Motorcycle In San Francisco

David Link

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Explore the rugged coastlines and iconic hills of "The City By The Bay" on a motorcycle in San Francisco with REVER. San Francisco is one of the premier cities on the west coast, and those California dreamin' for an epic road trip will get that and much more while motorcycle riding in San Francisco. Set off on all-day journeys past the Golden Gate Bridge on the famous California Route 1, or dive deep into giant redwood forests on winding mountain roads. No matter what you choose, each San Francisco motorcycle ride is sure to be unforgettable.

Tips For The Best Motorcycle Riding In San Francisco

Spend more time on motorcycle rides in San Francisco and see all the best sights with the REVER App. It is free to join, and you can download everything you need to hit the road right now. Open legendary routes, track your own adventures and try out exclusive challenges to test your skills. When you're ready to take things to the next level, hit the throttle with an upgrade to REVER Pro. For just a few bucks a month, you'll gain access to advanced features like weather radar and alerts, mobile route planning, turn by turn and voice navigation and so much more. Or for those gear junkies, upgrade to the ultimate in the RPM plan that includes early access to member sales and new releases, connection to a free concierge phone line with gear and parts experts and more. There is no better way to plan motorcycle routes in San Francisco.

The weather in the San Francisco area is subject to the whims of the Pacific Ocean currents, which cool the city dramatically. This cool current creates the wind and fog that San Francisco is known for, and the city by the bay has the coolest summer climate of all major US cities. Generally, the climate is pretty stable and predictable all year round with the warmest months coming in September and October. This means you'll want to pack layers and warm riding gear even when you're visiting in the summer. Snow is extremely rare, and if it does fall, it usually only dusts the higher peaks around the city. You can expect rain about one in every four days in San Francisco, so don't forget to pack your rain gear.

San Francisco Attractions

Riding a motorcycle in San Francisco gives you first-hand access to world-class destinations that you won't want to miss. Take a break from motorcycle riding in San Francisco and take the ferry over to Alcatraz to tour the infamous prison. Alcatraz tickets often sell out early, so plan this tour in advance. There is much more to see around the bay like the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, but don't worry, we've also picked out routes that start with a ride over this one of kind bridge. Climb up into the stands of Oracle Park to catch a Giants baseball game on the banks of the bay. Who knows, you might even see a baseball hit into the water! When you need a break from the city, head to Golden Gate Park to experience the natural beauty of the area. The Palace Of Fine Arts Theater is a highlight of the park and one of the most photographed places in San Francisco. On the east side of the city, you'll find the famous cable cars that have been operating for over 150 years.

Point Reyes To Mendocino

The Pacific Coast Highway, or California State Route 1, is famous for its stunning views of rugged coastline along the Pacific Ocean. Arguably the most popular section of Route 1 starts in Monterey, CA and runs south through Big Sur. However, the Shoreline Highway from Point Reyes to Mendocino avoids the large crowds common around Big Sur and instead heads north on an equally entertaining stretch of Route 1. To begin, you'll leave San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge, and consider a detour around the Golden Gate Recreation Area after the bridge to check out great views of the Bay Area alongside beaches, museums, lighthouses and old WWII batteries. Otherwise, stay on the 101 until you hit Manzanita, CA, and then take the exit onto Route 1. Hook Fish Co. is an excellent place to score some fresh seafood if you're hungry for a bite. Follow Route 1 through the hills and out to the coast at Muir Beach as the road turns north. You'll ride by Bolinas Lagoon and then into a valley as you clock several miles towards Point Reyes Station.

The route officially begins at Point Reyes Station, and you'll stay on the 1 or the Shoreline Highway headed north for the rest of the ride. Make no mistake, this is a long stretch of two lane highway that winds along the coast, and it will take a lot of time to ride. Plus, you'll be tempted to pull off countless times along the way. Budget a full day or even a weekend for the route. Once you leave Point Reyes, Tomales Bay is off to the west, and you'll pass through several small towns as you follow the bay. When you reach Keys Creek, Route 1 will head inland into some rolling farmland for a stretch. Hang a left at the junction to stay on the 1 through Valley Ford, CA and back out to the coast. Bodega Bay, CA is our next stop, and there are plenty of seafood restaurants here if you're hungry. Fresh oysters are a local delicacy here if that is your thing. Bodega Dunes Beach is a great place to stretch your legs and walk along the ocean if you need a break.

Frankly, there are too many beaches to name along this next stretch of the Shoreline Highway, but there really isn't a bad stop among them if one catches your eye. When you're not riding by beaches, jagged rocks along the shoreline make for unforgettable scenery, and many have names like Arched Rock, Hogback and Gull Rock. Eventually you'll arrive at the Russian River, but before you cross over, you can take a little detour to the iconic Goat Rock. Then get back on the 1 and cross over the river towards Jenner, CA. This area is famous for its sea lion population, so keep a lookout for the local wildlife. Next, gear up for some extra excitement as you hit switchbacks up and over Russian Gulch. There are amazing views from this high ground and a couple scenic viewpoints to stop at along the way. A fairly remote section along the cliffs is up next as your ride towards Fort Ross.

The Russians were among the first to settle this area, and Fort Ross is one of the settlements they set up in the early 1800s. After Fort Ross, you'll snake along Kolmer Gulch and then through the Salt Point Conservation Area. Another remote section of rugged coastline awaits. Stop and get fuel at Stewards Point if you need it. You'll pass through more small towns like Sea Ranch, Gualala, and Anchor Bay. Just before you reach Gallaway, CA, you'll pass by Saunders Reef that features a rich collection of sea life hiding in the nearby reefs. Soon after, the road will again depart from the coast, but there are more sea lion viewing opportunities if you take a detour on Lighthouse Road at Flumeville, CA. Keep cruising Route 1 until you pass over the Navarro River Bridge, and then take a left to stay on the route.

One last section of rugged coastline greets you as you enter the Mendocino, CA area. You'll pass over the Big River and into the town of Mendocino built out on a bluff along the shore. You can hit an overlook just before the Big River bridge for views of this unique town. After a ride like that, you're likely starving, so hit Frankie's for some pizza or Patterson's Pub for some Irish-inspired fare. You can also ride out to Point Mendocino to see views of the rugged rock formations along the coast here.

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A ride over the Golden Gate Bridge should be on everyone's list.
You can ride up to the Golden Gate Recreation Area and look back down to see amazing views of the city.
The Shoreline Highway is packed with beaches just off the road.
Blue ocean meets the rocky cliffs of the California coast on the Shoreline Highway.

Palo Alto And Half Moon Bay

Explore the coastal hills just south of San Francisco on this two hour loop around Half Moon Bay, CA. We'll begin this route just southwest of Palo Alto, CA on Highway 84 or Woodside Road. Enjoy the snaking curves through Thornewood Open Space on your way into Sky Londa, CA. At the intersection of Highway 84 and 35 is the famous Alice's Restaurant. Established in the 1960's and named after the owner Alice and the Arlo Guthrie song, this scenic roadhouse is a popular stop for motorcyclists in the area. Rumor has it that the place was a favorite stop of Joan Baez back in the day as well. If you're not ready to pull off at Alice's quite yet, don't worry, this loop will end back at Alice's, so you still have a chance to experience this unique restaurant. For now let's get back to the route.

Hop on Highway 35 / Skyline Blvd. headed north past Alice's. This area is populated by California's towering redwoods, which makes for an excellent ride setting. Up a little way past Alice's, you can stop and see one of the largest sequoia trees in the world known as the Methuselah Tree (not to be confused with the Methuselah bristlecone pine tree). There are also numerous hiking trails in the area if you want to explore more of the nearby forest. Stay on 35 north until you hit a junction with Highway 92 / San Mateo Road. Just before 92, there is an overlook for the Upper Crystal Spring Reservoir. Take a left onto Highway 92 to ride towards Half Moon Bay. This city by the ocean features beautiful white sand beaches, and it is a popular whale watching spot January through March. You'll link up with the iconic California Route 1 in Half Moon Bay, and take a left to continue on the ride. Just south of Half Moon Bay, you'll see the wild mustard fields in bloom if you're riding in early spring.

Keep cruising south on the 1 as it winds closer to the ocean on high bluffs. There are several beach parking opportunities along the way if you want to pull off and see the water. Just past San Gregorio, CA, there is a pull off for Dolphin Sunset Point that provides excellent views of the ocean from the towering bluffs above. Enjoy the ride along the ocean until you reach Gazos Creek Año Nuevo State Park. The route turns away from the water here and up into the hills with a left on Gazos Creek Road. Highway 1 Brewing Company is here at the turnoff if you're not quite ready to leave the ocean views just yet. When you're ready to ride east, follow Gazos Creek into a remote section of forest. Once you hit a four way intersection, turn left onto Cloverdale Road to head north. This will take you by Butano State Park that features a large stand of California coastal redwoods. Stay on Cloverdale Road north until you reach Pescadero Creek, CA.

Your next turn will be a right onto Pescadero Creek Road when you get into town. However, if you want to take a quick detour left, Duarte's Tavern on the main strip in town is worth a stop to grab some classic comfort food in this old-school roadhouse. Back on Pescadero Creek Road, you'll head east up into the mountains among more towering redwoods. This area is packed with hiking and camping opportunities if you want to park the bike for a while. Eventually Pescadero Creek Road will turn north and provide more thrills with some switchbacks and snaking turns through the forest. When you run back into Highway 84, turn right to continue north back to Alice's Restaurant through La Honda, CA. Enjoy this last winding section, and then pull into Alice's for some much deserved eats!

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Alice's is a staple of the riding community in San Francisco (source).
Towering redwoods give way to the rocky shore on this loop.
Stop and explore the beaches when you get to Half Moon Bay.
Butano State Park features deep redwood forests.

Mt. Tamalpais Via Stinson Beach

Are you ready for another opportunity to ride over the Golden Gate Bridge? This near two hour loop just north of San Francisco takes you to the top of Mt. Tamalpais for some epic views of the area. Begin by taking the 101 out of San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge. Watch for the exit onto the famous California Route 1 at Manzanita, CA. Consider hitting a patio to grab some pizza at The Junction soon after you get on Route 1. You can also stop on the way back as this ride loops back to the 101. You'll ride through the Tamalpais Valley on the 1, and then look for a right onto the Panoramic Highway headed north. This highway has a bit of reputation as a roller coaster of twists and turns. In the early 1900s, this area was the site of “The Crookedest Railway in the World” up to Mt. Tamalpais. So needless to say, this region has a history of thrilling visitors, but you'll want to ride very cautiously on these narrow mountain roads.

Keep cruising north as you gear up for some serious excitement on the Panoramic Highway. You'll first pass by Muir Woods National Monument named for the famous naturalist and friend of Teddy Roosevelt. This is a great place to see the giant redwoods, and there are numerous hiking and camping opportunities here as well. Eventually the Panoramic Highway will turn to the southeast, and you'll want to watch for a right turn onto Pantoll Road. This road is packed with scenic overlooks. Make sure to look back down at the bay to San Francisco if it's not obscured by fog. Pantoll Road ends at Ridgecrest Blvd., and we'll first take a right to ride up to the top of Mt. Tamalpais. Ridgecrest Blvd. ends at the top of the mountain at 2,572 ft. above sea level, and there is a visitor center and bathrooms here so you can take a break as you check out the views.  

When you're finished at Mt. Tam, take Ridgecrest Blvd. back down and past Pantoll road as you continue east. You'll pass by more trail heads and vistas until you reach the junction with Fairfax-Bolinas Road. Turn left and get ready for more thrills as you ride the winding forest road down to Bolinas Lagoon. At the bottom, you'll link back up with California Route 1, and hang a left to ride along the banks of the lagoon into Stinson Beach, CA. Once in town, stop at Breakers Cafe for a bite to eat, or you can head down to the beach that features ample parking.

South of Stinson Beach, you'll want to take a short detour to pull off at Red Rock Spring. This natural mountain spring flows from three copper pipes placed into the hillside, and you can fill up your water bottle with fresh spring water free of charge. Just north of Red Rock Spring, you'll get back on the Panoramic Highway for the last section of this ride headed west. This is another treacherous section of the Panoramic Highway, so exercise caution while riding. You'll pass back by Pantoll Road, and then you can take the Panoramic Highway all the way back down to the 101 and over the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco.

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Mt. Tamalpais features epic views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate.
The roads are narrow, winding and steep at times, so ride cautiously.
Down the other side of the mountain, you'll see Bolinas Bay (source).
Stinson Beach is a popular spot for locals and visitors to hit the sand.

"You don't stop riding when you get old, you get old when you stop riding."
― Anonymous

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