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Where to Bike San Francisco

Posted February 23rd, 2012

San Francisco is one of the world's most visited cities, and its iconic Golden Gate Bridge, sourdough bread, lung-bursting hills and cable cars make it just as thrilling for cyclists of all abilities.

With a moderate climate year round, little rain and plenty of sunshine, the Bay Area, including lower Marin County, San Francisco, the East Bay and Peninsula, thousands of great bike riding miles are available for every skill level. From beginner to intermediate, everyone has access to hundreds of parks, bike lanes, bike paths and incredible vistas with the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains as the constant back drop wherever one looks.

The view from the handlebars and saddle include the Bay Area's many independent coffee shops, including the West Coast's first Italian espresso bar, Caffe Treiste in North Beach, all the way down to Red Rock Coffee in downtown Mountain View, home of Google and Mozilla. Individuals, couples and families are always pampered and spoiled by the fine cuisine available in nearly every neighborhood.

Author Gary Boulanger is riding every planned route, using a Garmin GPS unit specific for data and mapping. The final book will grade each ride from one to five stars in difficulty, including full color maps and hill profiles. Interesting and historic facts will be peppered throughout each ride, including directions on how to get there, what to bring, how to dress, and where to stop to take pictures or enjoy the local food and drink.

About the Author

Gary BoulangerSan Francisco cyclist Gary Boulanger grew up riding in Green Bay, Wisconsin, sharing the fun with his mother Margaret on the back of her Ross 3-speed in the late 1960s before graduating to his Schwinn StingRay. Once the adventure began, there was no turning back. A few years as a paperboy led to bicycle use as transportation in high school and college, where Boulanger graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1989.

His passion for cycling soared after meeting co-worker Steve Smith at Johnson Hill Press in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Smith, an avid road and mountain bike racer, influenced Boulanger's decision to pursue bicycling as a career, mixing his journalistic background with a curiosity for history, technology and racing. This led to Boulanger's first bike industry job, managing Allis Bike & Fitness in Franklin, Wisconsin.

During his three years managing the shop, Boulanger wrote a column for a trade publication, Bicycle Dealer Showcase, which introduced him to the industry. He eventually freelanced for several publications, including VeloNews, Bicycle Retailer & Industry News, Cycling Plus, Bike Europe, Hooked On The Outdoors and VeloBusiness.

In 1995, Boulanger began working at the former Schwinn Paramount factory in Waterford, Wisconsin, sharing an office with the great grandson of Ignaz Schwinn, Richard Schwinn, who, with business partner Marc Muller, launched Waterford Precision Cycles. Boulanger split his time between the Waterford and Rivendell brands, coordinating production. He began traveling to Rivendell's Walnut Creek, California headquarters, and fell in love with the rolling mountains and warm, West Coast climate.

After working for Airborne Cycles in Dayton, Ohio, Boulanger spent a year as a full-time bicycle advocate. He and his wife Jean opened Cycles Gaansari, a custom bicycle boutique, in late 2002, before launching the Gaansari brand of steel bicycles in homage to the hometown heroes, Orville and Wilbur Wright. Plans to relocate to northern California in mid 2006 fell through, but Boulanger and his family made the 3,600-mile trip westward to realize their dream of California living. Seven months later, Boulanger became the US editor of, a position he held until November 2009.

Today, the versatile Wisconsin native splits his time between writing Where to Bike San Francisco, serving as board president of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, which oversees the growth of high school mountain bike racing across the U.S., and writing for a handful of cycling publications.

Boulanger and his wife Jean have been married nearly 21 years, and have two teen-age children, Samantha and Henri, who ride their bikes all around Mountain View, California.