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BICYCLE COMMUTING ACROSS SAN FRANCISCO BAY

A "Bike Commuting Tips" Visitor Wrote:

Hi Paul,

I'll be moving to San Francisco soon but working in Emeryville in the East Bay, and am desperately hoping to commute by bike. I don't know whether you can help me with this or not, but my question whether it is possible to bicycle on I-80 across the Bay Bridge. I might be living on 7th Avenue and Lincoln by Golden Gate Park, and I'm wondering whether this type of commute would be too much of an undertaking. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.


Hello:

Presently bikes are not allowed on the Bay Bridge; even if they were, it's about a 4.5-mile crossing with great views but lots of traffic noise. (Bikes are allowed on the Golden Gate Bridge, which is an excellent ride out of the city to enjoy some scenic open space in Marin.) The main options for non-driving transbay workers are BART, Oakland-Alameda Ferry, CalTrans bike shuttle, and AC Transit. You will find many answers to bikes on transit in the Bay Area at 511.org.

Alameda/Oakland Ferry
You can take your bike onboard the Alameda/Oakland Ferry (to Oakland's Jack London Square for your trip to Emeryville) any time. The ferry offers great views and a pleasant crossing, but has less frequent service and is a little more costly. For more info see: Alameda/Oakland Ferry

Bay Area Rapid Transit
Regarding BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit): during most of the day you can take your bike onboard the train for a quick trip under the bay to East Bay destinations. However, there are some "black-out" rules during peak rush hours in the AM and PM, when BART cars are crowded and often standing room only.

The BART blackout does not apply to bikes traveling to the East Bay from the Embarcadero station (last San Francisco station) in the AM hours or from the East Bay (you must disembark at Embarcadero) in the evening hours. There are other methods of dealing with BART's bike black-out policies. One is to acquire a folding bike, which is always allowed on BART. Another tactic is to use two bikes: one to the SF BART station, the other at your East Bay destination station. Security is the big issue here, and BART does provide bike lockers and secure storage at some stations. For more info see: BART.

AC Transit
Many cyclists recommend AC Transit for crossing San Francisco Bay. I have to confess that I've never used AC Transit. Several AC Transit routes (Y, F, C, or Z buses) offer bike racks for transbay travel, from the Transbay Terminal in downtown San Francisco at Mission and 1st Streets. For more info see: AC Transit.

CalTrans Bike Shuttle
CalTrans, the state transportation agency, offers a bike shuttle van across the Bay Bridge, which I've never used. Many people recommend it heartily as the least expensive Bay crossing option. It runs between the Transbay Terminal and the MacArthur BART station in Oakland, with a stop on Treasure Island. For more info see: CalTrans.

There are, of course, other agencies that transport bikes across the Bay Bridge. Amtrak shuttles passengers for its most excellent and bike-friendly Capitol Corridor service (between Sacramento and Bay Area) by bus from several locations in SF to their Emeryville station, and you can put your bike in the luggage compartment under the bus. And there are probably others that I'm not aware of.

Anyway, I hope this begins to help. Thousands of bicyclists happily cross San Francisco Bay every day by various means.

Happy cycling,

Paul Dorn


Comments? Suggestions? Contact dornbiker@yahoo.com || Updated 06.09.07