Archive for the ‘CORBA News’ Category

President’s Message: Changes are Coming

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Changes are coming. We just need to figure out what is in the best interest of you as mountain bikers, for our members, for CORBA, and finally for IMBA.

Since the abrupt loss of Suburu as a sponsor of several of its core programs last year, IMBA, our parent (and child!) organization, has had to undergo some major cutbacks. The Trail Care Crew and other programs are on indefinite hold. Staff layoffs and the resignation of Executive Director Mike Van Abel set IMBA on a much-needed transformation.

The IMBA Chapter program, which CORBA joined in 2011, was a key factor in IMBA’s recent growth. Much of the funding for the Chapter program came from Suburu, including travel expenses incurred by the Regional Director. One of the main functions of the RD was to liaise with and help coordinate all the chapters in a territory. In our case, the region is California and Hawaii.

In return, IMBA receives 60% of your membership dues and CORBA receives 40%. The basic membership is $35, with options at $50, $100 and higher that include swag. IMBA handles everything regarding membership management. The time and energy we would otherwise spend on membership management we can devote to advocacy and trailwork.  IMBA has supported us in Washington DC while we worked locally with members of Congress to prevent trail closures due to wilderness legislation. We’ve had access to IMBA expertise including the Trail Care Crew and Trail Solutions crew.  We also increased our membership numbers by about 40% when we became a chapter.

Recent IMBA messaging, however, has not been taken well by a portion of our members. Some have quit their membership and chosen to donate money directly to CORBA (which we welcome, regardless of membership).

IMBA recently chose Chairman of the Board Dave Weins as its new Executive Director. He’s widely respected and well-known. He ran a chapter himself. The ED is at the service of the IMBA Board of Directors, so we don’t expect any immediate changes in IMBA policy or messaging.

Overall, we’ve had a productive, fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship with IMBA. However, it’s been quite expensive at 60% of membership dues and is unsustainable without Suburu’s sponsorship.

Proposed changes to the program to make it sustainable are to increase the base membership price to about $50. About 40% of our members are now at the $35 level. Understanding people’s financial constraints, we expect to lose some members if the membership price is raised.

In the 1990s IMBA’s mantra was to give 20-20-20. $20 for IMBA, $20 for your local organization, and twenty hours of volunteer trailwork. Considering inflation, that’s not much different to the proposed changes: local and national advocacy group memberships for $50.

Hopefully most of you see the immense value in our programs: keeping trails open, restoring trails after disasters, advocating for mountain bikers to land managers and organizations around Southern California. We have bike parks completed and operating, and are working to bring more to the area. Without CORBA’s 30 years of advocacy, your local riding options might be much more limited.

Other proposed changes include the development of a Regional Leadership Council in which all SoCal chapters could meet among ourselves and coordinate efforts. We’d also get a new nationwide insurance plan which is hopefully less expensive than our current policies. We’d have access to experts in various fields by email or voice. It’s a streamlined and more efficient program. The question is whether it’s worth the 60% share of membership dues IMBA takes.

San Diego Mountain Bike Association and others in California are considering whether to stay in IMBA’s chapter program or go it alone. CORBA must make also this decision in the near future. There is much value to CORBA’s relationship with IMBA, but there’s also great value in a California-focused organization as proposed by San Diego Mountain Bike Association. At more than double CORBA’s membership, SDMBA could easily thrive as an IMBA Associate Club, rather than a chapter.

The departure of any chapter would reduce the number of IMBA members nationwide. A departing chapter might lose some members too. Some members may subsequently choose to join both the local organization and IMBA at the national level, as things were before the chapter program. It’s doubtful all current members would join both under those circumstances.

However, significantly weakening IMBA will ultimately hurt us all. IMBA remains dedicated to improving mountain biking for everyone. STC, which most of our members also support, has a much more narrowly focused mission that affects California more than most other states. IMBA’s efforts are having a positive impact nationally and local, but the local impacts are more difficult to quantify. The soon-to-be-released “Guidelines for a Quality Trail Experience” developed in partnership with the BLM, is a great example. Aimed squarely at Land Managers, this extensive new reference will be key to helping land managers understand our needs and desires. It will help guide the development of more bike-specific trails to meet a growing need. We can’t wait to supply a copy to our local Land Managers as we advocate for quality trail experiences locally. Resources like this help us all.

IMBA has taken feedback from its chapters on the proposed chapter program changes through a series of conference calls and surveys. They’re tweaking it based on the feedback and we’re waiting for the final version. When that comes, we’ll have a decision to make. But we’re interested in hearing from our members, and from those who aren’t members. (Why not?)

Most of you already join at the $50 level and higher (and we appreciate your support!). How many who now pay $35 can’t or won’t want to join us for $50?

How many of you feel strongly either way about our association with IMBA?  Would you join both organizations separately if we parted ways, or just one or the other?

We may send out a survey in the near future asking these and other questions, but feel free to email or comment to share your views.

In the meantime, it’s business as usual for CORBA. We’re busy with trailwork, advocacy, bike parks, fundraising, education and mountain bike advocacy. We’re improving relationships with Land Managers and looking for new opportunities. We’re in it for the long run and need your continued support.

CORBA welcomes Peter Sullivan to the Board of Directors

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

At our February 2017 board meeting, we were excited to have a new nominee for our Board of Directors. His approval was unanimous. We welcome Peter Sullivan to CORBA’s Board.

Peter has been active in cycling since his Schwinn Stingray days in the 1970s. He’s been riding and racing since the earliest days of mountain biking, and still competes.  He also enjoys getting out and exploring on his gravel grinder. Most recently, he’s been tightly involved in the SoCal High School Cycling League as a coach for the Newbury Park High School Mountain Bike Team. Newbury Park took third place in the high school State Championships last year, a reflection of Peter and his fellow coaches’ dedication and effectiveness.As a high school coach, he’s already given back so much to the sport, and especially to the student-athletes he has trained. Mentoring student-athletes, and helping them build confidence, fitness and bike handling skills are just a part of it. Sharing his love of the sport completes the package.

He’s seen the sport grow from its roots in the 70s, though its infancy in the early 80s, to an Olympic, College, and High School sport today.  He’s seen mountain biking become more and more popular and understands all too well the importance of actively working to keep access to our existing trails and to seek out and open up new opportunities.  As mountain biking grows, so must our access to quality trails and places to ride.

“Mountain biking and cycling have given so much to me over the years that I thought it was time I give back,” said Sullivan.  “I’m excited about having a bike park project in my neighborhood too,” he added.

One of the newest opportunities we have is the Sapwi Trails Bike Park in Thousand Oaks. Peter has been an advocate for this project since its inception. He’ll be serving on a new committee to oversee development of the bike park, and is excited to work on this project. We’ll be holding a meeting about it in a few weeks, so stay tuned.

CORBA is fortunate and excited to have Peter’s local knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication working with us to support all mountain bikers in SoCal.

Again, welcome and thank you Peter.

2016: A Busy, Productive Year

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

2016 is behind us, and what a year it was for CORBA and mountain bikers! We were extremely busy last year, cutting trails, cutting trees, and working on behalf of the mountain bike community to ensure continued and improved access to mountain biking in the greater Los Angeles and Eastern Ventura County areas.

Jim Burton cuts the ceremonial ribbon, as Steve Messer, Matt Lay and Jenny Johnson of MWBA, and Ken's daughters Heather and Tania look on.

Opening of Ken Burton Trail

In 2016, the Gabrielino Trail Restoration project, with REI, Bellfree Contractors, and Los Angeles Conservation Corps, was completed.  Ken Burton Trail restoration with MWBA was completed, opening the Ken Burton trail and a popular loop after seven years of closure, thousands of volunteer hours, and nearly three years of planning.

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CORBA RAM Ride & Pancake Breakfast CANCELLED Again; Will be Rescheduled

Friday, December 30th, 2016

Due to muddy conditions in Pt. Mugu State Park (Sycamore Canyon), the RAM Ride for Jan 15th has been cancelled. It will be rescheduled.

Ignore the following text, it’s just there for historical perspective…

Come join CORBA & Michael’s Bicycles for the rescheduled RAM (ride & mingle) Ride and pancake breakfast! Meet at the Wendy/Potrero trail head in Newbury Park RTR at 9am. We will ride over to the TEE PEE for a big group photo, then split up into groups. Guided, no drop rides will be offered for beginners, intermediate’s and advanced riders!

Directions to trail head: Take the 101 Freeway to the Wendy exit in Newbury Park. At the end of the off-ramp proceed south on Wendy until it dead-ends at Potrero Road. Park in the adjacent dirt parking area.

Rain cancels the ride and if we get 1/2 an inch or more the night before, we will need to cancel it as well. Sycamore does not hold up well in the rain. You can email Wendy Engelberg for info: wendy@girlzgoneriding.com.

Then we will see you at Michael’s Bicycles in Newbury Park at 12:30pm for a pancake breakfast! A $10 donation to CORBA is suggested. Check out Michael’s Bicycles at Michael’s Bicycles:

MICHAEL’S BICYCLES

(805) 498-6633

2257 Michael Dr.

Newbury Park, CA 91320

We look forward to riding, mingling and eating pancakes with everyone!

Staff from Giant Bikes and Amgen repair CORBA’s adopted trail

Monday, December 12th, 2016
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Volunteers hike up the Dragonback hills to get to the work area.

Workers from two companies with headquarters in Newbury Park took Friday morning December 9th off from work to help repair the Los Robles Trail West as part of their company’s community outreach programs. We expected 30 volunteers from Giant Bicycles and Amgen but at least 37 showed up, supervised by three COSCA rangers and one of CORBA’s trail crew leaders. Because of the large turnout, we got the work done in record time.

The work area started at the top of the most eastward Dragonback hill, almost a mile from the Felton St. trailhead, and continued for 0.4 miles towards the picnic table at Angel Vista. Work consisted of treadwork: digging out stumps, filling ruts, adding or repairing drainages, resloping and raking loose rocks off the trail.

A few days earlier, the CREW had cleared out overgrowing brush so we didn’t have to worry about that.

One huge rut on the most eastward Dragonback hill was filled and the trail leveled, however it was still loose because the dirt was so dry. To address that, the rangers came back a few days later with 30 gallons of water, hauled on a power wheelbarrow, and soaked the loose dirt to pack it down.

Overall, everyone did a fantastic job and this section of the trail that has been neglected for years is in much better shape and should be able to withstand the winter rainstorms without damage!

You can see before and after trail conditions, and the folks doing the work, in this Giant/Amgen volunteers photo gallery.

Save The Date! November 27th is CORBA’s Annual RAM Ride & Pancake Brunch!

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

2d3461e4-d102-4085-a64a-74db40c622c9Come join CORBA for our annual RAM (Ride & Mingle) event and pancake breakfast at Michael’s Bicycles in Newbury Park!

November 27th! Ride time 9am sharp: Meet at Wendy/Potrero Drive in Newbury Park.

ALL LEVELS WELCOMED! GUIDED RIDES: BEGINNERS, INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED ROUTES.

Come ride with us in Point Mugu State Park (Sycamore Canyon). Meet at Wendy/Potrero in Newbury Park. We will all ride over to the ranger station for a big group photo then split up into our groups. Meet back at Michael’s Bicycles for a pancake brunch!

Pancake breakfast at Michael’s Bicycles after the ride at 12:30pm. $10 suggested donation.

You can renew or purchase a CORBA/IMBA Membership as well!
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Michael’s Bicycles: 2257 Michael Drive, Newbury Park, CA 91320

CORBA and IMBA Membership Drive

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

This fall IMBA is doing a membership drive. Between now and October 30th, by joining or renewing your membership to CORBA and IMBA, you’ll be eligible for a drawing for a Yeti SB 5c mountain bike, and a year’s supply of nutrition from CLIF Bar including set of Maxxis Tires (27.5 or 29). If you’d rather not support new trails, but want to be eligible, you can sign up for an entry at https://www.imba.com/2016-membership-contest-signup.

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Women who join or renew before October 30 will also be eligible for a prize from CORBA, to be drawn at our upcoming Rocktober event in Castaic. We have goodies from REI, Ergon, and others.

So go ahead and join this month. If you’re membership isn’t expired, an additional year will be added to your membership so there’s nothing to lose. Support CORBA and become a member today!  You might end up with a cool new Yeti mountain bike, or other goodies.

May 2016 eTerraTimes Newsletter Published May 5th

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

The May 2016 edition of CORBA’s monthly newsletter, the eTerraTimes, was published today, May 5. If you don’t get it by email, you can view it online.

As always, the eTerraTimes has all the latest news for mountain bikers in the Santa Monica Mountains and surrounding areas.

March Skills Clinic photos posted March 6

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

We had another unusually large class of 24 on a cool, cloudy day in Malibu Creek State Park this month at the Basic Skills Clinic.  The clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month. You can see the photos in our March photo gallery.

Join our Board Meeting every 4th Monday

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Come and join us to learn about current issues and let us know what concerns you! Always open to the public, the CORBA Board of Directors’ meeting is held the 4th Monday of the month in Woodland Hills. REI is kind enough to let us use their meeting room, for which we thank them profusely!

Every month (except December, when we have no meeting), we discuss these topics:

  • Issues of trail access for mountain bikers
  • Mountain bike advocacy and ambassadorship
  • Public involvement
  • The latest news from the land managers, including State Parks and National Park Service
  • Trail building and restoration
  • Furthering woman’s mountain biking
  • Bike parks and other dedicated mountain bike facilities or trails
  • Education and etiquette
  • Anything brought forward by members of the public

The meetings are 6:30 – 8 pm at the REI in Woodland Hills:

6220 Topanga Canyon Blvd
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
P: (818) 703-5300

Google Map and Directions

We look forward to seeing you there!