Riding the San Francisco Bay Ferry is, hands down, the best way to get around. It’s always on time, not very crowded, and you can ride on the top and back decks to get views of The Bay. I thought my love for the ferry had hit its peak, and then I brought my GenZe ebike on board. Having an ebike to get to and from the docks makes this trip even better; so I’m going to show you how to do it!
Locations & Schedule
First, you’ll want to take a look at the ferry routes to find the dock that suits you best. One of my favorite things about the ferry is that it offers connections that BART has yet to add. Hop on a boat, and you can get to Vallejo, Angel Island, Sausalito and Tiburon by way of the Blue and Gold fleet.
How to Ride
When it comes to the ferry, there’s essentially three main ways to ride.
- One-way fee
- Two-way fee
- Clipper Card
- Alameda/Oakland to San Francisco
- Harbor Bay to San Francisco
- Vallejo to San Francisco
- South San Francisco to The Ferry Building, Alameda & Oakland
I recommend going the one-way route with your ebike. Unless you have a deadline for returning, it’s easy to miss your ferry home if you get caught up exploring. The lines can get pretty long during rush hour, so do your fellow riders a favor, and bring cash – the staff has grabbing change down to science, and cards just slow this down.
Going the Clipper Card route? Keep your eyes peeled for a scanner as you enter.
Where to Store
The SF Bay Ferry operates with a few different types of boats. If you’re riding on Ensnal or Zelsinky, you’ll need to store your bicycle inside. These sections are usually marked with a railing and split by destination. However, if you’re on Peralta, there’s plenty of bike storage on the back deck. Some boats have slide-in racks, and others have stand-up racks, but ebikes work on both!
Making it Easy
If you’ve taken your ebike on BART, you know there are a few tricks when it comes to entering and exiting. This is true on the ferry as well. First, make sure you drop off your ebike before purchasing your ticket. The ticket line is very relaxed, and no one will ask why you’re walking to the bike area before buying a ticket (tickets are collected as you get off the boat). This helps to ensure the line moves quickly and efficiently.
Next, you really don’t need to stand by your ebike during the ride. Unless you’re worried about someone pulling a Heart of the Ocean and tossing it overboard, there’s really nowhere for it to go. So relax, explore the boat, and stop by the bar for a drink!
Finally, make sure to let non-cyclists off before standing in line with your e-bike. This helps everyone get off as quickly as possible, and you can make a new biking friend while you wait.
Charging Your Battery
If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for an outlet to juice up while you wait. On a Zelsinky, you can find chargers along the front row of bench seating. There are also a few outlets by the bus-like seating on the left and right.
If these are occupied, I’m sure the bartender wouldn’t mind plugging you in for a few minutes.
Sights to Look Out For
The best part of taking the ferry is the view. You get to see the whole Bay and feel the mist of the ocean on your face; where else can you find that? Here are some of our favorite spots to look out for:
Jack London to Ferry Building
- Freight Boats
- Bay Bridge
- City Skyline
- Ferry Building
Jack London to Pier 41
- Alcatraz Island
- Golden Gate Bridge
Bottom line, the ferry is pretty amazing. I can’t think of another mode of transportation where you can sightsee, stand outside, AND drink a beer. Bringing your ebike along ensures that you’re ready to go as soon as you get off the boat to cruise the Embarcadero.
Enjoy the ride!