San Francisco has roughly 35 dog parks, 7 golf courses, 51 community gardens and 17.9 % of the city is reserved as Park land. But not a single bike park.
A group called San Francisco Urban Riders has been pushing to bring a bicycle skills park to a planned out location in McLaren Park and are working with Hans Rey, mountain biking pioneer and advocate, to jumpstart their project.
The park is located in the city’s southeast corner and is 312 acres of nature trails and recreational amenities. The sections of the park that SF Urban Riders want to convert are currently unused and affected by water erosion.
“We want to put in a mix of jumps, conceptual design, kids and adult pumptracks, trials, obstacles and whatever we can fit in,” Dan Schneider, board member of SF Urban Riders said.
The Bay Area is the birthplace of mountain biking, yet there are no designated places within the city. SF Urban Riders is planning the SF Urban Enduro for March 2013, a 4-mile mixed-surface loop course. The race is for youth and to raise funding for the project.
“Getting kids in our parks is where the everyday opportunity is,” Schneider said. “We want to keep activity off the trails and concentrate on jumps to keep people safe.”
For almost two decades, illegal races and trails have been going on at the park and SF Urban Riders is attempting to provide a more safe and controlled environment for all park-goers.
“Bikes have gotten to the point where people with not much skill can still go out on the trails and enjoy them,” Schneider said.
Hans Rey adopted the concept of a Flow Country trail four years ago–a trail that is built to certain standards and is “never steep, never extreme, and never dangerous.”
“When traveling, people can use any kind of bike and be at any experience level, and you know it’s a certain quality and length,” Rey said. “Trails like this are popping up and I think in the next ten years, a lot will happen. This could help the whole city”
Currently, there are four or five coined Flow Country trails in the world.
Since 2006, bicycle riding in the city has shown an increase of 71% and is up by 7% since 2010, according to The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the Sustainable Streets Division’s 2011 Bicycle Count Report.
With the bike park and trails, SF Urban Riders will accomplish their main goal– provide an active, educational outlet for children through mountain biking.
“Kids can learn about the environment if you do it right,” Schneider said.” It will get the kids healthier and away from the television. It will empower them because there’s so much around—there are natural experiences and views of the city.”
SF Urban Riders will use The SF Urban Enduro event in March 2013 to gain revenue, that will go towards funding the project, and awareness. So far, the designated land is a significant natural resource area and is managed by the Recreation and Parks Department’s Natural Areas Program. It has yet to be approved.
For more information visit mclarenbikepark.com