When cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge and returning by ferry the difference between destination points in San Francisco for the Blue and Gold (Pier 41) and Golden Gate Ferries (Ferry Building) is a simple cycle along the Embarcadero. You will encounter traffic from cars, other cyclists and pedi-cabs, but as you can see the experience is a lot of fun and uniquely San Francisco.
Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and rolling down one of the “WEEE!” fast fun hills into the peninsula and magical world of Marin bike trails is like traveling down the rabbit hole – just assume there’s no way back, so get to your ferry in plenty of time! The departure time means just that: the ferry leaves . . . and perhaps you behind. Plan ahead, be mindful of pace and have a later backup ferry in case of a “worst case scenario”, like a flat tire, injury or “Wow I’m pooped!” The awesome fun downhill after the bridge is back-breaking torture uphill. It’s not “impossible”, but the people who do it voluntarily are probably the same ones who enjoy Bikram yoga, fasting and walking over hot coals.
Winding your way down the Weee Fast Fun Hill is one thing, you wouldn’t want to have to walk your bike up it (its 0.75 miles long with an average gradient of 11%!), yes, we’ve done it, but the ferry is always so much more fun!
The DON’T MISS YOUR FERRY
The first thing to remember when taking the ferry back, or planning to, CHECK THE SCHEDULE!
Find your Golden Gate Ferry schedule here.
Remember there is a WEEKEND ONLY schedule of the various Marin ferries.
But BE WARNED. . . not all ferries are created equal! The most important factor in choosing your ferry may depend not just on time and convenience but on how much you cherish your $5000 bicycle, a.k.a. your carbon fiber Mistress of Pleasure.
Put simply, if you were a bicycle would you prefer to stand amongst the neatly stacked bike racks onboard GOLDEN GATE FERRY:
Easy, hands and bikes to yourself parking.
Easy, organized disembarking.
Smashed together in a pandemonium bike massacre onboard BLUE AND GOLD FLEET:
On ferries from Larkspur you can hang your bike on hooks on commuter ferries or stack them gently against the inside door with minimal interference on larger boats.
You’ll be instructed on what to do by crew members once you are onboard any ferry, but be prepared AND able to carry the weight of your bike up stairs should this be required of you.
Once onboard it’s relax, unwind and enjoy the scenic ride back with an up close, intimate view of Alcatraz (without having to Escape), San Quentin (from Larkspur), Angel Island and the Golden Gate Bridge with a full bar at your disposal. Ahhhhhh . . .