SFO is notorious for delays, so plan ahead! Best Western El Rancho Inn in Millbrae near SFO has a "Stranded Traveler" program. If you stay there and your flight is delayed by several hours, you can take the shuttle back to the hotel and enjoy the facilities (pool, fitness, sun decks)and return to SFO on the shuttle. And, if you are delayed until the following day, you get a room for the night at no extra charge.
San Francisco is a beautiful, compact, and multicultural city of about 47 square miles and the second most densely populated city in the United States after New York City. It's renowned for its chilly summer fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and its famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and Chinatown. The heart of the city is 7x7 miles and easily walked, bicycled, or toured by motorcycle, with lots and lots of parking - but feed the meters because the meter readers are insatiable.
The sirens went off yesterday not at their designated time which is on Tuesday mid-day. I have to admit I ignored them until a friend called and said are you evacuating? By then I noticed neighbors outside looking over the hills and went out to join them in horrified silence at the sight of a huge black cloud of smoke getting bigger every second. Apparently had been a few explosions at the refinery and now it was on fire, burning crude oil and sending poison into the air.
When you live in a small town sometimes you just need to escape to the big city. Lucky for me San Francisco is just a short ride from my home in the beautiful Napa Valley. When I heard that one of my favorite bands was playing at Biscuits and Blues in San Francisco, I headed out for the 53 mile ride to enjoy a night on the town without hesitation.
When you're coming through San Francisco, take a moment to turn out on Lincoln Boulevard by The Presidio above Baker Beach. I see a lot of motorcyclists park for a moment to look at the view, but rarely getting off the bike for a short walk to explore the beauty and history here. Here's Gail Todd's overview of the walk from SF Gate.
Nestled just south of the Golden Gate Bridge are the Presidio's coastal bluffs, a wild stretch of land streaked with blue-green serpentine rock. The Batteries to Bluffs Trail leads you along the ocean's untamed side, past rugged cliffs, historic gun batteries, hidden springs, dramatic outlooks, an isolated beach and unparalleled views of the bridge. Read the story.
From the airport to the city, renting a bike, riding over the Golden Gate Bridge and into a Northern California epic ride. I produced this roughcut video years ago and present it here hoping that you'll enjoy it as an introduction to visiting and riding the area.
Parking in other cities, states, and countries almost always poses a challenge for the traveler, as machines and systems vary so widely. San Francisco has a lot of motorcycles and motorcycle parking. First of all, please park in the middle of the space, and leave room for scooters and bikes that may have a center stand. That is, park so that your bike, even tilted, is is the middle of the spot instead of hanging over the next. Sorry I have to say that, but you wouldn't believe..." Read on for more on using our high-tech meters.
How's this for the quintessential roadtrip? It begins in 1969 San Francisco, when you apparently could motorcycle on Ocean Beach. Don't we wish! But that diner on the cliff? It's still there. And the epic road trip? Yep. We do it all the time. San Francisco to Highway 1 south through San Mateo, Santa Cruz, to Monterey County with its famous towns of Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur. And in this story, far beyond. And his gear? Well, though it's not AGATT, maybe it can remind us that we really don't need all that stuff we think we need to get away.
The explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala sailed into San Francisco Bay in 1775 on a mapping expedition and used Angel Island as a base, naming it in the process. The island can be reached by a 10-minute ferry ride from Tiburon in Marin County, just 30 minutes north of San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge. It is the largest and lushest of the Bay Area's islands and contains one square mile of mountainous terrain covered with native and exotic trees, grasses and wildflowers. For more than 600 years it sheltered a Miwok Indian hunting and fishing tribe, who traveled to and from the mainland in tule reed boats. But you can just hop off the motorcycle and onto a ferry for a look at the San Francisco Bay from a completely different perspective.
Check out this report on the 11th annual San Francisco 49 Mile Ride last year in October. If you're visiting this time of year, join in with your pre-1975 bike, or sit on a corner and watch the parade. Over 300 old motorbikes participated, and so did the weather, at about 80 degrees. The last event included exotics like Italian Benellis, English Vincents, American Indians, German BMWs, Japanese Suzukis, Austrian Puchs, even two Danish Nimbuses. Here's the post and photos by Pete Young.