By Julio Moran
San Francisco Urban Riders, a local non-profit, was awarded a $250,000 grant in January from the Recreation and Parks Department for a new bicycle recreation area in McLaren Park.
Alpine Bike Parks, a full-service design/build contractor based in Canada, is designing the project, which will be located on an abandoned asphalt patch off of Sunnydale Ave.
The grant money will be used for the first of the project’s three phases. More funds will be needed to complete the planned bike park.
“The first phase cannot begin until funds are attained in order to use on the second phase,” Dan Schneider, an SF Urban Riders board member and trail specialist, said.
Phase one of the project will include the construction of a multi-use plaza and lawn, a beginner bike trail, a youth BMX/mountain bike pump-park and a passive rest area.
Landscaping will include trees and drought-tolerant native species plants, irrigation, fencing and signage.
Once completed, Urban Riders will teach courses including bike safety and bike repair classes for kids of all ages.
“Currently, there’s several passive ways to enjoy McLaren,” Schneider said. “The real benefit to the local kids and youth lies in interacting with the park with more contemporary recreation.”
Carla Espinoza, who frequently jogs around the park, wasn’t aware that a bike park was being planned, but thinks it will be a nice addition to the neighborhood.
”I’d probably use it and bring my children too,” Espinoza said.
However, the project has its detractors.
“I come here because it’s the only off-leash park to let my dog loose. We can’t do that at Golden Gate Park,” Daisy Azuma said. “It’s gonna attract the younger crowds and, as usual, they get into mischievous type of things when in groups.”
To celebrate SF Urban Riders’ fifth anniversary, the organization and the Recreation and Parks Department will be hosting a mountain bike festival on March 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at McLaren Park’s Persia Picnic Grounds.
Festival activities will include competitions, bike raffles and a display booth featuring the bike park design plans.
This story was produced in collaboration with The Ingleside Light.