My man and I are taking our touring bikes on vacation with us later this month and the airplane fare gods have decided that Austin or San Francisco are in our future (cheap flights + airlines that are friendly to bikes as baggage). Anyone done riding around these cities? We're hoping to get around in the cities only on bikes/public transport, and to take some several-day trips outside the city we go to to explore some more natural spots.
Anyone done a trip like this in any of these areas? Or know must-see spots? Or know any resources that would helpful for tips on getting out of the big cities? Whatever you've got would be great. I'm usually big on doing the research, but the ticket prices won't last long so I need some real and speedy advice. Thanks all!
San Francisco - good bike culture, great scenery, outstanding food .... BIG HILLS!
Austin - good bike culture, good music, .....ROLLING HILLS.
i spent three month in san francisco. i did a bunch of walking trips and decided to buy a bike. my shoes werent made for walking. i purchased a KHS Solo One on sale in the pan handle/haight-ashbury area at the edge of golden gate park. i took that bike through the park and on over the golden gate bridge and into salsalito on its maiden voyage. what an amazing ride, still my most memorable. i then rode back into the city. buying a single speed for that city might not have been the best idea, but it worked out. i saw so much of the city, but riding the perimeter was preferred. some of those hills are not easy. ill also add that halloween critical mass in san francisco is rediculous!
I have not done anything like this- but one of my friends used to live in Austin, and he has had nothing but good things to say about that city... that the biking community is really strong there, and drivers and pedestrians are cautious about bikers... there are bike lanes. Oz, pretty much. He talks about Austin like it's Oz.
If you go to San Francisco, you should head north and check out Napa and Sonoma. Maybe hit a few wineries on the way if that's your thing.
I can't say anything about Austin, but San Francisco is fantastic for riding. A really fun trip is to ride from the city to Point Reyes National Seashore and stay in the hostel (http://norcalhostels.org/reyes/). You can do some day hikes and explore the Marin headlands by bike, which are gorgeous. There are some fabulous bakeries around there. You can also ride up Mount Tam, which is a nice, not too steeply graded climb (at least in comparison to some of the other climbs around there). Marin is the best place to ride, but the South bay and East bay have some really great rides too! Have fun!
I'd recommend SF.
I recently asked a similar question on another forum (I'll be bike touring in Texas in March) and received a reply that biking around Austin "sucks," mostly because of fast moving car traffic. Outside city limits has a lot of good terrain. Austin is on an Amtrak route, which is nice for bikes.
I'll be riding from Corpus Cristi to San Antonio over five days in late March. I'd rather spend my vacation in between urban areas than trapped in one.
I've never been to Austin (and in the interest of full disclosure, I hate every city in Texas I've ever been to, some more than others, some less), but I have ridden in SF, Napa, Sonoma, and Marin counties. Stop at vineyards. Get a mudbath in Calistoga. Walk around Muir Woods. Look for Whales at Point Reyes National Seashore. Ride across the Golden Gate bridge. Much to do and see, and surprisingly rural riding out of the city. (Take the ferry from the wharf out to Vallejo in Sonoma County for a quick shortcut).
I live near San Francisco, in between there and San Jose on "the peninsula." The riding and the weather are amazing - I can't speak to Austin, but you won't regret a trip to SF. I'd be happy to be your guide for a day or two!