The Ultimate Biker's Guide To S.F. — Straight From 4 Cycling Pros!

[UPDATE: This story was originally published on March 8]
There’s no denying that when it comes to hot rides in S.F., the sweetest set of wheels is none other than an eco-chic bike. Here in the Bay, cyclists are proud and a-plenty (as evidenced by the mobs gliding through the city on any given day). From airy, amateur riders to top-notch performance peeps, S.F. bikers boast a lifestyle all their own.
And while there’s been a recent boost in the volume of cycle-minded men and women around town, for first-timers, the thought of aimlessly riding alongside traffic can still be enough to trigger a panic attack. That's why we tapped four local bikers of all different levels to guide you. So, whether you're a pedal pro or a biking beginner, check out these must-hit routes, gear shops, and refueling pit stops (hello Super Duper Burger), and get ready to ride.
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Photographed by Christine Ting
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Name: Gina Esposito
Her Gig: Brand Colorist and Designer, Dockers at Levi Strauss & Co.
Her Hood: Potrero Hill

Do you prefer a certain brand or bike model?
"I have a blue Univega named Bicycletta.

Where do you shop for all your bike-centric needs?
"My two favorite shops are Pedal Revolution and Mojo Bicycle Cafe. Those are the two shops I really trust the most, but haven't been many other places because they both won me over when I first went there. Pedal Revolution is near my house and Mojo is near my old house, so they are (and were) both convenient for me. I love the passion and knowledge they exude and Mojo has good prices and always gives a little discount if you seem clueless about bikes."

Photographed by Christine Ting
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Where do you stop to refuel?
"My rides are usually for fun, even though I do tend to ride intensely and for a long time, it's very hard for me to ride at a leisurely pace! So, I usually drop into Bi-Rite to grab some Acme Olive Bread, Castvetrano Olives, a good soft cheese (preferably with goat milk), and sparkling water to eat/drink when I get to the beach. At the end of my western part of the ride, I pop into Trouble Coffee for a coconut to refuel for my bike ride home, then a stop at Rainbow Grocery for groceries to cook myself a nice meal."

What are your favorite rides around the city?
"Riding out to Stern Grove from Potrero Hill, then out to the beach on Wawona, popping around all the cute little streets. I love riding up Great Highway to Judah Street, then ride back through Golden Gate Park, then down to Valencia Street, left on 23rd to home. Sometimes I give the skateboarders on 23rd and Hampshire a high-five."

What about go-to gear — any favorite bike accessories?
"My new Topeak Bike Basket that latches on and off, so I can carry it with me if I want to! It beats my old janky bike basket that I found on the street. My serious rider friends would make fun of my poor basket, so I kept it on my bike for as long as possible just to spite them."

Photos (clockwise from left): Courtesy of Christine Ting; Courtesy of Trouble Coffee. Courtesy of Bi-Rite.
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Name: Dante Campanile
His Gig: Manager, Rapha Cycle Club
His Hood: Western Addition

What are your favorite rides around the city?
"Twin Peaks from Clarendon, Lincoln descent then up to Legion of Honor. I also love Hawk Hill to Rodeo Beach Loop when I'm pressed for time or beating the sunset, and Planet of the Apes when I have some time."

Do you prefer a certain brand or bike model?
"It's a tie between the Liquigas-Canndondale Supersix Evo and the Project Black Specialized Venge."

Photographed by Christine Ting
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Where do you shop for all your bike-centric needs?
"Cykel, Freewheel Hayes, and Bespoke."

What about go-to gear — any favorite bike accessories?
"If it's clothing, Rapha Merino Wool and Outlier pants for city riding. For gear, anything SRAM or Giro/Easton."

Where do you stop to refuel?
"Trouble Coffee, the toast and a coconut are perfect for post GGP 'cross jammers. Gestalt Fairfax is also a good stop along Alpine Dam. I also like Robert's Market in Woodside."

Photos (clockwise from left): Courtesy of Bespoke; Courtesy of Rapha. Courtesy of Rapha.
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Name: Michele Foley
Her Gig: Associate Editor, FitSugar
Her Hood: Nopa

Where do you shop for all your bike-centric needs?
"I'm lucky to live near so many rad bike shops. Freewheel is definitely my fave for parts and service, but Mojo is a close second — I love that the space is part bike shop, part cafe. And everyone at both shops is so friendly and helpful. I don't have a favorite shop for buying bikes since most shops are pretty specific in the brands or types of bikes they carry (vintage, new, road, etc.). My suggestion is to research, decide what you're looking for, shop around, and test ride different bikes."

What about go-to gear — any favorite bike accessories?
"I may sound a bit paranoid, but my favorite bike-related accessories are my Kryptonite lock and OnGuard locking skewers. Bike theft is pretty rampant in the city, so I go a little overboard with protection."

Photographed by Christine Ting
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What are your favorite rides around the city?
"I love riding from the Panhandle to Ocean Beach, especially on Sundays when Golden Gate Park is closed to cars. It's an easy and quick ride to do throughout the week, and the payoff is getting to see a beach sunset. When I have more time, riding across the bridge with friends to Sausalito or San Rafael is the best way to spend the morning — you seriously can't beat the views! For a weekend getaway, load up your bikes and head to Healdsburg to spend the weekend riding through wine country."

Do you prefer a certain brand or bike model?
"If I were buying a not-too-expensive road bike right off the showroom floor, I'd probably go Cannondale. For women specifically, Giant also has some good choices for a road bike. For a stylish and affordable commuter bike, I'm currently crushing on the 'Daily 3' from Globe. But if I had unlimited funds, I'd scout eBay for a vintage Cinelli frame to build up."

Photos (clockwise from top left): Courtesy of Christine Ting; Courtesy of Katie Hintz-Zambrano; Courtesy of Freewheel Bike Shop.
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Name: Tommy Newbury
His Gig: Co-owner of Réveille Coffee Co.
His Hood: The Marina

What are your favorite rides around the city?
"My favorite ride in S.F. is the 'the city loop.' It begins in the Marina, goes through the Presidio, up and over Arguello, down Lincoln Highway, passing Baker Beach, then past the 17th hole of Lincoln Park Golf Course and Lands End. I then head through the Legion of Honor to take in the amazing view. Then head down Point Lobos, check out Ocean Beach, and head back through JFK drive in Golden Gate Park (check out the bison), then head home. It's about 12 miles."

Do you prefer a certain brand or bike model?
"My favorite bike that I own is my specialized crux cross-bike, because it was built from scratch. And the color scheme is wild."

Photographed by Christine Ting
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Where do you stop to refuel?
"After a really long ride I stop for pizza, a burrito, or a burger. Usually from Super Duper, Delarosa, Ragazza, or Delfina. After a city ride I'll sometimes just go to The Plant for a smoothie. Coffee is huge before, after, and during any ride."

What about go-to gear — any favorite bike accessories?
"Cut-off merino wool thermal under layer by Rapha. I wear it on every ride. Actually I wear it everyday."

Where do you shop for all your bike-centric needs?
"I really like Mike's Bikes on Howard for all my bicycle related issues. Friendly staff and good selection. Rapha for clothing and accessories."

Photos (clockwise from left): Courtesy of Pizzeria Delfina (shot by Eric Wolfinger); Courtesy of Super Duper Burger. Courtesy of Rapha.
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