If you travel through the west for work or live on the West Coast, road biking is one of the best ways to explore. You can visit cities, bike through iconic California landscapes, and enjoy the West Coast weather. Plus, there’s always a view on the West Coast.
Biking is also a great way to get around the city. It promotes exercise, cardiovascular health, and saves you from having to rent a car if you’re traveling. From Oregon and Washington to San Diego and San Francisco, California, there are tons of cities to bike through.
Below are the top 10 cities and trails to ride through on your next West Coast trip.
1. Portland, Oregon
If you’re looking for a first stop on the West Coast that’s bike-friendly, look no further than Portland, Oregon. Portland launched a bike-share program recently to encourage residents and visitors to bike through the city rather than drive. With Earth-friendly and biker-friendly views, make this your first stop.
Bike through the city of Portland, bike through mountain trails, and bike on and off-road if you’re looking for more adventure. Just don’t forget to bring the right biking clothes.
2. San Francisco
San Francisco. The Golden Gate City. Whether you live in the city or want to travel and bring your bike, you can’t go wrong with this West Coast gem. With programs and infrastructure geared towards bikers, this city prioritizes those who ride over those who drive.
You’ll find protected bike lanes throughout the city for your commute or inner-city adventures. You’ll also find many other cyclists to give you directions (or share a drink with later).
Here are a few road biking trails to try through San Francisco:
Golden Gate Bridge with the Hawk Hill Loop: Rent a bike or bring your own and get biking on the sidewalks of the Golden Gate Bridge. Wear a comfy hoodie; the wind is brutal that high. If you’re afraid of heights, this will challenge your fears while giving you great views of the Pacific. Make the loop to Hawk Hill for an even better view.
Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf: This tour is one of the best ways to visit San Francisco in a day. See all the important views of the Bay Area, the Golden Gate Bridge, Union Square, Chinatown, Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, and The Palace of Fine Arts. This tour is a lot to pack into one day. Are you up for the challenge?
Mission District Murals Bike Route: If you prefer an educational road biking experience through the West Coast and San Francisco packed with history and art, this one’s for you.
Bike through Balmy Alley and see the range of murals that depict the city’s values and history. Bike by the Mission Pool and Playground, the Women’s Building, Clarion Alley, Carnaval Mural, and Balmy Alley. This is a San Francisco experience you won’t forget.
Take advantage of the city’s biking rental companies to rent bikes and enjoy the routes.
3. San Diego
San Diego is another excellent spot on the West Coast for road biking and cycling. Enjoy protected bike lanes and city improvements tailored to your safety while riding through the city. For touring or just getting around, there’s plenty to see and enjoy. Rent a bike in the city or bring your own for a long bike ride through San Diego.
Take a bike loop around Fiesta Island and visit the beaches on the way. Head to the Bikeway on Silver Strand to Coronado to visit private beaches and enjoy adventuring along the coast and the scenic views. You might even make it to the National Wildlife Refuge at the San Diego Bay.
4. Seattle, Washington
Head up even further to enjoy road biking in Seattle, Washington. With billions of dollars invested in this West Coast biking infrastructure, you’ll find bike-friendly routes and roads. There’s also safety for pedestrians supported by the city programs. Rent a bike or bring your own and a helmet to enjoy the views and routes in Seattle.
5. Eugene, Oregon
Another city to revamp its biking infrastructure and safety is Eugene, Oregon. Previously known for its road biking community and support, this city wanted to offer even more features for those who bike to work. Add more exercise into your day by using Eugene’s bike access on your morning commute.
6. MacKerricher State Park, California
Located in Mendocino County, California, this state park used to transport lumber to the base in Fort Bragg. Rich in history, scenic views, and wildlife, Mackerricher State Park is an excellent stop to make if you want to bike through the West Coast.
This three-mile-long bike route starts near Fort Bragg and takes you over a rail bridge. Enjoy passing Laguna Point, Lake Cleone, and the Fen-Ten Mile Dunes Natural Preserve. Bring your camera or enjoy the wildlife, birds, and scenery.
Gear for Biking
Road biking along the West Coast is great for exercise, sightseeing, and adventuring. Whether you’re taking a weekend trip to visit a new city or live in one of these cities, consider biking over driving.
The cities listed have put hundreds of millions into rethinking their biking infrastructure. They’re already biker-friendly routes and cities. Plus, they have a few new guidelines set in place. On top of these, you’ll need a few items to make biking in the west as comfortable and safe as possible.
Here’s the gear you should bring:
Road biking along the West Coast can be both hot and cold. With high winds in some areas and intense heat in others, dress in layers. Wear a short-sleeve Pivot Tee and our Classic Pullover. The moisture-wicking fabric helps you stay warm and dry while maintaining proper thermoregulation.
Bring a helmet and enough safety gear with you on your road biking route. Different states have different helmet laws, so make sure you don’t run afoul of these ordinances. You can also bring sunglasses, safety gloves, clipless shoes and pedals, and a cycling kit.
Many road biking routes through West Coast cities are long. Miles and miles and miles long. For this reason, it’s important to bring enough water and a few protein-packed snacks with you for the ride. Bring a sturdy water bottle that can hold up to 22 ounces of water: With a stainless steel, double-walled, and vacuum-sealed container, this bottle will keep your water cold and refreshing all day.
Snacks like nuts, beef jerky, turkey jerky, and granola bars can help give you the protein and energy you need for your route.
BYOB — Bring Your Own Bike
If you want to bring your own bike, you can. Similarly, if you live in the city with your bike, you can essentially BYOB. But, there are also plenty of places to find a bike rental. Most places will have safety gear like a helmet for rent as well, or you can bring your own.
However, it’s important to bring appropriate outerwear and extras like snacks and a water bottle on your road biking excursion. Pack a backpack that’s comfortable to wear while biking, or bring sufficient storage on your own bike.
Enjoy the Ride
The last step in this ultimate West Coast road biking guide is to enjoy. Whether you’re in it for the exercise, the scenic coastal views, or the sheer adrenaline that comes from gripping your bike as you hover over the Pacific on the Golden Gate Bridge, get ready for an adventure.