Ride Your Bike to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Music Festival 2023

So you’ve heard about this free music festival in Golden Gate Park, and you wanna know how to bike to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. With over half a million people attending over the 3 days, you know the buses will be crowded and the parking will be sparse. Thousands of people have already discovered that biking is the easiest way to get to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and fortunately for you there is plenty of capacity for all the bicyclists!

Imagine the wind in your hair (but not too loud), a speaker strapped to your rack with some pre-festival tunes, and the beautiful car-free JFK promenade gliding by you. If you’re thinking of riding your bike to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass this year, here are some tips to make it hassle free.

Know Where to Park Your Bicycle Safely

The official 2023 Bike parking map. I added blue circles to make the bike parking more noticeable.

There are 4 bike parking locations this year. All of them generally corresponding to the 4 public entrances. Unfortunately there is no longer bike valet at this event like there was in past years.

This is a good time to make sure your bike security plan is ready. Make sure to carry a secure u-lock and keep your components locked as well from petty bike theft. You can lock your helmet to your bike or even try a foldable helmet!

hardly strictly bicycle racks for self parking
This is the self-parking on JFK from 2018, but I’d guess it will look similar.

Ride a Bay Wheels Bikeshare Bike

As of 2 days prior to the event, there are no special plans by HSB or Bay Wheels to accommodate extra bike share bikes at this event. For Outside Lands 2023, there was a Bay Wheels Bike Valet station so there was always room to park even with no docks nearby.

Bay Wheels has the new virtual stations in Golden Gate Park where you park to normal racks via the dockless cable without paying the extra $2 fee (only if riding an ebike), but not many are currently near the event entrances. I’m hoping there will at least be some temporary virtual stations waiving the $2 fee at the same 4 specified bike parking locations. Tweet @BayWheels asking them about this so we can make sure there are enough places to park the bikes!

If nothing changes, it will be technically not allowed to park an ebike at the HSB bike parking locations, but you may be able to just do it anyway. Even if they do charge you the $2 fee, I would suggest letting them know that many of their current virtual stations are not accessible as they’ll be inside the security perimeter where no bikes are allowed.

If you ride a classic Bay Wheels bike, you’ll have to park those at a normal docking station, which may fill up quickly and may not be super close to the entrances, so I wouldn’t recommend this option.

Remember that grabbing a rideshare bike on the way home may be tough if you leave at the very end of the evening. You may end up taking a different form of transit home, but if you have an after party to go to, maybe that’s exactly what you want.

If the bikeshare fails you, there are plenty of bikes to rent around San Francisco if you do some searching, or some e-scooters!

Don’t Forget Your Bike Lights!

The sun sets just as the last act ends, so if you stay until the end it will be dark on your ride home for sure. Bikeshare bikes and some rentals have lights included, but otherwise you should make sure to have some on your way to the festival.

All the bike shops should be open on your ride there, so stop in at one of them to pick up some lights. The cheapest options usually run less than $20, especially if you just get a rear light. If you have enough time to order on Amazon, here is a great strap on light, or dirt cheap lights that come with twice as many lights if you want to provide for a friend. My favorite front light is now this one from Portland Design Works, while any rear light that isn’t too bright to blind bicyclists behind you is great.

Enjoy the Ride Through Golden Gate Park

You know you’ve always been telling your friends you should do that bike ride through Golden Gate Park, but you haven’t ever gotten around to it. Well, now you can do that great bike ride down the car-free JFK promenade since you’re going to the festival anyway!

To find the best route from your part of town, check out my post on using Google Maps.

google map of route to golden gate park
An easy, flat route from Market Street through the Wiggle, Panhandle Park, JFK promenade and up to one of the bike parking locations!

Dust Off Your Rusting Bicycle

That bike you barely ride around the city. Now’s your chance to use it. Pump up those tires and take it for a spin.

You can even take your Burning Man bike that sits in your apartment basement waiting for that one time of the year. Have you cleaned it yet? If you haven’t it may not work next year. Cleaning it and riding it around will keep it riding well! And you should already have plenty of lights on it right?

If you decide this bike commute to Hardly Strictly was great and want to do it again, be sure to check out some of my other posts on securing your bike, avoiding obstacles on your bike, and other tips.

PS – Check out my previous version of this post if you want to see what biking to Hardly Strictly was like in 2019. They had a bike valet then! I wonder if we can get them to bring it back sometime.

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