City's 1st Bike-Only Playspace Debuts Tomorrow In McLaren Park

City's 1st Bike-Only Playspace Debuts Tomorrow In McLaren Park
McLaren's bike park under construction. | Photo: McLaren Bike Park Founders
By Meaghan M. Mitchell - Published on October 20, 2017.

After ten years, a new park designated for bikes is coming to McLaren Park, San Francisco's second-largest open space. The new facility will open on Saturday.

Since 2008, community group McLaren Bike Park Founders (MBP) has worked with the Recreation and Parks DepartmentSF Parks AllianceSF Urban Riders, community leaders and neighborhood groups, and the local cycling community to bring a park dedicated to bicycle skills to the city. 

“It took a long time to get this project off the ground," co-chair of MBP Founders, Dustin Smith told Hoodline. His group began "scraping together" money for the effort a decade ago.

"Once they saw we had overwhelming support from the community, SF Rec and Park took us a little more seriously, helped us apply for grants, and secured the location within McLaren Park," he said.

A custom wall ride design. | Photo: MBP Founders

Smith and co-chair Will Aldrich worked with SF RPD to raise $1,020,000 from to bring their dream into reality. Funds for the McLaren Bike Park were accumulated from Parks Bonds, General Fund as well as more than $250,000 of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

With a design created by British Columbia-based Alpine Bike Parks, the group replaced a 30,000-square-foot swath of parkland that until recently had a history of being blighted with trash and dumped furniture.

The project's initial phase includes a multi-use plaza and irrigated lawn surrounded by drought-tolerant native plants. The park also includes a beginner-level trail and a youth BMX/MTB pump park with steel-reinforced ramps, a picnic area, fencing and signage.

The second phase calls for a larger section of the park to be transformed into a cross-country trail loop with a short track downhill course and advance dirt jumps. Smith said these features should appeal to anyone who can ride a bike and hopes the funding they've already secured will cover the additional costs.

Neighborhood kids test the new bike park. | Photo: SF Park and Rec

The bike park will serve the surrounding community as an open space fitness and play area, but Smith said it will also become a destination that attracts bike enthusiasts from around the Bay Area.

Tomorrow, MBP Founders is hosting a ribbon-cutting and ride-through ceremony and free event with celebrity mountain biker Greg Minnaar, starting at 10am.

Attendees will have a chance to bike the new terrain, play games, watch demos and visit a bike-repair station. Food trucks will be on site, non-alcoholic beverages will be served, and organizers will raffle and give away McLaren Bike Park swag.