9. BIKE RENTALS in Monterey County–plus Self-Led and Guided Tours

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Don’t have a bike? Scroll down for a list of Bicycle Rental Locations in Monterey County.

“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!

Australian visitors just rented bike on Cannery Row 22 Dec 2013These Australian visitors had just rented this tandem because they figured out easily: Why bike? Best way to see Monterey, often even on the first day of winter–blue skies, sunshine, and warm temperatures!

Amy and Johnny’s fun travels included coming from Los Angeles on a motorcyle.

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.

Tandem rentals?

Yup, if you’ve always wanted to take Daisy on a bicycle built for two, you can rent one in Monterey County!

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 down 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.

Visitor in Monterey County–or a local on staycation? To get a Thursday night  lodging discount (thanks to the HER Helmet Thursdays project), either BYOB–bring your own bicycle–or rent a bike for one day or longer from any Monterey County bike rental location. (See a list below.)  If you’re staying overnight at a HER Helmet Thursdays participating hotel or other lodging venue, you may find that your lodging discount for Thursday night pays for the bike rental! That’s right! 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.
After renting a trail-a-bike, you may like it so much that you want to buy your own!

Bicycle Rental Locations in Monterey County

Rental locations are mostly listed here by order of new or significantly updated information. As always, check with each one listed for their most up-to-date information.
From May 1, 2009 to May 1, 2017, Bicycling Monterey’s founder has donated well over 10,000 hours to the Bicycling Monterey projects, including this website. Contributions in any amount are appreciated.
  1. Big Sur Adventures, Inc. — https://www.bigsuradv.com AKA https://www.bikebigsur.com —is operated by South Coast native Joaquin Sullivan. Beginning October 16, 2017 Joaquin will be relocating the bike rental stand that was temporarily located in Big Sur to a new location in Pacific Grove. Check https://www.bikebigsur.com for any updates/changes. (Note that Joaquin’s official business name is Big Sur Adventures, Inc., which is not to be confused with an unrelated business that registered the URL bigsuradventures.com.)
  2. Work Horse Bicycles is a new business opened summer 2017, owned by Frank Pinto. As did the previous business at this address—486 Washington Street, on Griffin Plaza in downtown Monterey—Work Horse will offer bicycle rentals, as well as being a full-service bike sales and service shop.
  3. Sports Center Bicycles of Seaside, located very near the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, began in 2014 renting family bicycles (commute style and comfort hybrids), road bikes, and select mountain bikes. Contact them for any updates and to learn more.
  4. 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., at Monterey Tides, a HER Helmet Thursdays lodging provider
  5. Bay Bikes, 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 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 831/646-9090.
  6. Bay Bikes, Carmel in The Barnyard, Carmel.  Call ahead for availability or reserve online.  Initially, this location was 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. Check in with them for updates. Phone 831/655-BIKE.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.”
  10. 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.”
  11. Casa Munras Hotel in Monterey also has bicycles  for rent, provided by Adventures by the Sea.
  12. Blazing Saddles, 750 Cannery Row (sidewalk stand), Monterey, may also be continuing; check with them for udpates. Seasonal rentals have included both self-propelled and electric bikes; note the advisory below about motorized bikes on bicycle path or trail. Blazing Saddles is new to Monterey County, as of summer 2011.  They are also in San Francisco and New York City.
Find helpful info on this website? 
Since founding Bicycling Monterey in May 2009, the founder has donated well over 10,000 hours to the Bicycling Monterey projects, including this website. Click donate button below to contribute to the Bicycling Monterey work via PayPal. Or, to contribute via check or crowdfunding, and for FAQs, click here. Thank you.

Looking for info on bike sharing? See “Bike-share programs in the Monterey Bay Tri-County Region.

What about non “people-powered” bikes (electric bikes/e-bikes and other motorized bikes) on the coastal “bike path”/multi-use trail, or on other paths or trails?

For all Monterey County e-bike regulations not covered below, and for any updates, contact the bike-ped coordinator at the Transportation Agency for Monterey County.

SIGN - prohibit motorized - City of Mtry near Casa Verde (9)

NOTE: What about California’s AB 1096 (e-bike law)?

As advised in People for Bikes overview for consumers and retailers, “Local authorities and public agencies with jurisdiction over bicycle paths or trails may also prohibit the operation of any type of electric bicycles on a particular path or trail.”

In addition to Bicycling Monterey’s info below, you may wish to refer to http://www.peopleforbikes.org/pages/e-bikes. I’ve not yet personally explored much of that PFB e-bikes section yet (as of 5/12/16), although I’m familiar with–and refer below to–some of the California regulations.  Thanks to Larry Pizzi of Accell North America for the helpful heads-up on the PFB resource materials. Larry’s expertise about e-bikes is much appreciated, especially because the focus of the Bicycling Monterey website to date (and my personal knowledge) is almost entirely limited to people-powered bikes. I don’t own an e-bike (yet anyway), although I’ve enjoyed a couple test rides and recognize their benefits, including as one more way to help reduce carbon emissions and care for our planet. [Update: Click here.]

If you’re on an e-bike or other non-people-powered bike,
note well the restrictions below.
These include–but are not limited to–Fort Ord National Monument.
NOTE: Bicycling Monterey is an entirely volunteer effort (since founded May 2009, and still the case in May 2017). If you’re knowledgeable about e-bikes and meet Bicycling Monterey’s accurate research standards regarding Monterey County and other regulations referred to, please feel free to contact me to help revise and expand Bicycling Monterey’s e-bikes info. (And I’d then move the e-bikes info into a separate section of this site.) Thank you. Meanwhile…
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
As advised, various Monterey County cities have differing laws and policies, and their police departments may appropriately ticket offenders accordingly.

Specific to e-bikes, some background: To clear up some confusion resulting from contradictory rules throughout California, “AB 875 would create a new category of electric bike, the ‘low speed electric bicycle,’ and exempt a low-speed electric bicycle from the prohibition of motorized bicycles on a bicycle path or trail, bikeway, bicycle lane, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail. This rule is among the items on the California Bicycle Coalition 2015 legislative agenda.” (Thanks to Rich Masoner of Cyclelicious for this update.)

Specific to e-bikes, an update: On October 7, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1096. Please refer to CalBike.org for detailed info on this bill: https://calbike.org/governor_signs_bill_to_improve_e-bike_access/

Here is an excerpt: “AB 1096 clarifies the definition of electric motor-assisted bicycles by defining three specific classes of e-bikes: bikes with a top assisted speed of 20 mph that must be pedaled to operate; those with a top assisted speed of 20 mph that can be operated without pedaling; and bikes with a top assisted speed of 28 mph. By regulating these bikes differently than mopeds, AB 1096 will enable a reexamination of the access restrictions imposed on users of these bikes in order to permit more access to bicycle paths, where appropriate and safe.”

A two-page summary about “Motorized Vehicles on Bike Paths” was provided by Transportation Agency for Monterey County staff member Ariana Green at the  bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee meeting on 2/4/15. For full details, download PDF here:
Motorized Vehicles on Bike Paths – Monterey County – as of 4 Feb 2015
Ms. Green summarized that for Monterey County:
  • no motorized bicycle or moped is allowed on a bicycle path or trail
  • no pocket bike is allowed on a bicycle path or trail
  • no motorized scooter is allowed on a bicycle path or trail within the City of Monterey – “Section 22-12.5 Prohibition of Motorized Scooters on the Recreational Trail. No person shall operate any motorized scooter as that term is defined in CA Vehicle Code on the Recreation Trail (Ord 3330;10/2003).”
  • motorized scooters may be operated on bicycle path or trail in all other cities and (unincorporated sections of) the county (except for city of Monterey)

For additional details previously posted in this section, see:

Details about non people-powered bikes in Monterey County – as of April 2013

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 (their safety director, Kevin Cole, is a good resource).

E-bikes on MST

Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST/”The Bus”) is a popular bike-and-ride option. MST’s Rider’s Guide includes How to Ride–Transit Tips. Click on Transit Tips, then scroll down for “Bicycles on Buses” and “Bike Loading Instructions.”

Check the MST website for any updates or changes. As of 6/15/13, “Bicycles with electric motors are allowed provided that the external battery is securely mounted, sealed, and of the nonspillable type. Bicycles with wet-cell non-sealed batteries (like most car or motorcycle batteries) are prohibited.”

On 12/17/15, Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious offered this information:  “Many (all?) ebikes exceed 50 lb weight limit for bus bike racks, even if agency otherwise allows.” Check with MST if you have questions about whether the weight of your bike might be a problem.

Motorized bicycles with gas-powered engines of any kind are prohibited on MST.

What about non people-powered bikes at  Fort Ord National Monument?

Monterey Off Road Cycling Association (MORCA) is a good local resource regarding Fort Ord, which has both trails for mountain biking and paved roads for road cycling.

As of 12/17/15, as confirmed to MORCA by Eric Morgan, Manager of the Fort Ord National Monument, the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) views e-bikes as motor vehicles, and motor vehicles are not allowed on Fort Ord National Monument. Read the 7/1/15 memo from the BLM regarding “Electronic Powered Bicycles on Public Lands”: https://www.blm.gov/policy/ib-2015-060

As further confirmed by Eric Morgan on 12/17/15, on the Fort Ord National Monument, the roads BLM oversees are closed to motor vehicles, hence they are also closed to e-bikes. For any possible future changes that may allow e-bikes, Segways, and such on the roads of the Monument, check with the BLM: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/prog/nlcs/Fort_Ord_NM/Know_Before_You_Go.html

Thanks to Henrietta Stern and Monterey Off Road Cycling Association for their educational outreach about protection and appropriate uses of Fort Ord and other public lands.

What about non people-powered bikes on public roads?

E-bike etiquette

On Monterey County roads, electric bikes fall under the “same roads, same rules, same rights,” general guidelines.

As stated in Bicycling Monterey’s Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide, section 10, “Where to bike in Monterey County”:
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 “Riding Skills, Safety, and CA Bike Laws.”

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!

Adventures by the Sea’s location on the Alvarado Mall, between the Custom House Plaza and the Portola Hotel and Spa.

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.

As of October 7, 2015, to my knowledge, there are no bicycle rentals in Salinas,  among other spots in the county that could use them.  Biking Salinas is growing in popularity, and Salinas is by far Monterey County’s largest city. We hope there will be bike rentals there soon!  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 a full-scale bicycle rental shop.

And Carmel? That wish has come true!   Bike rentals are now available in Carmel, e.g., through Bay Bikes.  Biking Carmel streets in the mornings is a wonderful 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!

Wish list: recumbent rentals in Monterey County

To my knowledge, as of October 2015, there are still no recumbents for rent in Monterey County. However, thanks to our neighbors just to the north, Easy Racers in Watsonville (south Santa Cruz County), you can still rent a recumbent and bike in Monterey County.  Easy Racers continues to happily rent to people who want to rent a recumbent there, then take it into Monterey County.

Easy Racers also has high-visibility flags available–so wise for these low-to-the-ground bicycles that can easily be overlooked in traffic. Their blog features used recumbents for sale, too. Thanks, neighbors!

Guided Rides/Tours

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:

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.

IMG_3028* * *

The below was moved here from Bicycling Monterey’s main resources page on 12/10/13. This content will include some repetition from info provided above, and it will include some additional info too. (So many web maintenance and other bike advocacy tasks, so little time! Volunteer if you’d like to help Bicycling Monterey remedy the repetition more quickly.)

Bicycle Rental Locations in Monterey County

Bike rental options may include: comfort bikes, cruisers, hybrids, kids’ bikes, kids’ seats, mountain bikes, road bikes, surreys, tandems, trail-a-bikes, trailers, and more.

Rate options may include: rentals by the hour, half-day, all-day, 24-hrs, 2-days, 3-6 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, and 4 weeks.

For updates, check the websites of these bicycle rental spots, or give them a call.
Presented below in alphabetical order…

And rental stations at…

Besides having rentals…
  • Sports Center Bicycles, Seaside is also a full-service bike shop.
  • Bay Bikes, Downtown Monterey is also a full-service bike shop.
  • Bay Bikes, Carmel and Bay Bikes, Cannery Row, Monterey, both provide full service (repair/maintenance).  The Carmel store will have more parts in stock, and the Cannery Row store can access parts from Carmel or Downtown Monterey.  Also note that their new Carmel location will focus more on sales, with limited rentals.  Bay Bikes Cannery Row location focuses more on rentals, with limited sales.  For the most accurate and up-to-date info, please contact Bay Bikes.