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Thread: San Fran 3/24

  1. #1
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    San Fran 3/24

    Well my work plans are confirmed, they changed me flying into San Fran on the 24 @ 10. I plan on doing the cliche touristy thing and bike the bridge and pedal around town.

    But- I need a rental. I googled and can't find a shop that rents good bikes. Most I've found are specialized, any other shops y'all locals know of. I'd like to rent a stigmata or a nice SC mtb.

    Also, any tips from what rent a bike shops to avoid? I'll be in SF all day to explore and adventure so I'd like to make the most of it.

    Thanks in advance.
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    You lost me at “San Fran”

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    Quote Originally Posted by skt4271 View Post
    Well my work plans are confirmed, they changed me flying into San Fran on the 24 @ 10. I plan on doing the cliche touristy thing and bike the bridge and pedal around town.

    But- I need a rental. I googled and can't find a shop that rents good bikes. Most I've found are specialized, any other shops y'all locals know of. I'd like to rent a stigmata or a nice SC mtb.

    Also, any tips from what rent a bike shops to avoid? I'll be in SF all day to explore and adventure so I'd like to make the most of it.

    Thanks in advance.
    You think you'd want to bike around SF on Santa Cruz MTB?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    You think you'd want to bike around SF on Santa Cruz MTB?
    I think a 5010 would shred down Lombard Street!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    I think a 5010 would shred down Lombard Street!
    Just make sure you have a 50lb lock on it at all times!

    Not trying to give you a hard time skt4271, but I don't think a high end MTB is what you are after for riding and tripping around SF. A rental beater bike is more like it.

    My personal preference is a long board skateboard. Ferry Building all the way to GG Bridge and across would be a killer skate, or ride.

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    tbh, if you're planning on spending your time in the city or on the touristy loops, you should avoid trying to get something fancy. Unless you're planning to keep the bike in your immediate possession at all times anything more valuable than the average tourist bikes will probably get stolen. The cheaper "bike the bridge" stuff will be safer for you to lock up at a rack for meals/hikes/etc.

    If you want a more adventurous trail ride you'll have to leave SF (Tamarancho, Annadel, or Santa Cruz being the obvious "destination" rides) and rent a car. The stuff you can ride from your hotel is pretty tame.

    If you're looking for nice road rides there are a decent number of options riding straight from the city (over the bridge=>hawk hill=>pt bonita=>rodeo beach=>sausalito=>back to sf, being popular) and if you went for a nice gravel bike or quality hard tail you could ride a little bit of the fire-road stuff Marin county has to offer too. (Pretty, but tame riding.)

    I've had good luck renting bikes from Bike Connection, and Roaring Mouse Cycles is a quality shop with good demo's (assuming they have something that fits you), but if you go too upscale you'll be paranoid (or should be) about having it stolen, no matter what lock they give you.

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    Oh I'd love a good gravel ride, this is what I'm looking for. I only really just wanted a nicer rental because I figured the battery bikes would be too terribly unkept.

    I only have about 7 hours to spend so didn't want to burn 2 hours of that driving to trails that far away.

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    Just came back from SanFran. I know you've got your heart set on dirt-riding, but I'd suggest letting the city dictate your travel style a bit more. There is no real mountain biking. The bike across the bridge and ferry back is about as scenic as it gets. The route has very few junctions with cars. Or perhaps double-back by bike.

    I wasn't overly impressed with their bike infrastructure so would avoid rush hour traffic if possible.

    The Eastern half of the island has an inexpensive dock-based rental platform. Unless you're sticking to the Embarcedero - those hills might get kind of sucky on a 45 lb bike. They also have these new lime ebikes everywhere to make short work of the hills. Then you'll fit in nicely with Heinz 57 battery-powered gizmos everywhere.

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    check sportsbasement in the presidio
    they have a few ibis ready for demo. park at their lot ,bike across the golden gate bridge then up to the headlands

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    This is a pretty easy one - call Roaring Mouse or Sports Basement and see if they have a gravel grinder or XC HT for you to demo - they will probably have something or at least know where you can rent one - then ride across the GG Bridge to Marin Headlands - more riding and views than you will know what to do with

    Pro tip #1: people often take things like this way too seriously and may give you a hard time for using terms like San Fran or Frisco (Exhibit A on above post)

    Pro tip #2: there is actually pretty decent riding / singletrack in the city and just outside but you gotta know where too look; it's not going to change your life or anything, but not bad for one of the mostly densely populated cities

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    Quote Originally Posted by us338386 View Post
    Just came back from SanFran. I know you've got your heart set on dirt-riding, but I'd suggest letting the city dictate your travel style a bit more. There is no real mountain biking. The bike across the bridge and ferry back is about as scenic as it gets. The route has very few junctions with cars. Or perhaps double-back by bike.

    I wasn't overly impressed with their bike infrastructure so would avoid rush hour traffic if possible.

    The Eastern half of the island has an inexpensive dock-based rental platform. Unless you're sticking to the Embarcedero - those hills might get kind of sucky on a 45 lb bike. They also have these new lime ebikes everywhere to make short work of the hills. Then you'll fit in nicely with Heinz 57 battery-powered gizmos everywhere.
    Mt Sutro fits the bill of real mountain biking, but I don't think it's worth the hassle of a rental here. Also worth pointing out we are not an island, and that Limebikes are _not_ ebikes. The red Jump bikes are I believe, but I haven't used one for myself.

    +1 to Bike Connection for rentals, rented from them a few times (for road, though) and there were no issues.

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    +1 for sports basement bike rental (presidio location, Cannondale slate) & headlands gravel ride. I’m totally mystified by the “no decent riding in SF” comments. Not totally sure what people are expecting, but having 100+ miles of contiguous dirt pedal-distance from the city is pretty amazing IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyno View Post
    This is a pretty easy one - call Roaring Mouse or Sports Basement and see if they have a gravel grinder or XC HT for you to demo - they will probably have something or at least know where you can rent one - then ride across the GG Bridge to Marin Headlands - more riding and views than you will know what to do with

    Pro tip #1: people often take things like this way too seriously and may give you a hard time for using terms like San Fran or Frisco (Exhibit A on above post)

    Pro tip #2: there is actually pretty decent riding / singletrack in the city and just outside but you gotta know where too look; it's not going to change your life or anything, but not bad for one of the mostly densely populated cities
    Beat me to it. Again.

    Pro tip #3 is the crime against tourists here is hitting epidemic proportions. On the popular sites, thieves are just driving by, break the car windows and off with the luggage.

    So extra caution is needed these days.
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    Yep, for a part-day thing, it would be memorable to rent or demo(?) near Crissy field, ride over the Golden Gate Bridge (free and pretty spectacular if you aren't a jaded local like me) and grind the gravel in the GGNRA/ Marin Headlands. You could hit Rodeo beach for a beer (you'll need to pack them in), go over Miwok or Bobcat trails to Tennessee Valley, have a beer at the pebbly beach, then over the next hill to Muir Beach where you could get a pint at the Pelican. I haven't done that in about 20 years, but things probably haven't changed much. I've heard this can also be done beer-free, if you are so inclined.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DH40 View Post
    . I've heard this can also be done beer-free, if you are so inclined.
    Blasphemy!

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    If you have 7 hours... do you want to spend most of that riding at a good clip? Then a Bridge/Headlands/Pelican Inn loop is a good choice. From the Presidio it's about 40 miles and over 5000' of climbing. Depending on how fast you are, that's 4-6 hours of riding/having a beer. You can also cut it short (turn around at any valley, or try to take the road one direction).

    Alternately do you want to mostly poke around the city? See the tourist sites and some trails? You can do that on any bike. Hit some of the trails (there's many options, which are neat and close but not amazing), or cross the GG bridge, maybe do a short Hawk Hill loop.

    All of these are good on any bike--even a road bike if you have good handling skills and are willing to risk a few flats. A hard tail is a great option, all of these have some road riding.

    There are other close by options which public transit may or may not help with, but the complexity is high.

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    dang. i live "nearby" and i used to live in SF..for many years.

    i wonder if there are still those gray-area trails thru golden gate park?

    honestly, SF is a world giant in terms of cities. i would wuss out..that would be like me going to London or NYC..and thinking about a bike ride. it simply wouldnt happen..i would go into full tourist mode and try to suck it all in ASAP.

    good luck OP.
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    Quote Originally Posted by us338386 View Post
    Just came back from SanFran. I know you've got your heart set on dirt-riding, but I'd suggest letting the city dictate your travel style a bit more. There is no real mountain biking. The bike across the bridge and ferry back is about as scenic as it gets. The route has very few junctions with cars. Or perhaps double-back by bike.

    I wasn't overly impressed with their bike infrastructure so would avoid rush hour traffic if possible.

    The Eastern half of the island has an inexpensive dock-based rental platform. Unless you're sticking to the Embarcedero - those hills might get kind of sucky on a 45 lb bike. They also have these new lime ebikes everywhere to make short work of the hills. Then you'll fit in nicely with Heinz 57 battery-powered gizmos everywhere.
    The e-bikes are Jump Bikes, not Lime Bikes. Long story, but our government chose Jump as the sole dockless proprietor. Pretty good rental area - most of the eastern half of the city is within the zone. The Presidio, Golden Gate Park, and the western neighborhoods aren't (yet), and it's a $25 fee if you drop off out of network (although they are waiving it for first-time users).

    Our infrastructure is okay in some places, bad in others, and lacking in much of the city. I bike commute, and it's a never-ending battle just to keep existing bike lanes open and not interminably closed by construction. Out of curiosity, where is home for you?

    I think there's some amazingly scenic riding in Marin, but you'll need a good demo bike. Roaring Mouse and Sports Basement are two great options. The Pelican ride is a good idea, and you can do it on gravel or on roads if it's too wet.

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    I'm from Georgia, we only have four trails here and they are all roots and short climbs. This will be Mr first trip and probably only to SF so I'd like try to make the most of it. I know I can't fit it all in, in a few hours, but I'd like to at least see something LoL.

    As far as trails, I'll be in Santa Cruz the 25-27, so I got a demo from SC to ride Wilder. I guess I'll just get a hybrid and ride around the town and explore then.

    Quote Originally Posted by AKD View Post
    The e-bikes are Jump Bikes, not Lime Bikes. Long story, but our government chose Jump as the sole dockless proprietor. Pretty good rental area - most of the eastern half of the city is within the zone. The Presidio, Golden Gate Park, and the western neighborhoods aren't (yet), and it's a $25 fee if you drop off out of network (although they are waiving it for first-time users).

    Our infrastructure is okay in some places, bad in others, and lacking in much of the city. I bike commute, and it's a never-ending battle just to keep existing bike lanes open and not interminably closed by construction. Out of curiosity, where is home for you?

    I think there's some amazingly scenic riding in Marin, but you'll need a good demo bike. Roaring Mouse and Sports Basement are two great options. The Pelican ride is a good idea, and you can do it on gravel or on roads if it's too wet.

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    The trails around Santa Cruz will put whatever you can ride in/from the city to shame. Be a tourist for a few hours and enjoy yourself. Biking the bridge, grabbing a drink at Sams, and taking the ferry back is fun, but not really about the bike. You can ride the city - check out the bike routes here: Maps & Routes | San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skt4271 View Post
    I'm from Georgia, we only have four trails here and they are all roots and short climbs. This will be Mr first trip and probably only to SF so I'd like try to make the most of it. I know I can't fit it all in, in a few hours, but I'd like to at least see something LoL.

    As far as trails, I'll be in Santa Cruz the 25-27, so I got a demo from SC to ride Wilder. I guess I'll just get a hybrid and ride around the town and explore then.
    I would make the most of seeing all the things you can in SF while you're there (Alcatraz, GG Bridge, etc) and save the MTB for SC. There is nothing in SF that is going to compare with MTB in SC!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    You lost me at “San Fran”
    Better than Frisco!
    At least you got a nice boat out of the deal.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    Better than Frisco!
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    +1000 for the Sports Basement/Roaring Mouse -> headlands loop. If your time is limited that's really the nicest option to get a variety of things in all at once, and since you're really starting at the edge of SF and leaving North you probably don't have to worry about bike thieves too much. As someone who used to call that area home base let me suggest:

    - Rent a gravel bike at either place
    - Ride across the bridge
    - Climb Hawk Hill to the top, take obligatory photos
    - Take the road down to Rodeo Beach (there are trails, but trust me the descent on that road is fun.)
    - Climb up to Battery Townsley. Take more obligatory photos
    - Depending on your time/energy level make your way to Sausalito either directly or up through the Headlands Trails (they're all on Google Maps, easy to find) and down to Tennessee Valley Rd (something like Bobcat->Miwok->Old Springs Trail) and back around to Sausalito along the waterfront (Mill Valley-Sausalito) path. I used to end rides coming home this way and if I had time meander through the various docks along the way. You can usually spot seals, sea lions and all sorts of marine life.
    - Have lunch/refuel in Sausalito at Fish/Bar Bocce/Cibo depending on your tastes
    - Take the ferry back to SF, ride back to Presidio

    None of that is too hard/long and would be a beautiful way to hit a bunch of sights (some not so crowded) and get some miles in.

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    DH40, AKD, and nilswalk have the best suggestions, imho. If you'll have another opportunity to hit Santa Cruz and ride Wilder/UCSC save your MTB ambitions for that (vastly superior, way more fun) trail experience and spend your day in SF enjoying a picnic/photog/beer loop like they describe. Or blow the whole thing off and pub crawl between the better craft beer establishments in the city. Either way you'll have a blast!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nilswalk View Post
    +1000 for the Sports Basement/Roaring Mouse -> headlands loop. If your time is limited that's really the nicest option to get a variety of things in all at once, and since you're really starting at the edge of SF and leaving North you probably don't have to worry about bike thieves too much. As someone who used to call that area home base let me suggest:

    - Rent a gravel bike at either place
    - Ride across the bridge
    - Climb Hawk Hill to the top, take obligatory photos
    - Take the road down to Rodeo Beach (there are trails, but trust me the descent on that road is fun.)
    - Climb up to Battery Townsley. Take more obligatory photos
    - Depending on your time/energy level make your way to Sausalito either directly or up through the Headlands Trails (they're all on Google Maps, easy to find) and down to Tennessee Valley Rd (something like Bobcat->Miwok->Old Springs Trail) and back around to Sausalito along the waterfront (Mill Valley-Sausalito) path. I used to end rides coming home this way and if I had time meander through the various docks along the way. You can usually spot seals, sea lions and all sorts of marine life.
    - Have lunch/refuel in Sausalito at Fish/Bar Bocce/Cibo depending on your tastes
    - Take the ferry back to SF, ride back to Presidio

    None of that is too hard/long and would be a beautiful way to hit a bunch of sights (some not so crowded) and get some miles in.
    This is a good loop. You can piece it together from the MCBC map:Marin-Bike-Map-full | MCBC

    It's also got 2 good climbs (600 feet and 8-12% grade each up to Hawk and up Miwok to Old Springs) and one short but punchy climb up to Battery Townsley (only 250ish feet but that has to be 16% in spots). And save a little gas for climbing back up to the GGB if you ride back into the city. It's a 3 hour loop at a decent pace from Sports Basement. There are some stairs going down Old Springs, but they're long and shallow and there's a smooth ridearound on the uphill side. A gravel bike is all you need.

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    Anyone have a good ridewithgps I can upload, are these roads y'all are giving marked (street signs) if so, I can piece a route myself.

    Thanks in advance everyone, if any of y'all are free, I'd love a tour guide lol.

    But yes, I need to stop to take pics for my kids, they are just as excited for me. Wish I could bring them.

    Also, any hotels you would suggest preferably under $180. And not getting robbed or mugged a plus

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    Not sure what the hotel rates are on 3/24, but $180 is on the lower end. I'd check out some of the touristy motels along Lombard west of Van Ness - Hotel del Sol in particular is usually around your price range, and it's nice and in a great location. Motel Capri is another. Stay away from the ones around Divisadero, they're...not so nice.

    I can't tour guide, but the MCBC map I linked to above and Nilswalk's directions will get you where you're going. Trails and streets are well signed. You can pick up a copy of that map at Roaring Mouse for offline use (not much cell service in the headlands). I'll try to dig up my turn-by-turn directions that I gave to another visitor a couple years ago, but the search function isn't all that powerful here and the Google is no help.

    Edit: found one of several threads with some great ideas. Listen to etuck and J-Flo. OT: SF to Sausalito ride

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    Quote Originally Posted by nilswalk View Post
    +1000 for the Sports Basement/Roaring Mouse -> headlands loop. If your time is limited that's really the nicest option to get a variety of things in all at once, and since you're really starting at the edge of SF and leaving North you probably don't have to worry about bike thieves too much. As someone who used to call that area home base let me suggest:

    - Rent a gravel bike at either place
    - Ride across the bridge
    - Climb Hawk Hill to the top, take obligatory photos
    - Take the road down to Rodeo Beach (there are trails, but trust me the descent on that road is fun.)
    - Climb up to Battery Townsley. Take more obligatory photos
    - Depending on your time/energy level make your way to Sausalito either directly or up through the Headlands Trails (they're all on Google Maps, easy to find) and down to Tennessee Valley Rd (something like Bobcat->Miwok->Old Springs Trail) and back around to Sausalito along the waterfront (Mill Valley-Sausalito) path. I used to end rides coming home this way and if I had time meander through the various docks along the way. You can usually spot seals, sea lions and all sorts of marine life.
    - Have lunch/refuel in Sausalito at Fish/Bar Bocce/Cibo depending on your tastes
    - Take the ferry back to SF, ride back to Presidio

    None of that is too hard/long and would be a beautiful way to hit a bunch of sights (some not so crowded) and get some miles in.
    Here's a Google Map of (a slight variant of) that route; you could use RidewithGPS or Strava to make another one.

    What's the variant? It adds on the Point Bonita Lighthouse. Bring a lock and lock/hide your bike in the bushes or bike rack, and walk out to the lighthouse if you're there when it's open (e.g. 12:30-3:30 pm on a Saturday; looks like you will be). Way more interesting than Battery Townsley (skip that loop you might run out of climbing legs; or do it and visit the Marine Mammals).

    https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Spor...37.8590937!3e1

    From Sausalito back to Sports Basement is easy to figure out.

    Hotel? Depends on what else you are doing/where you need to be. If you stay near a Presidigo bus stop you can take a free bus out to the Presidio, though it's a 15 walk to Sports Basement (or free bus ride). Or stay anywhere and rent a bike closer. I've never used them, but "almost free bike rentals" is a sports basement affiliate close to the heart of tourist-land. They claim to give you shopping credit in the amount of the rental cost.

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    As an almost 20 year veteran of that hot mess of a city and what was said earlier, do your riding in Santa Cruz. Enjoy the city go to the Moma or De Young or legion of honor, go eat dim sum. Perhaps a ferry ride to Sausalito or Tiburon or just pound pavement and walk through North Beach up to Coit tower.

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    Here's a GPX file of the longer route I suggested - it's about 20 miles, nice day on a gravel bike. You could chop out the climb over the hills after Rodeo Beach and ride back to Sausalito along Bunker Rd for an easier route with less climbing.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/ubsneecn40...0Loop.GPX?dl=0

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    Now this sounds like the ticket from both of y'all. I don't want to blow my legs and save them for SC. I'll have to try make my route for the garmin, these look like major roads so shouldnt be too hard.

    Is the sports basement a descent area, I may try get a hotel around them.

    Quote Originally Posted by mbmtb View Post
    Here's a Google Map of (a slight variant of) that route; you could use RidewithGPS or Strava to make another one.

    What's the variant? It adds on the Point Bonita Lighthouse. Bring a lock and lock/hide your bike in the bushes or bike rack, and walk out to the lighthouse if you're there when it's open (e.g. 12:30-3:30 pm on a Saturday; looks like you will be). Way more interesting than Battery Townsley (skip that loop you might run out of climbing legs; or do it and visit the Marine Mammals).

    https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Spor...37.8590937!3e1

    From Sausalito back to Sports Basement is easy to figure out.

    Hotel? Depends on what else you are doing/where you need to be. If you stay near a Presidigo bus stop you can take a free bus out to the Presidio, though it's a 15 walk to Sports Basement (or free bus ride). Or stay anywhere and rent a bike closer. I've never used them, but "almost free bike rentals" is a sports basement affiliate close to the heart of tourist-land. They claim to give you shopping credit in the amount of the rental cost.

  33. #33
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    There are two Sports Basements in SF - one in the southern part of the city (Bryant location), one in the Presidio (Mason Street). I don't think there are hotels immediately next to either. The Presidio location is close to Marina/Cow Hollow/Presidio Heights, which are some of the nicest neighborhoods in the city. The Bryant location is in an industrial area.

    Edit: the Presidio Inn is about 3/4 of a mile from Sports Basement (Mason Street) and is super duper nice, but I'm guessing it's well beyond $180/night.

  34. #34
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    My opinion added to the mix.

    Here's some links to try to make this easier.

    Marin headlands ride. No legal single track, but great views, includes bridge, and mostly dirt,
    https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/701...see-beach-loop

    Sports Basement
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Sp...4d-122.4592392
    Bike 1: https://rentals.sportsbasement.com/product/222 Select SF-Presidio Ibis Ripley

    Roaring Mouse
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ro...4d-122.4687235
    Bike 2 DEMO BIKES — Roaring Mouse Cycles Pivot Mach 429

    Hotels:
    There's a ton of stuff along Lombard, but most of it is super tourist cheesy.
    https://www.google.com/maps/search/h.../data=!3m1!4b1
    If you want a more intimate experience still in the city check out this San Francisco Boutique Hotel | Inn at the Presidio
    There's several nice restaurants nearby as well.

    There's decent riding in the Presidio. Not a destination, but amazing considering it's in a major city. I have a loop I do that's mostly single track, some double track, with lots of stairs (down).

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    Something you may be interested in.


  36. #36
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    Still depends on what else is going on with your trip. Like... will you be using a car at all, and if so before/after/during? Parking is expensive, but you can drop off/pick up a rental car easily near Union Square if you need it on one side of your trip... and that's Tourist Central.

    Sports Basement Bryant does not rent bikes; the Presidio location does. As does the "Basically Free Bike Rentals" location. If you stay in the other heart of tourist land, the Fishermans Wharf area, you can easily walk there, or to many other bike rental places. (Blazing Saddles is the biggest with many locations; one location has actual high quality bikes). Then you can decide... wander through the city (including possibly some of the trails), or do a headlands ride?

  37. #37
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    Weather forecast calls for rain Tues-Thurs with a slight chance of rain in the early morning of the 24th. Headlands trails will be fine to ride. May want to check the various trail condition threads before you go though.

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    Ok, after everyone's tips, I decided to just rent what ever is available that's less likely to be stolen. Bike around the coastline + bridge, id like to try hawk hill to the lighthouse. Then do all my trail riding in SC @ Wilder.

    Getting excited, landing around noon.

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    Trip update, I fly out tomorrow, biked the bridge, took ferry back, rode back to sports basement.

    The kicker, SC cancelled my demo due to wet trail conditions. Went to epic center for a bike and they also would not rent a bike out.

    Maybe next time SC, maybe next time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skt4271 View Post
    Trip update, I fly out tomorrow, biked the bridge, took ferry back, rode back to sports basement.

    The kicker, SC cancelled my demo due to wet trail conditions. Went to epic center for a bike and they also would not rent a bike out.

    Maybe next time SC, maybe next time.
    Oh man, that's too bad. Well, hope you got some good pics for your family. Next time you're out give a bit more notice and let's try to get a group of MTBR guys for a SC/Demo ride.

    Hey, lets see some of those pics!

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    I actually went by wilder first to see, saw a bunch of locals parked along the road. I told the guy at epic, he said, yea cause they know the trail and the drier parts. But they just can't rent because the mud it's horrible on their bikes. I wasn't mad, just felt like a gut punch. What really made me mad, I stayed in los gatos almost rented a HTLT for 24 hours, if I did that, I would've been fine. I didn't because I wouldn't gone by the store until Tuesday morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    Oh man, that's too bad. Well, hope you got some good pics for your family. Next time you're out give a bit more notice and let's try to get a group of MTBR guys for a SC/Demo ride.

    Hey, lets see some of those pics!

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