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!

Don’t have a bike–or with you anyway? Check out the list of Bicycle Rental Locations below.

Australian visitors just rented bike on Cannery Row 22 Dec 2013

These Australian visitors had just rented this tandem because they figured out easily: Why bike? Best way to see Monterey, even on the first day of winter 2013–blue skies, sunshine, and 60-degree 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.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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 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 831/646-9090.
  3. 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.
  4. Bay Bikes Downtown Monterey (formerly Aquarian), 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!  Check in with them for updates. Phone 831/375-2144.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.”
  8. 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.”
  9. Casa Munras Hotel in Monterey also has bicycles  for rent, provided by Adventures by the Sea.
  10. 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.

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.)

We have great Monterey County cops! Help keep the local bike scene cool by observing California bike laws, and our local ordinances.

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.

E-bike etiquette

On Monterey County roads, electric bikes would 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 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.

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.”

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

Tandem rentals

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!

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

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.

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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.)

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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.
Besides having rentals…
  • 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.

 Recumbent bicycle rentals

To my knowledge, as of October 2013, 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 do it! Easy Racers continues to happily rent to those who require a recumbent, then want to take it to 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!

A recumbent ride group is forming, thanks to Velo Club  Monterey, with the first group ride scheduled for October 27, 2013. More details in the Serious Cyclists section.  Check in with VCM for updates.