Archive for the ‘Conejo Valley’ Category

Niner Bike Frame is Grand Prize for Trailwork Volunteers

Friday, March 28th, 2014
Could it be YOU who wins a frame like this Niner?

Could it be YOU who wins a frame like this Niner?

As part of the thank-you for volunteers who help with maintaining our trails in good riding order, CORBA has been giving away mountain biking swag at the end of each event. To speed things up on trailwork days, and to allow some really great  (ie, expensive!) prizes to be given away, we will instead have a drawing at the end of the year for all the volunteers who come out during that year.

We have a Niner frame waiting for some lucky volunteer, plus other great prizes including grips and saddles from Ergon!

In order to be eligible for the drawing, volunteers must register for events in advance on our Meetup group, show up at the event and sign the standard waiver form. At the end of the year, we’ll go back through all the Meetup events and count the number of times each volunteer helped out. Everyone will get one chance in the drawing for each time they participated.

Now by helping to keep our trails in good shape, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re giving back to the trails community, of contributing to the enjoyment that others have in our open spaces, and also having a chance at scoring a sweet ride from CORBA and Niner!

Good luck and thanks for helping out!

COSCA Spring Trailwork Report, Photos and Video from March 22

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

As well as this section, there are lots of people working up above!This past Saturday, March 22, roughly 60 volunteers converged on Wildflower Park for a short hike to the work area at the bottom of the new trail. By noon, the volunteers had built the 0.25-mile long Castillo Trail that now connects Wildwood Trail in the canyon to Castillo Circle on the mesa above.

The Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) rangers had previously removed the chaparral and marked the route of the trail with little orange flags. It was up to the workers to dig out the dirt to make an even trail tread. The trail crossed a steep hillside, so there was a lot of dirt to be moved along much of it’s length. The route included two nearly 180-degree turns, necessitating a switchback and a climbing turn. Each of these features took 6-8 people all morning to complete.

After the work was finished, the crew returned to Wildflower Park to enjoy a barbecue lunch prepared for the volunteers.

Steve Messer, CORBA’s president, brought along his GoPro and made a time-lapse video of the trail building, and of the first ride down on his new hard-tail 29er. You can see the video on YouTube or Vimeo.

You can also view the photo gallery of the trailwork.

February 23rd Space Mountain Trailwork Report and Photos

Monday, February 24th, 2014

This past Sunday, 12 CORBA volunteers and two COSCA rangers headed up the “Space Mountain” section of the Los Robles Trail in Thousand Oaks to fix up the 1.7-miles long switchbacks part of this singletrack trail before the winter rains worsen the ruts.

Clearing slough from the trail

Clearing slough from the trail

By all standards, the work was a tremendous success! We cleared slough from 230 yards of trail, installed about a dozen new drainage nicks, cleaned debris out of about a dozen existing drainages, and whacked out about 20 stumps.

From the top of the switchbacks, we continued another a short distance to fix the falling slough on 230 yards of trail. Slough is rocks, dirt and other debris that falls on the trail from above. So much had fallen that half to 2/3 of the trail was covered, forcing people to the very outside of the trail. We could see many tracks where people had ridden off the edge and possibly taken a tumble. With the trail now returned to it’s full width, that hazard is much reduced.

Next, we headed back down to the bottom, installing new drainage nicks as we went, and hacking out stumps that had become hazards in or near the edge of the trail. Finally, as we got to the lower half where we had installed drainages in previous years, we cleaned out those that were becoming clogged with silt so they would continue to be effective in diverting rainwater off the trail.

You can see the volunteers working in the photo gallery of Sunday’s trailwork day.

After the traditional prize give-away to thank the volunteers, CORBA treated everyone to lunch at Baja Fresh.

Thanks to all the volunteers who came out to help, and the COSCA Staff who joined in to support us!

Space Mountain Trailwork Scheduled for Sunday February 23

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Join CORBA on a rare Sunday workday as we fix up CORBA’s adopted trail, Space Mountain (Los Robles Trail West) in Thousand Oaks. We’ll be doing treadwork - clearing silt out of the drainages - starting at the top and working back down. This is a favorite mountain biking trail, especially in the winter when other trails are muddy. Our work on Sunday will help keep the water off the trail and open to riding next winter!

After the trailwork is finished, CORBA will have prizes for some (or all) lucky volunteers, and treat you to lunch afterwards.
No experience is necessary to help out with trailwork. Tools and instructions on how to use them safely and effectively will be provided. Children must be over 7-years old to attend, and children under 14 must be constantly and directly supervised by their parent or guardian who brought them. And you don’t need to be a mountain biker to help out – Everybody is welcome! For more information on trailwork in general, visit our trail crew web page.

Be sure to wear protective clothing (sturdy shoes, long pants and sleeves, hat, golves) and bring snacks, sunscreen and water. CORBA will provide the tools and training.

We request that you pre-register online so that we’ll know how many tools to provide. Remember, by registering here, CORBA will treat you to lunch afterwards, and enter you in the drawing for mountain biking prizes!

CORBA’s thank-you lunch will be after trailwork ends at 1:00 pm, so bring some snacks to tide you over.

Meeting location and details are on the online registration page.

What CORBA Does

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

By Mark Langton

Bikes, horses, hikers and runners

Bikes, horses, hikers and runners. We all love trails.

Recently a bicycle club-team representative  contacted CORBA wanting to see what more they could do to get more of the trails that are currently closed to bicycles opened up to shared use. A couple of comments from the correspondence were that they thought that showing up in larger numbers to public meetings would help, and that they thought the main reason that trails were closed were because of an influential public anti-bicycle lobby.

I wrote back to the person who contacted me, and in doing so came up with what I think is a good overview of what CORBA has been doing for the past 26 years, and continues to do on behalf of all public backcountry trail users (see below). Yes, CORBA is a mountain bike organization, but we are more than that, and here’s why: We believe that shared use works better because it disperses use, rather than concentrating it. When you disperse use, you reduce congestion, and when you reduce congestion, you reduce confrontation. Moreover, it has been shown that where shared use trails exist, it works. Maybe not perfectly, but certainly better than where there are restrictions to bicycles, because shared use also fosters cooperation. Bicycles do mix when operated considerately and with the safety and serenity of other trail users in mind. And that’s the crux of the issue: If bicyclists would simply slow down around others, including other bicyclists, they would be solving the problem of both dangerous speed, and the “startle factor,” or the disruption of another’s peaceful enjoyment of the backcountry.

Here’s what I wrote to that bicycle club team member:

This year CORBA celebrated its 26th anniversary. In that time we have made many strides to opening trails to shared use (hiking, equestrian, bicycle) in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Angeles National Forest, Los Angeles County, and Eastern Ventura County. We have participated in hundreds of public meetings with land managers over the years. Land managers recognize and continue to adapt to the growing bicycle population and changing demographic profile of the trail user community. They are certainly aware of the needs and desires of the mountain biking community through CORBA’s efforts, which include quarterly meetings with principal agency managers (National Park Service, State Parks, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority). We are also in constant communication with these agencies and/or when the need arises to address a specific issue. CORBA also works closely with the Mountain Bike Unit which aids the rangers and community with safety and education. CORBA also schedules and organizes regular trail maintenance work days s in conjunction with the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council and Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency. CORBA is also heavily involved with the Angeles National Forest with trail maintenance and volunteer patrol participation. Due to CORBA’s efforts, most of the singletrack trails built in the last 25 years are shared use (not to mention a lot of the singletrack that already existed not getting shut down).

 As you can see, there is more to getting involved than just showing up at meetings in large numbers. The issue of bikes not being allowed on trails is more than just politically active opponents to bicycles; it is mired in an outdated management policy of restriction that is predicated to a large degree on ignorance and a status quo mentality. Within the last few years there has been a systemic change for adopting shared use as the overriding management strategy. It is a slow moving process but we do see a very strong indication that within the next few years we will see many more trails opening to shared use on a statewide basis than currently exists. This change comes from consistent efforts not only by CORBA, but mountain bike advocates all over the state, with assistance from the International Mountain Bicycle Association (of which CORBA was a founding club in 1988).

 The one concern that is always at the forefront of managers’ minds is safety. It is agreed by everyone that bicycles are an acceptable form of public open space trail recreation. However, it is when riders go too fast around other users as to make it an unsafe or even just an unpleasant experience that gets mountain bikers a bad reputation, and gets the managers to thinking about restricting bicycles. If everyone would just slow down when passing others, and slow down into corners so they don’t scare others on the other side, we would pretty much solve the problem. I am not saying you shouldn’t go fast, I’m just saying do it when conditions are safe. 

COSCA Volunteers Built a New 1.2-Mile Trail with Spectacular Views

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

About 120 volunteers arrived at 7:30 Saturday morning, October 19, to help build a new trail in the Western Plateau area of Thousand Oaks for the 23rd Annual COSCA Trailwork Day. Eleven of these volunteers had registered through CORBA. The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council made a huge contribution as most of Saturday’s 12 crew leaders were members of their Trail Crew. Other crew leaders were from CORBA or were COSCA rangers.

Workers hike up the new trail to their work areas. People on the distant ridge show where the trail will go.

Workers hike up the new trail to their work areas. People on the distant ridge show where the trail will go.

The new trail starts 2 miles from the new Hill Canyon bridge near Santa Rosa County Park. Volunteers hiked in, or caught a ride with the 4×4 vehicles that drove the tools to the new trailhead. After picking up their tools and learning about safety during trailwork, the dozen teams of about 10 headed up to their designated work areas.Most of the new trail is on soft, crumbly dirt on a hillside with a gentle cross-slope. The grass and chaparral had already been cut away, so most of the work involved scraping the dirt to remove the last stubbles of grass and making a 5% outslope so water would run across and off it, rather than down the middle, cutting a rut.

However, there some switchbacks and rocks that were in the way, so some crews had rock bars to help them along.

Mark Langton, CORBA's president, takes the first run down the partially completed trail. Workers on the ridge above indicate where the trail goes.

Mark Langton, CORBA’s president, takes the first run down the partially completed trail. Workers on the ridge above indicate where the trail goes.

The new trail, yet to be named, climbs the east end of the  southern ridge above the Western Plateau. In many places it is quite close to the edge and so provides amazing views of both Hill Canyon and the rest of the Western Plateau.Everybody headed back about 11:15 to get to the thank-you lunch, barbecued by COSCA rangers, and the prize giveaway. As always, the rangers did a superb job with lunch. About a dozen people won prizes, including the grand prize of a new Giant mountain bike.

The photo gallery shows many of the volunteers on the new trail, and gives you an idea of how some of the views will look. Why not go through them to see if you recognize anybody!?

COSCA Annual Trailwork Day Oct 19th

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Come out and join the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA), CORBA, the Santa Monica Trails Council and other volunteers for the 23rd Annual COSCA Trailwork Day in Thousand Oak. We will be working on new trails in the Conejo Canyons Open Space (aka Western Plateau).

COSCA will treat participants to lunch afterwards and have a drawing for some great door prizes, including CST tires contributed by CORBA.

For full details and to register, see our registration page. We hope to see a good turnout of local mountain bikers at this event!

Show Us Your Smile

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

smileSometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. We have created this message tag with the help of BikeTags (biketag.wordpress.com) so that we can spread the message of goodwill, peace, and harmony throughout the world. Or maybe just the message “don’t worry, be happy.” The idea is to show other trail users that we belong, we care, and we can coexist. Similar to the SoCal High School Cycling League’s “spirit of howdy”, it’s a way to remember to slow down and smell the sage brush.

We’ll be making the CORBA Smile Tags available to anyone who wants one, just send an email request to info@corbamtb.com. We’ll be giving away prizes for the best photos of the tags on your bikes while on the trail. Photos will be judged on originality, creativity, and overall quality. (Details to follow in the coming weeks). The grand prize will be a Niner full suspension frameset, donated by Niner.

OK, so maybe putting the Smile Tag on your bike* won’t save the world. But a lot of times a little smile can go a long way.

*The Smile Tag is a high quality plastic laminated product and comes with all hardware necessary to mount on a handlebar or under the seat. If mounting to the handlebar, a hole may need to be punched at the bottom of the tag to help secure the tag to a brake or derailleur cable (see photo).

 

 

Lang Ranch Community Park Update

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

meeting of the knobsIf you remember last year, CORBA helped get out the word that the Conejo Recreation and Parks District (CRPD) was holding a series of public meetings to guide them in planning for the park’s development.

Over 100 people came out and asked for a bike park facility.

The good news is that the CRPD is following through with the community demand for a bike park at Lang Ranch. They have retained the services of a RRM Design Group, who has in turn retained the services of Wormhoudt, Inc., a well-known designer with expertise in skate, BMX and bike parks.

At this point a pump track, dirt jump park, flow trail and multi-use cross-country trail with optional technical features are planned for the site, along with other outdoor recreational facilities including a disc golf course and a remote control glider area.

In approximately six weeks there will be on-site visits with the planners to better determine the topography and get a clearer idea of what the design will entail. The area is still subject to environmental studies and reports, so even though this project is proceeding relatively quickly, it is still estimated that it will be approximately two years before it will approach completion.

This project is a joint effort between the CRPD and Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, which maintains a shared use policy for its open space trail system, which consists of nearly 14,000 acres and 140 miles of trails. The Lang Ranch Community Park will be an area that allows for enjoyment of natural open space with amenities not usually seen in open space. CORBA has been identified as the primary off-road bicycle organization to consult the project’s bicycle facilities.

 

I’d Like to Thank…

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

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.