There’s a million things to do in San Francisco– literally. If you’re not eating your way through the city, there’s baseball games, coffee, beer, shopping, museums, parks, you name it. This city has really catered itself to the masses, and everyone who visits understands its appeal. It’s beautiful, unique and a lot of fun.
While researching attractions and things to do for solo female travelers, Kelsey and I knew we wanted to include some sort of fun and engaging transportation in our guide that wouldn’t be difficult to do on your own-especially if you’re a bit fearful about being on your own. We called upon Blazing Saddles to see if they’d want us to hang out with them for a day, and lucky for us, they did!
Blazing Saddles is the largest bike rental company in all of California, providing a variety of bicycles from basic to hybrid to tandem. They operate seven different locations in SF, with their main location being at the bottom of Hyde Street by Fisherman’s Wharf. This is where we started our journey for the day. And what a fun journey it was!
We were greeted before we even made it inside by a friendly young lady outside asking us if we’d like to rent a bike for the day. We mentioned that we had a reservation already and she pointed us to the front desk. Emily introduced herself and helped us fill out our paperwork for the rentals. We had a good laugh with the team-it seemed like everyone genuinely enjoyed their jobs- a rarity in a very touristy, customer service role.
They pointed us in the direction of a TV where we watched a short video describing the safety guidelines of renting a bike as well as a preview to the route we were about to take. It’s a mandatory video for everyone FYI, but it’s informative and quick so you won’t want to claw your eyes out like other safety videos.
After the video finished, you had the option of buying a return ferry ticket in case you wanted to make your way over the bridge and down to the bay side town of Sausalito and then ferry it back to Fisherman’s Wharf. We opted out of the additional feature, but knew that would be a great option to mention for ladies wanting to see another fantastic destination in the bay area.
As we were instructed, we made our way to the back of the rental shop to get fitted for our bikes. The guys in the back were worth the tour alone. They were fun, hilarious and goofy- a great combination considering we’re two weird girls who love crazy. They instantly made us feel comfortable as we swung one leg over the bike and did a basic test drive.
Armed with a bike lock and a front fanny pack for our bikes, we said adios and walked our bikes down the hill to start our journey. It was the best weather possible; Breezy and no clouds in the sky. We started our ride at the end of Fisherman’s Wharf and headed towards the Golden Gate Bridge.
We stopped almost immediately at the local little beach to snap a photo. It was perfect weather and there was a pirate ship in the background. Of course we had to stop. We then made a move on the paved path up a nice hill that got our thighs burning to the top of Fort Mason. It was nice to be immersed in the trees in the center of a city for a minute before dropping down to the Marina district.
Here, we rode past the big boats and activities happening on the nearby fields. We made a right after the marina and continued on the path along the beach where we could see the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. Sailboats and kite surfers dotted the bay as locals and tourists played on the beach and walked their dogs.
The Warming Hut came in to view and was mentioned by the video as a great place to stop and get a snack or have lunch. We chose lunch and we’re glad we did! We had fantastic and filling sandwiches on the patio taking in the sights and sounds.
After lunch and a photo opp, we rode past our turning point down to a dead-end to get a great shot of the bridge from below. We kept yelling out to each other ‘this is the best day ever!’ But it really was. It was hot as hell for San Francisco weather and we hadn’t even made it up the big hill yet.
We made our way back and turned right up the hill. I was not surprised to see how out of shape my legs were, but I made it to the top, regardless of my breathing intervals. Kelsey was far ahead of me at this point, pumping her legs like cylinders. I was impressed.
As my slow-and-steady pace finally caught up, we got off the bikes to fully appreciate the view in front of us. As touristy and cliché as it is, I love the Golden Gate Bridge and I also love taking photos of it. It gets me every time. I just think it’s so beautiful.
After our own photoshoot, we biked up one more small ascent to finally arrive at the beginning of the bridge. There were hundreds of people milling about, not really understanding what they were doing. There were local road bicyclists who loved to yell out ‘MOVE’ and plenty of tourists like ourselves on rented bikes trying to brave the wind and snap photos along the way. We probably were part of the problem more than the solution. But we didn’t care. It’s part of the experience. The view is incredible as you make your way over the bridge (FYI-stay to the left on a bike, right if you’re walking!), and it’d be a shame to not stop and admire it.
I made it about halfway across the bridge before I pulled over to take a few photos and video. I literally didn’t think biking would be that much fun. I caught up with Kelsey and we decided to head back. We unfortunately had prior obligations that evening and had to make it back in time to get ready.
We took a casual ride back, enjoying the views and sunshine. When we pulled back in to Blazing Saddles, we were greeted with loud voices and smiles. Granted I know they do that for everyone, but it really does make you feel like you just won a race. The staff at Blazing Saddles really did make our day that much better. They talked to us like real humans, not cheesy Tour Directors on a cruise ship.
We were able to goof around with them a little bit longer, snap some photos of them and the shop before saying our goodbyes. We honestly had the best experience with them and I have already recommended them to other ladies heading to SF. They take care of you, aren’t annoying and genuinely want you to have a good time.
To learn more about Blazing Saddles and what they offer, check out their site here!
About the author:
Jen Heuett is the creator of Travel + Trust & Wanderlust, an online community to educate, empower and inspire women to travel solo. Her words can also be found on Huffington Post, Mind Body Green, and Travel Hooligan, her first travel company that inspires young adults to utilize the Working Holiday Visa in Australia and New Zealand. When she’s not traveling the world, she’s enjoying the Pacific Northwest and her mom’s tacos.