Getting a bike park built generally is a long, drawn out process, but the McLaren Bike Park is on its way to becoming a reality. We’ve held our first community design meeting, and are getting ready and prepared for the next one. (Design Meeting #2 just got approved by SFRPD for Thursday July 28th at 6pm. For more info scroll to the bottom of this post)
Before we go over what happens next, here’s a recap of what happened at the first meeting for those that couldn’t make it.
After everyone had assembled at the community center and picked up maps, bike park enthusiasts headed over to the potential park site to assess the space in person.
We had a slight delay in getting started, as there was a golf advertisement filming when the group arrived. Our group waiting patiently until they finished their final takes; then it was time to walk around and explore the space we would be working with.
While a number of us have been to the prospective site, walking through the entire space really demonstrated that the space feels larger that one’s first impression, especially if the space in the trees becomes available.
A number of ideas were batted around by those present, and splitting up, we wandered through the site to get a feel for the site, and began to work on envisioning our dream bike park. After some time, the group headed back to the community center for the official meeting. Alex Randolph from SFRPD welcomed everyone. Dan Schneider, SFUR Executive Director talked about the mission of SF Urban Riders. Dustin Smith, MBP Project Manager explained the goals of meeting #1. Judd from Alpine Bike Parks gave a presentation about some of the possible features we could have incorporated into the park — pump tracks, flow trails, dirt jumps, wall rides and more were discussed. Getting a bike park built is a much bigger discussion than what kind of features we’ll want to ride though. Parking, bathrooms, windbreaks, and landscaping are just some of the additional details that need to be addressed in the design. Some of the local residents brought up a number of additional concerns regarding the space in general as well.
Riders in attendance included freestyle BMX concrete park enthusiasts, cross country mountain bikers, and gravity oriented mountain bikers.
It is exciting stuff- to quote SFUR Executive Director, Dan Schneider, “We are entering the exciting territory of real bike park design input…. and needless to say we all want the best 2 acre bike bark in the world!”
McLaren Bike Park Community Design Meeting #2
Thursday July 28th from 6pm-8pm
Location: John McLaren Elementary School – Cafeteria
2055 Sunnydale Ave SF, CA 94112
map link: http://maps.google.com
Big School complex across from MBP Site ( Google marker is not accurate)
In just a few short days, our initial McLaren Bike Park Community Design Meeting will be talking place at the Crocker Amazon Clubhouse. This Saturday at 1pm, Alpine Bike Parks will be helping SFUR with the Community Design Process, hopefully with many of you in attendance. We’re extremely excited to be working with Alpine on this project- if you haven’t been seeing the coverage online of the grand opening of Boulder, Colorado’s Valmont Bike Park, take a quick look at the dirt and wood masterpiece Alpine has created:
We realize that a new bike park located in Colorado may not excite everyone, as a trip to Boulder is quite a journey that many of us in the Bay Area may not get to make in the near future. However, hopefully this gets us all thinking of the possibilities of what we could build in our own backyard.
While the above photo highlights some of the larger and camera friendly features of the Valmont Park, the park consists of more than just big jumps for aspiring stuntmen.
Alpine Bike Parks comes to us fresh off the construction of Valmont, which is the most progressive and ambitious public bike park outside of a ski area/ resort to date. Their park design resume consists of building features for all levels of riding, as well as riding styles. In addition to the media friendly slopestyle course, there are multiple pump and jump tracks that cater to beginner and intermediate skill levels as well as “flow trails.” There are also beginner and intermediate single track loops with challenge sections designed to foster technical skills.
One of the more progressive areas of park design they have been driving is the use of more sustainable building materials like wood and steel. Making park features from dirt results in an intensive maintenance schedule, and comes with the need for constant watering and reshaping of lips. By spending a bit more initially, our park will be around much longer for years to come.
Of course, our park won’t just be made from wood and steel. We love riding dirt just as much as you, and variety is one of the reasons the SFUR McLaren Bike Park committee chose Alpine to help us during the design process. Most of the park will feature natural materials like earth and rock.
Alpine comes to us with their book of designs ready to be repurposed for use here locally, and many of their park features are ready to be plugged straight into our park project. It will also help keep park costs down, which as you all probably know is one of the big hurdles we still have to face in bringing our very own bike park to reality. Since funding is still one of the challenges we still face, remember to help spread the word about this Saturday’s Community Design Workshop, and raising awareness of this potentially incredible project. We’ll also have MBP shirts for sale for $20 (cash) with all proceeds to go to Bike Park Design. We hope to see you there.
All photos courtesy of Alpine Bike Parks
To the general biking public, it may have seemed like this whole MBP thing had stalled out. I’ve been out riding and can’t count the times someone’s asked “What’s up with the bike park?” My answer: A lot. These things never move as quickly as you think, or in the ways you think they’re gonna move. There’s quite the checklist of players that all have an important stake in how this thing goes, and if this thing goes. And not just cyclists. In fact, more non-cylists, and by a landslide. Neighboring communities will be affected and need their say. Naturalists want to insure we’re taking mother nature into account. Youth programs are a key ingredient to the success of this bike park. Scores of groups, organizations, and neighbors need to be a part of the process.
That’s why we’ve gone a bit dark lately. It’s not real sexy to talk about meeting with neighborhood groups, or sitting down with SFRPD to talk about potential boundaries of the park, if we need an EIR or Soil testing, or have to remove the asphalt, or cap it with soil, and how we’re going to get the money to do all of it. So, we’ve spared you the unsexy bits, and are inviting you to the beginning of the culmination of all the meetings, and community outreach, and emails, and phone calls that have been out of the view of most of you. If you are a part of a community group we’ve met with, thank you for your time and support. If not, now’s the time to become a part of the MBP Community Design Process!!!
On Saturday June 18th, SFUR and SFRPD will be hosting the first McLaren Bike Park Community Design Meeting. We’ll meet at the Crocker Amazon Clubhouse at 1:00pm, then take a short bike ride over to the proposed bike park location on Sunnydale Avenue near the entrance to Glen Eagles Golf Course. We’ll return to the Clubhouse for our meeting start at 2:00. We’ll finish up between 3:30 and 4:00. The site visit will help inform the meeting, so if you can make it, awesome. If not, hopefully you can make it to the meeting.
We’ve been jockeying dates to hold this meeting for quite some time, but the recent support letters from SFRPD General Manager Phil Ginsburg and District 11 Supervisor (and now Mayoral candidate) John Avalos, have given us the political capital we’ve needed to start this process. We don’t have a green light on the Park itself… yet. That will most likely come in the Commission meeting on September 22nd when we present the final bike park design.
To work with us through the Community Design Process, SFUR has retained Alpine Bike Parks of Whistler, BC. Alpine’s most recent project is Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, Colorado, set to open June 11th, just one week before our first community meeting. Look for another Alpine specific story here shortly.
SF Urban Riders wants to give a big thanks to everyone in the McLaren Community. There are too many groups and individuals to list. We also want to thank SF Recreation and Parks Department for their openness and partnership in the development of this project.
MBP shirts will be for sale for $20 cash. All proceeds to go to Bike Park Design. Available in Red and Black. Three layer screenprint on American Apparel Triblend high-quality short sleeve shirts. Adult and kids sizes available.
Thank you for your time and support!!!
On November 16th, SF Urban Riders and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department held their first community meeting to discuss the possibility of a bike skills park in McLaren Park. The area in consideration is the partially paved unused area just outside Glen Eagles Golf Course along Sunnydale Ave.
This meeting is a huge step towards the realization of the first bike park in San Francisco. Over the course of the last year, there were a series of McLaren needs assessment meetings where bikes were not on the agenda. These previous meetings focused on sidewalk improvements, play areas, and general park maintenance. All very much needed, by the way. But, SF Urban Riders turned out a majority of bike park supporters that raised their hands, commented, and ultimately made their voices heard. The November 16th meeting was the culmination of the community support received at past meetings. Sometimes it may seem like a long road, and it may not seem like coming to a meeting and listening makes a difference, but this is proof that it does. Thank you to all have helped get us to this point.
At the Nov. 16th community meeting SFRPD Sports and Athletics Manager and native McLaren resident Bob Palacio, opened the meeting and told of McLaren Park’s BMX past. He handed off to SFRPD’s Leisure Services Manager, James Wheeler who explained his recently created role and the Extreme Sports programming that SFRPD is looking to create. He then introduced SFUR’s Executive Director, Dan Schneider and MBP Project Manager, Dustin Smith who presented the case to local community groups, leaders and families from the neighborhood surrounding McLaren Park.
The centerpiece of the presentation? Kids, bikes and more kids. Kids are the future (sorry to sound cliche’) and our future relies on getting kids outside and on bikes. As proof of SFUR’s commitment to the kids and the community, a dozen or so past SFUR events were showcased in the presentation such as the Vis Valley Street Fair, Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, McLaren Wrench Day, the SF Bike Expo Pumptrack and numerous trailwork events on Mt. Sutro and at McLaren Park itself. Pictures and stories of these events, as well as a strong partnership with the YMCA and SFRPD in creating kids mountain bike programs, demonstrated that SFUR is not a fly-by-night group of self-serving cyclists. We’re here to build a bike park AND strengthen the community and it’s children.
The presentation itself was also designed to explain exactly what a bike park looks like, who might use the bike park, and how it could benefit the community. Overall, the project received much support that Tuesday evening. There were many questions and comments about how a bike park would affect current paths and trails. Points of concern were the Sunnydale housing and how a bike park would serve it’s residents. And how bikes flocking to the bike park would affect traffic on the trails. Dan, Dustin and James responsed to those questions as best as possible, but a more detailed follow up will be posted shortly for public viewing.
Of the many positive comments a few favorites (paraphrased) were: “Are you sure this space is big enough?” and “That asphalt dumping area has been there for at least 20 years. Now you’ve got a group that wants to come and make something useful out of it? I say we should let them. And give them as much support as possible”. The latter comment was met with a room full of applause.
Thanks again to everyone that came out to the meeting. There will be more meetings. And each will be more important than the last. So, if you want a bike park, it’s time to get involved. Please stay tuned for next steps and future meetings.
I was just out at the Cow Palace yesterday morning scoping out the area for the Pumptrack and AT’s Showdown. AT and Phil were out there coordinating the placement of the dirt… The pumptrack dirt was moved to an easily accessible spot, and is tarped (to protect it from the rain) and ready to become a glorious bicycle playground. All we need are shovel-wielding peeps to come and help shape the berms and rollers.
The dirt will be placed roughly on Friday via bobcat, and shaped over the weekend by SFUR Volunteers.
If you know how to use a shovel, tamper, rake, etc. Please hit me up with an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know when you can help this weekend, even if its only for a few hours. FYI… Sunday will be fun-day, as things should be taking shape and rideable. If weather is an issue, a revised build schedule will be posted on the MBP facebook page.
Phil hooked up a huge space for us to work with, so lets make it great.