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McLaren Park

A little McLaren Park history from Wikipedia:

McLaren Park was once a part of Rancho Cañada de Guadalupe la Visitación y Rodeo_Viejo. When California was part of Mexico, its then governor Juan Batista Alvarado granted what is now known as McLaren Park to the local authorities in 1840.

In 1905, subdivisions of the land grant were drawn up and Daniel Burham recommended that the land where McLaren Park is today be a park. The land was purchased anyway by the Board of Supervisors in 1928 despite the bond measure being defeated. In 1934, John McLaren organized a dedication flag ceremony in the park, which had its name, and it is currently the second-largest park in the city.

A little McLaren BMX history from SF Urban Riders:

Here at SF Urban Riders, one of our favorite historical facts to point out is the original use of the sloping, grassy area below Mansell street in McLaren Park. (Note: This is not the area proposed for the bike park, but nearby).

During the late 70’s, this area was a well used, well populated BMX track, drawing children of all ages and their families out to the park on weekends to enjoy competition, fun, and social use of the park.  Thanks to a variety of sources found online, we’ve found the following hisorical documents.  Click on an image to follow them to their source.

mclaren-bmx-2

mclaren-bmx

The next photo was provided by Roger Serafin, who came to race at the McLaren track in 1979.  His father happened to snap off this classic McLaren Park photo.  Roger is still riding and likes to spend his free time at the dirt jumps.  One of the spots he enjoys is the Calabazas Park in San Jose.

mclaren_park-3

Now, in the exact same spot where many of these pictures were taken, the area is rife with illegal dumping, homeless encampments, and drug deals, but the type of fun you see above is the un-desireable usage that merits a sign posted.

mclaren-now

It’s a shame about the present, but let’s work together to figure out ways that illustrate the cycling community’s commitment to caring for and bettering our natural parks, and though we don’t need 20 foot wide tracks ripping through beautiful grassland, it would be nice to improve on the trails that exist, build some new ones, and have thin, beautiful corridors passing through and around our parks for hikers, dog walkers, and cyclists alike to enjoy.  Stay with us, and the future is bright for SF Urban Riders and every other San Franciscan who enjoys moving through our beautiful park lands, regardless of their non-motorized transit choice.

Click for more about McLaren Park from the Neighborhood Parks Council.

Even more coming soon…

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Scott Bisenius permalink
    October 15, 2010 8:49 pm

    This is just not cool, its ok for dumping, homeless, n drug deals but riding bike is prohibited.. EEEHH WRONG ANSWER!!!!!!!!! people complain when we ride our bikes n skateboards on streets n sidewalks so cities build skate parks n now bike are bein kicked out of them too. WE NEED OUR OWN PLACE TO RIDE.. Trails of all skillm levels n family friendly, more BMX tracks.. Seems now days if you dont ride a road bike then u are a nodody… I moved here from Dallas,Tx last year to Vacaville nad am surprised that stuff like the pics above are permitted to exsist… Bring trails back and give the kids and us old guys a place to ride again and help us with it or dont complain when we take over the streets or build jumps in fields despite of signs cuz we will just keep doing it like we did in the 70′s and 80′s..

  2. mattyjo permalink
    September 29, 2011 12:27 am

    i have some info about the first 2 photos, both were taken in 1975. in the top photo #1 is John Wells, #113 is unidentified, and Pete Harrigan is about to hit the jump. John and Pete rode for Silver Shield out of Oakland, the first shop to support BMX. One of their team members, Friendly Fred Thomas, started organizing BMX races in Oakland starting in 1971. Eventually Merritt College in Oakland and Mclaren Park were 2 of the best downhill tracks in all of CA.

    photo 2 is # 94 Doug Bartling, another rider for Silver Shield. I have access to many more BMX photos from McLaren should anyone want to see them.

    Most of the old schoolers have retired- but some of us are still racing BMX today, and a few of us are still located in SF!

    • tom borden permalink
      July 30, 2012 4:21 pm

      mattyjo,
      I’d like to see your other pics from McLaren. I didn’t ride the track until several years after it closed. It took a lot of digging just to find the few photos above.

  3. robert gregson permalink
    December 27, 2011 10:13 pm

    I used to ride my Red-Line on Motomags out there back in the ’70′s. It would be so cool if my kid’s could ride there again.

  4. December 15, 2012 7:53 am

    This is the spot on Goggle Maps, looking at those pictures.
    When exactly did the track open and close?
    I didnt visit the area till 83, but was working and didnt even look for tracks.
    Can you draw on it where the track was exactly???
    https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Mansell+street+in+McLaren+Park&ll=37.717696,-122.413605&spn=0.004531,0.004823&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&hq=Mansell+street+in+McLaren+Park&t=k&z=18

  5. December 21, 2012 6:07 am

    It says three comments but I only see two (not including this one im now posting lol)

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  1. McLaren Bike Park Community Meeting « McLaren Bike Park

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