Biking with kids on the new Bay Bridge

Biking the Bay Bridge with kids

My husband Alec took our big boys to ride bicycles on the brand spanking new Bay Bridge, so of course, I interviewed him.

What can I expect riding or walking on the new Bay Bridge?

There are LOTS of rest stops once you’re on the actual bridge, with benches and everything – probably every 1/4 mile or so. Bring snacks to sit and enjoy the view.

This ride is good for anyone who can ride a pedal bike without any help… but if a kid is under 5, don’t expect to ride the whole thing, and expect that they may get freaked out by all the people.

Don’t take skuut’s, or other pedal-less bikes, or training wheels – there are just a too many people for anyone very slow or unstable on a bike.

Milo and Holden each had their freak-out moments about being above water, but with a little coaxing, they got over it and loved it.

Tell me about the route across the bridge and back.
The path is 4 miles from Ikea to the end of the bridge, 8 miles roundtrip.

I would call it “slightly uphill” to get out there, but it was much more gradual than I expected – there was only one “steep” section about 50 feet long, and even then it was not all that steep.

Learn more about pedestrian and cyclist access to the new East span of the Bay Bridge. Don’t forget to pack water and sunscreen!

Biking the Bay Bridge with kids

Is it the ride bike-trailer friendly?
Right now, I’d say no – there are exactly three lanes for most of the route – 2 for bikes, one for walkers, and I the few trailers I saw took up the entire bike lane, making them quite a hazard to everyone.

Any other tips?
Before starting, coach your kids to avoid stopping in the bike path at all costs! Tell them to either keep moving, or pull over to the pedestrian area. There are lots of people, and there are some narrow parts to the journey where a kid who stops to adjust his helmet could get hit by another bike.

Biking the Bay Bridge with kids

Where should you park to bike the bridge with kids?
There are two entrances:
1) across the street from Ikea in Emeryville,
2) in Oakland at the corner of Maritime & Burma.

Parking by/around Ikea is not great: security guards will make sure you’re not parking at Ikea without shopping there, and there are security guards checking at Target as well (just over the Shellmound bridge) – I talked to the security guard at Target and she said they were having issues with break-ins in that lot. We ended up parking on a sidestreet (Hubbard) and riding over the Shellmound bridge.

Once you’re on the path at either location, it’s a bike-only path the whole way.

Biking the Bay Bridge with kids

Caveat: This post is all about weekend traffic. The new Bay Bridge looks virtually empty during commute hours, so a weekday outing might be the best time to try.

All photos by Alec Flett, all rights reserved. To see more of Alec’s photos of our kids on the Bay Bridge, find them on google+