In honor of the current Cycle365 Challenge of the Month:
Around northern California, “the Bay” usually refers to the broadest demarcation of San Francisco Bay, including its assorted lobes and other features such as San Pablo Bay, Carquinez Strait, Suisun Bay, etc. That large body of water defines and divides the landscape of our “Bay Area” metropolitan region into the North Bay, the East Bay, the Peninsula, the South Bay, and so on.
Moving around and among those diverse parts of the Bay Area usually requires at least one crossing of the Bay itself. Until the 1930’s, that meant using ferries to cross the water. Since then, the region has been stapled together with bridges. Most inventories count eight major highway bridges across various parts of the Bay, although that depends on the definition of “major” as well as exactly what constitutes part of the Bay.
Of those eight major bridges, five are currently configured to allow bicycle traffic. Unfortunately, the locations of the three “no bikes allowed” spans mean it can still be very difficult to chart a direct route across the Bay on two wheels. In addition, some of the bridges have much better bicycling conditions than their sister spans.
Here’s a brief survey of the bridges of San Francisco Bay from a bicycling perspective.