Definitely one of the most revered touring trips in the world, the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route offers riders the chance to get away from the grind and into the rhythm of the road. Here is a great post from our sister site that summarizes the Pacific Coast Bike Route in photos and video, including a few insider tips for great destinations along the way:
San Francisco and the Bay Area provide an almost unrivaled diversity of cycling opportunities for all types of riders. A popular starting point for touring cyclists, the Bay Area also provides endless opportunities for travelers to rent bikes and explore new areas.
If you fancy a casual ride to take in many of the best vistas of the city, it’s hard to beat riding along the bay from Fisherman’s Wharf, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and into Sausalito or Tiburon. A leisurely cruise around Golden Gate Park is a favorite among locals looking for low traffic and lush landscaping. Or, hop on a mountain bike and explore the trails of Marin County, birthplace of the MTB movement. Finally, if you’re a roadie looking to bag some classic California climbs, you’ll find Mt. Tamalpais just across the Golden Gate, Mt. Diablo across the Bay Bridge, and Mt. Hamilton to the south by San Jose; some even make a day of reaching the top of all three!
Despite the high price-tag of most things in the Bay Area, heavy competition in the bike rental market here provides comparatively reasonable daily rental rates and also look for opportunities to reserve online and save 10% or more.
San Francisco and Bay Area Rental Companies:
San Francisco Bike Rentals – Large bike rental operation catering predominantly to those looking for hybrid bikes for exploring the Fisherman’s Wharf area to the Golden Gate Bridge, or Golden Gate Park. SFBR also has basic Specialized mountain and road bikes available for rent by the hour or day.
Blazing Saddles – Chain bicycle company with the widest selection of bikes of any rental business in the Bay Area and seven locations. Amongst the many bikes available from Blazing Saddles are tandems, full-suspension mountain bikes, electric bikes, and kid’s bikes. They also offer numerous accessories such as bike racks, tag-alongs, baby seats, and trailers.
Bike and Roll – This company offers a full line of Trek bikes, from comfort hybrids to the high-end Trek Madone racing bike with five locations to serve you.
Undiscovered Country – Specializing entirely in quality road bikes, Undiscovered Country rents for very low rates and will deliver anywhere in the Bay Area for a variable fee.
Uber-Bike – If you’re looking to ride the Bay Area wine country north of San Francisco on a high-end road bike, Uber-Bike is your rental company. With offerings from Cervelo, Pinarello, and other high-end bicycle manufacturers, they provide a premium experience. Though they are based in Santa Rosa, delivery is available for a set fee based on distance from their headquarters.
Tucson is becoming a common destination for pro cycling teams and sun-seeking vacationers alike. With a mild, desert climate in winter months, Tucson presents the perfect opportunity to get some good off-season riding in and has been named to the Travel Channel’s top-ten list of cycling cities in the US.
Of particular interest is the Tour de Tucson, a large cycling event held every year on the weekend before Thanksgiving. Several thousand riders descend upon Tucson each year to take part in the 111-mile event, which covers a mostly flat route for the benefit of various charities. If you don’t happen to be in Tucson for the TdT, consider a jaunt up Mt. Lemmon, a climb of considerable gravity that is a favorite among locals and pro’s doing off-season training camps.
Tucson Bike Rental Companies:
Cycle Tucson – Cycle Tucson features a fleet of Cannondale hybrid, road, and hard-tail mountain bikes and offers rentals by the day or week, including special discounts for renting multiple bikes for several days.
Tri Sports Bike Rentals – This shop definitely seems to be catering towards the serious rider crowd, offering road bike and triathlon bike rentals from brands like Cervelo, Lightspeed, and Quintana Roo by the day or week.
Fairwheel Bikes – Known as the longest-running bike shop in town, Fairwheel specializes in high-end and exotic road bike sales, but also has road bikes from Trek, Specialized, and Neilpryde for rent, as well as Trek MTB bikes. Local knowledge has it that Ralph, the shop owner, is a great resource for Tucson cycling history.
Santa Barbara has been on the pro cycling radar for quite some time now as one of the premier spots to train in the winter, particularly among American riders and teams, and it’s no wonder. Blessed by some of the most consistently good weather in the country, with year around temperature variation between 65-75 degrees (based on monthly averages).
Santa Barbara features plenty of coastal riding, varied routes along the foothills, and perhaps most impressively, a number of climbs featured in John Summerson’s book of the top 100 climbs in California. The Santa Barbara Century, held in October each year, features 10,000ft of elevation gain, including the famed Gibraltar Road, and a descent down Painted Cave/Old San Marcos Road.
Wheel Fun Rentals of Santa Barbara – A hybrid, cruiser, and surrey option for those looking to meander along the boardwalk or up State Street.
Santa Barbara Bikes To-Go – Premium bike rental company, with brands like BMC, Cervelo, Cannondale, and Specialized. Delivery is free within the Santa Barbara area and price is on a sliding scale depending on number of days rented.
Santa Barbara Fitness Tours – Offers several bike rental options, including road and mountain bikes. SBFT also provides guided tours for those who would prefer to let a local lead the way.
VeloPro – Carrying a full line of offerings from Kona bikes, you might guess that this shop is serious about MTB riding, and you’d be right. VeloPro offers two full-suspension mountain bikes to open up the nearby downhill trails in the Santa Barbara foothills.
Open Air Bicycles – Partners with Hotel Oceana downtown to rent hybrid road bikes by the day at a reasonable rate.