The Presidio is one of the best places to bike in San Francisco. It’s also one of the hilliest. As of this week, those of us without thighs of steel now have access to a plethora of e-bikes that will make riding through the park a hell of a lot easier.
On Monday, Bay Wheels, the Bay Area’s bike share system, owned by Lyft, expanded its boundaries to include most of the populated parts of the Presidio. That means riders can lock up or pick up a bike at one of the 250 bike racks throughout the park. For now, only dockless e-bikes will be available in the Presidio.
Areas where bikes can be parked include the Main Post, Ft. Scott, the Baker Beach Apartments, and most other residential areas of the park. Riders will not be able to park at the Baker Beach parking lot, the Golden Gate Bridge overlook, or Crissy Field, although they will be able to lock up nearby. The cemetery and the golf course are also off limits.
Bay Wheels’ pricing schemes have received criticism from users for being expensive and overly-complex. Riders can unlock the bikes using the Lyft or Bay Wheels apps. Non-member riders are charged $0.20 per minute, and $3 for every 15-minute increment after the first 15 minutes. While riders in some other parts of the city are charged $2 for parking outside of a bikeshare station, parking at a Presidio bike rack is free. According to the Presidio Trust’s website, a 20 minute ride ending at a bike rack in the Presidio costs $7 to a non-member. In addition to its standard membership program, Bay Wheels also has a discounted membership for low-income people.
This is not the Presidio’s first foray into bikeshare: In 2018, the Presidio allowed 50 Jump e-bikes into the park. But the bikes disappeared when Jump, an Uber subsidiary, was forced to leave San Francisco as part of the city’s years-old agreement with the company that would become Bay Wheels. (Uber ended up scrapping Jump worldwide this summer.) Lyft now has a bikeshare monopoly in San Francisco, prompting calls for a publicly-owned bikeshare system.
Like Muni and BART, San Francisco’s bikeshare system saw ridership plummet during the pandemic. BayWheels saw about 110,000 rides in the city in March of 2021, the latest month for which data is available. In February of 2020, the system saw more than 400,000 trips.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the number of bikeshare trips the city saw before and during the pandemic.