Geographically this route is not perfectly north from the center of San Francisco per se. It’s north from Market Street but veers out to Twin Peaks and stays on the northern side of Golden Gate Park. If you plan on cycling in San Francisco, this is a must. Over 80% of this route is marked for cyclists so it’s generally safe for most riders on road bikes who have intermediate skills in road riding.
The take off point is located in Hayes Valley. Random location but always good if you’re meeting up as it happens to be a very central point for anyone living in San Francisco. Also a decent take off point as their are several coffee shops and ample space to loiter if you’re in a big group. With Ritual Coffee and a bike friendly Biergarten near by, you can start or finish your ride here.
Most of my attention was drawn towards Casper, the neighborhood parrot that’s always down to chill.
The ride quickly climbs up Market Street where you’ll quickly dash through the colorful Castro and upwards towards Twin Peaks. The grades reach 17% but only for a brief moment. You’ll quickly switch back up Corbett Ave and then a tight left up towards Twin Peaks Blvd towards the overlook.
The route loops you around to the look out point and drops you back down Twin Peaks Blvd. With a quick left onto Clarendon you’ll hit a quick climb that takes you to the top of a very fast and fun descent that drops down to -12 %, be very careful as you are making the merger onto 7th Ave. 7th Ave has bike lane that you can generally rip down, if you see a reservoir to the right of you then you’re going the right way.
You may hit a few lights but should make it to Golden Gate Park quickly. With a quick wrap around the park you’ll find yourself on John F. Kennedy drive heading towards the vastness of Ocean Beach. Truly a big beach that spreads out over the majority of San Francisco’s west side.
You’ll make a quick right onto the Great Highway and begin a climb up into the hills of Sea Cliff. With a quick pass by the Legion of Honor, you’ll be in and out of the Seacliff neighborhood before you know it.
Next you’re in the Presidio, the Golden Gate Park’s slightly younger sibling. The Presidio is actually a fairly fun place to ride as there are many different routes most of which are marked for cyclists.
The ride hugs the northern coast of San Francisco and takes you onto Bay Street, which will drop you down to the Embarcadero. You can definitely pick up some speed on the descent but beware of traffic lights and poor road conditions.
Eventually you will hit Market and have the option of heading west again, which is the way I went. The GPS coordinates will actually take you to Truly Mediterranean in the Mission. It’s a great place with a little outdoor seating area located on Mission and 16th, a very vibrant corner that makes for some of the best people watching.
Remember, go further, suffer more!
Link to Strava Route for GPS/GPX users.
The ride is short but it has it’s difficult moments. If you plan on doing this one, make sure you’re comfortable riding around traffic and down very rough city roads.