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 McLaren Park:

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.


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

11 thoughts on “McLaren Park

  1. 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. 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!

    1. 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.

    2. Unfortunately Doug Bartling died a few years back(10?) in a low speed motorcycle accident.
      he and Pete were younger than me, but we all grew up in Contra Costa County.
      Not sure where Pete is now.

    3. my name is dave sunner i raced on merrit track for 2 an half years.god i wish i could get some pics of 77 78 79 80 iraced for silver shield a mongoos . i was ranked 3 in cali at the time im 47 and ride only abmx

  3. 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.

    1. The track closed in the very early 80’s. Oddly, I have not been able to find any SF Rec. & Park records documenting the the decision to build the track or to close it. The track is located on the south side Mansell St. just west of the parking lot at the top of Visitacion Ave.

      1. The map image shows the track location. If you go there you can still see the major berms. After BMX racing stopped, there was a period with lots of motorcycle activity using the track layout in unintended ways.

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