Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question you don't see here? Give us a call at (415)741-1196, email us at or stop by and ask us in person.

What's the catch?

You'll have to ask the fisherman at the wharf. Just kidding, no catch what you see is what you pay.

Do I need to reserve a bike in advanced? 

You can always come in and rent a bike on the spot, but we can't always guarantee a bike unless you reserve online.

I don't know which bike I should rent. 

Our bike experts do! Call our shop and ask for recommendations: (415)741-1196.

Can I make my 1 DAY rental overnight to return it the next day?

1 DAY rentals must be returned on the same day they were picked up. They get homesick.

What is a Basically Free Bike Rental Credit and how do I use it? 

After you rent a bike, you'll get a voucher for Sports Basement with a value equal to the cost of your bike rental. On your way to the bridge, take a time-out at Sports Basement and use it all up because it expires 72 hours after you receive it. Get a breakdown here.

How do I get to the rental location? 

From Downtown San Francisco: Take BART to Embarcadero Station. Hop on the F Muni train to Jones and Beach street then walk a short two blocks towards Bay Street. We're dressed in green.

What should I bring/wear? 

San Francisco weather is fickle so it's best to layer. Check conditions for the day and build your layers accordingly. It is almost always windy so a windbreaker or jacket is recommended. Wear closed-toe shoes and a helmet while biking. Sunglasses and sunblock can also make your ride more comfortable.

What if I don't get back in time? What if I go past my 3 hour window? 

While we understand our crazy (and amazing) city can make you a bit late, if you really go past your bike rental window, you'll be charged for the rest of that day's rental. We know you can't see everything in San Francisco in three hours, so if you're not sure you'll make it back in time, opt for the one day rental and tour to your heart's content.

I reserved online but I can't make the time. What now? 

We'll miss you (bike rentals just aren't the same without you) but you can give us a quick call and let us know: (415)741-1196.

Can I drop off somewhere else?

Yes! Other than Basically Free Bike Rentals, you can drop off your bike rental at any Sports Basement location. The Presidio and Bryant locations are both shown on these routes.

I want a mountain bike/road bike/electric bike. Do you have those? 

We have an awesome selection of bikes available to rent including road bikes, hybrid bikes, electric bikes and even tandem bikes. Check out our current selection here.

Can I rent a non-hybrid bike for just 3 hours? 

All of our bikes are available for 3 hour rental with the exception of our road and mountain bikes, which are strictly full day rentals.

Can I rent a bike for more than just one day? 

Yes! The extra days you choose to rent will be half off. For example, if you rent a bike for one day at $40, it will cost $20 for each additional day you rent it.

Do I need a driver's license or ID card to rent a bike? Is there an age limit? 

You must present a valid ID at the time of rental. The responsible party for the rental must be at least 18 years of age.

Are helmets required by law? Do I have to wear one? Can I bring my own? 

California requires riders under 18 to wear helmets. Adults can choose to ride without a helmet, but Sports Basement recommends helmets for all riders. It's not you, it's the other guy!

What's included with each rental?

The bike, a helmet, and a lock.

How hard is it to ride a tandem bike?

Not hard at all! It takes a little getting used to. The driver and the rider need to coordinate shifting but that's about it.

What's up with electric bikes? How long does the battery last? 

Our electric bikes feature the Bosch drive system and are therefore "pedal assist". You still need to pedal, but the motor helps you, especially on hills! The bikes have a range of up to 60 miles depending on how much assist you use.

Do I need to have a driver's license to ride one? 

Nope, just a passionate desire for exploring San Francisco on a bike.

I love this bike! What is it, and can I buy one? 

We do sell most of the bikes we rent. Once you return your bike we can direct you to our bike department to begin the purchase process.

Do you ever sell your old rental bikes? Can I buy that? 

You may occasionally see some of our rental bikes at one of our "Basement Basement" sales. These happen approximately every three months and rotate between our different locations to spread the love.

I want to reserve a bike for the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. How can I do that? 

We do rent bikes for Escape, but they book up fast. Here is the Escape section of our rental site.

I want to rent a high end mountain bike - do I have to use flat pedals? 

Nope! Just like our road bikes, our Premium Mountain bikes can be fitted with all the popular pedal styles at no extra cost. You may also bring your own and we will install them for you.

I'm not sure what size bike my child will need. What should I do? 

Reserve the 20" model for kids 8 and under. The 24" model works for larger kids. We have plenty of bikes and can make adjustments at the time of pickup if your child feels more comfortable on a different size.

My child has never ridden a bike before. Do you have any recommendations? 

You could pull them along on a trail-a-bike. They still pedal but balance and steering are handled by the adult in charge. You could pull them in a trailer as long as they are under 100 lbs. Another option is to put larger kids on the back of a tandem.

Do you have a recommended route bike the Golden Gate Bridge? 

We have a map and guide here that details our favorite route.

How difficult is the ride over the Golden gate Bridge? 

Not difficult at all! There is about 300 feet of elevation gain to get up to the bridge. Some people walk their bikes for the steepest 50 yard stretch. Most all the way is on bike paths. Follow the bikes! All roads lead to Rome...

How safe is the ride over the Golden gate Bridge? 

On the bridge itself you will be on a dedicated pedestrian/bike path (weekdays) or a bike only path (weekends). The paths are separated from the roadway by a fence. The bridge can get crowded. Be cautious and courteous.

How do I park my bike in Sausalito? 

Because of the popularity of Biking the Bridge, the City of Sausalito has instituted a paid bicycle parking lot right in the center of town. The cost is $3.00 per bike. It's well worth it as your are right there in the center of town and the parking area is monitored. You do need to lock up your bike but you don't have to worry about it. There is free bike parking about ¼ mile beyond the downtown area mixed in with the car parking near the marina.

How do I take the ferry? Do I need to buy tickets in advance? 

You can buy tickets for the ferry in Sausalito.

I want to see more of San Francisco on my bike rental. 

You definitely should! Biking the city is the best way to get to know this city. We have a few routes we recommend for touring San Francisco.

What happens if I get a flat tire or something happens to my bike? 

Flat -tires are a natural part of any bicycle's life, including our rentals' (they don't like them either). If you happen to get a flat while exploring San Francisco, pop into any bike shop, have it fixed, and bring that receipt back to us for reimbursement. We also provide flat-tire kits with our bike rentals so you can DIY and be back on the road ASAP. Wow, we love acronyms.

I'm in Sausalito but I can't get back! What do I do with my bike? 

If you're tired, it's rainy, or you don't wanna put your bike on the ferry, you can opt to use Sausalito Bike Return. You leave it there by the end of your rental time and they'll bring it to us for you! The drop off location is at Parking Lot 1 on the corner of Anchor Street and Humboldt Avenue. See their website for more info and questions.

Can I bring my toddler or infant along? 

Yes! We rent bike seats and trailers for kids 2 and up. Note that your child must be able to support their head by themselves and fit in one of our child helmets in order to ride. California law states that children must wear helmets while riding (or being otherwise transported on) a bike.