As always, the eTerraTimes has all the latest news for mountain bikers in the Santa Monica Mountains and surrounding areas.
Archive for the ‘CORBA News’ Category
By Mark Langton
When I learned that CORBA would be inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, my first reaction was, “where do we begin to start thanking people?” If you go back to the inception of CORBA, it all started with a 1987 Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) meeting where one of the agenda items was to consider adopting California State Parks’ policy of single track trails being closed to bicycles. So I guess you could say that CORBA owes a debt of gratitude to the SMMC for considering closing trails to bikes.
There were quite a few mountain bikers at that SMMC meeting, myself included. We sat patiently while the committee members discussed the pros and cons of allowing this “new” recreation on their public trails. They decided to adopt the State Parks policy, but they would continue dialogue with “the bike group” to see if bicycles could be integrated into the trail system. The cyclists in the audience looked around and silently acknowledged that “I guess we’re the bike group.” A legal pad was passed around and the list of people collected at that meeting became the impetus for CORBA. (Since then SMMC has adopted an inclusive policy toward mountain bikes.)
Twenty-six years later, we are still having to address issues of whether or not bicycles can coexist on public open space trails, mostly on State Parks’ trails. It’s like when snowboarding became popular at ski resorts. There was a lot of animosity leveled at snowboarders by skiers. A partial solution was to create separate areas where snowboarders could do their thing and skiers knew to stay away from those areas. But with public open space trails, we don’t necessarily have that luxury. If we want to share the trails, we have to behave accordingly and expect that there may be hikers, equestrians, and other (less experienced) cyclists on those trails.
The sport of mountain biking is evolving much like the sport of skiing has evolved to include snowboard riders. Separate areas are being developed to accommodate “gravity” mountain biking, and CORBA is working with land managers in our region to develop mountain bike parks that allow for more aggressive riding, including jumps, drops, and technical features. We will be announcing some very exciting news within the next few months regarding these new areas!
If you want something to last, you have to be willing to commit to the long haul. I’m not sure if that’s what the founders of CORBA set out to do, but thanks to them and everyone who got involved from then until now, we have a lasting legacy and solid foundation that will serve the next generation of mountain bikers in the greater Los Angeles and Eastern Ventura Counties.
And when we accept the award on behalf of CORBA for being inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, you can be sure that everyone on that stage will be feeling the pride of all of those who have supported CORBA over the last 26 years.
Thanks to all who voted for CORBA to be inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame! The ceremony will take place September 18, 2013 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas as part of the Interbike trade show.
In the 26 years CORBA has been advocating for shared use open space trails, we have literally hundreds of people to thank for our successes and achievements. Normally a Hall of Fame induction indicates a retirement. But CORBA is still going strong and continues to represent the interests of those who want to ride their bikes in the dirt!
The following translation was provided by Miyuki Tanaka:
Enjoy nature on your bike – CORBA’s Free Mountain Bike Skills Clinic
Agoura Hills - First Saturday every month
*No reservation required, cancels with rain
*Please check the meeting location on the website
‘CORBA’ (Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association), the non-profit organization for mountain biking in Southern CA, has held the events since 1992. The clinic is held at Malibu Creek State Park. After the clinic, you will ride the actual trail.In the skills clinic, you will learn the manner on the trail, basic bike maintenance, gear shifting, riding form and technics and more. The clinic is available for individuals from 10 years and up (with adult supervision for kids). The ride is about five miles and the course is easy for beginners.
You need to bring your mountain bike, helmet, gloves, sunglasses and water. You can download the check list for the gears you need from the website.”
The time is now to vote for CORBA (a chapter of IMBA) for induction into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and Museum. We were nominated last year and therefor are eligible again moving forward. To learn more about CORBA’s nomination, click here.
CORBA has been on the forefront of mountain bike advocacy since there was such a thing. CORBA as an organization has developed groundbreaking advocacy policies, standardized trail building guidelines and design techniques, and outreach programs (Skills Classes, Mountain Bike Unit volunteer patrol). CORBA members were present at the initial summit which created the International Mountain Bicycling Association, and is listed as a Founding Member of that organization. CORBA may be eligible as an advocacy candidate for the Hall of Fame, but the organization could easily also be included as a Pioneer.
For you that are already members of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and Museum, check your mailboxes for your ballots. If you need to join the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame visit their website at www.mbikehof.com. There are options to join via PayPal or by printing out the membership form and sending a check.
Voting ends July 15th, so don’t delay!
Sunday, June 9, 2013, a memorial service was held for former CORBA Treasurer and Board Member Danusia Bennett-Taber. Around 80 friends, family, fellow volunteers, agency representatives, and one friendly horse, hiked or rode in to a secluded corner of Malibu Creek State Park. Under the majestic oaks with the sounds of rustling leaves and bird songs–one of Danusia’s favorite places in the park–people recalled some of their fond memories of her.
It was especially clear that there was much more to this wonderful woman than any of us really knew, except perhaps her husband Don, whose recollections brought both smiles and tears to the gathered crowd. We, as CORBA Board members knew her as a diligent and passionate volunteer who loved the mountains and the trails, with a penchant for making sure everything was done correctly.
Her family knew she volunteered, but according to them, she had never made any big deal of it. It was just something she did. CORBA’s Steve Messer talked about her legacy and dedication to mountain biking (copied below), the depth of which was unknown to her family. In fact, this was a common theme among those who spoke. Everyone seemed to know a different side of this remarkable woman. But the common thread was that she touched many people, in many meaningful ways.
Many thanks to the numerous past and present CORBA board members and volunteers who came out to celebrate her life, and our sincerest condolences to her non-mountain biking family and friends.
Special thanks go to Wendy Engelberg, who organized the service. Wendy collaborated with Danusia on a final project, a bell program that will serve multiple purposes: It will remind everyone of Danusia’s great work for the trail community, help ease tensions on the trails from user conflict, and raise money for the Sarcoma Alliance that helped Danusia through the most difficult times of her life. Look for the official announcement in the coming weeks.
Danusia’s Legacy with CORBA
Danusia joined CORBA’s board in 2007. I’d met her and worked as a volunteer with CORBA in the years prior to that, before I was asked to join the Board. But it wasn’t really until I learned the inner workings of CORBA that I came to appreciate how integral she was to the organization.
Danusia helped set-up CORBA up for a solid future in so many ways. Everything we’ve done since and all we’ve yet to accomplish are in many ways possible because of her efforts. She was the backbone of CORBA. Much like the Backbone trail that connects the various Parks that make the Santa Monica Mountains, Danusia’s work within CORBA connected all our various programs and made sure they had a solid core foundation from which to grow. For a few years there were just three of us running CORBA, and she was always there to make sure that Mark and I didn’t overlook some detail that could have caused problems, or miss a paperwork filing deadline. She had our backs.
It’s thanks to her expertise with computers and accounting that our books are in order, our finances are handled and up to date. She left us in a much better state than when she joined CORBA’s Board and became Treasurer. Though she retired from the Board just over a year ago, she never really stopped volunteering.
Just a two weeks ago, she was making sure that CORBA’s 2012 tax filings were all in order. Despite her personal challenges, CORBA’s work was all-important to her. She set us up with the tools to move forward and continue our work uninterrupted.
But for her it wasn’t just about the management and the paperwork. It was about her passion for trails and the open spaces and public lands we all get to enjoy. She made sure that she gave back to the trails and, even after being presented with the biggest challenge of her life, learning of her rare cancer, she continued to come out to build new trails in the Conejo Open Space, attended public meetings about trails, and participated in trail maintenance in the Santa Monica Mountains, where she absolutely loved to ride and hike and felt truly at home.
She also wanted to make sure that other people had the same opportunities to enjoy the outdoors as she did. Her involvement with CORBA’s Youth Adventures program helped introduce many kids to the wonders of our great outdoors, and the joy and freedom of experiencing them by bicycle. Her ever-present smile and laughs with the kids were infectious. She also volunteered for the Mountain Bike Unit, patrolling the mountains to help make sure others were safe on the trails while at the same time protecting public lands and trails for everyone, regardless of how they enjoyed the trails. Her efforts to ensure the success of our various fundraisers made sure we had the resources to continue our work.
Mark Langton reminded me of how feisty and upset she became when a very few but vocal mountain bikers disagreed with CORBA’s philosophy of taking the high road and doing our best to work with Land Managers instead of against them. They’d complain or say bad things about CORBA’s cooperation with agencies, or our work to preserve and maintain trails. She took it personally, and felt we were misunderstood. Mark would have to reassure her that it isn’t personal. Those naysayers were concerned only about themselves, while we and Danusia were concerned about and protective of the trails and our greater community.
In our dealings with State and National Parks, and in our own internal development, she’d always make sure that the women’s point of view was always considered. She’d never let us forget that in this oftentimes male-dominated sport, that if more women were mountain biking we’d probably have a better overall image in the trail user community. Her work with Wendy Engleburg and Girlz Gone Riding helped introduce many women to mountain biking, and support and encourage them along the way.
One of the biggest transitions CORBA has undergone in its 26 year history was when we became an IMBA chapter a few years ago. It was a long and tedious process, with a lot of paperwork, filing of documents, and reconciling CORBA’s mission and operations with IMBA’s. Danusia took the lead on that process, and now, as an IMBA chapter, we’ve been able to grow and speak with a louder voice to land managers, with much more two-way coordination and collaboration between CORBA and IMBA. It’s been a wonderful change for us and for our growing membership. It’s just one of many aspects of Danusia’s legacy within CORBA that is helping guide us into a better future for mountain biking in Southern California.
Mark and my last communication with Danusia was a short, but very telling email about a week before she passed on. It was just a few sentences that essentially said, “Guys, it’s hospice time, and I’m really OK with it.” In those few sentences she was both comforting us by letting us know she’d come to terms with her situation and was ready to move on, and that she felt her work with CORBA was complete. She never wanted to have people fuss over her accomplishments and contributions, nor her final challenges.
CORBA is continuing to make progress on many fronts, albeit slow. The saddest thing about this great loss to our community is that she was not able to ride the Backbone trail end-to-end by bicycle, or see new trails opened to bikes in the Santa Monicas, or see a bike park completed, or witness the continued exponential growth in women’s and kids mountain biking. But we look forward to a day when many of us will see those sea-changes, and in many ways it will be thanks to her legacy.
Danusia, we miss you, we love you, and most of all we thank you for giving so much of yourself to our trails, our mountains, and our community. You’ll be truly missed, but your smile and spirit will live on and continue to touch as all, every time we’re on the trails.
June 9, 2013
On June 2 former CORBA Board of Directors member and ardent trail advocate Danusia Bennett-Taber passed away after a long battle with cancer. Her efforts on behalf of all outdoor enthusiasts will leave a long and lasting impression.
A memorial service will take place this coming Sunday June 9, organized by Wendy Engelberg of Girlz Gone Riding. See below for Wendy’s message and details.
Our beloved, incredible, lovely Danusia has passed on. Riders and hikers please join me for her memorial service Sunday, June 9th at Malibu Creek State Park. We will be riding or hiking to the picnic table in the wooded area before the gated Salvation Army compound.
From MCSP: Ride or hike in and when you see the creek bed on your left, cross it. Go left on the fire road. At the fork go right. Picnic table will be about a .5th of a mile on your right.
Hikers: Meet at 9am: the 1st parking lot in MCSP on the left. Lisa Granata will meet you and guide you to the memorial area.
Bikers: Meet at 9:15am at the 1st parking lot on the left. Wendy will guide you to the memorial area.
When we all meet at the memorial spot, I will ask anyone wanting to come up and tell a story about Danusia to honor her, and or speak about how she made an impact in your life. I will also be announcing a project Danusia and I started to help raise funds for her rare cancer: http://
Then we ride and hike in her honor. This is what she wanted…….she wouldn’t have it any other way…
I hope to see everyone there to honor this incredible woman and keep her in our thoughts.
If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me. Don, Danusia’s husband, will be there with family as well. I will be posting this to a few different places so I don’t miss anyone. Lisa is taking care of the MBU people for me. Please pass the invite to the memorial on.
I thank you so very much in advance for joining in honoring this special woman.