fog arrives or disappears... and that's before we allow for the wind chill effect from the speed of your bike!
2. Allow time. We constantly hear about people who intend to ride through Sausalito without stopping, then wish they had time to take a break here and enjoy the food, art, views or shops.
3. Lock your bike. Seems obvious, but some people see the big houses on the hill above downtown Sausalito and think, "Oh, there won't be bike thefts here." There aren't a lot of them, but that's because people lock their bikes!
4. Know the dangerous choke points where cars or other, less experienced riders can panic and accidents happen. We cover most of these in our page on riding the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. In general, assume that downtown Sausalito will be crowded with pedestrians (not to mention cars) and that some patience and pauses will be required to get through that area.
5. This is not a good route to practice for a time trial, for your Strava account, or to try to maintain a steady speed or heart rate throughout a ride:
-- The Stop Sign and Red Light laws for bikes are enforced here. Many towns don't sweat bikes crossing against the light if there are no cars there, or slowing rather than stopping at stop signs. We see bike riders being ticketed for this all the time in Sausalito. In fairness to the officials, we often have large numbers of bikes, pedestrians and cars here, and enforcement was stepped up after both pedestrians and riders were injured in accidents.
-- Yield to pedestrians. If a pedestrian is entering or already in a crosswalk, especially in downtown Sausalito, bikes are expected to stop and let them proceed. This is aggressivelty enforced with cars, but bike riders are also ticketed regularly, especially if they're traveling at any significant speed. Again, this became a priority after a pedestrian was sent to the hospital after being hit in a crosswalk by a bike. A fatal accident in San Francisco in 2012 further heightened the oversight.
-- Stay in the bike lanes -- This rule is enforced with tickets since the large volume of riders can gridlock traffic.
-- Don't ride on the sidewalk. You get the drift -- this is another way to get a ticket.