Resources in the Bay Area for New Cyclists
What new cyclists may lack in experience, they make up for with an enthusiasm to learn everything there is to know about their new passion. Luckily, the Bay Area is full of resources for new bikers to catch them up to speed with their more seasoned fellow riders. Whether you’re new to the Bay Area or new to cycling (or both!) you’ll find these resources for new Bay Area cyclists helpful.
Below you will find information on classes at coalitions in the Bay Area, knowing the rules of the road, and information on how to take your bike on public transit.
Classes for New Cyclists in the Bay Area
If you’re brand new to cycling, you may want to take a class in a car-free environment before hitting the streets on a bike. There are also online classes that can teach you a lot about the ins and outs of biking in the Bay Area from the comfort (and safety) of your own home. Start by looking to some of the Bay Area’s many bike coalitions for classes that can catch you up to speed before you hop on a ten speed.
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition offers free classes throughout the year for adult beginner, intermediate, and advanced cyclists.
Whether you’ve never ridden a bike, or you need a little confidence before biking on city streets, or are ready to start biking in all kinds of weather, there’s a class for you. Generally, their beginner classes are in person and outdoors. The intermediate and advanced classes tend to be webinars. Smart City Cycling 1, an hourlong webinar class, is perfect for cyclists who know how to ride a bike but might need some encouragement before biking the streets of San Francisco.
Note: At the time of writing, not all of their classes currently have upcoming sessions scheduled, but checking their past events schedule gives a good sense of frequency and when to expect a class to be offered again.
Bike East Bay
Bike East Bay’s classes mix online classroom learning and outdoor, on-bike lessons.
Class topics include Urban Cycling 101 for Adults and Teens, Theft Prevention, Adult Learn-To-Ride, Family Cycling Workshops, and a variety of One Hour Workshops. Many of their classes don’t require a bike to take. Urban Cycling 101 is a great class for beginners split over two days. Start in the classroom (or webinar) on day one and hit the road for a half day of bike riding on day two (bike and helmet required). The class is free and participants even get free reflective gear for completing day one and free bike lights for completing day two.
Know the Rules of the Road
Bay Area is made up of several interconnected communities, and confusingly, they don’t all have the same laws when it comes to bikes. For instance, biking on sidewalks over the age of 13 is illegal in San Francisco, but in Oakland it depends on the size of your wheels and frame.
Wherever you live in the Bay Area, your local bike coalition is a great first place to check for information on local bike laws. (Check out: Everything You Want To Know About Bay Area Bike Coalitions.) San Francisco Bike Coalition’s Rules of the Road resources are a great place to start before biking the streets of San Francisco. They have a great YouTube video that clocks in under 4 minutes and conveys everything you need to know about yielding to pedestrians, keeping crosswalks clear, and feeling confident taking a whole lane when it’s safer than the bike lane.
Taking your bike on public transit in the Bay Area
Riding a bike is a great alternative to driving a car in the Bay Area. When you mix in public transit, an even bigger area opens up to you and your bike. If you’re a new cyclist in the Bay Area, you’ll be interested in these resources on how to take your bike on public transit. By knowing the rules and planning before you leave, you’ll be riding transit and your bike with confidence.
Taking Your Bike on BART
The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, better known as BART, connects the San Francisco Peninsula with the East Bay and South Bay. Taking your bike on BART opens up 131 miles of track across five counties. Bikes are never allowed in crowded cars or on the first car of a BART train. And during morning and evening rush hours (7:00-9:00 AM and 4:30-6:30 PM Monday-Friday) that extends to the first three cars. Folded bikes, however, are allowed in any car, any time. A complete list of rules for taking your bike on BART can be found on their website here.
If you prefer to ride your bike to a BART station but then ride the train to your destination unencumbered, there’s great information on bike parking at stations here.
Taking Your Bike on Muni
San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority, or SFMTA, or perhaps best known simply as Muni, is the transit option for getting around San Francisco by bus, light Metro rail, cable car, or historic trolley. Unfortunately, only Muni’s buses are accommodating of traditional bikes. Folding bikes are allowed on Muni Metro, light rail vehicles, and historic vehicles. No bikes of any kind are allowed on cable cars. If you’re taking your traditional bike on a bus, you can find a handy YouTube video on how to load it onto the bus’ bike rack on their website. Check out this page for complete information on how to most efficiently and safely load and unload your bike from the bus. And if you noticed or were inconvenienced by some of Muni’s changes to service during the pandemic, you’ll be glad to see the proposed service restorations and expansions planned for early 2022.
Taking Your Bike on Caltrain
Caltrain’s commuter rail services the San Francisco Peninsula, through the South Bay to San Jose and Gilroy. Caltrain’s website discourages bringing your bike aboard the train, but can certainly accommodate bikes. This page has all the information you need to know.
Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Here are Bay Area Bicycle Law, we specialize exclusively in bicycle cases. That means that, although we have handled a handful of pedestrian, scooter, and motorcycle cases over the years, the vast majority of our work is bicycle cases. Many other firms claim to specialize in bicycle accident cases, but when you look closer, it turns out that bicycle cases are actually a small percentage of their cases. At Bay Area Bicycle Law, we truly are bicycle accident lawyers.
Why do we specialize in bicycle crashes? For a couple of reasons. First of all, we care about cyclists and their safety! Second, the law can be complicated. We didn’t want to settle for just being good attorneys, we wanted to become amazing attorneys. Focusing our practice area has allowed us to master the relevant law, and keep up with changes. So, we hope you consider us an essential resource for Bay Area bicyclists. Whether you have been in a crash and are looking for a bike accident lawyer, or just have questions about bicycle law, always feel free to reach out to our friendly bike accident attorneys.
With these resources for new cyclists in the Bay Area, you’ll be riding like a pro in no time. Happy pedaling!