The Dew Tour was in San Francisco last weekend, and with it, throngs of teens, tweens, and groms. To hold the event, the area in front of city hall was turned into the venue complete with a skate park and the largest set of dirt jumps I’ve ever seen in the middle of a large city.
I’ll just admit it — I’ve stopped following the X-Games in recent years, choosing to instead follow mountain bike news. These days I’d rather watch a guy ripping a trail on his bike than a dude flip-whipping a huge jump. So instead of being excited about the massive display of “extreme sports” that was going down, I was more interested in the large buckets of cash it takes to get this sort of event to happen in a city like San Francisco.
According to an article in the SFGate, these particular buckets contained almost $311,000, the amount paid to rent the plaza for a total of 17 days. That’s not a small bucket.
I’m not the only one a bit jaded at the prospect of the event. Although it seems I see it from a different point of view, as I’m now apparently and officially a jaded bike advocate. Part of me was a little frustrated seeing all the resources the sponsors of the tour dumped into this event that will leave nothing for kids (of all ages) to ride and play on. Heaping stacks of money were handed over in order to build a site up for just a few days. Come Monday, everything will be broken down and the streets behind swept up to hide that it ever happened.
Meanwhile, hordes of kids on bikes came downtown to watch other people ride their bikes and skateboards and get free samples of Mountain Dew. The word is that they might get a few hours on the street course before it gets torn down. Maybe.
Meanwhile, the SF Urban Riders, a local advocacy group I’m involved with, can’t even raise 10 grand to get the initial design work for the McLaren Bike Park paid for. Clearly the group is approaching the wrong sponsors for money. They/ we should be chasing sponsors of caffeine making sports and energy drinks.
On the upside, SF Parks and Rec just came across a big chunk of cash that could feasibly be used to further the McLaren Bike Park Project. Will those funds actually end up being used for it? Can’t say I’m very optimistic on that one.
This isn’t the only event in SF that’s had sweet park features built up for a weekend of exhibition riding, only to be town down afterwards. The SF Bike Expo has put on a fun event several years in a row. Like everything else, after the event is over, all the work put into the jumps, pump tracks, and temporary skate parks is torn down, only to be a distant memory. While I think the crew at Ride SFO does a great job with this event and it is a lot of fun, it kind of sucks that in the end, it really doesn’t do that much to further bike advocacy. (How much is “Awareness” actually worth? Am I wrong? Leave me a comment below)
I don’t think it has to always be this way though. The Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz managed to put on an event utilizing existing features. The problem is that San Francisco doesn’t have anything remotely like a pump track or bike park. WTF is up with that? It would be nice if the companies supporting these types of events were interested in leaving a bit behind as their legacy, as opposed to just creating a few reels of video promoting their latest sponsored rider.
Red Bull apparently did something along these lines recently, and partnered up with Ted Tempany to help finish building the most fun mountain bike trail you may have never heard of (but should have) in Squamish, BC, known as the Half Nelson Trail.
Apparently it is now the Full Nelson trail. If you have the chance to ride this trail, I seriously recommend you do because it was seriously kick ass when it was just the Half Nelson trail. Assuming you like the prospect of a rollercoaster-like experience on your bike, all rollable, with incredible bermed turns and constant options for stylin’ hang time.
I don’t think that it’s reasonable that every event leave behind something cool, but it seems to have worked for the World’s Fair. Ok, most of those structures were temporary, but the Space Needle in Seattle and the Eiffel Tower are two shining examples of incredible landmarks that were left behind after a major city event.
It would be nice if the legacy of events like the Dew Tour left more of a lasting impact than hyperactive kids and a mouth full of cavities. That’s all I’m sayin’.