Morro Bay opens SLO County’s only official bike park

Kids and adults in Morro Bay can now “charge” dirt hills to their heart’s content thanks to the recent opening of the new Morro Bay Bike Park.

Morro Bay’s BMX-style bike park opened Dec. 26, covering about a half-acre of city-owned property at Main Street and Radcliff Avenue. The park is visible from Highway 1 near the Main Street exit.

The free facility, the only official course of its kind in San Luis Obispo County, fills a void of activities for youngsters, project coordinator Bonnie Johnson said. Her group spent three years planning and implementing the project.

“There really wasn’t enough to do for kids in this area, especially if they aren’t involved in youth sports,” Johnson said. “This adds a positive activity that they can do for hours. I personally believe that kids with hobbies are more confident and more successful.”

On New Year’s Day, about 30 kids and a few adults cruised around the park’s pathways and jumps.

Connor Perez, 8, wearing a yellow helmet and sporting a bright blue Dodgers shirt, said that the most fun is doing “huge jumps.”

“This park is so much fun,” Perez said. “I can do huge jumps, but only if I go fast.”

Seventeen-year-old Emily Gacad and 13-year-old Orion Solu shared their knowledge of bike-park lingo: “charging” means pedaling hard into a jump; “hucking” means navigating a large drop off from higher to flatter ground; and “boosting” means flying high in the air off a dirt hill.

The park is open from sunrise to sunset to riders of all ages.

“Some of us stay here pretty much all day,” Gacad said. “It’s a really beautiful sunset at the end of the day.”

Johnson formed her Morro Bay Bike Park group as a branch of the nonprofit Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers, through which funding is handled.

They’ve raised about $27,000 of the $35,000 cost to complete the project.

“We’re still seeking donations,” Johnson said.

The park was constructed by Santa Cruz-based Action Sports Construction, which builds bike parks around the country.

Johnson said that she met with neighbors to work through concerns they had with how much space on the city property the park would take up (only a portion and not directly adjacent to housing) and to let them know it wouldn’t be lit.

The city paid for a fence and waived permitting costs.

Because it’s a city park, Morro Bay isn’t charging rent for the land. PG&E, which owns property nearby, is charging the bike park group $500 per year for parking lot space.

Morro Bay Bike Park riders must wear helmets, and the city’s insurance covers liability. A sign warns riders that they’re engaging in a potentially hazardous sport and Morro Bay won’t be held liable for any damages.

The facility replaces an old bike park, established in the early 2000s, in Morro Bay near the former Flippo’s skating rink. But that park was taken out when the private property on which it was situated was sold.

The new park’s grand opening was held Saturday. Bikers have come from as far away as Santa Maria and Atascadero to enjoy the park, organizers said.

“We pushed to have it open for the Christmas break,” Johnson said. “It has been a big hit with kids.”

To donate

The Morro Bay Bike Park group is seeking to raise about $8,000 to cover the final costs to build the park. For more information or to donate, go to www.cccmb.org and click on the Morro Bay Bike Park tab.