SAN DIEGO — Mountain bikers have a chance to ride new trails starting this weekend on the La Jolla Native American Reservation.
The new Luiseño Bike Park features twists, turns and 13 miles of fun.
Steve Ford spearheaded the project, and when he rides the trails at Luiseño Bike Park, he can’t help but feel pure joy.
“You feel like a kid again every time you ride down it,” Ford said. “I love this, I love the sport and the people involved.”
A project years in the making finally opens to the public Labor Day weekend with six downhill trails – each about 1 ½ miles long.
“I’ve been trying to do the bike park thing in Southern California for 15 years,” Ford said. “I’ve had some stops and starts and turns, but all of them have led me here. We haven’t had a lift-access bike park in San Diego ever.”
The Escondido native works side-by-side with his son Trevor at the bike park based on the La Jolla Campground – about 50 miles northeast of San Diego.
The shuttle riders 1,300 feet up to the top of the park in two big trucks, and from there it’s almost all downhill.
Tickets to ride cost $60 for as many drops as your legs can handle, with peddle assist and analog bikes available to rent.
Ford says the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Native Americans invested more than $1 million to professionally engineer and build trails that have markings like downhill ski runs: green for easier, blue for intermediate and black for hold on to your handlebars!
Not to mention a bonus airbag if you’re brave enough to try gap jumps.
The trails definitely provided me with a challenge, and Ford says everyone who tries them leaves with a smile.
“I’ve received great feedback,” he said. “Everybody’s having fun. I just melt when I see that.”
The park opens Friday at 10 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday at at 9 a.m. For this first weekend, they’re offering half-price tickets.
“It’s so exciting,” Ford said. “It’s here, it’s happening. I just keep pinching myself.”