9. Bike Rentals in Monterey County–plus Self-Led and Guided Tours
“I’ve got a bike, you can ride it if you like….”
Maybe you’re a teenager on vacation with your family, and those lyrics from the Pink Floyd “Bike” song are all the bike you wanna think about. But then a parent, like an alarm clock, calls you from dreamland: “OK, everybody out of the hotel room!”
Ugh!—or maybe not so ugh. Gotta admit it’s a sparkling day around the bay. And even the not uncommon grey days here are not to be missed!
When they got to Monterey, they wanted to enjoy pedal power, so rented this surrey to travel this Cannery Row stretch of bike trail and beyond.
If you’re a visitor who has arrived without your own bike, you’re not out of luck! There are plenty of bicycle rentals–and even some guided bicycle tours–available. (Scroll to the end of this page for tour info.) Bike, and surrey, rentals are available by the hour or for a reasonable all-day fee. Bike locks, and helmets (required for children under 18), are normally included with rentals.
And if you’re a visitor–or a local on staycation–who will be renting lodging here, see “How to get a lodging discount” by renting a bicycle!
A Monterey County father and son, shown here on the bike/multi-use path above Wharf #2, alongside Del Monte Beach.
When a bike rental is necessary, we’re fortunate here to have some great options in MoCo. Check out the list below. You may also find it helpful to refer to this site’s list of Monterey County Bicycle Shops, Services, Clubs, and Resources.
Bicycle Rental Locations in Monterey County
- Perhaps you’re traveling with infants or young children, with limited-mobility elders, or with others who are physically unable to pedal much or at all. But maybe they still want to be out on the bike path/multi-use trail. No worries! Adventures by the Sea rents bike trailers and carriers for young children. They have surreys/pedal-driven four-wheeled carriages that work well for including differently abled passengers. Their rental options include tandem bikes (“bicycles built for two”) as well. Adventures has several locations, including: (a) Portola Plaza (off the Custom House Plaza) in Old Monterey; (b) Cannery Row, Monterey; (c) Lovers Point, Pacific Grove; (d) Pebble Beach. They also host bike rental stations at numerous places of lodging, e.g., HER Helmet Thursdays spot Best Western Plus Beach Resort.
- Bay Bikes on Cannery Row, Monterey likewise rents a wide range of bikes and related items, from mountain bike rentals to trail-a-bikes (the latter “makes any bike a parent-child tandem”). Hard to picture that? See photo above for one example of a trail-a-bike. Click here for images of their rental items! Bay Bikes rents other sports equipment for enjoying the bike-pedestrian path too, like baby joggers (helpful if one person in your party prefers to jog while others bike). They are located right on the bike path on Cannery Row, and they offer guided bike tours too. (For self-guided history tours, see “Cycling to Monterey County’s history spots” and “What to do in Salinas, the Monterey County seat.”) Bay Bikes also offers delivery to your hotel, with advance notice. Phone 831/655-3496.
- Bay Bikes in The Barnyard, Carmel. As of July 2011, there are still limited rentals available at this Bay Bikes, location; call ahead for availability or reserve online. Initially, this location is primarily a drop-off point for people who wish to rent a bike at Bay Bikes on Cannery Row and drop off their bike at Bay Bikes in Carmel.
- Aquarian at Bay Bikes, on the triangle plaza (next to East Village Coffee Lounge) in Old Monterey has rentals, too. They have long focused on hybrids–no, not a Prius, a hybrid bicycle. At Aquarian, think comfort bikes with rack and pannier bags. Handy for doing a little shopping by bike! Now that Aquarian is part of the Bay Bikes family, check in with them for updates about their available rentals.
- California State University-Monterey Bay has bike rentals for students, staff, and faculty, and they’re priced for a student’s budget. Visit the Otter Cycle Center section of the CSUMB website for details.
- Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove has a few bikes to rent also, and these are for anyone to rent, not just registered guests staying at Asilomar. Go to the gift shop area of Phoebe Hearst Social Hall (also known as admin/front desk). The bikes are ready for rental as early as 8 a.m., and they must be returned by sunset, since they are not equipped with lights. As of August 15, 2012, they have a few kids’ bikes, as well as adult bikes. The bikes are provided by Adventures by the Sea.
- Lighthouse Lodge & Cottages, Pacific Grove also has bicycles for rent, provided by Adventures by the Sea. This hotel is a HER Helmet Thursdays participant; see ”How to get a lodging discount.”
- Best Western Plus Beach Resort, Monterey also has bicycles for rent, provided by Adventures by the Sea. This hotel is a HER Helmet Thursdays participant; see ”How to get a lodging discount.”
- Casa Munras Hotel in Monterey also has bicycles for rent, provided by Adventures by the Sea.
- Blazing Saddles, 750 Cannery Row (sidewalk stand), Monterey. Seasonal rentals include both regular (self-propelled) and electric bikes. Blazing Saddles is new to Monterey County, as of summer 2011. They are also in San Francisco and New York City.
- Scooters by the Sea Scooter ‘n’ Bike Rental, 125 Ocean View Blvd, Suite 120-B, Pacific Grove; 408/646-4864. Seasonal rentals. Suggestion: Call first to be sure of business operation and availability. Scooters by the Sea is new to Monterey County, as of 2011.
What about non “people-powered” bikes?
As California DMV laws state, motorized bicycles may not be used on trails, bike paths, or lanes unless allowed by local authorities. CVC 21207.5
Regarding electric or electric-assist bicycles: As of April 2013, in addition to the reference below about bikes in a class that exceed 20 mph, various Monterey County cities have differing laws and policies, and their police departments may appropriately ticket offenders accordingly.
Be aware that bikes such as the Specialized Turbo e-bike, which was released in the U.S. in 2013 and travels up to 28 mph (45 kph), are in the class of motorized bicycles that are not permitted on the multi-use trail/bike path. Folks riding a motorized bicycle at speeds above 20 mph would be subject to a citation. (As of 4/29/13, this was confirmed by the City of Monterey traffic engineer.)
Also, although bicycles that are not self-propelled have their place as an environmentally friendlier transportation choice, please carefully observe restriction signs on the multi-use trail and in bike lanes. (See various photos below.) And make no mistake about gas-powered bikes–including mopeds and motorcycles; they are definitely not allowed.
Have questions? I have additional detailed info not posted here, so feel free to contact me for more clarification. Or, contact Andy Cook, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator at the Transportation Agency for Monterey County.
Elsewhere in the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail network: Several years ago the Supervisors of Santa Cruz County amended their transportation code to specifically allow California Vehicle Code section 406 (b) motorized bicycles to use all bikeways and recreational trails within the county. Countywide action has been recommended for Monterey County too, so stay tuned for any updates, which may be posted here or announced by the Transportation Agency for Monterey County.
Any other considerations about e-bikes? Yes, please read on.
On Monterey County roads, electric bikes would fall under the “same roads, same rules, same rights,” general guidelines.
Where is it legal to bike? You are free to ride a bicycle on all streets and even highways, unless otherwise posted. Freeways are an exception; you may not ride on most freeways! Signs at freeway ramps tell when bicyclists must not enter.
Where bike lanes exist on public roads, it makes sense that whether to ride an e-bike in a bike lane or instead in the motor vehicle lane would depend on your speed and other factors. As always, courtesy to and safety of fellow travelers will help determine those decisions.
You may also wish to refer to the California Department of Motor Vehicles Code (which includes bikes); access that via section 2, “California Bike Laws and Personal Bike Safety.”
E-bikes in Pebble Beach
Thinking about traveling 17-Mile Drive? As the Pebble Beach Company website indicates, motorcycles are prohibited. If you have an electric bicycle, no problem. However, if your wheels are in the scooter category–such as a two-stroke–be forewarned: Scooters, as with motorcycles, are not admitted to PB.
This info is current as of 7/26/12. Questions? Contact Pebble Beach Company.
Yup, if you’ve always wanted to take Daisy on a bicycle built for two, you can rent one in Monterey County!
Wish list: added bicycle rental locations
Of course, you may rent a bike for as many hours as you need and take it all about the county. See bike-and-ride section if you need a transport boost for part of your outing.
To my knowledge, at this time there are no bicycle rentals in Salinas, among other spots in the county that could use them. (Check in with Trish Sullivan of the Salinas Welcome Center for updates; find her in the Salinas section of this site.) Biking the wide, flat streets of Salinas is a wonderful way for visitors to explore. Typically warmer and sunnier too, many visitors love donning their lighter apparel to get around Salinas by bike.
And Carmel? That wish has come true! Bike rentals are now available in Carmel (see Bay Bikes above). Biking the streets of Carmel in the mornings is a special way to peek at the shops before things get crowded, and biking Carmel’s residential streets anytime is a cool way to check out the architecture and landscaping. And when it comes to Scenic Drive, biking it in the fresh sea air is so much more fun than driving along Scenic in a car!
If you’re a businessperson and want to help make Monterey County even more bicycling friendly, perhaps you have a business in mind that could include at least a few bike rentals in Salinas or other parts of the county where bike rentals are needed, even if not full-scale bicycle/sports rental shops!
Our bike rental shops have equipment for cyclists of all ages,
because whether a baby or an elder,
nearly everyone enjoys health benefits from being outdoors on the bikeways!
Also see “Cycling to Monterey County’s History Spots” on this site.
And see “Visit Monterey County” on the Sea Otter Classic website, which points out the bikeability of many neighborhoods surrounding popular attractions.
General Audience Audio Tours
While not created for for cyclists, the following can be useful:
- Monterey Bay Aquarium walking tour.
- The City of Monterey encourages bicycling as an eco-friendly transportation choice. See the City’s website or the See Monterey/Monterey Convention and Visitors Bureau site, for links to “Explore Monterey” (county) free mobile apps for Android and iPhone.
For additional tips…
on bicycling in Monterey County, click here.
Know those cool Breezers rented at Adventures by the Sea? People for in the market for a good quality used bike may want to stay in touch with Adventures about those, because there’s a good chance that come end of summer, such well maintained bikes will be sold to get ready for the next year’s new fleet. Click here for more about used bikes.