Getting There In San Francisco Is Most Of The Fun
By Brian Geisler
My experience as a pedicab driver has made me aware that San Francisco has its share of unusual means of transportation. Three-wheeled pedicabs are, of course, the best way to see the city. Pedicab drivers can take you on fun-filled rides to Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, the Ferry Building, AT&T Park, and many other destinations around the city. However, San Francisco has much to offer, so if you would like a variety of experiences, feel free to try some of these other methods of transport.
If you would like to do your own pedaling there are numerous bike rental shops, such as Bay City Bike, Bike and Roll, and Blazing Saddles, located in or near Fisherman's Wharf. Many people like to "bike the bridge, return by ferry," either from Sausalito or Tiburon. Rental rates start around $25 per day, although you can pay more for a better bike. For another way to enjoy your own pedaling, try Wheel Fun Rentals in Golden Gate Park. They have three-, six-, and nine-seat quadracycles, of which two, two, and six people pedal, respectively. The three-seat single surrey rents for $20 per hour, the six-seat double surrey for $30 per hour.
Enjoy the transportation of the past with a horse carriage ride from Waterfront Carriage. Carriage rides depart from Pier 41 from 1 PM to 9 PM daily. The Grand Tour covers all of Fisherman's Wharf, and lasts around 40 minutes. The tour goes for $80 for the carriage, which can seat six people. Also be sure to experience San Francisco's past by riding one of our world-famous cable cars. The cable cars are pulled up and down the hills by a long underground cable, turned by a 14-foot wheel located in the Cable Car Museum at the corner of Washington and Mason streets.
The turnaround for the Powell-Hyde line is at Beach and Hyde, and the turnaround for the Powell-Mason line is at Taylor and Bay. The California Street line leaves from California and Market. Many people prefer the Powell-Hyde line because it is more scenic, but there is usually a shorter wait for the Powell-Mason line. You can almost always get on the next available California Street cable car, as not many people know about it. The fare is $5, although 1-, 3-, and 7-day Muni Passports, as well as CityPass are valid for use on the cable cars.
Once you have paid tribute to the past, it's time to look ahead to the future. Electric Time Car Rentals rents 2- and 4-seat electric cars. The cars can be driven for 2 hours when fully charged. The cars reach a top speed of 25 MPH, and can climb all of the hills in the city, but driving on the freeways is not allowed. 2-seat cars rent for $30 per hour, 4-seat cars for $38 per hour. Go Car is "the first ever GPS-guided storytelling car." The Go Car's computer has information on over 50 points of interest and will tell you about them as you drive by.
The car's GPS system always knows where you are, so you can take the tour in any manner you like. Go Cars rent for $150 per day. There is also an hourly rate. For something even more exotic, try the Segway, "the world's first self-balancing human transporter." It is a two-wheeled electric vehicle that uses gyroscopes and microprocessors to stay balanced. Electric Tour Company gives four 2 1/2-hour guided Segway tours of the San Francisco waterfront every day. Tours are $70 per person, and include training in the operation of the Segway.
Once you've had enough of the land, try going out to sea. Bay Quackers provides a two-stage tour in their unaltered World War II amphibious landing craft. First they take you on a 90-minute tour of San Francisco's most popular neighborhoods, and then drive right into the bay for a cruise to Alameda. The complete tour is $35. City Kayak, located at Pier 38, offers kayaking tours of the South Beach waterfront, and Adventure Kayak Trips to Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. It is also a popular activity to rent a kayak to catch home run balls in McCovey Cove during baseball games.
To top off your San Francisco visit, take to the air. For $130 San Francisco Helicopter Tours provides a 60 km Vista Tour from which you can view many San Francisco sights, including Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, or you can take the Vista Grande tour for $170, which also includes views of the Marin Headlands and the Pacific coast. Wine country and dining tours are also available.
As you can see, whether you like to travel by land, sea, or air, there is an unusual way to do it in San Francisco. Trying any or all of these alternative forms of transportation will make your San Francisco visit an interesting experience.
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