I passed by and discovered this bike shop called Bay Area Bikes at 2424 Webster St. when I was going to a car rental nearby. It is ironically situated in an area (Auto Row in Oakland) that is filled with car dealerships. Stick it to them, Bay Area Bikes! When I walked in and spoke with Clay who owns the place with his wife, Glenda, I knew this shop was for me. They are great people who believe in making the community livable through biking, and they carry quality bikes because they don’t believe in “race to the bottom prices”. They have bikes and accessories that I really like and they appear to carry bikes for everyday folks, in addition to performance bikes.
Here is a review from a friend, Kristen, that I think says it all about Clay and his bike shop. One day on the ferry to work, I told her about Bay Area Bikes, and she said, “That’s where I got my bike!” She said that at first, she went to at least 4 to 5 shops all over Oakland and everyone ignored her completely. I have always felt that bike shops intimidate women, particularly women that are buying a bike for the first time, and Kristen is in this category. Most shops carry mostly performance bikes, the employees are usually men, and the way the bike shop looks exudes masculinity. But this particular shop is different from the norm.
These words were taken from our conversation: “When I got to Bay Area Bikes, I was immediately greeted and treated with respect. I had no idea what I needed or wanted, other than a good-for-commuting bike that wouldn’t hurt my back. They suggested a Tern folding bike, demonstrated to me, and let me try out the bike, but I still wasn’t sure if it would hurt my back. They then recommended me to go rent one for a day at their Bay Area Bike Rentals in Jack London Square, but then a friend let me borrow one for a whole week. So I tried it and and went back to Bay Area Bikes.” She got everything from them, from a bike helmet and lock to a commute bag and her dear Tern Link D7i folding bike. She says that through the whole process “everyone was friendly and helpful, and to this day every time I go in for a service (or yet another accessory) they are just as nice and easy to work with, and they never talk down to me.” A great recommendation from a new devoted customer!
There are four locations of Bay Area Bikes now. One is in Pittsburg and the other three are in Oakland. One is a bike rental in JLS as I mentioned earlier; the second is in Uptown and carries commuter and performance bikes. The newest shop just opened about a month ago at 2509 Broadway and 25th Street, which sits in between an Ethiopian restaurant and Smythe’s Accordion Center (yes…that folksy instrument, accordion!). It’s a nice and niche bike shop.
Why do I like this shop particularly? They are the only Brompton authorized dealership in town and secondly, they fill a niche that most bike shops don’t. Furthermore, they sell great quality bikes: Tern and Brompton folding bikes, Swiss-made Stromer e-bikes, Oakland-based Xtracycle and Yuba cargo bikes, and nice accessories to go with the bikes. The target here is for everyday cycling with utility in mind. And any woman stepping into this shop is not going to shy away. They carry stylish bags and an equal number of bikes for females and males, which reflects the almost equal gender split of ridership in Oakland.
Finally, when you talk to Clay, you will certainly feel like you bought the right bike because he only carries bikes that he believes in. Moreover, he has immense knowledge of his bikes and is happy to share his knowledge with you. He knows every little detail about the bikes he carries and can make an informed opinion for you if you like. Oh, his wife Glenda is super patient and I am glad for once there’s a woman working in a bike shop.
If you have a love for Bromptons like I do, this is the place to go to!
Last updated 6/8/13
Bicycle Banh Mi - Fresh and delicious Vietnamese sandwiches delivered by bicycle, and they do catering too. Formerly called ‘Banh Mi Love You Long Time’.
Bicycle Coffee Company - They roast organic, fair-trade, Arabica beans grown by a farm cooperative and deliver their products by bicycle.
Four Barrel Coffee Parklet - Although it’s a popular coffee shop that has nothing to do with bikes, they welcome cyclists with open arms by having the coolest parklet where you can hang-store your bike.
Mojo Bicycle Cafe - You can get your bike serviced or even buy a bike while getting a quick bite.
SF Rapha Cycle Club Cafe - This is the cafe for the cycle retail/club of the same name (based in London). They serve locally sourced coffee and food, and their retail features a full line of Rapha performance wear. Enjoy their coffee on their broom wagon parklet!
The Pedal Inn – Everybody loves food after a bike ride. Well, this site is a great resource for making food while on a bike tour or just as regular meals, and they also have a cookbook for food-loving cyclists.
Velo Rouge Cafe – What a great way to start your morning at a cafe which is centrally located between Golden Gate Park and Presidio (both parks are great for biking) in Inner Richmond.
Bicycle Fashion & Accessories
90 degrees (local) – A local manufacturer of stylish, beautiful, and fun bike accessories.
Betabrand (local) – They have some of the coolest “bike to work pants” with reflective pocket flap and roll up pants cuff.
Bike Wrappers (local) – Bike wrappers are dual-sided removable reflectives that fit on bike frames and are locally manufactured.
Boombotix (local) – Local manufacturer of wireless iPod speakers. Their cool line of Boombot1 and Boombot2 speakers can be easily used while cycling. They were first created when the founders combined Japanese vinyl toys with speakers.
Chrome (local) - This internationally known company makes everything from shoes to jackets to customizable messenger bags that will outlast even your least-worn jeans.
Gobha Clothing (local) – They are local manufacturers of cycling hats made out of Swiss Schoeller soft shell fabric and merino wool from New Zealand. They’re designed to be breathable and keep you warm.
Mission Workshop (local) - Their company was “created out of the need for gear that out-performs, while maintaining a clean aesthetic appropriate for cycling, travel, and the daily routine.” Their cool looking bags come with a lifetime warranty.
Molleta Design (local) – This small local manufacturer is known for their handmade colorful pedal straps and delightful greetings’ cards.
MonkeyLectric (Berkeley, CA) - If you want wild and dazzling lights to light up your bicycle, this is the place to go. They’re made with LEDs. It is great for bike parties!
PushBike (local) - Located in the Mission, they have colorful and cute bike gear. Check out their blog.
Rapha (London, UK) – The retail arm of Rapha Cycle Club Cafe, they carry top performance cycling apparel that is classic, stylish and functional. And you can join their weekly group rides after your Saturday morning pastry/coffee.
Rickshaw Bagworks (local) - Their bags are manufactured right here in San Francisco and every bag is customizable down to the smallest details. Their Zero messenger bags are made with “minimal waste manufacturing” in mind.
Timbuk2 (local) - What’s not to like about Timbuk2 bags and accessories? Their lifetime guaranteed bags are made for everybody, old bags can be recycled at their stores, and their fabric and liners are made from 100% recycled materials.
Faraday Bicycles (Palo Alto, CA) – Is a new local Bay Area company which collaborated with design firm IDEO to design a new high-end and innovative electric bike. Check out their new Farady Porteur coming out in April of 2013.
LOW Bicycles (local) - A San Francisco based “manufacturer of high quality, handmade aluminum racing frames.”
PUBLIC (local) - Rob Forbes, also a founder of Design Within Reach, designs and sells European-inspired city bikes, along with accessories to make bicycling “more enjoyable, practical, and chic”.
Raphael Cycles (local) – A one man shop that designs and custom handmade build steel bike to your liking.
Rivendell Bicycle Works (Walnut Creek, CA) – They manufacture steel lugged frames and sell bike accessories and clothing since 1994.
SOMA Fabrications (local) - They design and sell steel frames, components and apparel that are geared for the “everyday cyclist”. Their exclusive frames are made of Tange Prestige butted CrMo steel that produce a comfortable ride.
Xtracycles (Oakland, CA) – They produce a full line of longtail bicycles and accessories fit for cargo, passengers and daily adventures.
Yuba Bicycles (Petaluma, CA) – Another company that produces longtail bicycles with the option for electric-assist designed to carry passengers and cargo.
Bicycle Shops & Rentals
Click here for a list of SF bicycle shops and rentals
Events, Rides & Clubs
Bicycle Film Festival - The Bicycle Film Festival is a “platform to celebrate the bicycle through music, art and, of course, film.” It is held in over 25 international cities and has been a major catalyst for urban bike movement.
Bicycle Musical Festival - The Bicycle Music Festival is the largest 100% bicycle-powered music festival in the world and takes place right here in the City on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice. With a 2000 watt pedal-powered PA system, as many as 15 bands, and multiple festival stops, all caravan and pedal by bicycles.
Bring Your Own Big Wheel - Yes, a competition using your big wheel bike that goes down on the most curvy street, Vermont St. in Potrero Hill. It is hilariously fun!
Butter Lap - It happens every Wednesday night at 7pm and the ride is 17 miles long with some hills (not so buttery), but it is very casual with stops to view the beautiful scenery of SF.
Healthy Saturdays - Every Saturday during the months of April through September, a car-free space is set up in Golden Gate Park on John F. Kennedy Dr. between Tea Garden Dr. (near 8th Ave.) and Transverse Dr. It’s a good time to bring the kids to the park so they can ride their bicycles or walk around. (See also: Sundays in Golden Gate Park.)
Midnight Mystery Ride - A monthly group ride that starts at midnight with a mystery route that only the organizer(s) knows in advance. Riding at night in the almost-car-free city is pretty magical.
SF Bike Expo - Annual event where you can meet bike vendors, see bike exhibits and watch free-ride mountain bikers do their dirt jumps.
SF Bike Party - Want to ride your bicycle and party at the same time? Well, this is the perfect group ride to be part of every first Friday of the month as it combines plenty of upbeat music with socializing.
SF Critical Mass - Critical Mass started in 1992 in SF as a protest for bike infrastructure, and has spread to over 300 cities worldwide. It still goes on every last Friday of the month. Be sure to not miss the Halloween Critical Mass.
SF Rapha Cycle Club - They host a Club Ride every Saturday which starts at the store, over the Golden Bridge and into Marin County.
Sunday Streets - Sunday Streets is a series of events put on by the City to promote health, community and fun, inspired by Ciclovia in Bogota. On designated Sundays, the streets are closed off to automobiles in a rotating roster of different neighborhoods. Pedestrians, roller skaters and cyclists are able to move freely within the streets and street performances and art and cultural events as take place. The ones that happen in the Mission District are the best and most popular ones.
Sundays in Golden Gate Park - Similar to Healthy Saturdays except that this route happens every Sunday in Golden Gate Park and covers a greater distance. It is a fun and relaxing way to enjoy a Sunday with friends and family. If you don’t have a bike, there’s a bike rental in the park. (See also: Healthy Saturdays)
Tour de Fat - Annual event hosted by New Belgium Brewery to celebrate everything about bikes. It kicks off with a parade, then a car-bike swap, and an all day long Ballyhoo!
World Naked Bike Ride - Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ride a bike butt-naked? This is your chance. It’s actually a ride to protest against fossil fuel dependency.
Green Wave - “A green wave is an intentionally induced phenomenon in which a series of traffic lights (usually three or more) are coordinated to allow continuous traffic flow over several intersections in one main direction.”
Notable Protected Bike Lanes
Cesar Chavez St. – Buffered bike lanes last for a 3/4 to 1 mile stretch on this street from the Mission to Central Waterfront. Many cyclists take this route to get to the 22nd St. Caltrain Station.
Cargo Way – One of only two protected bike lanes 3/4 mile in length in the neighborhood of Hunter’s Point. It was added as a part of the future SF Bay Trail.
Fell and Oak St. – This is a very popular bikeway that direct cyclists from the Wiggle to Golden Gate Park.
John F. Kennedy Dr. – 1.5 mile long of protected bikeway in Golden Gate Park that starts at Stanyan St and ends at Traverse Dr.
Market Street – Almost 2.5 miles long of protected and unprotected bike lanes stretching from Castro neighborhood to the Embarcadero.
Popular Bike Routes
Embarcadero - This bayside route stretches from AT&T Park all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf and offers romantic and postcard views of the SF Bay. There is a separate bike lane but riding on the sidewalks here is also permitted. It is probably the most comfortable ride in the city for novices.
Golden Gate Bridge - It is the most famous SF landmark and has a separated bike path on the western side. Riding across the span is a must whether you’re a tourist or local.
Market Street - It’s San Francisco’s main artery and an important and busy corridor that runs east to west from the Ferry Building through the Union Square area and beyond. Despite the chaotic atmosphere of the street and having to deal with automobiles, streetcars, shuttles, buses, taxis, potholes, tourists, and pedestrians, it is still a highly-used route for cyclists.
The Wiggle - It is the flattest and best way to avoid SF’s notorious hills when riding from east to west or vice-versa. It is a one-mile-long zig-zag route.
Valencia Street - The first street in the city to have Green Wave traffic lights and is known for hipsters riding their fixies. Located in the gentrifying Mission District, it is the most trendy commercial corridor to ride on.
My Ride Pool - Anyone can join to create group rides or find others to ride together for recreation, to commute to work, and most of all to encourage friendship through riding.
Strava – A popular app and website that allows you to track your bike rides, progress, and times by GPS. You can post your stats and challenge your friends and other riders.
Bike Kitchen San Francisco - Founded in 2003, Bike Kitchen’s volunteers teach people of all ages how to repair bicycles. Just pay $5 to use their tools, used parts and expertise for a day or become a member for $40-$80, sliding scale.
Rock the Bike (Berkeley, CA) - An organization founded by Paul Freedman aka Fossil Fool, which gives concerts and musical events fully powered by bicycles. Bands perform musical acts and can even ride from one location to another while performing. They also have a bike-powered blender and ice cream maker. Try to find their “tree bike”- it’s a very cool tall bike that has been ornamented to look like a tree that also glows with speakers on the sides, playing music as they ride through the city at events.
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition - With over 12,000 members and counting, it is the largest bicycle coalition in the US. They have worked tirelessly to promote safer and livable streets for bicycling.
San Francisco Yellow Bike Project – Manage by volunteers, this community bike shop transforms donated bikes, parts and other cycling resources into rideable bikes for the Bay Area. You can learn how to be a bike mechanic by volunteering with them. Cool, right?
Wigg Party – This organization has been instrumental in making the neighborhood around the Wiggle (see Popular Bike Routes section) sustainable and resilient, and was responsible for making improvements along the Wiggle route.
Amandeep Jawa (Deep) - He can be spotted at many bike events riding his customized pedicab or cargo bike with bumping speakers. He started and DJs local flashmob dance parties called Flash Dance, was the first and only to install a residential parklet in front of his house, and held his wedding ceremony at a Sunday Streets event which was well publicized. His care and work towards bettering the community is apparent to all who know him.
Jill (Bubblegirl) – She shows up at various bike events around the city and is admired for her hot pink beach cruiser with bright flashing LED lights and festive pink outfits. Her signature touch is a bubble making machine strapped onto the back of her bicycle along with some bumping speakers, which are great to experience when riding downwind from her. Her presence makes any bike event feel a little more festive and happening. She has even been included in a French travel guide book.
Leah Shahum - Leah is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and has recently served on the Board of Directors of the SF Municipal Transportation Agency. She is a potent and inspirational figure in advocating for bicycle infrastructure and better streets.
Morgan Fitzgibbons – Co-founder of and runs the Wigg Party (See ‘Wigg Party’ under Organizations).
Paul Freedman (Fossil Fool) – He is the founder of Rock the Bike (see Rock the Bike under Organizations).
Piano Bike (St. Frankenstein) - The famous piano bike can be spotted around San Francisco at open streets events and places like Sunday Streets and Golden Gate Park. It is pedaled and played by Gary Skaggs who built the bicycle after purchasing an old piano for $80 on a whim and spending many years transforming it into a piano bike. More about Gary and his piano bike here.
Social Movements & Trends
Copenhagenization (see section: 1.1.2 Copenhagenziation) - Is an urban planning and design concept that centers around making a city more accessible to bicyclists and pedestrians, less car dependent, and subsequently more livable. The movement was popularized by a consulting firm with the website Copenhagenize.com. It was founded by Mikael Colville-Andersen, who has been making a concerted effort to extend this vision.
Critical Mass - This monthly mass bike ride event started as a protest for better cycling streets by a group of cyclists in September of 1992 on Market Street in San Francisco. It has spread to over 300 cities around the world and still going on strong to this day.
Cycle Chic - It is a “lycra-free and granola-free” blog that is dedicated to sharing photographs of people dressed in everyday attire on their bicycles around the world. It is also a blog run by Mikael-Colville Andersen, the founder of Copenhagenize.com. See also: Copenhagenization)
Fixed Gear – Fixed gear culture is rumored to have started in San Francisco by a group of cyclists called MASH SF who made films popularizing the style of bike and riding. It is believed that fixie culture started in SF because the city has steep hills with scenic views that hardcore fixie riders love going on. Generally, fixed gear bikes or “fixies” do not have brakes and the rear cog is fixed, hence the name. It was adopted from track bikes that were traditionally used in velodrome racing.
Scraper Bikes – The social movement was born on the rough streets of Oakland, CA as a way to keep teens out of trouble and street violence while being sustainable. It was inspired by low rider cars with “bling bling” spinning rims. Cars like those are not affordable and accessible to most low-income teens, so they started customizing their bikes and riding them around showing them off. There have been rap songs made about this movement, like the one here.
Slow Movement - The slow movement originally began in Italy when residents protested the arrival of a new fast food-chain in their town. The premise of the slow movement is to return to the old traditions of living so that people can live better and fuller lives. This is achieved by slowing down and choosing quality over quantity. Bicycling is very compatible with this culture as it allows people to slow down and enjoy their surroundings better, connect with the community more, while serving as a simple and environmentally-friendly mode of transport. What better way to be a part of this movement than riding a bike? Cities are high-energy and fast-paced, so if more people bicycled, cities would become more pleasant and livable by calming the surroundings.
Tall Bikes – Tall bikes are made by welding two frames on top each other, with the crankset on top for pedaling. There are a quite of few of them at Critical Mass and certain social events.
Unicycles – When you think riding a fixie is hard enough, try riding a unicycle. Yes, it is a trend here in the SF Bay Area and there was a grueling 41-mile 10th annual tour in the City a few months ago.
Last updated 6/8/13
Whether you’re a visitor or a local that needs help finding a bike shop, rental, or repair shop, here is a comprehensive list of them sorted by neighborhood to make your life just a bit easier. If we’ve missed anything, please let us know. Thanks!
(By the way, we counted more than 50 bike shops in the city of SF! The land area of SF is roughly 49 sq. mi., so that comes out to more than 1 bike shop every sq. mile!)
In addition to the shops/rentals listed below, be sure to check out the Bay Area Bike Share.
- Heavy Metal Bike Shop
- The New Wheel – They specialize in electric bikes and also electrify regular bikes.
- American Cyclery
- Avenue Cyclery
- San Francisco Bicycle Rentals – Located at the east end of Golden Gate Park
- Blazing Saddles – Bicycle rentals and tours
- BART Bike Hub Embarcadero – Bicycle rentals at the Embarcadero BART station
- Blazing Saddles – Bicycle rentals
- Bay City Bikes – Bicycle rentals and tours
- Bike an Roll - Bicycle rentals and tours
- Blazing Saddles – Bicycle rentals and tours
- Bike Rental San Francisco – Bicycle rentals
- Pluz – Electric bike rentals and they have electric tandem bikes!
Golden Gate Park
- Golden Gate Park Bike and Skate – Bicycle rentals right inside the park
Haight Ashbury (Upper Haight, see also: Lower Haight)
- Bike Rental San Francisco – Bicycle rentals
- Streets of San Francisco Tours – They offer tours and rentals of good-looking city bikes which help you blend in like a local.
- NTP Custom Bikes - They offer custom-built titanium bikes.
- San Francyclo – A bike shop that offers tours that go off the beaten paths.
- Wiggle Bicycles – A repair and parts shop located right on the famous Wiggle near the corner of Steiner and Waller. (415-863-3033)
- New Holiday Adventure – Bike shop and rentals located at 1937 Lombard St.
- Box Dog Bikes
- Don Rafa’s Cyclery – Located at 2929 16th St.
- Freewheel Bike Shop
- Mission Bicycle – They offer customized fixed-gear bicycles in assorted colors, and freewheel and internal geared hub bikes for city riding.
- Palacio’s Bikes – A repair shop located on 3404 26th St.
- Pedal Revolution – A non-profit bike shop that provides employment and training to at-risk youths.
- PUBLIC Bikes – A local company that specializes in colorful, stylish city bikes and have another shop in South Park.
- Sports Basement
- Treat Street Bicycle Works - They also rent out bicycles long term.
- Valencia Cyclery
- High Trails Cyclery
- Lombardi Sports - A family owned sporting and outdoor goods store which carries a large selection of bikes.
- Noe Valley Cyclery – Located on 4193 24th St.
- Bike and Roll – Bicycle rentals and tours
- Blazing Saddles – Bicycle rentals and tours
- Citizen Chain - A bicycle shop that focuses on rebuilding used bikes and does custom accessories.
- Columbus Cyclery – A bike shop that also provides bike rentals and tours
- Dylan’s Tours – Bicycle rentals and tours
- Spoke and Hub - Rentals and repairs
- Calicross Bicycle Company – Specializes in cross bikes that have the style of fixed gear bikes
- Bike Doctor – Repair shop located on 2455 27th St.
- Bike Nook
- Roll San Francisco – Specializes in full bicycle repair
- San Francyclo - A bike shop that offers tours that go off the beaten path.
- Huckleberry Bicycles
- Market Street Cycles
- Mike’s Bikes
- Pacific Bicycles
- Performance Bicycle Shop
- Public Bikes – A local company that retails their stylish and colorful city bikes, gears and accessories.
- Warm Planet Bikes – This is the place to go for folding bikes and they also offer free bike storage.
- Bamboo Bike Studio – You can build your own bamboo bike! They are located on 982 Post St.
- Breakaway Performance - They offer classes on how to become a competitive cyclist (maybe you can enter the Tour de France one day).
- VeloSF – They provide group workout classes to increase your performance.