California has so much to offer cyclists. Between diverse landscapes and weather to die for, nothing beats a California bike ride. That said, some cities are especially ahead of the game when it comes to infrastructure and cycling culture. If you’re wondering where to take your next bike adventure, look no further than these Bike-Friendly Cities in California.
Each of these top 5 cities not only excel in current infrastructure and culture; they’re also continuously improving. From protected bike lanes to educational programs, these are the cream of the crop.
Bonus: every one of the following communities has bike rentals available on Spinlister.
1) San Francisco
The Golden Gate City tops our list both because of what it has to offer cyclists now and because of what lies ahead.
Over the past decade, San Francisco has steadily improved bike safety and cyclist-friendly infrastructure. The city now boasts more than 20 miles of protected bike lanes. And they’re not done. With $112 million dedicated to bike-related innovations, local cyclists have many reasons to be excited for the future.
As for visiting cyclists, San Francisco’s many bike paths provide some truly unforgettable tours through the city. And with an active, friendly cyclist community, you should have no trouble finding a local rider with great tips for getting around.
Can’t-Miss San Francisco Bike-Friendly Routes
The bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge is more than a tourist’s obligation. With breath-taking coastal views and the experience of riding high above the bay, this ride is a classic for a reason. If you’re up for a challenge, take the Hawk Hill Loop on the other side.
From Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf, tour the best of San Francisco on two wheels. Heads-up: this bike route includes the 27-degree incline of Lombard Street.
Like a little history on your rides? Maybe a little art? Check out the Mission District Murals bike route.
And of course, you can’t visit a coastal bike-friendly California city without a coastal ride. San Francisco’s Embarcadero is our favorite.
While there are some San Francisco bike routes that avoid those massive hills, Oakland provides more opportunities to explore the bay area without busting your calves. And ever since the Department of Transportation hired NYC’s Ryan Russo, the city has seen a huge boost in bike lanes. And much like San Francisco, Oakland is undeniably dedicated to continuous improvements.
This is also a great city for finding a diversity of bike rides, from casual bike routes to hardcore workouts. Check out these great routes in this bike-friendly California city.
Can’t Miss Oakland Bike Routes
Want a relaxing ride that guides you through Oakland’s past? The six-mile Historic Oakland Bike Tour is a great option.
On the other hand, if you’re game for a long ride and steep climbs, venture out on the bike trail from Montclair to Skyline. This twenty-mile cycling route rewards you with stunning views of the city.
For a casual ride with changing landscapes, take the Port of Oakland bike route. Ride down Broadway, through Jack London Square, and on toward Harbor View Park. Feeling especially ambitious? Journey on over the Bay Bridge and into San Francisco.
3) Long Beach
How can you go wrong with a city that has something called a “Bicycle Master Plan?” Though L.A. County is known for car-dependency, the Long Beach community has eagerly embraced cyclist-accommodating infrastructure.
This bike-friendly California city has had a lot of success adding protected bike lanes. And there are new projects on the horizon, including an effort to provide separate walking and bike lanes on the San Gabriel River Trail.
Track down a bike rental in Long Beach and check out one of these great rides.
Can’t-Miss Long Beach Bike Routes
Get to know L.A. a little better with this 18.2-mile L.A. River Path bike route. This long ride guides you along the sometimes-barren L.A. River with the promise of beautiful ocean views on the other end. If you’re staying in Downtown L.A., this is your only traffic-free ride to the coast.
Enjoy the coastline along the Long Beach Bike Path. This wide path provides separate lanes for bikes and pedestrians, making it a friendly option for lollygaggers and speed demons alike.
The capital city has become one of the most bike-friendly California cities with a handful of proactive programs.
Sacramento boasts several recent infrastructure developments like the City College Bike Bridge. Plus, with Open Streets events and an Urban Bicycling 101 Class, the city actively accommodates for cycling newbies.
If you’re ready to grab a rental bike in Sacramento, here are the trails you should hit.
Can’t-Miss Sacramento Bike Routes
If you rent a mountain bike in Sacramento, you’re going to want to hit the rugged trails of Folsom Lake. Casual cyclists can still enjoy some low-key paths around the lake, but the best views have to be earned.
For an easy-breezy ride, check out the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail. This scenic Sacramento bike route runs alongside the American River.
Looking for a good bike tour to get to know Sacramento better? The 10-mile Northern Bike Trail takes you from downtown through historic neighborhoods by way of an old railway.
5) San Diego
Of the most bike-friendly California cities, San Diego has the furthest to go when it comes to accommodating cyclists. Not to worry. With $100 million dedicated to establishing protected bike lanes, this city is showing new improvements every day.
And that’s great news for local cyclists and tourists alike. The beautiful sights and perfect weather of San Diego make for some great rides.
So rent a cruiser bike or road bike in San Diego and hit up one of our favorite routes.
Can’t-Miss Bike Routes in San Diego
For some (mostly) traffic-free beachside cycling, check out the bike loop around Fiesta Island. Enjoy public beaches as well as hidden coves. You may even get to know San Diego’s robust cycling community, as this is a hot spot for clubs and racing events.
Follow the Silver Strand Bikeway to Coronado for access to secluded beaches and quintessential San Diego beauty. This San Diego bike route carries you along the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge, so you know you’re in for a serene ride.
Bike-Friendly Cities in California
Ready to push it a little more? This bike route from Del Mar to Black Mountain takes you from the coastal landscapes to panoramic city views in 9.7 miles.
Whichever bike-friendly California cities catch your eye, be sure to check out Spinlister for local bike rentals. With so many cyclists in these gorgeous cities, you’re bound to find a lister with the ride you need.